Report on a presentation at the 58th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society of Social Psychology:
Japan–US comparison of images for shyness

I participated and gave a presentation together with Dr. Aikawa and fellow researcher Mr. Inagaki at the 58th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society of Social Psychology (JSSP) held from October 28 to 29, 2017, at Hiroshima University.


Unfortunately, we experienced a typhoon during the meeting, but once you entered the hall, there was no need to go outside the building (no need to waste your time by going out), which enabled us to concentrate on research presentations. There were several very interesting workshops and symposia, but I would like to mention one of them as below.


On the first day, a workshop on Self-Esteem (SE) was held. There was a period when we were seriously doing research on SE at CRET, and we have maintained our academic interest since then. Four researchers presented different topics. Each provided knowledge about SE from different perspectives, which was a great learning experience for me. There were various objects of research such as studies to classify the degree of SE as a genetic factor and an environmental factor based on twin research, a study showing that the ratio of the lengths of the index finger and ring finger are related to SE from the influence of sex hormones, a study that showed that if we want to raise SE, it is important to have compassion for others rather than trying to be liked by others, and a study that proposed to translate the word "self-esteem" to Japanese as "mind to respect yourself," instead of "feeling to respect yourself," based on the history of SE’s definition and detailed analysis. Considering the future plans of Inagaki Team of Aikawa Lab to carry out research focusing on motivation, it was such a workshop that gave us suggestions for the future research activity of CRET, because SE is an area that previous studies focused on as one of the possibilities for enhancing motivation.


On October 28, I gave a poster presentation on the research subject, "Japan–US comparison of image," conducted by CRET Aikawa Lab. Many participants came to our presentation and showed their interest. I wanted to visit other poster presentations during the break, but I could not do so because our presentation attracted so many people that I could not leave the place. However, from another viewpoint, I think it was a great opportunity that we could broadly and extensively promote our research.


In concrete terms, we compared an image of shyness between Japan and the United States. Shyness is a characteristic of shy or bashful people, and, especially in the United States, traditionally, it has been treated as something to be improved. We assume that in the United States, people generally have a negative and unfavorable image of shyness. On the other hand, in Japan, people may have a relatively positive and favorable image of shyness, because humility is regarded as a value in Japan and people may see shy persons as humble as they talk less. In order to examine the above hypothesis, we conducted a large-scale online survey in Japan and the United States.


Through the data analysis, we obtained very interesting results. The results were completely opposite to our prediction; in other words, the positive impression of shyness was observed in the United States, not in Japan. We presented several possibilities for this result, but by further considering with the participants of our presentation, we could also get other possibilities. One such is there is an opinion that when an American person hears the word "shyness," he/she thinks of a shy Japanese rather than a shy American, and, therefore, the person might have given a positive impression due to his/her good image of Japan. We could learn a lot from this opinion as this is something that we had never thought of.


This meeting is really a comfortable place for me. I attend every year, and can see many old friends there. We can also share the updates of each other, and if someone tells me that he/she has published a paper, it makes me feel keenly that I should also hurry to present my results in papers.


Japan-US comparison of image for shyness

(Takafumi Sawaumi, Tsutomu Inagaki, and Atsushi Aikawa)


 (Takafumi Sawaumi, CRET Researcher)

Takafumi Sawaumi

CRET Researcher / Assistant Professor of the Faculty of Sociology, Ryutu Keizai University

Hobbies: I try to get some physical activity by playing tennis or doing yoga on a regular basis. I am also busy learning foreign languages, while overseas travel is one of my pleasures in life.

Research topic: I specialize in cross-cultural research on interpersonal communication and personality.


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Areas of Reasearch in CRET

This laboratory conducts research on test evaluation and analysis. We also perform joint research and exchange programs with overseas testing research institutes.

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This laboratory conducts research and development into testing approaches that measure communication skills, teamwork skills, and social skills, etc.

Dr. Atsushi Aikawa

Faculty of Human Sciences,
University of Tsukuba
Ph.D. in Psychology

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This laboratory conducts research on the foundation of computer-based testing, and basic research on media and recognition, as well as applied and practical research
that utilize such knowledge.

Dr. Kanji Akahori

Professor Emeritus of
Tokyo Institute of

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