Cultural similarities and differences in the development of sociomoral judgments: An eye-tracking study

Yuki Shimizu*, Sawa Senzaki, Jason M. Cowell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


People integrate the valence of behavior and that of outcome when making moral judgments. However, the role of culture in the development of this integration among young children remains unclear. We investigated cultural similarities and differences in moral judgments by measuring both visual attention and verbal evaluations. Three- and four-year-olds from Japan and the U.S. (N = 141) were shown sociomoral scenarios that varied in agents’ behavior which reflected prosocial or antisocial intention and recipients’ emotional outcome (happy, neutral, or sad); then, they were asked to evaluate agents’ moral trait. Their eye fixations while observing moral scenarios were measured using an eye-tracker. We found culturally similar tendencies in the integration of behavior and outcome; however, a cultural difference was shown in their verbal evaluation. The link between implicit attention and explicit verbal evaluation was negligible. Both culturally shared and specific aspects of sociomoral development are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100974
JournalCognitive Development
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jan 1


  • Attention
  • Cross-cultural comparison
  • Implicit and explicit processes
  • Moral development
  • Sociomoral trait evaluation
  • Young children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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