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Scholars Discuss Psychology & Harmonious Society

Jul 22, 2007     Email"> PrintText Size

More than 40 scholars recently convened in picturesque Xiangshan Hotel in suburban Beijing to discuss issues concerning mental health and harmonious society.

As the 301st session of the Xiangshan Science Conferences, the seminar was jointly chaired by CHEN Lin from the CAS Institute of Biophysics, WEI Yu from the Ministry of Education, ZHANG Kan from the CAS Institute of Psychology and LE Guoan from Nankai University. Its participants were from such fields as cognitive psychology, health psychology, social psychology, educational psychology, neuroscience and genetics.

They addressed three key topics: mental and psychological health; psychological problems concerning the early social warning and social crisis management; and social cognition and its brain mechanism.

Psychological disorders: a key problem of social concern

In his central report Psychology and Social Development, Prof. Zhang Kan stressed that psychology is seeing a rare chance for rapid growth in China. Both the soaring momentum in national economy and social changes pose a great number of demands and provide a driving force for its disciplinary development while the penetration of information-related technology and neurology furnishes new means for probing human minds and behavioral responses.

Efforts should be made, according to Zhang, to integrate the strong points of psychology, behavior science, brain science, genetics and information science, so as to initiate several key fundamental and applied research projects in this regard. Priority should be placed on some psychological problems and issues of critical importance in the construction of a harmonious society.

According to statistics, about 16 million Chinese people are suffering from various mental diseases. In addition, about 30 million youngsters under the age of 17 are plagued by emotional and behavioral disorders.

Psychological diseases constitute a serious threat to people's mental health and ranks first in this country in terms of overall burden of diseases, accounting for about one fifth of the total. They have become a social problem of grave consequences in the public health throughout the country, and are particularly eye-catching during the outbreak of a large-scale public emergency health event.

At the meeting, the experts made discussions on the pathology, diagnostics, prevention and therapies of schizophrenia and depression, two of the most serious psychoses diseases in society.

According to experts, the establishment of an effective service system can provide a basic guarantee for the public mental health, which will be a center piece in the infrastructure of a harmonious society. Such a system is not only conducive to the rise of the public health level, including mental health, upgrading working productivity, improving living quality, but also capable of ensuring the society's stability and unity, promoting its harmony and amelioration of populace's quality. It should be a major component in a sound society's system of public management.

It is of critical significance to properly address the relationship between economic development and social harmony. The psychological studies of problems concerning the early warning of, and rapid response to, a social crisis are not only conducive to the social stability and development, but are also beneficial to the development of the academic field. Experts suggest that physiological and mental health should be made a norm for evaluating a society's stability and harmony.

By resorting to various experimental means, psychologists explore the mental basis and brain mechanism of social cognition. Studies have indicated that the brain has its own unique system for processing social information such as people's sentiments, intentions or beliefs. This is of critical significance in understanding the mental and brain's mechanism of social cognition and of great applied value in guiding a child's education and an adult's behavior in social life.

Participants reached a consensus on the following suggestions.

1. As the research objects of psychology are complicated, the studies in the field need the inputs from various disciplines. Special attention has to be attached to the research methods compatible with the actualities of China's population and culture, building up a theoretical framework and measurement tools fitting the actual conditions of the Chinese nation, in particular, the operational norms and standards for examining the mental health conditions of the Chinese.

2. Fundamental research should be made on prevention and treatment of mental diseases, with an objective of making clear the pathological origin, nosogenetic mechanism, prevention and therapies for some major mental diseases.

3. It is urgent to establishing mental-heal evaluation techniques, methods and standards especially fitting Chinese people.

4. Basic research should be made into the development of child's emotion competence, as it is the best omen and precondition for the future development of an individual's successful career and personal happiness.

5. Psychological studies of the Alzheimer's disease should be sped up as it is a stumbling block on the sound development of Chinese society.

6. A national network has to be built up for the psychological education and intervention of the general public, focusing mental problem prevention, psychological crisis intervention and mental aberrants correction. For the time being, it is imperative to regulate the professional practice of psychological counselors, draft the occupational practice's standards and make qualification certification more scientific.

7. Efforts should be made to introduce a public monitoring system for psychological conditions, mental characteristics of individuals and organizational behaviors of psychological stress.

8. A full play should be given to psychological studies in work and production security, especially in traffic safety and large-scale activities.

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