James Liu

James Liu profile picture photograph


  • PhD University of California at Los Angeles, Social Psychology (minor Cognitive Psychology) 1992
  • M.A. University of California at Los Angeles, Social Psychology 1989
  • B.S. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Computer Science (Engineering) 1984


Category: Adjunct Fellow


  • Adjunct Fellow, Centre for Applied Cross-Cultural Research


Prof James H Liu describes himself as a “Chinese–American–New Zealander”, who was born in Taiwan, grew up in the United States, and lives as a naturalised citizen in New Zealand. His research interests centre around culture and intergroup relations. He received a PhD in social psychology from UCLA in 1992 and has been teaching at Victoria University of Wellington since 1994.

James is author of more than 100 journal articles, chapters, and books and is Professor of Psychology. His research specialization is on social representations of history, and how they provide resources and constraints for identity and intergroup relations.

James has examined the relationship between identity and history in NZ bicultural, Chinese and international contexts.

Overall summary

My research productivity (averaging 10+ refereed publications per year, including 7 journal articles) thrives on a dense network of collaboration that spans 5 continents. These collaborations are anchored by a central position in the Asian Association of Social Psychology, where I have been an executive committee member since inception, serving as treasurer, secretary-general, editor in chief of its journal and now President. In my research specialty of inter-group relations and social identity, I have mobilized collaborators in 40 societies to contribute survey data on representations of world history, putting me among the rare group of cross-cultural psychologists with the ability to develop truly global measures of world culture. I am now working on an even larger project on the impact of Digital Influence experienced across cultures on political attitudes and ideology. I have recent chapters published in the Handbook of Motivation and Cognition, the Oxford Handbook of Chinese Psychology, and the Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research, and an h-index of 38, with nearly 5000 total citations according to Google Scholar.

At Victoria University of Wellington, I was acknowledged as an outstanding undergraduate teacher and mentor whose recent PhDs are highly research productive and excellent teachers themselves. I helped to establish the Centre for Applied Cross Cultural Research (CACR) in 2003 and was Co-Director with Prof. Colleen Ward, contributing regularly to national debate regarding issues of ethnic diversity and social cohesion in New Zealand. As a result of these successes, I was invited after an international search to become Head of School at Massey University.

I am currently Head of one of the largest Schools of Psychology in NZ, with over 50 permanent academic staff, 3 Psychology clinics, a Joint Centre for Disaster Research, and multiple professional programs. The School is very strong in its service orientation to society, with Massey University specializing in distance education for mature learners. The School produces the most PhDs and DClins in the country, with revenue exceeding $18 million NZ per annum. Tasked with improving the School’s research productivity in a manner consistent with its commitments to service and teaching, I have led the School to form 13 Research, Service, and Teaching Clusters ranging from “Critical Health Psychology” to “Ending Poverty & Inequality” to “Community Health in Practice and Service”.

Areas of interest

Social identity and intergroup relations; cultural and cross-cultural psychology; action research; political psychology.


Travel, good writing, good food, and music. I spend a lot of time in Asia, and have been involved in the Asia Association of Social Psychology since its inauguration in 1995. I am currently Editor in Chief of the Asian Journal of Social Psychology.I am a leader in the World History Survey, a global study of representations of history and their connections to group identity.

Research areas (content)

Intergroup relations, social identities, stereotypes, social identities, construction of social representations (shared knowledge), action research.

Research skills (general)

Public opinion surveying, experimental design, interviewing, quantitative and qualitative analysis.

Training skills (specific)

Intercultural contact and political communication.

Selected publications

Isler, L., Liu, J.H., Sibley, C.S., Fletcher, G. (in press). Self-regulatory framework of personality profiles: Empirical development, longitudinal stability, and predictive ability. European Journal of Personality.

Liu, J.H. & Macdonald, M. (2016). Towards a psychology of global consciousness. Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior. DOI: 10.1111/jtsb.12101

Liu, J.H., & Robinson, A.R. (2016). One ring to rule them all: Master discourses of enlightenment- and racism- from colonial to contemporary New Zealand. European Journal of Social Psychology. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.2141

Hakim, M.A., Liu, J.H., Isler, L., & Woodward, M. (2015). Monarchism, national identity and social representations of history in Indonesia: Intersections of the local and national in the Sultanates of Yogyakarta and Surakarta. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 18, 259-269. DOI: 10.1111/ajsp.12109

Jetten, J., Branscombe, N.R., Haslam, S.A., Haslam, C., Cruwys, T., Jones,
J.M., Cui, L., Dingle, G., Liu, J.H., Murphy, S. C., Thai, A., Walter, Z., & Zhang, A.
(2015). Having a lot of a good thing: Multiple important group memberships
as a source of self-esteem. PLOS –ONE, 10(6): e0131035. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0131035.

