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UPDATED: 09:15, August 12, 2004
China needs its own psychology: expert
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As a large nation with 1.3 billion people, China urgently needs to develop a more localized psychology, said experts at the ongoing 28th International Congress of Psychology (ICP) Wednesday.

Prof. Wang Dengfeng, a psychology scholar with Beijing University, told Xinhua that Chinese psychology should incorporate a whole set of theoretical knowledge of Chinese social status and cultural background. Current psychological practice in China, however, mostly borrows from western psychology, as foreign psychological books account for more than 90 percent of the domestic market, even dominating college textbooks.

"Psychology in any country should be based on its native culture," said Wang, adding that western psychology is rooted in western culture and uses westerners as research subjects. This limits its applications to the Chinese.

Psychology is mainly applied in human resources and psychological consulting, which now urgently demand localized theories, Wang said. Career evaluation in China based on western

value systems will lead employers make wrong judgments, as job applicants are asked questions such as "What do you like for desert?" or "What kind of cheese do you like?"

Such questions are designed for western thinking, said Wang, and are not applicable to the Chinese. "Psychological research in accordance with China's domestic situation, could help those with psychological problems," said Wang.

As an invited speaker with the ICP, Wang delivered a speech to introduce his 20-year research on Chinese personality, which, dividing Chinese personality into seven dimensions, achieved totally different results from the similar research by western psychologists.

In Taiwan, Wang said, psychology has undergone rapid progress in localization, as Yang Guoshu, a former professor with Taiwan University, has published three books on Chinese personality, Chinese psychology and change of Chinese psychology, gaining acclaim at home and abroad.

Yang advances the view that Chinese psychology should focus more on family ties and social relations, which, reflecting society, distinguish Chinese psychology from the western system.

Zhang Houcan, an influential scholar in Chinese psychology, believes the government should further regulate psychological services, issue relevant laws and regulations and cultivate psychological professionals, thus boosting the sound and healthy development of psychology.

Experts believe that China will gradually set up its own psychological research system with 10 years, with the joint efforts of the whole society.

Source: Xinhua

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