ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2023, Vol. 55 ›› Issue (3): 421-434.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.00421

• "中国人应对历史危机的心理特征与行为表现"专栏 • 上一篇    下一篇


纪丽君1(), 吴莹2(), 杨宜音3   

  1. 1加拿大女王大学心理学系, 金斯顿 K7L3N6
    2中央民族大学民族学与社会学学院, 北京 100081
    3中国社会科学院社会学研究所, 北京 100732
  • 收稿日期:2021-03-31 发布日期:2022-12-22 出版日期:2023-03-25
  • 通讯作者: 纪丽君,吴莹;
  • 基金资助:

The breath of temporal information focus among Chinese people

JI Li-Jun1(), WU Ying2(), YANG Yiyin3   

  1. 1Department of Psychology, Queen’s University. Kingston K7L3N6, Canada
    2School of Ethnology and Sociology, Minzu University of China, Beijing 100081, China
    3Institute of Sociology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing 100732, China
  • Received:2021-03-31 Online:2022-12-22 Published:2023-03-25
  • Contact: JI Li-Jun, WU Ying;


时间知觉是社会结构和文化传统的映射, 具有深刻的社会文化意涵。本文聚焦时间知觉广度这一概念, 探讨中国人的时间知觉广度及其对自我连续性和社会变化观等心理过程的影响。通过综合讨论诸多实验发现提出, 中国人具有较大的时间知觉广度, 包括具有显著的过去取向和未来取向。较大的时间知觉广度提升了中国人跨时间的自我连续性, 并且影响着中国人看待世事变化的变化观, 这些特点又进一步影响到其它心理过程, 例如对苦难和幸福的解读, 在股票市场中的决策等。在一定程度上, 这些特点可能是中国人在应对不确定性和重大危机时表现出更强的心理韧性和复原力的心理基础。本研究还指出中国人时间知觉广度具有独特的文化意义, 包括整体性思维、过去现在未来互嵌互动和双向延展、与自我连续性和社会结构相关联以及具有道德属性等。基于此, 本研究提出了时间知觉广度的文化心理比较模型, 并分析了时间知觉广度对自我同一性和文化同一性的影响结果。希望本文能为进一步研究“中国人应对历史危机的心理特征与行为表现”提供科学依据。

关键词: 知觉广度, 时间知觉, 自我连续性, 变化观


This paper reviews past research on temporal information focus and lay theories of change among Chinese people and discusses their theoretical and practical implications. Temporal information focus refers to the breadth of focus people direct to temporal information, pertaining to the past, present and future. People with a broader temporal information focus attend to a more extensive range of information along the temporal dimension. Past research has shown that, compared to North Americans, Chinese people attend more to the past, as well as the future, demonstrating a broader temporal information focus. Relative to North Americans, they judge the past as more relevant to the present, perceive the past and future to be closer to the present, and hold information pertaining to the distant past and future in a more accessible state within their minds.

Such broader temporal focus among Chinese people has important impacts on other psychological processes. For example, it contributes to Chinese individual’s greater sense of self-continuity over time. Self-continuity refers to the sense of perceiving oneself as a unity that transcends the present and extends to the past and future. With various approaches, research has demonstrated that Chinese participants have a greater sense of self-continuity across time, from the past to the present, and then to the future. In addition, Chinese participants also show a greater sense of self-continuity across generations, in that they tend to think they are the extension of their grandparents and parents, which will continue into their children and grandchildren. Broader temporal focus among Chinese people may also contribute to their lay theories (or beliefs) of change - that is, their beliefs about how events develop over time. Attending to a broader range of temporal information may make it easy to identify changes over time. Relative to North Americans, Chinese people hold a more cyclical belief about change, as they expect events to change in a continuous manner, and such change can take place from one extreme to the other and vice versa (e.g., from good to bad, and then from bad to good). Such lay theories of change start to emerge in school-age children and increase with age. Such beliefs apply to predictions of other people’s behaviors, as well as predictions of one’s own experience (such as happiness throughout life). These predictions have impacts in real life (e.g., stock market predictions and decisions). They may also influence how people perceive and respond to adversity in real life. For example, Chinese participants tend to conceptualize suffering in both negative and positive terms. Thus, compared to North Americans, Chinese participants are more likely to see the positive aspects within negative experiences, and will consequently respond more positively to adverse life situations such as a pandemic. This paper considers potential factors contributing to the broader temporal information focus among Chinese people, proposes a cultural psychological model for temporal focus, and discusses fruitful directions for future research.

Key words: breadth of temporal information focus, temporal perception, self continuity, lay theories of change.