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The effect of emotion on directed forgetting for continuous events
REN Xiaoyun,LI Yuting,MAO Weibin,GENG Qiuchen
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (3): 269-279.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00269
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1124KB)

Forgetting is an adaptive process that can limit the interferences from irrelevant distractors and update valuable information. With regard to negative events, intentional forgetting can effectively help us to recover from trauma. The research on the intentional forgetting of emotional information usually adopts the directed forgetting paradigm. The better memory performance of R items relative to F items is referred to as the typically directed forgetting effect. Although emotional information is thought to be easier to remember than neutral information because of the attentional capture and elaborative process, whether emotional information is more resistant to forgetting is obscured. Most studies on emotional directed forgetting used various discrete items, such as words and pictures, and few addressed continuous events that are actually common in our episodic memory. Directed forgetting is not an all-or-nothing phenomenon because specific and general information appears to be forgotten at different rates. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the influence of emotions on the directed forgetting effect of continuous events. This study also explores the differences in forgetting rates between general/gist memory and specific memory.
In the present study, we adopted the event directed paradigm that embeds memory instructions into continuous videos. In experiment 1, 36 participants were equally divided into two groups: one group watched a neutral video, and the other group watched a negative one. Each video contained nine R segments and nine F segments that were surrounded by green and purple borders. The colored borders acted as memory instructions. The participants were asked to remember the video segments when the border was green and to forget the video segments when the border was purple. The test phase involved free recall and recognition. The participants were requested to recall all information about the video regardless of the classification of the memory instruction (R or F segments). Then, the participants were asked to identify the old pictures among the distractors. The old pictures were taken from the studied videos, and the distractors were slightly similar to the old pictures. The participants’ responses were classified as general/gist memory and specific memory on the basis of previous studies. In experiment 2, we disrupted the play order of segments to further explore the influence of continuity on the directed forgetting effect.
The results of experiment 1 showed that the directed forgetting effect was lower in the negative video than in the neutral video. In addition, the participants demonstrated good memory for the general/gist information of the negative video in free recall. In the recognition phase, no directed forgetting effect was observed for specific memory in the negative video. The result indicated that emotions impaired or eliminated directed forgetting for continuous events. However, the performance of the gist-only memory for the R and F segments was not significant in the neutral and negative videos. Therefore, we speculated that the sequential play of segments might have led to the possibility of participants correctly guessing the general gist of the content. Therefore, we disrupted the order of segments in experiment 2, and the results showed a typically directed forgetting effect for gist-only memory.
In conclusion, directed forgetting could appear in continuous events. However, emotions impair the directed forgetting effect for a specific memory. For gist-only memory, the directed forgetting effect is affected by the continuity of events.

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The influence of shame on deceptive behavior: The role of self-control
FAN Wei,REN Mengmeng,XIAO Junze,JIAN Zengdan,DU Xiaoming,FU Xiaolan
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (9): 992-1006.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00992
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1000KB)

Shame, as a typical moral emotion, has an influence on individual behavior that is both complex and controversial. Previous studies have found that shame produces both an unpleasant experience and a moral emotion that encourages individuals to produce positive behaviors. In recent years, Hooge’s research has proceeded from the perspective of motivation. He believes that, no matter how shame makes individuals perform, their motivation is to restore and protect the damaged self. Therefore, based on Hooge's theory, this research will examine this typical immoral behavior as an example to discuss the impact of shame upon it and its ways.

In this study, students from a university were randomly selected as participants, and the number of each experiment’s participants was arranged according to the experimental requirements. Questionnaires and behavioral experiments were used throughout the experiment, and the experimental procedures were completed in accordance with the regulations of each experiment. The requirements for each experiment were different and the procedures for conducting the experiment were different. The statistical methods of the study were also based on the requirements of each experiment.

Experiment 1 examines whether shame has an effect on deceptive behavior. Its results show that the number and tendency of deception in the shamed group were significantly lower than in the control group. To more fully explore the impact of shame on deceptive behavior in different contexts, Experiment 2 improved upon the deficiencies of Experiment 1 and divided shame situations into two types: moral anomie and lack of ability. It was found that the number of deceptions in the moral anomie shamed group was significantly lower than that in the control group, and the number of deceptions in the lack of ability shamed group was significantly higher than that in the control group. To examine the specific methods and mechanisms of shame in affecting deception, we propose that shamed individuals increase their self-control resources and, thus, reduce the theory of fraud. Experiment 3a examined the impact of shame on self-control resources and found that the self-control resources of the shamed group were significantly higher than those of the control group. Experiment 3b explored the specific mechanisms of shame affecting deceptive behavior. It was found that self-control resources played a complete mediating role in the process of shame in affecting deception.

