Chapter 10

Psychology in Asia (1972): A first major step in the globalization of psychological science

Until 1972, all of the international congresses had been held in major cities of Europe, the United States, and Canada. In both the IUPS Assembly and 0its Executive Committee, discussion for several decades had frequently taken place of the need to reach out more effectively to psychologists in other parts of the world, but no major decision to hold the international congress elsewhere was made until the Moscow congress in 1966. Moving the 18th congress as far east as Moscow had been a bold but highly successful venture, and the 1966 Assembly unanimously accepted the offer of the Japanese delegation, led by Koji Sato, to hold the 20th congress in Tokyo.

Although the Japanese Psychological Association was a charter member of IUPS, it wasn’t until 1960 that a Japanese psychologist, Professor Sato, was elected to the Executive Committee. Immediately thereafter, Sato began planning for a congress. At the Washington Congress in 1963, he broached the idea to the Executive Committee of holding the 20th International Congress of Psychology in Tokyo. They encouraged him to proceed with preliminary planning and a formal invitation. After a feasibility study, the Assembly of Representatives of the Japanese Psychological Association decided to issue a formal invitation, provided that a substantial number of Japanese psychologists personally pledged to contribute money and services. An enthusiastic response by many psychologists provided the necessary support to launch a major planning effort and to issue a formal invitation that was approved by the Assembly at the Moscow congress.

Sponsorship of the Tokyo congress by the Japanese government was granted in 1970, and the Science Council of Japan officially established the Organizing Committee. Moriji Sagara, the President of the Japanese Psychological Association, was elected Chairman of the Committee, and Hiroshi Azuma was appointed Executive Secretary. Major financial support for the Congress came from the Government of Japan, from funds raised from industries by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and from the earlier pledges of individual psychologists. Contributions by individuals were particularly noteworthy; 400 Japanese psychologists each gave the equivalent of US$80 for a total of US$32,000 as underwriters of the congress.

The 20th International Congress of Psychology, Tokyo, Japan, 1972

The 20th International Congress of Psychology was held in Tokyo on August 13–19, 1972. As President of the Japanese Psychological Association, Moriji Sagara served as the President of the congress. The scientific program was organized primarily around 32 long symposia, 9 short symposia, and 8 review sessions devoted to topics of current interest ranging from physiological to social psychology. Fifty-six sessions consisted of submitted papers, 4 film sessions showed films on research, and 25 free discussion sessions were held. In addition to the general opening session that included welcoming addresses by Roger Russell, IUPS President, and Yukiyoshi Koga, senior member of the Japanese Psychological Association, two evening addresses and seven lectures were given by distinguished leaders of psychological science.

These major speeches and a symposium on implications of Asian psychology in world perspective at the closing session were printed in the congress proceedings, together with abstracts of all the other presentations (Science Council of Japan, 1974). The proceedings also contains an appendix listing all the participants and their addresses. A major innovative feature of the program was the free discussion session linked to each long symposium. A long symposium consisted of a main session followed by a 2-hour discussion period, providing plenty of time for extensive interaction.

Moriji Sagara (1903–1986): President of the Japanese Psychological Association and President of the 20th International Congress of Psychology, Tokyo, 1972.

The congress continued the tradition, started in 1963 for the Washington congress, of subsidizing the travel of young psychologists. The American Psychological Association supported 10 young psychologists from the United States and Canada, and the Japanese Organizing Committee arranged to have young Japanese psychologists with related scientific interests serve as their hosts.

A total of 2164 psychologists with 398 accompanying persons registered for the Tokyo congress. One half of the registered psychologists came from over 50 different countries, the remainder being from Japan. The largest number of foreign psychologists was 633 from the United States. Other countries with 10 or more psychologists present were Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Federal Republic of Germany, India, Israel, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Clearly, the Tokyo International Congress established a new standard of global participation of psychological scientists by drawing in large numbers of psychologists from Asia and the Pacific and introducing many European and American psychologists to Asian psychology.

As was now customary, the outgoing Executive Committee of the IUPS met before the congress on August 12 and the newly elected incoming Committee met immediately following on August 19. The Assembly held its meetings on August 13 and 16 during the congress. By the time of the Tokyo congress, the Assembly consisted of 51 representatives from 38 national member societies, most of whom were present for both sessions.

