© 2018

Culture, Cognition, and Emotion in China's Religious Ethnic Minorities

Voices of Suffering among the Yi

  • Challenges the classical understanding of cognition and emotion in western psychology

  • Models a sophisticated use of mixed methods, resulting in a synergy of both descriptive and explanatory approaches to data analysis

  • Displays collaborative research utilizing the disciplines of religion, anthropology, sociology, and psychology


Part of the Palgrave Studies in Indigenous Psychology book series (PASIP)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxvi
  2. Rachel Sing-Kiat Ting, Louise Sundararajan
    Pages 41-81
  3. Rachel Sing-Kiat Ting, Louise Sundararajan
    Pages 83-124
  4. Rachel Sing-Kiat Ting, Louise Sundararajan
    Pages 125-170
  5. Rachel Sing-Kiat Ting, Louise Sundararajan
    Pages 171-201
  6. Rachel Sing-Kiat Ting, Louise Sundararajan
    Pages 203-243
  7. Rachel Sing-Kiat Ting, Louise Sundararajan
    Pages 245-275
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 277-288

About this book


This study examines the suffering narratives of two religious communities—Bimo and Christian—of the Yi minority who reside in the remote mountains of Sichuan and Yunnan, China, respectively. It is informed by the theoretical framework of ecological rationality, which posits that emotions influence, and are influenced, by cognitive styles that have co-evolved with the ecological niche of a culture. It was predicted and found that in times of adversity, traditional religious communities may differ in emotion expression, causal attribution, and help seeking behavior, with far-reaching ramifications in how they are uniquely vulnerable to the pitfalls of modernization. The authors hope that the voices of the study participants, heard through their harrowing narratives, may inspire a deepened sensitivity to the plight of rural Chinese communities as China races to become superpower in the global economy. 


Indigenous Psychology Global Psychology Asian Psychology Ethnic Studies Cognition Emotion Asian Culture Chinese Ethnic Groups Yi Psychology of Religion Psychology of Spirituality Suffering Marginalized Groups Social Psychology

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.School of SociologyChina University of Political Science and LawBeijingChina
  2. 2.RochesterUSA

About the authors

Rachel Sing-Kiat Ting is Associate Professor at China University of Political Science and Law, Beijing, China, as well as a licensed psychologist. She advocates for the importance of indigenous psychology for Chinese ethnic minorities in disaster zones.

Louise Sundararajan received her PhD in History of Religions from Harvard University, and her EdD in Counseling Psychology from Boston University, USA. She is Fellow of the American Psychological Association, and recipient of the Abraham Maslow Award from Division 32 of APA. She publishes extensively on culture and emotions.

Bibliographic information