Greaves, L.M., Cowie, L., Fraser, G., McPhee, E., Zdrenka, M., Huang, Y., Milojev, P., Osborne, D., Bulbulia, J., Wilson. M.S., Liu, J.H., Clouston, A., & Sibley, C.G. (2015). Regional differences and similarities in the personality of New Zealanders. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 44(1), 4-16.

Chou, W.J., Sibley, C.G., Liu, J.H., Lin, T.T., & Cheng, B.S. (2015). Paternalistic leadership profiles: A person-centered approach. Group and Organizational Management, 40(5), 685−710. doi: 10.1177/1059601115573358.

Hanke, K., Liu, J,H., Sibley, C., Paez, D., Gaines, S.P., Jr, Moloney, G., et al., (2015). “Heroes” and “Villains” of world history across cultures. PLOS-ONE, 10(2): e0115641. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0115641

Liu, J.H., Yeh, K.H., Wu, Z.W., Liu, L., & Yang, Y.Y. (2015). The importance of gender and affect in adolescents' beliefs about benevolent authority: Evidence from Chinese indigenous psychology. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 18, 101-114. DOI: 10.1111/ajsp.12102

August, C. & Liu, J.H. (2015). The medium shapes the message: McLuhan and Grice revisited in race talk on-line. Journal of Community and Social Psychology. 25(3), 232-248. DOI: 10.1002/casp2212

Liu, J.H. (2015). Globalizing indigenous psychology: An East Asian form of hierarchical relationalism with worldwide implications. Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior, 45(1), 82-94. DOI: 10.1111/jtsb.12058

Davies, C., Liu, J.H., & Sibley, C.S. (2014). Confirmatory factor analysis of the Moral Foundations Questionnaire: Independent scale validation in a New Zealand sample. Social Psychology. 45(6), 431-436.DOI: 10.1027/1864-9335/a000201

Kus, L., Ward, C., & Liu, J.H. (2014). Inter-ethnic factors of the subjective well-being of minority individuals in a context of recent societal changes. Political Psychology, 35(5), 703-719. DOI: 10.1111/pops.12038

Liu, J.H. (2014). What Confucian philosophy means for Chinese and Asian psychology today: Indigenous roots for a psychology of social change. Journal of Pacific Rim Psychology, 8(2), 35-42. DOI: 10.1017/prp.2014.10

Fisher Onar, N., Liu, J.H., & Woodward, M. (2014). Critical junctures? Complexity and the post-colonial nation-state. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 43, 22-34. http://dx.doi,org/10.1016/jijintrel.2014.08.009

Rata, A., Liu, J.H., & Hutchings, J. (2014). Creation narratives as metaphors for indigenous identity development: the pōwhiri identity negotiation framework. Psychology & Developing Societies, 26, 291-319. doi:10.1177/0971333614549144

Lubek, I., Lee, H.A.N., Kros, S., Wong, M.L., Merode, T.V., Liu, J., McCreanor, T., Idema, R., & Campbell, C. (2014). HIV/AIDS and critical community health psychology in Cambodia: A case study. Journal of Health Psychology, 19, 110-116. DOI: 10.1177/1359105313500253. A328

Kus, L., Ward, C., & Liu, J.H. (2014). Inter-ethnic factors of the subjective well-being of minority individuals in a context of recent societal changes. Political Psychology, 35, 703-719. DOI: 10.1111/pops.12038

Liu, J.H., Sibley, C.G., & Huang, L.L. (2014). History matters: The impact of culture-specific symbols on political attitudes and intergroup relations. Political Psychology, 35(1), 57-79. DOI: 10.1111/pops.12027

Pratto, F., Saguy, T., Stewart, A.L., Morselli, D., Foels, R., Aiello, A., Çidam, Chryssochoou, X., Durrheim, K., Eicher, V., Licata, L., Liu, J.H., Liu, L., Meyer, I., Muldoon, O., Parastamou, S., Petrovic, N., Prati, F., Prodomitis, G., & Sweetman, J. (2014). Attitudes towards Arab ascendence: Israeli and global perspectives. Psychological Sciences, 25(1), 86-94.

