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UC Berkeley psychologists bring science of happiness to China
Date:7/26/2010

jumped at the opportunity to teach at Tsinghua University because he said he thought "Beijing would be fascinating," and that his light teaching schedule would give him more time to write books. He also said he expected the students to be brilliant and talented, and was not disappointed.

"To get into Tsinghua as an undergraduate, you have to score extremely well on a nationwide test," Roberts said.

The idea for a positive psychology conference came to Peng and his colleagues this spring when a spate of knife attacks in kindergartens that left 15 young children dead turned the spotlight on mental health in China. The assailants were alleged to suffer from psychological problems or grudges related to workplace or relationship problems. Then in May, 10 workers at Foxconn, a computer component manufacturing plant in southern China, committed suicide, deepening concerns about the gap between China's haves and have-nots.

One obstacle to happiness in China, Peng said, is the intense culture of competition: "When you have that many people all fighting to achieve the same narrowly defined goals, it becomes a zero-sum game," he said.

"That's why we need to change the paradigm of what success means and come together for the greater good of Chinese society," Peng added. "That's why we need to talk about the science of happiness."


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Contact: Yasmin Anwar
yanwar@berkeley.edu
510-643-7944
University of California - Berkeley
Source:Eurekalert

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