On the distinctiveness of Chinese psychology; or: Are we all Chinese?

Peter B. Smith

in Oxford Handbook of Chinese Psychology

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199541850
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

On the distinctiveness of Chinese psychology; or: Are we all Chinese?


The basic framework for research in many areas of psychology has derived principally from the extensive range of studies conducted over the past hundred years on and by that small proportion of the world's population that resides in North America. This article briefly identifies some of the key areas in which it has thus far been argued that there is something different or distinctive about the psychology of ethnic Chinese. It focuses on examining the extent to which studies conducted in other parts of the world have also identified some of the supposedly distinctive Chinese attributes. It also provides the criteria that are needed for assessing the distinctiveness of Chinese psychology. Sampling of the beliefs and values endorsed within the four primarily Chinese societies in the world in relation to non-Chinese societies indicates substantial psychological variability within the domain of Chinese ethnicity.

Keywords: North America; Chinese distinctiveness; individualistic cultural context; collectivist cultures; distinctive family dynamics

Article.  7865 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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