The Chinese Model of Early Education from the Perspective of Cross-Cultural Psychological Research

  • Joanna Afek The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Faculty of Humanities
  • Arkadiusz Gut
Keywords: children; parenting; home education; Confucianism; China; cross-culture study


The development of social cognition and its link to educational methods that differ across cultures has been the object of heated discussion for many years. In the proposed paper, we first survey research demonstrating significant differences in the development of social cognition between children from the West and the East (China, Japan). We focus on the mindreading ability and the competences that require the complete set of mentalistic concepts (e.g. intention, belief, trust). Next, we present the basic ideas found in Chinese early education which are held up as possible factors determining the developmental differences found in comparative research with Chinese and Western children. We demonstrate that the educational methods in China have been always influenced by Confucianism. We analyze its following aspects: the idea of transformation, authoritative education, child-parent relation in the context of parents’ higher involvement in childcare, and different parenting practices depending on the child’s gender.


Attane, Isabelle. 2012. Tam gdzie dzieci są luksusem. Chiny wobec katastrofy demograficznej. Tłum. Andrzej Bilik. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Studio Emka.

Bornstein, Marc H. 2012. „Cultural Approaches to Parenting”. Parenting: Science and Practice, 12: 212–221. DOI: 10.1080/15295192.2012.683359.

Bornstein, Marc H., i Jennifer E. Lansford. 2010. „Parenting”. W: Marc H. Bornstein, ed. The handbook of cross-cultural developmental science, 259–277. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.

Callaghan, Tara, Philippe Rochat, Angeline Lillard, Mary Louise Claux, Hal Odden, Shoji Itakura, Sombat Tapanya i Saraswati Singh. 2005. „Synchrony in the Onset of Mental-State Reasoning: Evidence From Five Cultures”. Psychological Science, 16 (5) : 378–384. DOI:10.1111 /j.0956-7976.2005.01544.x.

Carpendale, Jeremy I.M., i Charlie Lewis, C. 2006. How children develop social understanding. Understanding children’s worlds. Malden, Mass., Oxford: Blackwell.

Chao, Ruth K. 1994. „Beyond Parental Control and Authoritarian Parenting Style: Understanding Chinese Parenting thought Cultural Notion of Training”. Child Development, 65: 1111-1119.

Chen, Xinyin, Qi Dong i Hong Zhou. 1997. „Authoritative and Authoritarian Parenting Practicesand Social and School Performance in Chinese Children”. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 21 (4): 855–873. DOI: 10.1080/016502597384703.

Dore, Rebecca A., i Angeline S. Lillard. 2014. „Do Children Prefer Mentalistic Descriptions?”. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 175 (1): 1–15. DOI: 10.1080/00221325. 2013.805712.

Eberhard, Wolfram. 1996. Symbole chińskie. Słownik. Tłum. Renata Darda. Kraków: Universitas,.

Encyklopedia mądrości Wschodu. Buddyzm. Hinduizm. Taoizm. Zen. 1997. Red. Ingrid Fischer-Schreiber. Red. wyd. pol. Ewa Trzeciak i Przemysław Trzeciak. Tłum. Mieczysław Jerzy Künstler. Warszawa: Warszawski Dom Wydawniczy.

Feng, Youlan. 2001. Krótka historia filozofii chińskiej. Tłum. Michał Zagrodzki. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN.

Furrow, David, Chris Moore, Jane Davidge i Lorraine Chiasson. 1992. „Mental terms in mothers’ and children’s speech: Similarities and relationships”. Journal of Child Language, 19 (03): 617–631. DOI: 10.1017/S0305000900011594

Gopnik, Alison. 2010. Dziecko filozofem. Co dziecięce umysły mówią nam o prawdzie, miłości oraz sensie życia. Tłum. Magdalena Trzcińska. Warszawa: Prószyński i Spółka.

Granet, Marcel. 1997. Religie Chin. Tłum. Joanna Rozkrut. Kraków: Wydawnictwo Znak.

Gut, Arkadiusz, i Michał Wilczewski. 2015. „Is mindreading universal or cultural specific construct?”. W: Gabriella Airenti, Bruno G. Bara, Giulio Sandini i Marco Cruciani, eds. Proceedings of the EuroAsianPacific Joint Conference on Cognitive Science. Volume 1419 of CEUR Workshop Proceedings,, 499–505.