In summary, these findings suggest that shame can deter deception under certain conditions. The condition is that shame is caused by moral disorder rather than lack of ability; the mechanism of shame in affecting behavior may be: Individuals who feel shame will restore and protect the damaged moral self by mobilizing more self-control resources to influence behavior.

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Mindfulness training can improve 3-and 4-year-old children’s attention and executive function
LI Quan,SONG Yanan,LIAN Bin,FENG Tingyong
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (3): 324-336.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00324
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1319KB)

Mindfulness is a technique that alleviates the suffering of the yogi and implements self-awareness. Previous studies found that mindfulness training can improve work efficiency, emotional regulation, attention, and executive function. However, it is still unknown whether mindfulness training can improve attention and executive function in preschool children. This study sought to investigate the effect of mindfulness training for younger children to improve attention and executive function performance.
The present study attempted to use a 2 (group: mindfulness training vs no-training) × 2 (test time:pre vs post) between-and-within-subjects design to investigate the effect of mindfulness training on improving 3-and 4-year-old children’s attention and executive function. The mindfulness training consisted of 12 sessions, with 20~30 minutes per session, and was held twice a week for two months involving 6 preschoolers at a time. The children were assigned to two groups, mindfulness group (N = 26, age range from 41.69 months to 51.42 months, SD = 1.12 months) and control group (N = 26, age range from 41.98 months to 53.98 months, SD = 3.60 months). In the mindfulness training group, the instructor guided children to perform activities of mindfulness, while children in the No-training group were given normal activities. In the study, the mindfulness training course consisted of three parts. Part 1 was “breath and attention” that children learned to master belly breathing and focused attention on specific sensory. Part 2 was “body perception and movement” that children gained balance awareness and body coordinates. Part 3 was “awareness of mental activity” that children learned to relax and perceive each body part. Children’s attention was measured before and after training using an attention task (e.g. Finding Animals Test), and three components of executive function were measured before and after training using three classic tasks (e.g. Inhibition Control: Peach Flower Heart Task, Cognitive Flexibility: Dimensional Change Card Sort Task (DCCS) and Working Memory: WPPSI-VI’s Picture Memory Test).
To investigate whether mindfulness training can enhance children’s attention and executive function, we performed 2 (group: mindfulness training vs no-training) × 2 (test time: pretest vs posttest) repeated measures ANOVA. The results revealed that the interaction between group and test time was significant. An analysis of simple effects further indicated that in the pretest there was no significant effect between mindfulness training group and no-training group. In the posttest, the attention and two components of executive function performances (inhibition control and cognitive flexibility) improved significantly in mindfulness group, while no significant differences were found on attention and three components of executive function in no-training group. The results supported the usefulness of mindfulness training to enhance children’s performances on attention and executive function.
In conclusion, our results suggested the positive effects of mindfulness training on two components of executive function (inhibition control and cognitive flexibility) and attention in preschool children. The results provided important theoretical and practical implications for 3-and 4-year-old children’s attention and executive function.

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Emotional regulation goals of young adults with depression inclination: An event-related potential study
LI Hong,YANG Xiaoguang,ZHENG Wenyu,WANG Chao
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (6): 637-647.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00637
Abstract   HTML   PDF (2166KB)

Researches on deficits in emotion regulation of depression have mainly focused on the selection and application of emotion-regulation strategies; however, it remains unclear whether it is also related to emotion-regulation goals, i.e., the direction of emotion regulation. Situation selection is an antecedent-focused regulation strategy that is worked before the emotional reactions occur and it can be used as an index of emotional-regulation goals.

In our current study, the event-related potential (ERP) technique was used to investigate the emotion-regulation goals of young adults with depression inclination. Participants were asked to freely select the emotion-inducing scenes in which they want to put themselves and to report their emotional preferences。

ERP results revealed that the amplitudes of Late Positive Potential (LPP) were significantly decreased when viewing the sadness scene in young adults with depression inclination, and they selected to view sadness scene more frequently than healthy young adults. In addition, the ratings of sadness preferences were significantly higher among subjects with depression inclination, while the happiness preferences were lower.

