Looking Inside Out

At Ignite, we are always curious about how emotions impact on people's behaviour.

When we heard about Pixar's summer release - Inside Out - we were excited to see the blockbuster.

This lovely story has inspired us to look at our most recent State of the Nation data in a different way - how Irish people are feeling this summer.

How are you feeling?

Pixar's movie 'Inside Out' follows the work of five emotions that play a role in each of our lives.

Some things make us sad, or we can be full of joy. We can fear things or get disgusted or angry.

We decided to look at how the 3.4m Irish adults have felt in the past 6 months.

Let's get emotional... 

We asked 1,000 Irish people "Which of these emotions did you feel most of in the past 6 months?" People could choose more than one emotion and the most popular feeling was anger with 38% of the population feeling this in the past 6 months, this was closely followed by enjoyment (37%).

These figures equate to over 1 million Irish people feeling angry, joy or sad in the past 6 months.

Number of people who felt...


feeling or showing strong annoyance, displeasure, or hostility; full of anger.

1,287,517 people

Over one million Irish people have felt angry in the past 6 months. Those who have felt angry are 23% more likely than the average person to say their greatest concern is money - e.g. paying bills. 34% of Angry are pessimistic about Ireland's economic situation in the year ahead compared to 23% of the population. They are 8% more likely to read the newspapers and 1 in 2 would pay off debt if they had money left to spend at the end of the month.

a feeling of revulsion or strong disapproval aroused by something unpleasant or offensive.

843,546 people

Slightly more men, 44,000, claim to have felt disgust in the past 6 months. Over 55 year olds are most likely to feel this emotion - 23% more likely than the general population. 1 in 2 people living in towns have felt disgust, and they are slightly more likely to be married. This group is least likely to be working full time. Up to 34% are struggling or feeling under real pressure with personal finances compared to 23% of the general population.

an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm.


874,282 people

Women are are 8% more likely to have experienced fear in the past 6 months, in particular under 24 year olds and 35-44 year olds. Similar to Disgust, this group is more likely to be Irish town dwellers. This validates our last report which outlined how Irish towns are less optimistic than city dwellers about the future. This group is most likely to have children, and 15% worry about the future of their family. 1 in 3 would go on holiday if they had additional income.

feeling or showing sorrow; unhappy.


1,232,875 people

The lesson in Inside Out is that sadness is OK and plays an important role in our lives. Over 1.2 million people have experienced sadness in the past 6 months.

Younger women (under 35) are more likely to acknowledge they have felt sad in the past 6 months. 39% of people who have felt sad believe they are doing well or ok financially and 1 in 5 are doing better now then 12 months ago.

a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.


1,277,272 people

Over 1.2 million have experienced enjoyment in the past 6 months, and women are more likely to be joyful. Joy is more educated and more likely to be in an office job. Joy is no more or less likely to have children compared to the general population but less likely to be renting. 1 in 2 Joys are optimistic about the future of the Irish economy - 20% more than the average population.

Joy is less likely to be in debt. If they had additional cash, 43% would go on holiday 31% would carry out home improvements and 21% would buy a car.


All emotions play a role.

We have focused on five emotions - but we measure the role of up to 14 emotions on the national sentiment. How we feel and the emotions people experience has a great impact on their attitude towards the country and economy, their motivations and their behaviour when making decisions.

There is no right or wrong emotion, and therefore there is a need to understand all aspects of how people feel to provide a true context. We would highly recommend watching Inside Out which illustrates how all emotions play a vital role in our every day lives.