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Cross-Cultural Comparisons of the Cute and Related Concepts in Japan, the United States, and Israel

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posted on 2020-10-12, 20:36 authored by Hiroshi NittonoHiroshi Nittono, Shiri Lieber MiloShiri Lieber Milo, Joshua Dale

An online survey was conducted to clarify the semantic image of the cute and attitudes toward cuteness in three countries: Japan, the United States, and Israel (total N = 2,155). The results show a remarkable resemblance in respondents’ conceptions of the cute (kawaii in Japanese and hamud in Hebrew) across countries. Several common tendencies were found: (1) Cuteness is highly appreciated and believed to induce positive affective responses, (2) women tend to find things cute more frequently and strongly than men do, (3) animal babies are thought to be cuter than human babies, and (4) infants are found to be cuter when people get older, while older people generally show less positive attitudes toward cuteness. This study demonstrates that the concept of cuteness and the feelings connected to its perception are universal.


KAKENHI (17H02651), Japan Society for the Promotion of Science


Declaration of conflicts of interest

There is no conflict of interest.

Corresponding author email

Lead author country

  • Japan

Lead author job role

  • Higher Education Faculty 4-yr College

Lead author institution

Osaka University

Human Participants

  • Yes

Ethics statement

The research protocol was approved by the Behavioral Research Ethics Committee of the Osaka University School of Human Sciences (29-112, 30-029, and HB019-116). The respondents were informed that those who had completed the questionnaire were deemed to give consent.

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The final version is published in SAGE Open, 11(1), 1-16, 2012.

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