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Bringing the science of happiness to China

 

Narrator:    This is Science Today. For the first time, a Chinese university is co-hosting a conference on positive psychology, or what many call "the science of happiness." Psychologist Kaiping Peng of the University of California, Berkeley, is founder and director of the Berkeley-Tsinghua Program for Advanced Study in Psychology.

Peng:        We wanted to have this American version of psychology in Tsinghua and that is that it's scientific, it's empirical, it's experimental, it's interested in mechanisms, publication of scientific journals, but we also want to have psychology that is meaningful to the Chinese people, we want to help people mentally.

Narrator:    Peng explains that China's increased prosperity in a free market is outpacing the population's mental health and well-being due to significant cultural, social and economic change.

Peng:        Traditional Chinese values emphasize harmonies, emphasize association with other people, emphasize collectivisms and this new economic systems make people struggle to find new values.

Narrator:    For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.