In this article, the author provides a fresh review about the debate of the origin and evolution of mirror neurons. The striking property of mirror neurons is that they discharge during both the observation and the execution of a goal-directed movement. How the execution-observation matching mechanism of mirror neurons comes into being? The genetic account of the debate implies that the evolutionary origins of mirror neurons are the consequences of an adaption for the conditions of environment and social cognition. Because of facilitating the understanding of other’s intention, it was favored by natural selection and got passed by heredity. The associative account suggests that mirror neurons emerged in the course of individual development. It was an acquired ability and came into being by the same learning process that produces Pavlovian conditioning. Most of the scholars in this field, however, prefer an evolutionary development biology (evo-devo) perspective, which adopt the epigenetic theory, and propose that associative learning along is insufficient for the origin and evolution of mirror neurons, but, rather, to be a result of a combination of evolutionary, biological, development, social influences.
Critical thinking is the process of value assessment and reflection on the basis of reasonable judgment and appropriate criteria. Despite its short history in psychological research, the exploration of this concept began with Descartes in the age of enlightenment. Descartes held the view that most of human knowledge is constructed on erred bases. Hence, in the pursuit of truth, the best method is to first cast doubt on all concepts and knowledge at hand. The doubt helps to discover and solve problems, and in the process knowledge is advanced and certainty is obtained. This kind of doubting is precisely the essence of critical thinking. Since 1980s, Ennis and Facione have studied the characteristics of Westerners’ critical thinking using modern psychological methods. They suggested that critical thinking could be measured along three dimensions: analytical ability, openness, and application. The current research is comprised of four parts. First, we determined the structures and effects of critical thinking in Chinese. Second, we explored the relation between critical thinking and creativity in college students. Third, we explored the relation between critical thinking and innovation in employees. Forth, we studied how to improve Chinese innovation by manipulating critical thinking. By systematically examining the relation between critical thinking and innovation, this line of research will help us better understand the mechanisms and effects of critical thinking and provide theoretical support for the mass innovation initiative proposed at the Eighteenth National Congress of the CPC.
Social cognitive neuroscience is an interdisciplinary field that explores the theory and practice of social science with cognitive neuroscience research methods. Recently, functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) has become a hot technique used in social cognitive neuroscience for its advantage of high ecological validity, image security, high reliability and low cost. Currently, fNIRS is widely used in single brain research studying the neural mechanism of infant development, social economic decision- making and interpersonal interaction. In the future, it could be a very useful imaging tool in multi-brain research including neurofeedback, brain-computer interface, wireless equipment and multi-modality imaging.
Using four classical priming paradigms -- semantic priming, conceptual priming, affective priming and harmonic priming -- cognitive neuroscientists suggest that music transmits different meanings, because they have found two EEG signals N400 and N5 that correspond to extra-musical meaning and intra-music meaning respectively. We analyzed the four priming paradigms and found that: the core characteristics of these four paradigms is “the match or mismatch effect” based on “musical gestalt” or “musical expectancy”, meanwhile, these four paradigms can be further divided into “semantic medium paradigm” and “non-semantic medium paradigm”. Recent studies reveal that N400 and N5 responses are not independent. Instead, they may be two expressions of the same neural activity. As an artistic format of human creation, the transmission of meaning via music carry features of a particular era, region or culture, which in turn affect the generalizability and uniqueness of transmitting meanings via music. Therefore, in the future, cognitive neuroscientific studies of music should consider a broader range of humanistic factors, such as historical or social backgrounds.
Audiovisual integration refers to the cognitive process in which auditory and visual events that are presented at the same time and the same location tend to integrate with each other. Mismatch Negativity (MMN), as an index of early cortical processing, is usually used to explore whether there is mismatch between deviant information and traces of sensory memory. Previous studies on audiovisual integration mainly focused on the integration of letters and phonology, integration of non-language visual information and prosodic auditory information, Mcgurk Effect, as well as the mechanisms underlying the integration processing. This paper reviewed those recent studies and analyzed the possible factors that would influence the integration of auditory and visual processing. Future research should focus on the integration of information from multiple modalities.
