Psychological Science 2017, 40(6) 1518-1523 DOI:     ISSN: 0412-1961 CN: 21-1139/TG

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personality research
Article by Huang,X.T

Thinking on Chinanization of Personality Research


The Chinanization of personality research refers to the study of the personality of Chinese persons considering the current reality of China. The concept strives to create a Chinanized form of personality psychology with Chinese characteristics to better serve China’s nurturing of talent and social development. This shift is essential since personality is the way of being a person. Person is not a pure concept of natural category, but is bounded by social culture and history. Contemporary Western personality psychology cannot be universally and homogeneously acknowledged. Although theories differ with a variety of definitions, at their core, they emphasize the uniqueness of the individual; however, in Chinese culture, individuals are evaluated from a perspective of commitment to social obligations, historical responsibilities, and moral values. Traditional Chinese culture emphasizes the “Oneness of man and nature” and that the individual should appropriately handle his or her responsibilities towards other people, social groups, society, and nature rather than individual uniqueness. Researches have shown that Chinese individuals are different from individuals in Western countries in terms of their fundamental personality structure, personality dynamics, and self-structure. To develop the field of personality psychology with Chinese characteristics, it is not appropriate to merely translate and simulate current theories. Instead, throughout the education process, we should guide students to explore approaches towards the Chinanization of personality research to achieve research findings that are distinct and specific to China. To that end, the following approaches are suggested: 1. Clarify concepts, and carefully retest personality research conducted overseas. Concepts represent the abstract elements of various phenomena in a particular field of research. The concepts that psychologists study may present different implications; even if the concept implies the same meaning, the behavior of people under different social cultures may also vary. For these reasons, we should not simply imitate personality researches conducted by Western psychologists but retest them and accept appropriate aspects to develop personality psychology theories, concepts, and tools suitable for Chinese. During the education process, we should encourage and support students to think independently and conduct research in a creative manner. 2. Immerse oneself into the reality of China, and strive to conduct personality research geared towards Chinese individuals. To study the personality and behavior of Chinese, it is necessary to immerse oneself into their everyday lives. We should proactively guide students to observe people’s daily lives and events to extract concepts related to personality psychology. Students should also be guided to focus on traditional Chinese culture and fine personality traits advocated in contemporary society. Students should treat such matters as research topics, paying close attention to the everyday lives of people, and conduct personality research specifically designed for Chinese individuals. 3. Combine qualitative and quantitative research approach to study Chinese personality. The basic procedure is suggested as follows: a) find examples of certain concepts (e.g., self-independence, self-confidence, self-reliance, courage, frugality) from a real-life context or Chinese ancient literature, and explore its fundamental connotations; b) conduct in-depth interviews and content analysis, then cross-reference such data with the dimensions found in literature analysis to identify the indicators that represent a certain personality concept; c) prepare a preliminary questionnaire; d) conduct a large-scaled test, perform exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis to develop a questionnaire with fine reliability and validity; e) conduct follow-up experiments or surveys; and f) suggest recommendations for application. 4. Try to construct a “perfect personality model”. Perfect personality refers to the constant enrichment of oneself and exploring one’s potential according to one’s own set of life goals as well as maintaining happiness and developing one’s chosen life path. The perfect personality model is also known as the “Happy Pursuing Model.” Individuals with perfect personality must possess the right values and a proactive view of one’s self (including self-love, self-independence, self-confidence, self-reflection, and self-improvement) and must pursue ideals

Keywords personality research  
Received 2017-12-21 Revised 2017-09-05 Online: 2017-11-20 
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