The current results suggest that, compared to the control group, the individuals with depression inclination are more willing to use situation selection to maintain or enhance their sadness rather than weaken it or enhance their happiness. These findings further indicate that emotion regulation goals of depressive subjects may be related to their motivations for selecting emotional stimulus, and provide a new perspective for exploring the causes and mechanisms of emotion regulation deficits in depressive disorders.

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The effects of capacity load and resolution load on visual selective attention during visual working memory
LI Shouxin, CHE Xiaowei, LI Yanjiao, WANG Li, CHEN Kaisheng
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (5): 527-542.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00527
Abstract   HTML   PDF (905KB)

Selective attention plays an important role in processing relevant information and ignoring irrelevant distractors. The relationship between visual working memory (VWM) and visual selective attention has been extensively studied. VWM is a complex system consisting of not only visual maintenance functions, but also executive control functions. High load on visual maintenance functions drains the capacity for perception and prevents distractors from being perceived, while high load on executive control functions drains the capacity available for active control and results in increased processing of irrelevant distractors. There are two types of load in VWM: capacity load referring to the number of items to be stored, and resolution load emphasizing the precision of the stored representations. It has been found that these two types of load exert opposite effects on selective attention. However the mechanism underlying the effects of different types of VWM load on selective attention is still unclear. In the present study, four experiments were designed to investigate how different types of VWM load affect selective attention.
Thirty-six participants were enrolled in Experiment 1, 2 and 3, respectively, and 14 participants were enrolled in Experiment 4. Participants were asked to perform both a VWM task and a visual search task. In the VWM task, participants had to retain colors in VWM to perform a change detection task. There were three levels of VWM load: baseline load, high-capacity load and high-resolution load. In the baseline load condition, participants were required to retain two colors and the change between the memory colors and the probe colors was large. In the high-capacity load condition, participants had to retain four colors and the change between the memory colors and the probe colors was also large. In the high-resolution load condition, participants had to retain two colors and the change between the memory colors and the probe colors was small. In Experiment 1 and 2, the visual search task was a Flanker task that was presented either in the periphery or in the center of the memory array. The Flanker task was presented with the memory array simultaneously in Experiment 1 and sequentially in Experiment 2. In Experiment 3, the visual search task was a Navon task. It was presented after the memory array and only in the center of the memory array. In Experiment 4, a Flanker task was presented after the memory array and only in the center of the memory array. EEG data during the memory interval were recorded by a 64-channel amplifier using a standard 10-20 system.
The results showed that high-capacity load and high-resolution load reduced Flanker interference, compared with baseline load, when the VWM task and the Flanker task were presented simultaneously, regardless of whether the Flanker task was presented in the periphery or in the center of the memory array. High-capacity load and high-resolution load also reduced Flanker interference, compared with baseline load, when the VWM task and the Flanker task were presented sequentially and the Flanker task was presented in the periphery of the memory array. Compared with baseline load, high-capacity load increased Flanker interference and high-resolution load reduced Flanker interference when the VWM task and the Flanker task were presented sequentially and the Flanker task was presented in the center of the memory array. Under the high-capacity load condition, the Navon interference for attending to global level was larger than that for attending to local level; under the high-resolution load condition, the Navon interference for attending to global level was smaller than that for attending to local level. ERP results showed that relative to the baseline load condition, the high- capacity load condition elicited smaller N2, whereas the high-resolution load condition elicited larger N2.
In conclusion, when the Flanker task is presented during encoding stage of VWM, high-capacity load and high-resolution load reduce interference. When the Flanker task is presented in the periphery of the memory array during maintaining stage of VWM, high-capacity load and high-resolution load reduce interference. These findings support the load theory of selective attention. However, when the Flanker task is presented in the center of the memory array during the maintenance stage, high-capacity load and high-resolution load lead to opposite effects. High-resolution load reduce interference, while high-capacity load increase interference. The underlying mechanism is that the different patterns of neural activity associated with the two types of VWM load may result in different distribution of cognitive control resources to selective attention.

