ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (12): 2246-2259.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.02246

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Cultural and psychological changes during the social transformation in China: Sociological research and its enlightenments to psychologists

HUANG Zi-Hang1,2,3, WANG Jun-Xiu4,5, SU Zhan2,3, JING Yi-Ming2,3, CAI Hua-Jian2,3()   

  1. 1Mental Health Education Center, Chengdu University, Chengdu 610106, China
    2Center for Personality and Social Psychology, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
    3Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    4School of Psychology, Inner Mongolia Normal University, Hohhot, 010022, China
    5Institute of Sociology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing 100732, China
  • Received:2021-02-08 Published:2021-10-26
  • Contact: CAI Hua-Jian


Scholars have approached social psychology from two perspectives: a sociological one and a psychological one. Although two perspectives have mostly developed in a parallel way, both has paid much attention into a common area: societal changes and their psychological impacts. Past sociological research on Chinese societal changes has focused on two aspects: changes in society or social structure, and changes in people. The former mainly involves urbanization, social class, social mobility, and family structure; the latter mainly involves Chinese experience, social mentality, group psychology, and organizational psychology. Research suggests that while modern individualism has been on the rise, traditional collectivism has been declining. Compared with psychological approach, sociological approach tends to adopt more emic concepts and qualitative analyses, pays more attention to group psychology as well as the influences of politics and policy, and employs more macro-historical perspective. In future research, Chinese social psychologists from the two perspectives need to learn from and collaborate with each other, ultimately achieving a better understanding of the change of Chinese people and Chinese society.

Key words: social change, social transformation, modernization, cultural change

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