Counterfactuals are contrary-to-fact statements which are widely used in daily life to convey thoughts about what might have been. Previous studies have revealed that, different from fact-based processing, counterfactual processing triggers a dual mental representation/space (suppositional event vs. presupposed fact) and therefore engages more cognitive resources. This paper makes a detailed discussion on the processing mechanism underlying counterfactuals from the perspective of syntactic and contextual constraints. On the one hand, it is revealed that contextual relevance would influence the online construction and resolution of dual representation. The validity of real-world interference stands or falls with the provision of a sufficiently constraining context. Syntactically, on the other hand, the lack of dedicated counterfactual markers in Chinese makes its native speakers more inclined to rely on contextual cues and pragmatic implications to express and understand counterfactuality. Yet it remains unsolved whether the processing mechanism underlying Chinese counterfactuals would differentiate from that which underlies Indo-European counterfactuals due to the difference in syntactic structures. To achieve a comprehensive understanding about the cognitive neural mechanism of counterfactuals, a wider variety of languages should be explored, and the individual difference in counterfactual processing deserves more attention. Further attempts should also be made to investigate how the dual representation of counterfactuals unfolds in time and influences successive information processing.
Theory of mind is one of the core abilities of social cognition. Most event-related potential (ERP) studies on theory of mind were conducted under the framework of multiple elements, including belief, desire, intention, and emotion. Previous studies have suggested several converging results: first, different elements in theory of mind might elicit distinct ERP components; second, the ERP components associated with specific elements suggest consistent patterns of scalp distribution across task paradigm; third, the developmental ERP studies on theory of mind reveal similar patterns in children and adults, except longer time window and broader distribution for children. Future research could focus on issues as follows: to design task paradigm fit for ERP technical demands; to complete the framework of theory of mind; to further explore the general electrophysiological mechanisms underlying theory of mind processing.
Accumulating research has approached self-esteem from the perspective of social neuroscience. A review of relevant research indicates that: 1) self-esteem is related to brain physiologically with high self-esteem associating with larger hippocampus volume and regional gray matter volume of anterior cingulate cortex; 2) self-esteem is also related to the resting state of default mode network and functional connectivity among some specific brain areas; 3) self-esteem modulates brain activities to threats such that individuals with low self-esteem exhibit stronger neural responses to self-threatening stimuli; 4) self-esteem modulates brain activities during self-evaluation process. Overall, these findings shed light on the neural basis of self-esteem as well as its adaptive functions.
Animal innovation has important ecological and evolutionary significance and provides a reference to the research on human creativity and inspiration. This review firstly summaries the definitions of animal innovation from different researchers in the recent years. Then it introduces the progress of animal innovation theories. Following that, the internal factors that affect animal innovation, i.e. exploration, neophobia, learning ability and perseverance, are summarized particularly. In the end, neural mechanisms underlying animal innovation are discussed in terms of related brain regions and neurotransmitters and potential future research areas of the animal innovation are proposed.
Mathematics ability is one of key advanced cognitive functions in human beings. Previous research provided numerous evidences in the evolutionary studies about mathematics ability, which is adaptively significance of the survival and reproduction of organisms. In recent years, the findings of comparative psychology have revealed that behavioral performance and brain physiological mechanism of primitive mathematics abilities of nonhuman animals are parallel to those of adults and infants in human. Furthermore, studies of molecular genetics also show that mathematics ability is hereditary. These findings provide further understandings on the nature and inherent developing mechanism of this capacity in human beings.
Sibling relationship is the total of the interactions (physical, verbal, and nonverbal communication) of two or more individuals who share knowledge, perceptions, attitudes, beliefs, and feelings regarding each other, from the time that one sibling becomes aware of the other. Sibling relationship has been a unique and powerful context for children and adolescents’ development and is of significance to their social development. Research on sibling relationship has mostly focused on sibling warmth and sibling conflict, sibling enmeshment and disengagement, as well as positive and negative sibling relationships. Kin selection theory and family system theory have provided theoretical evidence for the interaction pattern of sibling relationship from evolutionary and environmental perspectives. Empirical evidence has supported that positive sibling relationship is beneficial for children’s internal and external problems as well as interpersonal relationships; while negative sibling relationship can increase children’s risk of having internal and external problems. Future studies should increase local studies on sibling relationship, increase studies regarding sibling relationship of special children and children from different family structures, and further explore the mechanism underlying the influence of sibling relationship on children’s social development and targeted intervention strategies.
