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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1996 Feb;70(2):372-80.

Stereotypes of emotional expressiveness of northerners and southerners: a cross-cultural test of Montesquieu's hypotheses.

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Department of Psychology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas 75275, USA.


Montesquieu argued that residents of warmer climates are more emotionally expressive than those living in cooler ones. More than 2,900 college students from 26 countries completed a brief questionnaire assessing the degree to which they considered Northerners and Southerners within their own countries to be emotionally expressive. In addition, individuals rated themselves on their own degree of expressiveness. In partial confirmation of Montesquieu's hypothesis, it was found that large within-country North-South stereotypes exist. Especially in Old World countries, Northerners are viewed as less emotionally expressive than Southerners. Regression and other analyses revealed that self-ratings of expressiveness were, in fact, related to being from the South and to warmer mean temperatures. Several possible explanations for these effects are discussed.

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