Measuring Affective Responses to Cuteness and Japanese kawaii as a Multidimensional Construct

  • Reina Takamatsu


The aim of this study was twofold: first to create a self-report scale that measures responsiveness to cuteness and kawaii in three key domains (baby animals, baby humans, and animate objects), and secondly to apply the measure to predicting parental attitudes toward corporal punishment. Currently, there are no self-report measures of this construct in theoretically consistent domains that encompass both cuteness and kawaii. In Study 1, a 15-item Cuteness Responsiveness (CR-15) scale was developed to assess responsiveness to infantile human and non-human kawaii creatures, which is defined as individual differences in the sensitivity to cuteness and readiness for a variety of caretaking behaviors. The CR-15 demonstrated evidence of good psychometric properties and fit into the three-factor structure. In Study 2, we recruited parents with a child/children under the age of 6 to test how responsiveness to cuteness affects parenting using the scale developed in Study 1. The results showed lower responsiveness to cuteness predicted parental approval for corporal punishment, and negative attitudes toward parenting mediated the link. Together, these studies demonstrate that the human baby subscale of the CR-15 can predict a tendency to experience positive emotions in response to infantile creatures and motivation for caretaking behaviors. Implications of cuteness/kawaii responses as a multidimensional construct and future directions are discussed.


Cuteness Baby schema effect Scale development Parenting 



I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Dr. Hiroshi Nittono who provided helpful comments on the conceptualization of kawaii as a positive emotion.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Conflict of Interest

There is no potential conflict of interest pertaining to this submission to Current Psychology.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Human Developmental SciencesNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan

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