Gut, Arkadiusz, i Michał Wilczewski 2016. „The role of language in the emergence of mature belief reasoning”. In Martin Hinton, ed. Linguistics and Philosophy of Language, 209–238. Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien: Peter Lang — International Academic Publisher.

Harris, Paul. 2005. „Conversation, pretense and theory of mind”. In Janet Wilde Astington i Jodie A. Baird, eds. Why language matters for theory of mind, 70–83. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hsiung, Pingchen. 2005. A Tender Voyage. Children and Childhood In Late Imperial China. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.

Kinney, Anne Behnke 1995. „Dyed Silk: Han Notions of the Moral Development of Children”. W: Anne Behnke Kinney, ed. Chinese View of Childhood, 17–56. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

Lau, Eva Yi Hung, Hui Li i Nirmala Rao. 2012. „Exploring parental involvement in early years education in China: development and validation of the Chinese Early Parental Involvement Scale (CEPIS)”. International Journal of Early Years Education, 20, No. 4: 405–421.

Lillard, Angeline. 1998. „Ethnopsychologies: Cultural variations in theories of mind”. Psychological bulletin, 123: 3–32. DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.123.1.3.

Liu, Airan, i Yu Xie. 2015. Influences of monetary and non-monetary family resources on children’s development in verbal ability in China”. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 40: 59–70. DOI:

Liu, David, i Henry M. Wellman, Twila Tardif i Marc A. Sabbagh. 2008. „Theory of mind development in Chinese children: A meta-analysis of false-belief understanding across cultures and languages”. Developmental Psychology, 44: 523–531. DOI: 10.1037/0012-1649. 44.2.523.

Lorber, Michael F., i Susan G. O’Leary. (2005). „Mediated paths to overreactive discipline: Mothers experienced emotion, appraisals, and physiological responses”. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73: 972–981. DOI: 10.1037/0022-006X.73.5.972.

Maccoby, Eleanor E. 1992. „The role of parents in the socialization of children: a historical overview”. Developmental Psychology 28: 1006–1017. DOI: 6.1006

McElroy, Erika M., i Christina M. Rodriguez. 2008. „Mothers of children with externalizing behavior problems: Cognitive risk factors for abuse potential and discipline style and practices”. Child Abuse & Neglect, 32: 774–784. DOI: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2008.01.002.

Meins, Elizabeth, i Charles Fernyhough. 2010. Mind-mindedness coding manual: Version 2.0.

Miller, Lucien. 1995. „Children of the Dream: The Adolescent World in Cao Xueqin’s Honglou meng”. W: Anne Behnke Kinney, ed. Chinese View of Childhood, 219–247. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu.

Morelli, Gilda A., i Fred Rothbaum. 2007. „Situating the child in context: Attachment relationships and selfregulation in different cultures”. W: Shinobu Kitayama i Dov Cohen, eds. Handbook of cultural psychology, 500–527. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Naito, Mika. 2003. „The Relationship between Theory of Mind and Episodic Memory: Evidence for the Development of Autonetic Consciousness”. Journal of Experimental Psychology 85: 312–336.

Naito, Mika. 2004. „Is Theoryof Mind a Universal or Unitary Constructed?”. International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development. Newsletter 45: 9–11.

Naito, Mika. 2014. „From Theory of Mind to theory for Relation: Sociocultural Perspectives on Japanese Children’s Social Understanding”. W: Contemporary Perspectives on Research in Theory of Mind in Early Childhood Education. Red. Olivia N. Saracho, 381–408. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing,

Nakamura, Hajime. 2005. Systemy myślenia ludów Wschodu. Indie. Chiny. Tybet. Japonia. Tłum. Maciej Kanert i Wisława Szkudlarczyk-Brkić. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego.

Nisbett, Richard E., Keyin Peng, Inceheol Choi i Ara Norenzayan. 2001. „Culture and systems of thought: Holistic versus analytic cognition. Psychological Review, 108: 291–310. DOI: 10.1037//0033-295X.108.2.291.