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Why “no” implies “negative emotion”? Emotional representation in negation processing
GAO Zhihua,LU Zhongyi
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (2): 177-187.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00177
Abstract   HTML   PDF (602KB)

Propositional theories propose that negation is an explicit abstract symbol, while the embodied theories believe that negation is represented by perceptual symbols. However, both sides lack direct evidence. In the present study, we develop another approach to discuss the issue -- emotional representation. Emotion is viewed as another form of basic experienced symbols and an important component of internal states to construe the representation of abstract concepts. Thus, can negation be represented by emotion?
In the two experiments, negative and affirmative phrases with a construction of “you/meiyou (a/no) + neutral two-syllable Chinese nominal words (e.g., 有/没有铁轨, a/no rail)” were developed as experimental materials to explore the emotional representation of negation processing. In experiment 1, we used the Affect Misattribution Procedure (AMP), in which affirmative and negative neutral phrases were adopted as primes presented for 200 ms after a 0 ms or 300 ms blank screen (SOA: 200 ms and 500 ms), and target ambiguous Russian words with 6~7 letters were presented for 100 ms and then were substituted by the masking pictures. The participants were asked to judge the pleasantness of the target Russian words. In experiment 2, we applied the classical affective procedure (Bona Fide Pipeline, BFP), in which the same primes and the same two SOAs in experiment 1 were adopted, but the targets were Chinese affective words from CAWS, and the target word in each trail was diminished until the participants made the judgment on the pleasantness of the target word. The dependent variable in both experiments was the unpleasant response rationale.
The results of experiment 1 demonstrated that negative neutral phrases led to more unpleasant responses to the ambiguous Russian words than affirmative phrases in the 200-ms and 500-ms SOA conditions. In experiment 2, negation phrases promoted participants’ responses to negative target words and misled responses to positive words more than affirmative phrases. In other words, negation primed more unpleasant responses regardless of the valence of the target words in both SOA conditions. Lastly, we compared the results of experiment 1 and experiment 2 and discovered that in both measure methods, negative neutral phrases induced more unpleasant responses than affirmative ones, which implied that negation had negative valence and was represented by negative emotion.
The results from the two experiments showed that negation was represented by emotional symbols. Because the prime materials adopted in the two experiments were neutral in valence, the different unpleasant response rationales reflected the different valence of the polarity (negation and affirmation), which differed from the explanation of the processing difficulties theories of negation. The stability of this negative bias across two durations meant that the emotional features of negation were not a temporal response but a property of negation. The negative priming effects of negation in the AMP and BFP, which had different demands on attentional resources, were similar. This implied that the negative valence of negation could be activated automatically with unintentional processing.

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Are we truly irrational and almost impossible to educate? Analyzing the scientific evidence behind libertine paternalism
Gerd GIGERENZER, LUAN Shenghua, LIU Yongfang
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (4): 395-406.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00395
Abstract   HTML   PDF (506KB)

Based on research in psychology, libertine paternalists argue that our mind is systematically flawed, which leads to many cognitive biases that are too deeply entrenched to eradicate through education. Thus, they suggest that authorities should take lead and nudge people into proper behaviors and good decisions. However, from the perspectives of ecological rationality, the outcomes of the so-called cognitive biases may not be bad, and in many instances, can be even better than those of the so-called rational reasoning as suggested by libertine paternalists. We analyze the evidence libertine paternalists use to justify nudging and find two major problems: (1) some of the supposed evidence is the product of researchers’ narrow interpretations of what qualify as human rationality and rational thinking; and (2) some libertine paternalists selectively reported scientific evidence, neglecting or sparsely reporting research that show findings contradictory to their belief. We conclude that there is lack of evidence to support the assertion that people are irrational and almost impossible to educate. To invest on education and make people risk savvy not only has been shown plausible and applicable, but also should be a more sustainable solution than nudging.

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Adaptive time management: The effects of death awareness on time perception and intertemporal choice
WANG Peng,WANG Xiaotian,GAO Juan,LI Xialan,XU Jing
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (12): 1341-1350.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.01341
Abstract   HTML   PDF (599KB)

