2015 Volume 23 Issue 3 Pages 131-141
This study constructed predictive models of the feelings of kawaii (cuteness) for human and animal babies, animated characters, and inanimate objects using empathy and affiliation motives. A package of questionnaires including the multi-dimensional empathy scale, affiliation motives scale, and kawaii ratings for human babies, baby animals, animated characters, and inanimate objects was administered to 582 undergraduate students. To investigate gender differences in the models, we employed multiple-group structural equation modeling. Results indicated that higher levels of empathy predicted higher kawaii ratings for inanimate objects as well as human and animal babies regardless of the respondent's gender. Higher affiliation motives only predicted higher kawaii ratings for human babies. In contrast, feelings of kawaii for animated characters were not predicted by either of these individual characteristics of empathy or affiliation. The necessity to measure approach motives in addition to affiliation motives as social motives was discussed.