Liu, J.H., & Woodward, M. (2013). Towards an indigenous psychology of religious terrorism with global implications: Introduction to AJSP’s Special Forum on Islamist terrorism in Indonesia. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 16, 79-82.

Hanke, K., Liu, J.H., Hilton, D.J., Milewicz, M., Garber, I., Huang, L.L., Gastardo-Conaco, C., Wang, F.X. (2013). When the past haunts the present: Intergroup forgiveness and historical closure in post-World War II societies in Asia and in Europe. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 37, 287-301.

Gezenstvey-Lamy, M., Ward, C., & Liu, J.H. (2013). Motivation for ethno-cultural continuity. < em>Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 44, 1047-1066 .

Kus, L., Ward, C., & Liu, J.H. (in press).Inter-ethnic factors of the subjective well-being of minority individuals in a context of recent societal changes. Political Psychology.

Sibley, C.G., & Liu, J.H. (2013). Relocating attitudes as components of representational profiles: Mapping the epidemiology of bicultural policy attitudes using Latent Class Analysis. European Journal of Social Psychology, 43, 160-174.

Liu, J.H., & Sibley, C.G. (2012).Hope for the future? Understanding self-sacrifice in the face of global warming among young citizens of the world. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy,12(1) , 190-203.

Liu, J.H. & Sibley, C.G. (2012). Hope for the future in mitigating climate change? On statistically modelling self-sacrifice in the face of global warming. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy,12(1), 239-244.

Te Huia, A., & Liu, J.H. (2012).Kia mau hei tiki: Māori Culture as a Psychological Asset for New Zealanders’ Acculturation Experiences Abroad. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 36, 140-150.

Sibley, C., & Liu, J.H. (2012). Social representations of history and the legitimation of social inequality: The causes and consequences of historical negation. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 42(3), 598-623.

Liu, J.H., Paez, D., Hanke, K., Rosa, A., Hilton, D.J., Sibley, C. et al. (2012). Cross cultural dimensions of meaning in the evaluation of events in world history? Perceptions of historical calamities and progress in cross-cultural data from 30 societies. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 43(2), 251-272.

Liu, J.H, Yamagishi, T., Wang, F.X., Schug, J., Lin, Y.C., Huang, L.L., & Yu, S.H. (2011). Unbalanced triangle in the social dilemma of trust: Internet studies of real-time real money social exchange between China, Japan, and Taiwan. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 14(4), 246-257.

Liu, J.H. (2011). Asian epistemologies and contemporary social psychological research. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of Qualitative Research, 4th ed., pp 213-226. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Liu, J.H., Li, M.C., & Yue, X.D. (2010). Chinese social identity and intergroup relations: The influence of benevolent authority. In M.H. Bond (ed.). Oxford Handbook of Chinese Psychology (2nd ed), pp 579-597. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Professorial Lecture 2010: Towards a psychology of global consciousness

Liu, J.H., Paez, D., Slawuta, P., Cabecinhas, R., Techio, E., Kokdemir, D., Sen, R., Vincze, O., Muluk, H., Wang, F.X., & Zlobina, A. (2009). Representing world history in the 21st century: The impact of 9-11, the Iraq War, and the nation-state on the dynamics of collective remembering.Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 40, 667-692.

Liu, J.H., Hanke, K., Huang, L.L., Fischer, R., Adams, G., Wang, F.X., Atsumi, T., & Lonner, W.J. (2009). In-group favoritism in international justice concerns: Power, involvement, and attitudes towards the Iraq War and the Cross Straits relationship between China and Taiwan in 5 societies. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 31(2), 148-159.

Khan, S.S., & Liu, J.H. (2008).Intergroup Attributions and ethnocentrism in the Indian subcontinent: The fundamental attribution error revisited. Journal of Cross Cultural Psychology, 39(1), 16-36.

Rata, A., Liu, J.H., & Hanke, K. (2008). Te ara hohou rongo (the path to peace): Maori conceptualisations of inter-group forgiveness. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 37(2), 18-30.

Liu, J.H., Huang, L.L., & McFedries, C. (2008). Cross-sectional and longitudinal differences in Social Dominance Orientation and Right Wing Authoritarianism as a function of political power and societal change. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 11(2), 116-126.