Death awareness refers to thinking about and the recognition of the inevitability of personal death. As a critical component of the human-unique ability of autonoetic consciousness, death awareness can be viewed as a cognitive adaptation for time management. We hypothesize that activating death awareness may affect intertemporal choice, in which people make tradeoffs between rewards across different time points. Such effects of death awareness on intertemporal choice may be mediated by time perception, a subjective assessment of the speed of time passage. In this research, we investigate the impact of death awareness on time perception and intertemporal choice, and the relationships among them.
Study 1 examined the relationship between death awareness and time estimation. Eighty-three college students were randomly assigned to either a death awareness activation group where mortality was made salient to the participants or a control group where the participants imagined their toothache experience. After a word-search distraction task, the participants in both groups completed a time-passage (400ms, 800ms, 1200ms, 1600ms) estimation task. The results showed that the participants in the group of death awareness activation gave significantly shorter estimates than the participants in the control group.
Study 2 (n = 123) extended the measure of time perception to a more extended period and also measured the delay discounting rate of the participants from their intertemporal choices between a smaller-and-sooner reward and a larger-and-later reward. The participants were randomly assigned to either a death awareness activation group or a toothache awareness activation group. The participants then indicated how long ten years was to them by marking on a line with the statement “10 years is very short” on the left end side of the line and the statement “10 years is very long” on the right end side. The participants in the death-awareness activation group marked the line closer to the left end (“life is short”) than those in the control group. As predicted, the participants in the death-awareness activation group had a lower delay discounting rate and were more future-oriented in making intertemporal choices. Moreover, bootstrapping analysis revealed a partial mediation effect of time-passage estimation between death awareness and delay discounting.
In conclusion, death awareness serves adaptive functions in time management. Activating death awareness makes people feel that time passes more quickly and promotes future-oriented decisions.

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Good and evil in Chinese culture: Personality structure and connotation
JIAO Liying, YANG Ying, XU Yan, GAO Shuqing, ZHANG Heyun
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (10): 1128-1142.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.01128
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The ideas of good and evil characteristics have a long history in Chinese language and culture, with these characteristics considered to be two aspects of the Chinese personality. Abundant descriptions of good and evil characteristics can be found in human nature. However, the specific structures of good and evil concepts have not yet been delineated clearly and detailed studies on these concepts are limited. A careful definition is important with regard to what comprises a good or evil personality and to understand the psychological structure of the two concepts.

A lexical approach was applied to determine constitutes a good or evil personality in Chinese culture. In Study 1, a set of 3, 240 good and evil personality descriptors was selected from The Contemporary Chinese Dictionary and accompanied by daily life expressions. The list was condensed into 62 good and 65 evil items following evaluation and selection by 12 psychology graduates. In Study 2, we explored the dimensions of a good personality using exploratory factor analysis (EFA) with Sample 1 (n = 313) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) with Sample 2 (n = 518). Results revealed that good personality contained four dimensions: conscientiousness and integrity, altruism and dedication, benevolence and amicability, and tolerance and magnanimity. We refined the four-dimensions good personality lexical rating scale, which contained 27 items. In Study 3, we used the same method as in Study 2 to explore the structure of an evil personality (EFA: Sample 1, n = 367; CFA: Sample 2, n = 269). Results showed the evil personality contained four dimensions: atrociousness and mercilessness, mendacity and hypocrisy, calumniation and circumvention, and faithlessness and treacherousness. Thus, we employed a 28-item evil personality lexical rating scale. The internal consistency, reliability, and criterion-related validity of the two scales were verified.

The study found four-factor structures of good and evil personalities using the lexical approach and psychometrics methods, which contributes to knowledge on personality. In China, Confucius regarded benevolence as the highest moral principle for a person. Therefore, good and evil traits are embedded naturally in the personality structure of Chinese people. Understanding the structure of good and evil is useful for researchers interested in Chinese culture and for studies in Chinese indigenous psychology.

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The influence of moral relativism and disgust on moral intuitive judgment
GENG Xiaowei,FANG Jinru,HAN Yanfang,LI Zhongquan,ZHAO Mi,YANG Ye
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (4): 517-526.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00517
Abstract   HTML   PDF (794KB)

The social intuition model suggests that moral reasoning occurs after moral intuitive judgment. The question of how people make intuitive moral judgments, and whether the process is influenced by reasoning and emotion, remains to be answered. The purpose of this study is to explore the influence of moral relativism and disgust on moral intuitive judgment. According to the unimodel of human judgment, intuitive and deliberate judgments are based on similar rules. The hypotheses are as follows: moral relativism increases moral intuitive judgment (H1) and disgust increases moral intuitive judgment (H2).

We conducted three experiments to test these hypotheses. In Experiment 1, we examined whether moral intuitive judgment exists. A total of 39 undergraduates were selected and asked to answer “yes” or “no” randomly, like tossing a coin, to 20 moral behaviors, 20 immoral behaviors, and 40 fillers. The accuracy of moral judgment is compared to random level (i.e., 0.5). Accuracy greater than 0.5 was considered indicative of moral intuitive judgment. Single-sample t-test showed that the accuracy of the participants’ random responses was significantly greater than random (i.e., 0.5), indicating the existence of moral intuitions.

