A new global survey has found the most and least empathetic countries, with Ecuador taking the top spot and Lithuania sinking to the bottom. The United States, while not at the very top of the list, did make it to the top 10, coming in seventh out of 63 countries.
To come up with the rankings, the researchers gave online surveys to 104,365 adults, who answered questions about their empathy, or their ability to react to and connect with others both emotionally and intellectually. The participants also answered other questions about other traits that could be linked to empathy levels, such as agreeableness, conscientiousness, self-esteem and prosocial behavior, among others. The scores are based on a 5-point scale: Participants answered each question with a number along the scale of 1 ("doesn't describe me well") to 5 ("describes me very well").
For instance, a couple of the survey entries were: "I often have tender, concerned feelings for people less fortunate than me," and "I sometimes try to understand my friends better by imagining how things look from their perspective." [Read the full story on the empathy survey.]
Here's a look at the overall rankings:
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Jeanna served as editor-in-chief of Live Science. Previously, she was an assistant editor at Scholastic's Science World magazine. Jeanna has an English degree from Salisbury University, a master's degree in biogeochemistry and environmental sciences from the University of Maryland, and a graduate science journalism degree from New York University. She has worked as a biologist in Florida, where she monitored wetlands and did field surveys for endangered species. She also received an ocean sciences journalism fellowship from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.