Cross-cultural differences and psychometric properties of the Japanese Actions and Feelings Questionnaire (J-AFQ)

Charlotte Huggins* (Corresponding Author), Isobel Cameron, Neil Scott, Justin H Williams, Sakiko Yoshikawa, Wataru Sato

*Corresponding author for this work

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Aims: We aimed to assess the psychometric properties of a Japanese version of the Actions and Feelings Questionnaire (J-AFQ), an 18-item self-report measure of non-verbal emotional communication, as well as to examine its transcultural properties.

Methods: The J-AFQ was administered to 500 Japanese adults (age 20–49, 250 male), alongside the Japanese Broad Autism Phenotype Questionnaire (BAPQ-J) and Empathy Quotient (EQ-J). These were compared to a group of 597 British and Irish participants (age 16–18, 148 male). J-AFQ was assessed in terms of validity by confirmatory factor analysis and convergence with BAPQ-J and EQ-J using Pearson correlation. Internal consistency and differential item functioning (DIF) were assessed and compared between Japanese and UK/Irish participants.

Results: Reversed worded items (RWIs) showed poor item-total correlations but excluding these left a 13-item version of the J-AFQ with good internal consistency and content validity. Consistent with the English version, J-AFQ scores correlated with EQ and lower BAPQ scores. However, comparing across cultures, J-AFQ scores were significantly lower in the Japanese sample, and there was evidence of important DIF by country in over half of the J-AFQ items

Conclusion: Cultural differences in attitudes to self-report, as well as increased acquiescence to RWI's also seen in previous studies, limit the value of the 18-item instrument in Japanese culture. However, the 13-item J-AFQ is a valid and reliable measure of motor empathy, which, alongside the English version, offers promise for research in motor cognition and non-verbal emotional communication across cultures.
Original languageEnglish
Article number722108
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Early online date20 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding: CH was funded by the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Summer Programme Fellowship, reference SP19103, as well as by the Northwood Trust. WS was funded by the Japan Science and Technology Agency CREST, reference JPMJCR17A5. The UK and Irish data were sourced as part of a study where JW was funded by the Northwood Trust.

Data Availability Statement

Data Availability Statement: The raw data supporting the conclusions of this article will be made available by the authors, without undue reservation.

Supplementary Material: The Supplementary Material for this article can be found
online at:


  • actions and feelings questionnaire
  • cross-cultural differences
  • motor empathy
  • translation
  • psychometrics
  • differential item functioning


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