Understanding of Psychological Literacy: Comparative Insights From Undergraduates in China and the United Kingdom


Psychological literacy has attracted considerable attention globally. However, no study has focused on this concept in China, where interest in psychology is growing.

The present study aimed to investigate perceptions of psychological literacy in a sample of undergraduate psychology majors from Chinese public universities, and compare findings with previously reported data from the United Kingdom.

Participants completed a survey in which they rated eight core attributes of psychological literacy across the dimensions of awareness, development, confidence in explaining, and importance in their future career.

Students gave the highest ratings to the importance of psychological core attributes in their future careers and understanding the application of theory, but the lowest to the development of attributes and understanding the role of theory in research. Comparisons with the United Kingdom sample revealed culturally specific differences of potential interest.

Findings from this work can inform the refinement of undergraduate psychology programs in China, and help calibrate standards in support of international mobility of Chinese students for postgraduate study outside of the home country.

Teaching implications:
Psychology educators in China should consider providing more opportunities for students to gain awareness of their own development and engage in research firsthand.

Teaching of Psychology
Adam John Privitera
Adam John Privitera
Research Fellow

Dr. Adam John Privitera is a cognitive scientist and currently a Research Fellow in the Centre for Research and Development in Learning (CRADLE).