Chi-yue (C.Y.) Chiu (赵志裕)
Toward an integrated positive social science
In my address, I will share my personal experiences in developing an integrated positive social science at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). According to Martin Seligman, the goal of positive social science is to “become a positive force for understanding and promoting the highest qualities of civic and personal life.” At CUHK, we practice positive social science through our attempts to meet five grand challenges in Asia. Specifically, we construct Asian models of successful aging in response to demographic changes; (2) build humanized and sustainable future communities in response to rapid urbanization and climate changes; (3) promote sustainable innovations to address the threat of middle income trap in some rapidly transforming economies; (4) make evidence-based recommendations to address the issue of social cohesion in the face of global rise of localism; and (5) understand and promote eudaimonic and social well-being to counter the rise of alienation and depersonalization in post-industrial societies. The positive social science agenda blurs the arbitrary boundaries between education, research and services; and supports a model of co-learning, co-creation and co-development. In my presentation, I will also reflect on the psychological, cultural and institutional obstacles of advancing a positive social science, and discuss possible ways to go forward.
Applying Psychology to understand world events: Take “Why would global warming intensify intergroup conflicts and terrorism?” as an example.
A major theme of the current conference is to find ways to “Make a Difference with Social Science.” To answer this call, the present talk will use psychological research on intergroup relations to speculate the links between global warming and terrorism. Global warming poses a threat worldwide as it has brought extreme weather. Indeed, the natural disasters that were caused by climate changes have doubled in the past three decades and are still increasing. To cope with such impeding threat, it is ever more important for people to work cooperatively. However, threat can both enhance and impede cooperation. Our experiments revealed that, on the one hand, people show more ingroup favoritism and cohesion toward their ingroup members under a high threat than low threat situation. On the other hand, threat could intensify pre-existing intergroup animosity. Moreover, people feeling uncertain under threat would be more likely to endorse extreme ideologies, and reduce tolerance of mixing one’s own culture with another culture. These processes could contribute to terrorism. Implications of these findings for curbing intergroup conflicts and terrorism will be discussed.
The Social Psychology of Migration: Worldviews, Meaning, and Cultural Learning
Human movement across cultural boundaries continues to rise. In 2015, nearly quarter of a billion people lived outside of their homeland as international immigrants; 200 million people in China and 400 million in India lived in a region outside of their place of origin as internal migrants; 60 million fled their homeland as refugees and asylum seekers; and one million youths crossed the boundaries of culture to gain education as international students. These figures are overwhelming, and to think of potential impacts of these movements, perplexing. Still, how can our discipline contribute to a better understanding of human mobility—the processes experienced by individuals, families, and communities? In my response I wish to highlight the critical importance of cultural learning, for three reasons. For newcomers to adapt psychologically in the new environment, the competence in the new culture and the sense of self-efficacy are essential. For newcomers and old-timers in the host community to avoid a feeling of threat and build relationships a recognition of shared common ground is crucial. For cross-cultural contacts to leave long-term benefits for the groups, knowledge from both cultures must be available for cultural mixing and increased creativity. Relevant new data will be presented.
William D. Crano
Social Psychology’s Potential Contributions to Happiness, Contentment, and Societal Advance, with Special Reference to the Prevention of Illicit Drug Use
Empirical research in social psychology has been woefully underutilized in applications to vexing problems of contemporary society. The field has much to offer to the betterment of society, but often has failed to do so. This presentation appeals to all of us to take our research seriously and thereby realize its potential to contribute to social wellbeing. In this presentation, I shall focus primarily on the potential contributions of our field to a major threat to harmony, happiness, and social progress, namely the devastating effects of the misuse of psychoactive substances, especially by young people largely unaware or uninformed of their dangers. The role of parents, as decisive determinants of their children’s life outcomes, is a central feature of my work – and of this presentation. When considering successful efforts to prevent psychoactive substance use, parent-based prevention efforts have proven extremely effective; however, although research supports the importance of parental actions in prevention, many parents profess confusion as to the best ways of doing so, especially given the proliferation and constant change of available drugs to which their children are exposed on a daily basis. Positive parent-child relationships are critical, as is effective parental monitoring, but parental monitoring or surveillance alone is not sufficient to prevent adolescent substance use. Indeed, some research suggests that over-surveillance, and even subtly transmitted suspicions of use can cause of severe and negative reactions, leading adolescents to dangerous substance misuse. A solution to misguided, if well-intentioned parenting behavior requires parents learn communication strategies that clearly convey warmth and understanding, even when disciplining their offspring. Parents should guide adolescent children without threatening their developing autonomy. Parent-targeted interventions should center on their communicating clear household rules, guidelines, and expectations, while maintaining a family atmosphere fostering warmth, understanding, and ultimately self-disclosure, the active ingredient in what heretofore was termed parental monitoring. This focus on parents has implications as well for successful mass media interventions on adolescent substance use. Parents can function as opinion leaders for their children, transmitting knowledge in a way that attenuates resistance. Evidence-based campaigns designed to inform and encourage parents in this endeavor offer great promise and should be championed aggressively.
Linda Waimarie Nikora
Indigenous Psychologies in Aotearoa/New Zealand - A Momentary Pause
Linda Waimarie Nikora is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. Her training is in social, community and ethnopsychology. Her Maori tribal affiliations are to Te Aitanga a Hauiti and Ngai Tuhoe. As one of the first Maori appointed to a School of Psychology in this country, she was charged with developing Maori perspectives and analyses of psychology, developing curriculum resources and supporting colleagues in their teaching and research. She, with colleagues, has been engaged in this work for over twenty five years. In this presentation, she pauses to reflect on progress and to consider the questions - If we were to start again a) What would an indigenous Maori psychology look like? b) What would be its foundational domains of activity? c) What contribution would such a psychology make to cultural continuity? d) What difference would it make in the lives of those it is intended for? How might what we do here make a contribution to the development of indigenous psychologies elsewhere? She argues for a creative, positive and strengths based approach to evolving an indigenous Maori Psychology.
The Precariat under Rentier Capitalism: The Psychological Dimensions
As a new global class structure takes shape, a precariat class has emerged in all parts of the world, including China and all parts of Asia. This presentation will concentrate on the psychological aspects of being in the precariat, stemming from the existential insecurities, the sense of alienation and status frustration. It will give special attention to the impending transformation of labour transactions through crowd labour. It will also highlight the peculiar economic system – rentier capitalism – that is intensifying the forms of exploitation impinging on the precariat.
It will conclude by considering the policy agenda that has been taking shape in response to the precariat dilemmas, and in particular in response to the rise of neo-fascist populism aimed at the atavistic part of the precariat.
A Cultural Psychological Analysis of Cultural Change
Life experience appears to be transforming in contemporary societies, with changes taking place in Asia being particularly substantial. There is strong public interest to understand how these changes are affecting individuals psyches. Scientific understanding of this issue, however, has not kept the pace. Accumulated research findings from Western societies, the United States in particular, provide a model for understanding patterns of cultural change in Asia though the model’s applicability in this region requires a critical examination. This presentation provides an overview of the available evidence. The aim of this presentation is to stimulate interests in this research area within the community of Asian social psychologists as our Asia-based insights have much to contribute to the fundamental research question at stake, nature of the interplay between changing social ecology, cultural environment, and participating psyches.