Foreigners think that the Chinese are intelligent

"Germans are dissatisfied", "Turks are strong" and "Chinese are smart": This is how the Internet thinks about these nations

12.04.2018 – 09:50

Berlin (ots)

Google knows a lot about us - sometimes more than we'd like. As soon as you type, the search engine makes suggestions as to which search query might be meant - and thus allows conclusions to be drawn about common clichés.

The editorial team has evaluated which suggestions the Google "Autosuggest" function makes if you enter different nationalities in the search engine, e.g. "Germans are ...". Here are the main results:

- Germans do not seem to see themselves very positively: According to the search queries from Germany, they are "dissatisfied". - Other clichés that are still widespread: "Italians are machos", "French are good lovers" or "Dutch are bad drivers". - There are big differences between the Scandinavian countries: while Danes are envied as "the happiest Europeans", Swedes are considered "arrogant" and Finns are "depressed drinkers". - Some of the suggested search queries relate to political events: Greeks are seen as "victims of wrong development policy" and Austrians as "politically disenchanted and critical of the EU".

Google's auto-complete feature is very enlightening for debunking prejudices people have about certain groups of people.

Which supplements are given depends on the search frequency and frequency of the respective terms. In this respect, the suggestions also provide information about what is often searched for in this context.

"The suggestions are based on current search trends, so they reflect what is entered into the search mask particularly often in this context," explains Désirée Rossa from

One thing is clear: Suggested search queries have often been entered into the search mask. In order to exclude the influence of your own search history, the editorial team carried out the searches with deleted cookies.

Google shows not only negative but also positive prejudices

It is not surprising that many typical and well-known prejudices are reproduced in the proposals: "Five of the 25 nationalities examined were covered with typical clichés," says Désirée Rossa, head of the analysis. "Americans are 'prudish', Italians 'machos' and Spaniards 'loud', while the French are considered to be 'good in bed'," Rossa continued.

Of the clichés for the nationality designations examined, eleven were negative, seven were neutral and at least eight were positive: Danes are considered "the happiest Europeans" - no wonder, because a 2011 study by the Hamburg Foundation for Future Issues came to exactly this result. Icelanders and Czechs are seen as particularly "friendly" and Poles as "more hardworking than Germans"; Turks are "strong", Chinese are "smart" and Koreans are "pretty" according to the completion function.

Quotes and headlines also shape Google search suggestions

Other suggestions relate to newspaper articles, e.g. the sentences "Hungarians are disappointed with the reluctance of the EU" or "Greeks are victims of wrong development policy", which each refer to the headlines of opinion articles of the WORLD. Another example: According to Google's completion, Austrians are "politically disenchanted and critical of the EU", a reference to a Die Presse article.

Well-known quotations can also serve as a template for the completions, for example a saying by Sigmund Freud that the Irish are "inaccessible to psychoanalysis" - their thought processes are too contradictory and irrational.

How do prejudices come about?

"Ready-made judgments basically make our everyday actions easier. They help us to orient ourselves in the world - which becomes all the more important the more complex it appears," explains Désirée Rossa, sociologist and head of analysis. "This is why we tend to divide people into groups based on age, gender, skin color or nationality," continued Rossa.

"However, it is not necessarily about the actual characteristics of the respective group of people, but only about external attributions," explains expert Rossa. Often it is also about upgrading one's own group by lowering members of the other group.

"It becomes problematic when prejudices distort the view of the actual individual characteristics of a person and thus lead to discrimination. It is all the more important to question them critically and not just take them over carelessly," explains Rossa.


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Press contact:

Désirée Rossa
Press work
Email: [email protected]

Phone: 0176/47132633

Editor of this press release:

VGL Verlagsgesellschaft mbH
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D-10179 Berlin

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