ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2020, Vol. 52 ›› Issue (3): 269-282.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2020.00269

• Reports of Empirical Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The underlying mechanism of emotions on co-representation in joint actions

Xiaolei SONG1(),Xiaoqian JIA1,Yuan ZHAO2,Jingjing GUO1   

  1. 1 School of Psychology, Shaanxi Normal University; Shaanxi Key Laboratory of Behavior and Cognitive Neuroscience, Xi’an 710062, China
    2 Students' Affairs Office, Inner Mongolia Normal University, Hohhot 010022, China
  • Received:2019-05-08 Online:2020-03-25 Published:2020-01-18
  • Contact: Xiaolei SONG


Joint action is a common phenomenon that involves two or more people cooperating together to achieve a common goal in our daily life. The action representation of co-actors play an important role in joint actions. Self-other integration, as a type of cognitive process, is the foundation of the joint action. Moreover, emotion can influence not only cognitive processes but also social interactions (Lyubomirsky et al., 2005). Therefore, it is worthy to investigate whether different types of emotion play an important role in joint action.
Three experiments were conducted in the present study to explore the influences of different dimensional of emotions on joint actions. A total of 48 participants were recruited in Experiment 1a to investigate the change of co-representation ability in joint action under conditions of high level of arousal with high/low level of valence. Joint Simon task was used to measure the ability of co-representation, and PANAS and Affect Grid were used to measure the level of emotional valence and arousal. In Experiment 1b, 48 participants were recruited to further explore the effect of low arousal with different valences on joint actions. In Experiment 2, another 48 participants were recruited to explore the effect of the dimension of motivation on joint actions under the condition of high arousal and high valence.
The results of Experiment 1a showed that high arousal improved Joint Simon effect (JSE) significantly regardless of the valence, which indicated that high arousal played an important role in joint actions. Experiment 1b revealed that high valence played a compensating role under the condition of low arousal. The results of combined analyses of experiment 1a and 1b showed that high arousal could be a key factor in enhancing the ability of co-representation. Experiment 2 found that, only under the condition of low motivation, high arousal with high valence could significantly improve JSE.
In conclusion, these results indicate that (1) high level of emotional arousal is the key factor in improving the ability of co-representation in joint actions regardless of the level of emotional valence; (2) high level of emotional valence played an compensating role under the condition of low level of arousal to maintain the level of co-representation; (3) the high arousal is not the determined factor in the enhancement of the co-representation and moderated by motivation intensity as well; and (4) When completing joint action, emotions adjusts the referential coding of co-actor through regulating range of attention so that influences the ability of co-representation, which further confirming the referential coding account.

Key words: emotional valence, emotional arousal, motivation, joint Simon effect, referential coding account

CLC Number: