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Conceptual & Historical Issues in Psychology

A Timeline of Racism and Psychology



Confucius (551 - 479 B.C.) was a Chinese philosopher whose teachings have influenced areas of psychology. He evaluated the personalities of his students, stating, “student Ci is understanding, Qiu is artistic, Chai is clumsy, Shen is dull-witted, Shi is extreme, and You is reckless." Confucius noted that individual differences amongst his students required different approaches to teaching, advocating for a personalised teaching style, "as student Qui is timid, we should give him a lot of encouragement; whilse student You is aggressive, discouragement is then needed."

Confucius also categorised people based on their perceived intelligence, long before intelligence testing was developed. He categorised people into "great wisdom", "average intelligence" and "little intelligence".

Lui (2021). Introduction to Confucian psychologyLink opens in a new window