"Close nations / distant nations" multi-dimensional scaling analyses of cognitive maps of nations

Shunsuke Tanabe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper investigates how Japanese people see other nations and peoples of foreign countries by representing their perceptions on cognitive maps. 1 collected several types of data from university students: 1. Judged similarity among 26 nations/peoples (pile sort), 2. Preference data on 10 nations/peoples (paired comparisons), and 3. Exposure to foreign nations/people such as experiences of foreign travel and having foreign friends. By analyzing the judged similarity data using Multidimensional Scaling, it was found that the respondents categorized nations/peoples based on three dimensions: "Western vs. non-Western (White vs. non-White)," "psychological distance," and "geography." Those who have experienced traveling aboard had a tendency to place less weight on the "Western vs. non-Western (White vs. non-White" dimension in their cognition. Preference data showed that some preferred Asian people, while others favored Western people; however, almost every respondent revealed his/her unfamiliarity with Islamic and African people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-249
Number of pages15
JournalSociological Theory and Methods
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Sept 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive map
  • Foreign people
  • Multidimensional scaling
  • Nation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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