A cross-cultural study on preference for lightness of complexions: Comparison between Japan and Indonesia

Miho Saito

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    Using 176 Japanese and 132 Indonesian university students as subjects, the author investigated the preference for light complexions and the cultural influence on it from the viewpoint of the psychological structure of the aesthetic preference for white. In the first survey, the subjects were asked to choose their preferred colors from a color chart in order to know their general preference for white. In the second survey, the subjects were asked to answer a questionnaire designed to discriminate personal images for the four stimuli of different complexion. The results showed that positive images were associated with a fair complexion in Japan. In Indonesia, on the other hand, the images associated with a fair complexion were rather negative although white itself was highly accepted. Association with images of rareness and scarcity for a fair complexion was, however, common to both countries. This may suggest that the preference for white and whiteness derives from images of something unique and special.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)204-213
    Number of pages10
    JournalShinrigaku Kenkyu
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1996 Aug



    • Colors
    • Cross-culture
    • Personal images
    • Preferences
    • Preferences for complexions

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychology(all)

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