In the first meeting of the Executive Committee, President Russell led a discussion of opportunities for more concerted action by psychologists to deal with pressing human problems. Areas that were noted ranged from man in a changing environment to the impact of rapidly emerging new technologies. Russell’s opening address at the congress expanded considerably on this theme. Secretary-General Jacobson reported that M. Jules Leroux, from the University of Louvain, had been appointed as the new editor of the International Journal of Psychology.

New Officers of the Union

Joseph R. Nuttin (1909–1986): President of the IUPsyS (1972–1976).

The Assembly elected Joseph Nuttin, University of Louvain, Belgium, as President to succeed Russell. Arthur Summerfield of Birkbeck College, London, and Yoshihisa Tanaka, University of Tokyo, were elected Vice-Presidents. The 10 members elected to the Executive Committee consisted of 7 who were re-elected—Bruner, Fraisse, Jacobson, Leontiev, Russell, Tomaszewski, and Westerlund—and 3 new ones—Friedhart Klix, Humboldt University, Berlin, Boris Lomov, USSR Academy of Sciences, and Mark Rosenzweig, University of California, Berkeley. The appointment by the incoming Executive Committee of Noël Mailloux from Canada as Treasurer, Wayne Holtzman from the United States as Secretary-General, and Germaine Montmollin as Deputy Secretary-General completed the roster for the new Executive Committee that would hold office for 4 years rather than 3 as in the past, in keeping with the new 4-year cycle between international congresses. Rosenzweig was appointed Chairman of the Standing Committee on Communication and Publications, and Summerfield continued as Chairman of the Standing Committee on International Exchange of Scholars and Students. Montmollin was appointed liaison with UNESCO and Rosenzweig liaison for the Committee on Social Science Information and Documentation.

Trilingual dictionary

In his report as retiring Secretary-General, Jacobson noted that the Tri-Lingual Dictionary, in English, French, and German, edited by Hubert C. J. Duijker, with support from UNESCO and IUPS, would be published in 1973 by Hans Huber. The Dictionary grew out of the early work of Dr W. Luthe, who started a compilation of psychological terms in the three languages. The Union initially approved the project in 1954. As the first Chairman of the Committee on Communication and Publications established at the Bonn Congress in 1960, Duijker took a keen interest in finishing the task. Even though only three languages were represented, most psychologists would be familiar enough with one of the three to profit greatly from such a lexicon.

Executive Committee meeting, Rosny 1973

The first major meeting of the newly formed Executive Committee at Chateau de Rosny near Paris, September 3–6, 1973, took note of the highly successful Tokyo congress and discussed other ways in which further globalization of psychology could be advanced. President Nuttin raised the general question of how areas of the world such as Africa, which have no official voice in the Union, could be represented. He suggested that new rules be adopted for election of Executive Committee members so that no country would have more than one elected representative. Perhaps the election could be held in stages; in the second stage, one or two Executive Committee members could be elected at large from anywhere in the world. Both of Nuttin’s ideas were adopted later in a major reform of the IUPS Statutes and Rules and Procedures.

As President of the International Association of Applied Psychology, Westerlund invited the IUPS to participate, officially, in the opening session of the 18th International Congress of Applied Psychology in Montréal, July 1974. Thus began a new era of close cooperation between the two major international associations that were now holding one or the other congress every 2 years. As President of IUPS, Nuttin was nominated to represent the Union by serving as an official speaker at the opening session of the 1974 Applied Congress in Montréal.

Relations with other international organizations

Of continuing concern to the Executive Committee were the relationships between the Union and such international bodies as UNESCO, ISSC, and the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU). The Union had been formally rebuffed in its previous attempts to gain membership in ICSU some years earlier. Obtaining full membership in ICSU would remain a long-standing piece of unfinished business until finally the question was favorably resolved in September 1982. UNESCO had always provided a small subvention directly to IUPS, but now there was some preliminary discussion of routing such subventions through ISSC. ISSC was undergoing a major reformation, the final outcome of which was not at all clear.

Samy Friedman, formerly with UNESCO’s Department of Social Sciences and now Secretary-General of ISSC, joined the Executive Committee for a luncheon discussion of these several issues. Friedman explained that the new organization of ISSC would be more of a confederation of independent associations, each of which would maintain its full autonomy and its status as a Category B affiliate of UNESCO. He pointed out that through ISSC, IUPS and other member organizations could increase their influence in the various departments of UNESCO, particularly in the Department of Social Sciences. While some projects might be shared by IUPS and ISSC, others could be independently proposed by IUPS for funding as in the past. He cautioned, however, that the General Conference of UNESCO, where the underdeveloped countries were highly influential, was growing impatient with the non-governmental organizations such as IUPS for not working more vigorously on the problems of the developing countries.

