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Development of Psychology in China(09/08/04)


   Psychology has witnessed three important periods in its development in China over the past century.

    Psychology was introduced to the country by Chinese educator Cai Yuanpei. Cai went to Germany to study philosophy at first and then started experimental psychology studies at University of Leipzig from 1908-1911 as a student of Wilhelm Wundt, an importantearly practitioner of experimental psychology.

    China's first psychological laboratory was set up in 1917 at Beijing University with the support from Cai during his tenure as the university's president. That year marks the birth of China's modern psychology.

    The China Psychology Society (CPS) was founded in August 1921, and published psychological magazines and periodicals. In 1929, the Institute of Psychology of Chinese Academy of Sciences was founded. Both institutions were interrupted by wars and re-established in 1955 and 1950 respectively, after the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949.

    During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), psychology in China was criticized by some scholars. Others, however, worked hard to facilitate psychological studies in China. Among them were Cao Richang, who studied psychology at University of Cambridge, and Pan Shu, who studied at University of Chicago.

    For the first time since it adopted a reform and opening-up policy in 1978, China sent representatives to the 22nd International Congress of Psychology (ICP) in 1980. At the same time, the CPS became the 44th member of the International Union ofPsychological Science (IUPS). In 1984, the CPS was elected one of the 12 IUPS executives.

    China won the bid to host the 28th ICP in the 26th ICP held in July 1996.

    In 1999, the Science and Technology Ministry named psychology as one of the country's 18 basic areas of study. In 2000, the Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council put psychology on the national list of class-A subjects.

    The six-day 28th ICP opened in Beijing on Aug. 8, 2004. Nearly 6,000 psychological experts from China and abroad are attending the meeting. These include one Nobel prize winner and more than 20academics from around the world. This is the first time for China to hold this conference, the largest academic conference China ever held.



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