It was argued that thinking is characterized by the action of two distinctive cognitive systems, namely, intuitive (Type 1) processing and analytic (Type 2) processing. Intuitive processing is generally described as rapid, automatic, unconscious, and effortless, whereas analytic processing appears to be slow, controlled, conscious, and effortful. Decades of research have established that human judgment is often predisposed to rapid, intuitive processing. However, recent research has indicated that intuitive processing can support reasoning and even enhance it under certain conditions. Recent findings have suggested that intuitive processing should be as affected by cognitive resources and consciousness as analytic processing. However, intuitive and analytic processing will interfere with one another through a series of classical paradigms in which the results of two distinctive cognitive systems are in conflict. To avoid this interference, the present study applied the Chinese character chunking decomposition task, predicting that intuitive processing positively affect problem solving, but that it would disappear under conditions wherein cognitive resources were extremely scarce.
In the present research, we first drew up the Chinese character chunking decomposition task as materials, and participants were asked to judge whether the target character (e.g., “又”) was a component of the original character (e.g., “支”). Then, the formal experiment was organized into a 2 × 2 × 2 within-subject design. The first variable was the duration time of the target character, consisting of 2 levels: 24 ms and 200 ms; the second variable was the material category, consisting of 2 levels: intuitive material and analytic material; and the third variable was the inclusion relation, consisting of 2 levels: inclusion and exclusion. The inclusion condition meant that the target character was a component of the original character, whereas the exclusion condition denoted that the target character was not a component of the original character.
The results indicated that participants showed a lower rate of accuracy and a longer response time on analytic materials than on intuitive ones. However, no difference was observed between the two types of materials in terms of response time and accuracy when the duration time of the target character was 24 ms, and the inclusion relation was inclusion. Meanwhile, the accuracy scores of intuitive and analytic processing were approximately 0.5 at the guessing level. Signal detection analysis showed that the results under the unconsciousness condition were not influenced by the response bias.
The results proved that intuitive processing was rapid and analytic processing was slow. As predicted, intuitive processing positively affects the problem solving process. In addition, the experiment showed that intuitive processing was effortful and relied on cognitive resources, which was inconsistent with prototypical dual-process theories. Therefore, the positive effect would disappear when the cognitive resources were below demand.
According to the dual-process model and the social intuitionist model, moral emotion is defined as a key factor in predicting moral behavior. The difference between the two models is whether moral emotion has a direct effect on moral behavior. The dual-process model points out that moral emotion directly affects moral behavior, whereas in the social intuitionist model, the effect of moral emotion on moral behavior will be mediated through moral reasoning. With the rapid development of internet and information technology, people’s psychological states and behaviors have changed dramatically. So the above distinctions between the two models can be extended to the studies on cyberpsychology and behavior. To test the two models in an network environment, the present study involved a series of experiments to examine whether moral emotion predicted online helping behavior and whether moral reasoning mediated this relation.
Video materials were validated in the pilot study. A total of 120 college students evaluated the feeling of sympathy and guilt, the level of pleasure and arousal after watching one of three video materials (sympathy, guilt and neutral). In Study 1, 56 college students were recruited and randomly assigned to the “sympathy”, “guilt” or “neutral” group. Participants were asked to complete an online test after watching the relevant moral emotion video. After the testing, participants were informed that they would receive an email sent by the experimenter anonymously. In the email, participants were required to offer additional help (to fill in an online questionnaire). Participants’ online helping behavior was measured by the amount of questions that they answered. In Study 2, 233 college students were invited to participate. In addition to the same arrangement as in Study 1, participants’ moral reasoning was measured by the Prosocial Reasoning Objective Measure (PROM).
The results of pilot study suggested that the “sympathy” video material led to greater sympathy and less guilty, while the “guilt” video material led to greater guilt and less sympathy. With regard to the level of pleasure and arousal, there was no significant difference between the “sympathy” video material and the “guilt” video material, whereas there was a significant difference between the “neutral” video material and the other two video materials. In Study 1, ANOVA was used to analyze the data. The results indicated that as compared to neutral emotion, sympathy and guilt aroused more online helping behaviors. However, there was no difference between sympathy and guilt. In Study 2, statistical mediation analysis with a multicategorical independent variable (recommended by Hayes and Preacher) was used in the analyses of the data. The results showed that sympathy and guilt could induce online helping behavior through the mediation effect of moral reasoning, whereas moral emotion had a direct effect on moral behavior.
This study has practical and theoretical significance. Specifically, the finding suggests that the role of moral emotion in moral education, in particular as related to moral reasoning, has to be further researched. Theoretically, the present study confirms that video-prime is an effective method to explore moral emotion. Furthermore, most of the findings of the present study supports the dual-process model.