Subsequently, the Executive Committee concluded, as urged by Montmollin, that IUPS should (a) propose research projects to ISSC on topics of interest to psychologists as well as other disciplines; (b) develop and maintain strong relations with other departments of UNESCO, including Education, Communication, and Natural Sciences; and (c) propose research ideas now through Friedman that could be implemented in the UNESCO program for 1975–76 and then carried out by IUPS with UNESCO funding. Montmollin and Holtzman were confirmed as delegates to ISSC, with Summerfield and Rogelio Diaz-Guerrero from Mexico as alternates.

In the next meeting of the ISSC General Assembly later in 1973, psychology proved to be well represented as part of the newly formed structure serving an expanded membership of 11 international societies. Montmollin was elected to the Executive Committee, Summerfield was appointed a member of the Research Committee, Tomaszewski was elected as a new Member-at-Large, and Holtzman served as a regular representative of IUPS.

Reaching out to Latin America and Africa

The small amount of remaining funds, US$5250, in the 1973 IUPS budget were assigned to Holtzman for support of training and research development in Latin America. These funds were subsequently used in support of travel and local costs for psychologists from throughout Latin America who participated in the First Latin American Conference on Training in Psychology, organized by Rubén Ardila of Colombia. The conference was held on December 17–18, 1974, in Bogota in conjunction with the 15th Interamerican Congress of Psychology. Five commissions were established and programs in many Latin American countries used the proposed models for improvement of their university programs (Ardila, 1975 ). The major papers presented at this highly successful conference were subsequently published (Ardila, 1978 ).

New contacts were also developed with psychologists in Africa that later led to a greater involvement of African psychologists in IUPS activities. Highest priority for research funds in the 1974 budget was given to expenditure in the English- and French-speaking countries of equatorial Africa, as strongly advocated by Nuttin and others. Mailloux recalled a successful Union project years ago in Rwanda on cognitive development in children. By 1975, the major outline of another project dealing with child development in Africa had emerged.

Preliminary plans for the 1976 and 1980 congresses

A major portion of the meetings in Rosny was devoted to preliminary plans for the 1976 congress to be held in Paris and the 1980 congress in Leipzig. As requested by Fraisse, a limited subvention was provided from IUPS to the French Society of Psychology to prepare for the forthcoming congress. Klix announced that a series of international symposia, one per year, would be presented in East Germany as a prelude to the Leipzig congress. The first of these symposia took place in September 1973 and was devoted to organismic information processing, pattern recognition, and problem solving. It was anticipated that additional conferences in this pre-congress series would be held on such topics as biochemical, neurological, and physiological bases of memory; on language production and language understanding; and on emotions, motivation, and cognitive efficiency.

Encouraged by the successful participation of Korean psychologists in the Tokyo congress, a petition for membership in the Union was filed by the Korean Psychological Association (South) and approved by mail ballot in 1973. The Psychological Society of Ireland was admitted to the Union in early 1974 and then withdrew in 1988, remaining outside the Union until it was readmitted in 1996.

Executive Committee meeting, Montréal 1974

At its 1974 meeting, July 25–28, at Mount Gabriel near Montréal, the Executive Committee continued with a more detailed review of plans for the 1976 Congress in Paris. Jean-François Le Ny, Chairman of the Program Committee, joined Fraisse in presenting a plan for 40 symposia, each lasting over a period of two half-days, as well as special lectures, sessions of individual papers, and workshops. Themes and organizers for the 40 symposia would be selected from a larger number of suggested topics and leaders after extensive consultation with psychologists throughout the Union.

Sponsorship of young psychologists

Of special interest for the 1976 congress was the growing number of students and sponsored young psychologists, many of whom would need low-cost dormitories and travel subsidies from their national associations. The registration fee for the congress would be kept under 250 French francs. Harley Preston from the American Psychological Association Central Office described their special subsidy program for young psychologists from Canada and the United States. For the previous congress in Tokyo, 10 travel awards to the most deserving applicants were made consisting of free tickets provided by domestic air carriers and several private donors. Low-cost housing was made available by the host society. All recipients of grants had to be less than 30 years old. Similar plans for the Paris congress were successfully developed by the host committee and the IUPS Committee on Exchange of Scholars and Students under Summerfield.