Goodness of fit model, diathesis-stress model and differential susceptibility model explain the interaction of temperament-parenting on children’s social adjustment from different perspectives. Goodness of fit model emphasizes that well-matched of temperament traits and parenting practices could promote children’s social adjustment, while ill-matched parenting leads to adjustment problems. Diathesis-stress model emphasizes that children with risk temperature traits are more prone to negative parenting, while resilient children do not develop maladjustment problems as a result of negative parenting. Differential susceptibility model suggests that children perform better under the condition of positive parenting and perform worse under negative parenting. Based on three major theories and empirical findings, this article analyzes and summarizes latest empirical results, and further elaborates on the risk factors and protective factors in children’s socialization. Future research should focus on the interaction between temperament and positive parenting, the differentiation of parental roles, and the dynamic interaction between temperament and parenting.
Episodic future thinking (EFT) is the psychological process of projecting oneself into thinking and experiencing future self-related episodes in advance. EFT affects goal attainment in a double-edged way: process simulation and the generation of negative thoughts or images would facilitate goal attainment, while experiencing positive thoughts or images about a desired future would have adverse effects. Motivation level and clarity of implementation intention may be crucial in determining whether the effect of EFT on goal attainment would be beneficial or not. Therefore, by promoting motivation and clarity of implementation intention, related interventions could be developed to turn the deleterious effect of EFT into a beneficial one. Future studies should explore the cognitive and neural mechanisms of effects of different types of EFT on goal attainment, and should discuss how factors such as goal features and personality moderate the effect of EFT on goal attainment.
The influence of body height on psychological issues and processes is defined as psychological effects of body height. It is widely believed that taller people have more opportunities and received more attention in daily life. In this article, we reviewed the literature on the psychological effects of body height. Past research indicate that body height influences an individual’s social perceptions, personality traits, mate selection and mental health. These psychological effects of body height can be explained by evolutionary theories, social norms, visual perceptions and self-fulfilling prophecies. Future research could further explore the effects of body height on other outcome variables and examine the mechanism, improve the accuracy of height measurement and rigor of research methods. The unique effects of body height in China could also be further examined.
Metacognition refers to individuals’ subjective judgments about one’s own attitude (e.g., importance, certainty). It is an important dimension of attitude strength and plays a key role in persuasion. This study first introduced the major components of metacognition. Then it focused on recent models that explain metacognitive processes in persuasion: Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM), Associative- propositional Evaluation model (APE) and Meta-cognitive Model (MCM). Furthermore, factors that influence the metacognitive processes were discussed: source (source credibility), recipient (emotion and bodily responses), message (message matching), and context. We suggested that further studies should focus on clarifying the dimensions and consequences of metacognitive attitude properties, identifying the psychological and neural mechanisms of metacognitive process in persuasion, and expanding the application in other areas.
Power and status have different effects on self-interested behavior. Power can diminish cognitive perspective-taking, thus making the individual concerned more about their own interests; status can enhance cognitive perspective-taking, thus impelling the individual to speculate others' thoughts and feelings as well as consider others' interests. However, the effects of power and status on self-interested behavior through cognitive perspective-taking may be moderated by situational properties. Future research should be done to validate these relations and explanations, to explore the mediating role of empathy concern, as well as the moderating variables in the influence of power and status on cognitive perspective-taking; to explore the difference of self-interested behavior of those who own status and power when treating others in the ingroup and outgroup; to investigate the influence of interactive effects of power and status on self-interested behavior.
Tight-loose culture, a new dimension in empirical research in the field of cross-culture psychology, sheds some light on the interpretation of social norms and the tolerance of deviant behaviors in diverse cultures. This paper elaborates on the definition of tight-loose culture, its underlying causes as well as measurement method at the national, regional and individual level. This study finds out that tight-loose culture has been widely integrated into the research of self-consciousness, personality cultivation and mental state. It can also be applied to the study of judgment, decision-making and innovation. Besides, tight-loose culture has become an interdisciplinary research area that incorporates culture into cognitive neuroscience, biology (gene) and national safety (social harmony and terrorism). Taking the merits of relevant research perspectives into account, future research in this field (tight-loose culture) could orient the distinction of descriptive norms and injunctive norms.