In Experiment 2, a total of 77 undergraduates were randomly assigned to two different conditions, i.e., moral relativism and moral absolutism. Participants were first primed moral absolutism or moral relativism by scrambling in a sentence, e.g., the scrambled sentence “as to rightness” “cannot” “different types of morality” “be compared” may be recomposed as “Different types of morality cannot be compared as to rightness”, then randomly answer “yes” or “no” to moral judgments. Independent-samples t-test showed that participants were more inclined to make moral intuitive judgments under the conditions of moral absolutism than moral relativism, which suggests that moral relativism weakens participants’ moral intuitive judgment, while moral absolutism promotes participants’ moral intuitive judgment.

In Experiment 3, a total of 80 undergraduates were randomly assigned to two different emotional conditions, i.e., disgust and neutral emotion. Participants’ disgust (or neutral emotion) were primed by eight pictures of disgusting facial expressions (or eight pictures of neutral facial expressions) before randomly answering “yes” or “no” to moral judgments. Independent-sample t-test showed that participants were more inclined to make moral intuitive judgments under the conditions of disgust emotion than neutral emotion, which suggests that moral intuition judgments are affected by emotion, and disgust increases individuals’ moral intuitive judgments.

In sum, the present research investigated the influence of moral relativism and disgust emotion on moral intuitive judgment, which helps to further understand the mechanism of moral intuitive judgment. In addition, it also provides some guidance for the daily moral judgment. The limitations and further research are also discussed.

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Optimization and asymmetry effects of reward and punishment on control attention: Evidence from eye movements
ZHANG Kuo,ZHAO Ying,WANG Jingxin,
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (11): 1207-1219.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.01207
Abstract   HTML   PDF (740KB)

A wealth of research shows that positive and negative reinforcement critically influence behavior. While it is well established that rewards and penalties can strongly influence mechanisms of executive control, it is unclear whether these two factors exert symmetric or qualitatively distinct behavioral effects. In the current research, we conducted two eye-movement experiments to investigate the influence of monetary reward or punishment on attentional control. We employed these cues in Pro/Anti-saccade tasks in Experiment 1 and Go/No-go tasks in Experiment 2. Crucially, we investigated how either a reward (also referred to as “gain”) or penalty (also referred to as “loss”) influenced inhibitory control in the following trial.

In Experiment 1, participants were instructed to produce simple pro-saccades or more difficult anti-saccades, in conditions in which they received a reward for correct responses or a punishment for incorrect responses or either a reward or punishment. The results showed that, while the accuracy of the pro-saccades was facilitated by reward, the accuracy of the anti-saccades was facilitated by punishment. And the velocity of pro-saccades and anti-saccades were significantly improved by both reward and punishment. In Experiment 2, we further adopted the Go/No-go tasks to explore how reward and punishment affect attentional control via exogenous parafoveal visual cues. This showed essentially the same pattern of effects as Experiment 1. For the Go task, saccade latency significantly decreased when rewards were given relative to punishment or no motivation conditions. And for the No-go task, accuracy increased more in the punishment condition compared to the reward or no motivation conditions. An increase in saccade velocity was observed in the no motivation condition, similarly to in Experiment 1.

In sum, the overall results suggest that both reward and punishment can facilitate the oculomotor control, although the findings reveal a striking asymmetry in the effects of the reward and punishment on behavior. Specifically, positive reinforcement appears to improve approach behaviors, while punishment influences inhibitory behavior. These findings suggest that the two forms of reinforcement are distinct in their influence on behavior.

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The role of masking stimulation in target recognition processing: Evidence from fNIRS
YANG Haibo,LIU Hejun,ZHANG Peng,LI Liang
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (11): 1187-1197.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.01187
Abstract   HTML   PDF (8556KB)

When our visual system processes target signals, it usually receives large amounts of irrelevant information from the target, leading to a reduction in the visibility of the target. A wealth of research has shown that visual search for target letters against a masking background is largely determined by the masker type. Informational maskers, such as either randomly positioned and oriented letters or randomly distributed letter fragments, induce stronger masking effects on recognition of target letters than the energetic maskers do, such as the random-phase masker (same spectral amplitude composition as the letter masker but with the phase spectrum randomized) or the random-pixel masker (the locations of the letter maskers’ pixel amplitudes being randomized). However, the mechanisms under informational masking and those under energetic masking are still unknown.