Ostafińska-Molik, Barbara, i Ewa Wysocka. 2014. „Style wychowania w rodzinie”. Przegląd Pedagogiczny, nr 2: 213–234. -234

Pease, Catherine E. 1995. „Remembering the Taste of Melons: Modern Chinese Stories of Childhood”. W: Anne Behnke Kinney, ed. Chinese View of Childhood, 279–320. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

Rodziński, Witold. 1974. Historia Chin. Wrocław: Zakład Narodowy Imienia Ossolińskich — Wydawnictwo.

Rosnay, Marc, i Claire Hughes. 2006. „Conversation and theory of mind: Do children talk their way to socio-cognitive understanding?” British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 24 (1): 7–37. DOI: 10.1348/026151005X82901.

Ruffman, Ted, Josef Perner i Lindsay Parkin. 1999. „How Parenting Style Affects False Belief Understanding”. Social Development, 8 (3): 395–411. DOI: 10.1111/1467-9507.00103.

Shahaeian, Ameneh, Candida C. Peterson, Virginia Slaughter i Henry M. Wellman. 2011. „Culture and the sequence of steps in theory of mind development”. Developmental Psychology, 47 (5): 1239–1247. DOI:10.1037/a0023899.

Tafreshi, Donna, i Timothy P. Racine. (2016). „Children’s interpretive theory of mind: The role of mothers’ personal epistemologies and mother-child talk about interpretation”. Cognitive Development, 39: 57–70. DOI: 10.1016/j.cogdev.2016.04. 003.

Wasiliew, Leonid. 1974. Kulty, religie i tradycje Chin. Tłum. Aleksander Bogdański. Warszawa: Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy.

Way, Niobe, Sumie Okazaki, Jing Zhao, Joanna Kim, Xinyin Chen, Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Yueming Jia i Huihua Deng. 2013. „Social and Emotional Parenting: Mothering in a Changing Chinese Society”. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 4, No. 1: 61–70. DOI: 10.1037/ a0031204.

Wellman, Henry M., Fuxi Fang, David Liu, Liqi Zhu i Guoxiong Liu. 2006. „Scaling of Theory-of-Mind Understandings in Chinese Children”. Psychological Science, 17 (12): 1075–1081. DOI:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01830.x.

Wellman, Henry M., Fuxi Fang i Candida C. Peterson. 2011. „Sequential Progressions in a Theory-of-Mind Scale: Longitudinal Perspectives”. Child Development, 82 (3): 780–792. DOI: 10. 1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01583.x.

Wellman, Henry M., i David Liu. (2004). „Scaling of theory-of-mind tasks”. Child Development, 75 (2): 523–541. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2004.00691.x.

Wellman, Henry M., i Candida C. Peterson. 2013. „Theory of mind, development, and deafness”. W: Simon Baron-Cohen, Helen Tager-Flusberg i Michael Lombardo, eds. Understanding other minds. Perspectives from developmental social neuroscience, 3rd ed., 51–71. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wu, Pei-yi. 1995. „Childhood Remembered: Parents and Children in China, 800 to 1700”. W: Anne Behnke Kinney, ed. Chinese View of Childhood, 129–156. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

Wu, Peixia, Clyde C. Robinson, Chongming Yang, Craig H. Hart, Susanne F. Olsen, Christin L. Porter, Shenghua Jin, Jianzhong Wo i Xinzi Wu. 2002. „Similarities and differences in mothers’ parenting of preschoolers in China and the United States”. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 26 (6): 481–491. DOI:

Xiao, Zhang. 2012. „The Effects of Parental Education and Family Income on Mother — Child Relationships, Father — Child Relationships, and Family Environments in the People’s Republic of China”. Family Process, 51, No. 4, s. 483-497. DOI: 10.1111/j.1545-5300.2011.01380.x.

Yee, Terence. 2016. „Filial Therapy: Cultural Considerations for Chinese Parents”. International Journal of Play Therapy, 25, No. 3: 123–132. DOI: 10.1037/pla0000024.

Zawadzki, Jarek. 2015. Dawna literatura chińska. Antologia i omówienie. T. I: (od poczatków do X w. n.e.). Seattle: Createspace.