Scotland’s smiles friendlier than rest of UK

SCOTS have been labelled the UK’s friendliest people by a major new study.

Smiling happy people at the recent Six Nations rugby. Picture: Getty

The University of Cambridge researched more than 400,000 Britons online and found wide difference between regions – with the Welsh being labelled the shiest and Londoners the least welcoming.

Researchers looked at data gathered online about five traits – extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability and openness – to broadly ­assess the personalities of people in ­different parts of the country and found that if it’s friendliness you’re after then it’s to best head north.

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Scotland also came out on top as the region boasting the most agreeable people, suggesting Scots were good-natured, trusting and kind. The least agreeable people were found in London and various districts throughout the east of England, where large proportions were labelled unco-operative, quarrelsome, and ­irritable.

Picture: Getty

Dr Jason Rentfrow, from the university’s department of ­psychology, said the findings could help shape government decision-making.

He said: “Geographical differences are associated with a range of economic, social and health outcomes – and hence how important resources are ­allocated. Although participants in an online test are self-selecting, the demographic characteristics are representative of the British population, so we can develop an accurate snapshot of the psychology of the nation.”

The University of Cambridge report also revealed significantly high levels of neuroticism throughout most of Wales and in a number of Midlands districts, suggesting large proportions of residents were comparatively anxious, depressed and temperamental. Meanwhile low levels of neuroticism – a personality trait characterised by anxiety, fear, moodiness, worry, frustration, jealousy and loneliness – emerged across most of Scotland, suggesting Scots were calm and emotionally stable.

Scotland’s ranking as the friendliest region in the UK came as no surprise to many on the streets of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Bus Tours guide, Jamie Reynolds, 20, said: “I constantly hear it from tourists that Scotland is the friendliest place they’ve been in the UK. They often remark on how warm and open we are compared to London. US tourists always comment on how surprised they are by the friendliness of everyone.”

This was confirmed by Iranian tourists Moorty and Tannaz Moosavi, who have decided to extend their stay in Edinburgh by three more days due to the friendliness of the people. Moorty, 52, said: “Everyone has been very friendly and helpful. We’ve loved our stay so much that we’ve decided to stay on for a few more days.” Russian tourists Irina Kirillova, 28, and Svetlana Byazrova, 27, were also surprised by the friendliness of Scots. Irina said: “We’re only here three days but in that time we’ve noticed how helpful everyone is and friendly. It’s really added to our trip.”

Dominique Adams, 30, from Glasgow, said of the findings: “Of course, Scots can be dour but on the whole we are very friendly – a lot more than those down south. It also depends on where you are too; Glaswegians can be very forward and Edinburgh more resevered but both are friendly in their own way.”

Her boyfriend Christian Kramer, 30, who has lived in Scotland for seven years, echoed this: “You need a sense of humour to get along, but once you understand this everyone is fine.”

Tessa Welsh, 33, originally from Leeds, said: “People in Scotland say what they mean, just like us in the north of England.

“They’re blunt. Sometimes people can view this as being unfriendly but it’s just that Scots don’t have time to mess about and usually just get to the point.”

The study is based on data that was gathered as part of the Big Personality Test, an online survey published by the BBC in 2009 as part of a collaboration between the broadcaster and the scientific community.