The current study examined both cortical activities and behavioral performances in the visual search task, which is determined by whether one of four letters presented at four symmetrically-located positions differs from the others under three masking conditions (random pixels, letter fragments, and random letters). Both the oxygenated hemoglobin concentration (HbO) responses in the primary visual cortex (V1) and secondary visual cortex (V2) with a functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) were recorded. Twenty (4 males, 16 females) healthy adults (mean age: 22.5 ± 1.67 years) participated in the experiment. Each masking condition contained 5 blocks, and each block contained 8 trails. There was a resting phase of 20 seconds between the two blocks. Spatial registration methods were applied to localize the cortical regions underneath each channel and to define two regions of interest (ROIs), which are the primary visual cortex (V1) and secondary visual cortex (V2).

The behavioral results showed that the performance of recognizing target letters improved when the masker type shifted from random letters to letter fragments and to random pixels, suggesting that the letter masker interfered the most with performance than the letter fragment and random-pixel maskers. The random-pixel masker caused the least masking effect. The fNIRS results showed that both letter masker and letter-fragment masker produced an increase in cortical oxygen level. Many regions of interest (ROIs), particularly the visual cortex (including V1 and V2), were more activated under the letter or the letter-fragment masking condition compared to the random-pixel masking condition. Moreover, the differences in cortical activation between the masking conditions further suggested that the V1 and V2 are the critical brain regions involved in visual letter search and informational masking of letter recognition.

To summarize, this study used fNIRS to explore the cortex activation patterns of different types of masking on target recognition. The results showed that information masking had much more interference on visual search and caused greater processing loads in primary and secondary visual cortex, compared with energy masking under the same conditions. Furthermore, the differences between letter fragments masking and letters masking are reflected in the activation mode of V1 and V2 regions.

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How state anxiety influences time perception: Moderated mediating effect of cognitive appraisal and attentional bias
LIU Jingyuan,LI Hong
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (7): 747-758.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00747
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Anxiety is associated with high levels of arousal. Both theoretical and empirical work have determined that when an individual experiences anxiety, he/she shows attentional bias toward negative stimuli. High arousal and negative attentional bias, as the two key characteristics of anxiety, are associated with a series of subjective feelings and experiences of individuals with state anxiety, among which time perception is significant. However, how this process operates remains an open question. In this article, we investigate how state anxious individuals perceive time, especially the roles of attention bias and cognitive appraisal in this process.
Sixty college students participated in the study and were randomly assigned to a high state anxiety group (n = 30, completed a procedure of anxious state induction) and a low state anxiety group (n = 30, completed a procedure of calm state induction). Then, a 2 (high state anxiety group vs. low state anxiety group) × 2 (negative stimuli vs. neutral stimuli) × 3 (2000 ms vs. 4000 ms vs. 8000 ms) mixed-design experiment was conducted with the attentional bias as the mediator, the cognitive appraisal as the moderator and the time perception as the dependent variable. State anxiety was manipulated by an induction process, time perception was measured by the time reproduction task, attentional bias was measured by the dot-probe task and cognitive appraisal was assessed by the visual analogue mood scales.
The results showed that (1) State anxiety had an effect on time perception, namely, individuals with high state anxiety overestimated the 2-second interval of the negative stimuli. (2) Attentional bias played a partial mediating role in the relationship between state anxiety and time perception of 2000 ms. (3) Cognitive appraisal moderated the mediation effect of attentional bias on the influence of state anxiety on time perception of 2000 ms. Specifically, when the score of cognitive appraisal was high, attentional bias played a mediating role in the influence of state anxiety on time perception, while when the score of cognitive appraisal was low, attentional bias did not play a mediating role in the influence of state anxiety on time perception.
Therefore, the effect of state anxiety on college students’ time perception was a moderated mediating effect. The moderated mediating model significantly revealed the effect mechanism of state anxiety on college students’ time perception, which can contribute to a better understanding of how individuals in an anxious state perceive time. Furthermore, it suggests that the adjustment of cognitive appraisal or attentional bias is an important way to alleviate the time distortion of anxious individuals.

