Academician Kuo-Shu Yang passed away in Taipei on July 17, 2018. He was 86 years old.
Dr. Yang has long been revered as a pioneer in the field of Chinese psychology, devoting his life to the study of indigenous psychology in Taiwan and making major contributions in the areas of Chinese personality and its transformations, social attitudes and behavior, as well as personality dynamics and cognitive style. Beginning in the 1970s, Dr. Yang sought to make psychology relevant to its Chinese context, a goal that formed the foundation of his research. Dr. Yang firmly believed that, in order for new theories and methods to emerge, it was pivotal to promote research in psychology that examined and accounted for the specific characteristics of the Chinese people. In the 1980s, Dr. Yang founded a research team in the field of indigenous psychology, while also establishing a scholarly publication entitled Indigenous Psychological Research in Chinese Societies (本土心理學研究). Scholars working in this field, including both in Taiwan and abroad, have adopted theories undergirding Chinese indigenous psychology constructed and propounded by Dr. Yang, as well as the measurement tools he developed through the years. His theories on the Chinese personality and its stages of development have become core paradigms in the field.
Apart from his efforts and achievements in academic research, Dr. Yang was also one of the founding members of the Taipei Society (澄社) formed in 1989 to promote the growth of a modern society centered on freedom, fairness, diversity, and the equitable distribution of wealth. At the same time, he also composed a document requesting the abolition of the Temporary Provisions Effective during the Period of National Mobilization for Suppression of the Communist Rebellion, as well as a return to constitutional rule. He was central in advocating for social reform, and took part in the 1990 Wild Lily Student Movement. In addition, he opposed having military personnel form the Cabinet, while striving to achieve oversight of the Legislative Yuan. During his lifetime, he made many significant and far-reaching contributions towards social reform in Taiwan.
Dr. Yang was the first person in Taiwan to obtain a Ph.D. in psychology. He joined Academia Sinica in 1971 as an Associate Research Fellow at the Institute of Ethnology, and in 1972 was promoted to the rank of Research Fellow. In 1996, he served as a Vice-President of Academia Sinica, and was elected as an Academician in 1998. Dr. Yang earned numerous academic awards and recognition throughout his career, including a lifetime National Chair Professorship bestowed by the Ministry of Education as well as serving as president of the Asian Association of Social Psychology (AASP).Dr. Yang authored and edited more than 20 books and published over 130 papers in Chinese and English in leading psychology journals throughout the world. His most widely recognized works include Zhongguoren de xingge 中國人的性格 (Chinese Characteristics), Zhongguoren de xinli yu xingwei 中國人的心理與行為 (Chinese Psychology and Behavior), and Huaren xinli de bentuhua yanjiu 華人心理的本土化研究 (Exploring Chinese Psychology through Indigenous Research). All of these texts have all become key reference works for researchers in the field of Chinese psychology.