Why China?

One of the greatest cultural changes to the world landscape is the transformation of China during the past three decades. As China emerges into a preeminent position in the world of industry, commerce, finance, and political power, “change” is the common currency experienced everyday by the Chinese people. China is quickly developing and on its way to become a global power. With the rise of China’s influence in the world, there is an increasing need for psychological understanding of the Chinese culture and Chinese people. No other country in the world is witnessing as many dramatic transitions in life styles, habits, and even values as is now happening in China. There is massive migration of people from rural to urban centers, changes in traditional family structure, changes in work schedules, changes in the nature of education, as well as dramatic changes in cultural values. The young Chinese are living lives that their elders could not have envisioned a few decades ago. Indeed, China is Change (Zimbardo, 2008).

Why Psychology?

With these rapid changes, come changes in human psychology and interactions between Chinese and the outside. There are new pressures to change behavior, values, and attitudes in particular directions, for the good of society, the family, the office, the team, and so forth. How are those changes taking place in China? How are ordinary Chinese citizens coping with these historical changes? What are the psychological costs the Chinese have to pay for experiencing such dramatic cultural transformation? Is China psychologically ready to be a responsible and contributing member of the world? How would they deal with anticipated cultural conflicts of increasing international trades and exchanges? To the people in the West, how much do we really know China or the psychology of Chinese people? Are we prepared to deal with the rising influence of China? The knowledge of China and the psychology of Chinese people would not only affect the ways in which we deal with China, but also the future development of Chinese societies.

Why Berkeley?

The University of California, Berkeley has been recognized as the best public research University in the United States. Founded in 1868, Berkeley is oldest and flagship of the University of California system. The faculty and alumni include sixty-five Nobel laureates. The Academic Ranking of World Universities placed Berkeley as 3rd internationally, while Newsweek and Webometrics placed Berkeley 5th in the world, and Washington Monthly ranked Berkeley 1st in its 2009 National University College rankings. 35 of 36 of the University's graduate programs ranked in the 10 in their respective fields earning Berkeley the National University College ranking's top score in academic reputation. Recently, the 2010 US News and World Report ranked Berkeley's psychology program as No. 1 nationally.
    The Lab Director for the Culture and Cognition Lab and founding director of the Berkeley-Tsinghua Program is Professor Kaiping Peng, a faculty member at the Psychology Department at UC, Berkeley. Professor Peng received his Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1997. Before coming to the US in 1989, he had been a faculty member at the Psychology Department of Peking University of China for five years. He has published six books and more than 100 articles on culture and cognition, and the psychology of Chinese people. Dr. Peng was named the most cited social psychologist at the level of associate professor in social psychology in 2007.

Why Tsinghua?

Established in 1911, Tsinghua University has become considered the best university in China. Originally a preparatory school for students  selected by the Chinese government to study in the United States, in 1928 it was changed to the National Tsinghua University with regular Undergraduate and Graduate programs. In 1926, the Department of Educational Psychology was first established, and then was changed to the Department of Psychology two years later. Many famous scholars worked and taught psychology at Tsinghua University. In 1952, the psychology department was relocated to Peking University, making it absent from the Tsinghua campus for more than half a century. In may 2008, with support from the University of California, Berkeley, the Department of Psychology was reestablished in Tsinghua. Berkeley Professor Kaiping Peng was appointed the founding chair of the new psychology department. In 2009, the department welcomed its first undergraduate and graduate students.