This article is adapted from "China National Tour" prepared by Qicheng Jing, Houcan Zhang, Kan Zhang, Xiaolan Fu and Ye Lui in Wedding, D., & Stevens, M. J. (Eds.). (2009). Psychology: IUPsyS Global Resource (Edition 2009) [CD-ROM]. International Journal of Psychology, 44 (Suppl. 1).
Psychology has a long history in China. Writings describing issues of human psychology exist from as far back as two thousand years ago. At the turn of the century, a group of Chinese scientists who had studied in the West introduced modern psychological science to China. In the years before and after 1920, three important events promoted the growth of psychological science into China. The first was in 1917, when Peking University established China's first psychological laboratory. Then, in 1920, the Nanjing Higher Normal College established China's first department of psychology. The third event was the founding of the Chinese Psychological Society in 1921, which in the following year published the academic journal Psychology (Xinli).
Modern Chinese psychology began with the founding of the Chinese Psychological Society in 1921. Zhang Yao-xiang was its first President. In 1937, Lu Zhi-wei became the President, the Society published Chinese Psychological Journal. Soon the War of Resistance against Japan broke out, suspending all activities. After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, preparatory work for the Chinese Psychological Society began in 1950. In 1955 and 1960 the new Chinese Psychological Society held its first and second assembly meetings with Pan Shun as its new President. During the ten years of "Cultural Revolution" between 1966 and 1976, its activities were again suspended.
From 1976, psychology in China entered a period of rapid development. The Institute of Psychology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and five departments of psychology in universities were soon established. With the support of the Ministry of Education, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the China Natural Science Foundation, in recent years many institutes of higher learning have established psychology departments or research laboratories; more than 10,000 undergraduates have majored in psychology, and more than 125 masters and 50 doctoral degree programs have been established in some of the above institutions.
In 1980, the Chinese Psychological Society joined the International Union of Psychological Science, which marked the beginning of a new era in the exchange between Chinese psychologists and psychologists of other countries. Since 1979, large numbers of scholars and students from mainland China were sent to the West for study or research. China's psychological research work and personnel witnessed rapid development over the last ten years, and Chinese psychology is beginning to be known in international psychology. Former president (1984-1989) of the Chinese Psychological Society and current member of its executive committee, Jing Qicheng, served on the Executive Committee (1984-1992) and later as Vice-President of IUPsyS (1992-1996). Zhang Houcan served on the Executive Committee of IUPsyS (1996-2000) and is now Vice-President of IUPsyS (2000-2004). Zhang Kan serves on the Executive Committee of IUPsyS (2004-2008).
The Chinese Psychological Society office is located in the Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. The past Presidents of the Chinese Psychological Society are Pan Shun, Jing Qicheng (1984-1989), Wang Su (1989-1993), Lin Zhongxian (1993-1997), Chen Yongming (1997-2001); the current President is Zhang Kan (2001-2009). The Chinese Psychological Society is under the jurisdiction of the Chinese Association for Science and Technology, which also funds some Chinese Psychological Society activities. China now has about ten thousand psychologists working in research institutes, education, medicine, and other fields. The basic and applied research fields of Chinese psychology cover the fields of theoretical psychology, cognition, ergonomics, developmental psychology, educational psychology, industrial psychology, comparative psychology, biological psychology, medical psychology, cognitive neuropsychology, and social psychology. The Chinese government recognizes the importance of psychology in China's social development. In a recent government document regarding the development of science in the 21st century, psychology was listed as one of six disciplines to receive priority of support. With the development of China's economy, the study of psychology is becoming increasingly important.
Research in psychology is conducted mainly in the Institute of Psychology of the Chinese Academy of Science and in universities and colleges. Research can be divided into five aspects, namely, general experimental and cognitive psychology, developmental and educational psychology, social psychology, medical and physiological psychology, and applied psychology. In addition, psychological research is also developing in the fields of sports, industrial, management, legal and theoretical domain. Many new research methods and techniques are widely used, such as fMRI, ERP, PET, MEG, and eye-tracking.
At present, a complete university training program in psychology is offered to students in 150 universities. B.A.or B.Sc. degrees are given after a four-year undergraduate curriculum. M.A. or M.Ed. or M.Sc. degrees are conferred to post-graduate students after three years of study and a thesis work. Some students are working for Ph.D. degrees.
There are regulations of the Chinese Psychological Society for psychological testing, workers of psychological testing, and workers of psychological counseling and psychotherapy in health systems. These regulations were published in 1993 in Acta Psychologica Sinica.
Acta Psychologica Sinica, 1956- , 6/year
Psychological Science, 1964- , 6/year
Updated December 2007