Misuse of psychology

A growing concern of many psychologists in the early 1970s was the severe political oppression, disappearance of dissenters, and widespread tales of rape, torture, and murder evident in several countries of South America, most notably Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. Rumors that psychologists working for the military governments in these countries were aiding and abetting the mental breakdown of dissenters in order to force confessions were particularly disturbing. Public concerns regarding alleged abuses of political prisoners by psychiatrists who misused psychodiagnosis as a tool of oppression in the Soviet Union had already sensitized many Western psychologists to the problem. The American Psychological Association, among several IUPS members who voiced official concern, asked the Union to address these issues. Compounding the difficulty for the Union was the fact that only Brazil of the offending South American countries had a psychological society that was a member of IUPS, and the Brazilian Psychological Association claimed that none of its members were engaged in such activities, making it impossible to impose sanctions on the societies unless they expelled the offenders, if indeed, any member psychologists were engaged in such highly unethical behavior. But clearly something had to be done.

The Executive Committee strongly deplored the oppression of dissenters but realized it was ill-equipped to undertake deep investigation of the widespread rumors concerning the complicity of psychologists. (Later it turned out that several military officers who were implicated in forced confession-torture activities in Brazil had received some elementary training in psychology but were not recognized, professionally trained psychologists.)

After considerable discussion led by Russell, the Executive Committee asserted its leadership in promoting international communications regarding ethical standards for psychologists. A formal resolution was approved and widely disseminated promoting the following actions: (1) all national societies should establish formal codes of scientific and professional ethics and conduct; (2) a survey would be conducted immediately of all IUPS national member societies to determine which ones have already adopted such codes; (3) information about existing codes would be collated and made available to societies which had not adopted a code; (4) all societies would be urged to accept responsibility for monitoring the compliance of their individual members and for applying appropriate sanctions where their code had been violated; (5) ethical codes would be a primary subject for discussion and action at the next Assembly meeting in Paris; and (6) Holtzman as Secretary-General would be responsible for organizing a special symposium for the Paris congress on the subject of scientific and professional ethics and conduct, with particular reference to the issues of oppression and torture.

Executive Committee meeting, Austin 1975

An African project

At its 1975 meeting in Austin, Texas, October 6–8, the Executive Committee devoted considerable attention to special projects that materialized following the earlier commitment to work closely with UNESCO on ideas of mutual interest: (1) an African conference on child rearing; and (2) an international project on educational television and child development. The African conference was organized by Marcel Ebode in July 1975 at Yaounde, the Republic of Cameroon, with mainly French-speaking psychologists present. Support was provided by a UNESCO grant of US$3000 through the Population Council and matching funds from the IUPS budget. A grant of US$3000 from the Aquinas Fund augmented the conference funds and made it possible for key psychologists in the conference, both English- and French-speaking, to travel to Paris the following year for a planned symposium on child rearing at the Paris congress. Two of these African psychologists were also invited to attend the 1976 IUPS General Assembly meeting as official observers. The English-speaking psychologist, Michael Durojaiye, originally of Uganda and later of Nigeria, was then elected by the 1976 Assembly to the Executive Committee under the newly adopted Statutes.

Educational television of children throughout the World

The second project supported by UNESCO was directed by Isabel Reyes of Mexico and involved psychologists from Israel, India, Japan, the Federal Republic of Germany, Brazil, Mexico, and the United States. The Education Department of UNESCO provided US$12,000 in direct support and two grants of US$10,000 each from the UNESCO Participation Program made at the request of two national governments—Mexico and India. Two major conferences were held, one in Mexico City and a second in Tokyo. UNESCO’s Education Department subsequently published a monograph, Impact of Educational Television on Children, containing major research articles by 11 of the participants (Holtzman & Reyes-Lagunes, 1983 ).


Ardila, R. (1975). The first Latin American conference on training in psychology. International Journal of Psychology, 10, 149–158.

Ardila, R. (Ed.) (1978). La profesion del Psicologo. Mexico: Trillas.

Holtzman, W. H., & Reyes-Lagunes, I. (Eds.) (1983). Impact of educational television on young children. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

Science Council of Japan. (1974). XXth International Congress of Psychology. Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press.