Paez, D., Liu, J.H., Techio, E., Slawuta, P., Zlobina, A., & Cabecinhas, R. (2008). Remembering World War II and willingness to fight: Socio-cultural factors in the social representation of historical warfare across 22 societies. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 39(4), 373-380.

Sibley, C.S., Liu, J.H., Duckitt, J., & Khan, S.S. (2008). Social representations of history and the legitimation of social inequality: The form and function of historical negation. European Journal of Social Psychology, 38, 542-565.

Hilton, D.J., & Liu, J.H. (2008). Culture and inter-group relations. The role of social representations of history. In R.Sorrentino & S.Yamaguchi (eds.) The Handbook of Motivation and Cognition: The Cultural Context, pp. 343-368. New York: Guilford.

Takahashi, C., Yamagishi, T., Liu, J.H., Wang, F.X., Lin, Y.C., & Yu, S.H., (2008). The intercultural trust paradigm: Studying joint cultural interaction and social exchange in real time over the internet. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 32, 215-228.

Sibley, C.S., Liu, J.H., Duckitt, J., & Khan, S.S. (2008). Social representations of history and the legitimation of social inequality: The form and function of historical negation. European Journal of Social Psychology, 38, 542-565.

Sibley, C.S., & Liu, J.H. (2007).   New Zealand = bicultural? Implicit and explicit associations between ethnicity and nationhood in the New Zealand context . European Journal of Social Psychology, 37(6), 1222-1243.

Liu, J.H., Ward, C., Bernardo, A., Karasawa, M., & Fischer, R. (2007)(Eds.). Progress inAsian Social Psychology: Casting the Individual in Societal and Cultural Contexts , Volume 6. Seoul: Kyoyook Kwahaksa.

Liu, J.H., & Ng. S.H. (2007). Connecting Asians in global perspective: Special issue on past contributions, current status, and future prospects of Asian social psychology. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 10(1), 1-7.

Maxwell, G., & Liu, J.H. (2007)(eds.). Restorative justice and practices in New Zealand: Towards a restorative society . Wellington, NZ: Institute of Policy Studies.

Liu, J.H., McCreanor, T., McIntosh, T., & Teaiwa, T. (2005)(eds). New Zealand identities: Departures and Destinations . Wellington, NZ: Te Herenga Waka University Press.

Liu, J.H., & Hilton, D. (2005). How the past weighs on the present: Social representations of history and their role in identity politics. British Journal of Social Psychology, 44, 1-21.

Liu, J.H., Goldstein-Hawes, R., Hilton, D.J., Huang, L.L., Gastardo-Conaco, C., Dresler-Hawke, E., Pittolo, F., Hong, Y.Y., Ward, C., Abraham, S., Kashima, Y., Kashima, E., Ohashi, M., Yuki, M., & Hidaka, Y. (2005). Social representations of events and people in world history across twelve cultures. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 36(2), 171-191.

Liu, J.H. (2005). History and identity: A system of checks and balances for Aotearoa/New Zealand. In J.H. Liu, T. McCreanor, T. McIntosh, & T. Teaiwa. (eds). New Zealand identitites: Departures and Destinations.Wellington, NZ: Te Herenga Waka University Press.

Ikeda, K., Liu, J.H., Aida, M., & Wilson, M. (2005). Dynamics of interpersonal political environment and party identification: Longitudinal studies of voting in Japan and New Zealand. Political Psychology, 26, 517-542.

Huang, L.L., Liu, J.H., & Chang, M. (2004). The “Double Identity” of Taiwanese Chinese: A dilemma of politics and culture rooted in history. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 7(2), 149-189.

Sibley, C., & Liu, J.H. (2004). Attitudes towards biculturalism in New Zealand: Social dominance and Pakeha attitudes towards the general principles and resource-specific aspects of bicultural policy. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 33, 88-99.

Liu, J.H., Lawrence, B., Ward, C., & Abraham, S. (2002). Social representations of history in Malaysia and Singapore: On the relationship between national and ethnic identity. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 5(1), 3-20.

Liu, J.H., & Allen, M.W. (1999). The evolution of political complexity in Maori Hawke's Bay: Archaeological history and its challenge to intergroup theory in psychology. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 3, 64-80.

Liu, J.H., Wilson, M.W., McClure, J., & Higgins, T.R. (1999). Social identity and the perception of history: Cultural representations of Aotearoa/New Zealand. European Journal of Social Psychology, 29, 1021-1047.