From American City to Japanese Village: A Cross-Cultural Investigation of Implicit Race Attitudes


  • This research was supported by Grants from the third Millennium Foundation, The National Institute of Mental Health, The Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, and The Program on U.S.–Japan Relations. We are also grateful to John W. Willett for technical assistance with the statistical analyses used in this paper.

concerning this article should be addressed to Yarrow Dunham, Department of Psychology, 15th Floor, William James Hall, 33 Kirkland Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. Electronic mail may be sent to or


This study examined the development of implicit race attitudes in American and Japanese children and adults. Implicit ingroup bias was present early in both populations, and remained stable at each age tested (age 6, 10, and adult). Similarity in magnitude and developmental course across these 2 populations suggests that implicit intergroup bias is an early-emerging and fundamental aspect of human social cognition. However, implicit race attitudes toward favored outgroups are more positive in older than in younger participants, indicating that “cultural prestige” enjoyed by a group moderates implicit bias as greater knowledge of group status is acquired. These results demonstrate (a) the ready presence, (b) early cultural invariance, and (c) subsequent cultural moderation of implicit attitudes toward own and other groups.