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Language and culture influence cognition: Effects of indirect or direct language
YANG Qun,ZHANG Qirui,FENG Yiran,ZHANG Jijia
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (5): 543-556.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00543
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The relationship between language and color cognition is key to understanding language and cognition. With the arguments between linguistic relevance and linguistic universal hypotheses, researchers prefer the eclectic theory that color cognition includes physics, perception, and culture-related properties. Given these theories and various investigations, interaction theory between color terms and color cognition has been proposed. One argument suggests that color perception should be influenced by language and culture, given the normal sense organs and level of intelligence.
Numerous types of studies have proven that language and culture play a role in color cognition, but how such a role is performed remains to be fully understood. Discussions on the essential mechanism of this effect remain lacking, and whether this effect is a direct or indirect effect (i.e., language strategies or cognition structure changes) continues to be unclear. According to the literature, the color category perception effect proposes that people are more likely to distinguish colors from different colors than those that landed in the same area. Thus, two categories of color were used as materials in past research, which made it difficult to distinguish between the direct and indirect effects. Accordingly, this paper employed just one category color, which was further divided into two different categories. Color culture is import to a nation. Thus, green is vital to Uygur culture, with red as the counterpart for the Han culture. In relation to this, the present study designed a perceptual task (Experiment 1) as well as classification and recognition tasks containing memory (Experiments 2 and 3), in order to explore the effect of language and culture on color cognition for the Uygur and Han nationalities.
Focal colors of red (RGB: 0, 255, 0) and green (RGB: 255, 0, 0) were selected as base points, and a vertical demarcation line was drawn on the RGB chromatography. On each side of the line, nine different stimuli in the same lightness saturation level (240-120) but with different chromaticities were selected. In Experiment 1, three colors (two from the same side of green or red and another from the other side) constitute one set of experimental material. Participants were asked to judge as quickly and as accurately as possible whether the left or the right color block looked more similar to the middle one, and press the corresponding button on a response box. A total of 62 college students participated in the experiment (31 of Han nationality and 31 of Uygur nationality). In Experiment 2, the materials and the participants (in terms of number and categories) were identical to those in Experiment 1. Participants were instructed to remember the colors and identify as quickly and as accurately as possible whether the following colors belong to the left or to the right of the color pair, and then press the corresponding button on a response box. In Experiment 3, 62 participants from the two nationalities who were using identical materials were asked to judge as quickly and as accurately as possible whether the left or the right color looked more similar to the standard one, and then press the corresponding button on the response box.
Results showed significant differences in the perception, classification, and recognition tasks between the Uygur and Han nationalities. Compared with the Han nationality, the Uygur nationality had the advantage in distinguishing, classifying, and even recognizing green, but suffered a disadvantage when processing the color red. For the perception task, the two groups both spent a long time in the classification and recognition tasks. Accordingly, we believe that language and cultural differences in terms of perceiving the green and red colors affect color cognition and that such an effect is indirect, that is, language and culture can influence the color perception structure.

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Impacts of chunking strategy on memorising similar words
ZHANG Lei,LU Chengrou,LIN Junfeng,MEI Leilei
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (3): 280-292.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00280
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The successful memorisation of similar words is critical for individuals’ vocabulary acquisition. Previous studies have found that individuals perform significantly better in an immediate serial memory test for dissimilar words than similar words. However, the memory advantage for dissimilar words in those studies was mainly based on the comparison of two sets of different learning materials (i.e., similar and dissimilar words). Therefore, whether similar words are memorised better in a similar chunking condition (similar words are successively presented) or dissimilar chunking condition (similar words are alternately presented by other dissimilar words) is unclear.
To address the above question, we performed four experiments in this study, in which within-subject design and study-test paradigm were used. Experiment 1A aims to explore the effects of chunking strategy on the memory of similar words. In this experiment, two matched sets of similar English pseudowords were used for the similar and dissimilar chunking conditions, respectively. In the similar chunking condition, similar words were successively presented, whereas in the dissimilar chunking condition, similar words were alternately presented with other dissimilar words. Participants were instructed to memorise the words during the study phase. A recognition memory test was administered one hour after the study phase. Experiment 1B aims to investigate the memory advantage of the dissimilar chunking condition for long-term retention. Experimental materials and tasks were the same with those of Experiment 1A, but the interval between study and test was prolonged to one week. Experiment 2 used Deese-Roediger-McDermott (DRM) paradigm to examine whether the dissimilar chunking strategy facilitated the memory of similar words by improving the memory of individual words or enhancing the memory of shared parts across similar words. Experiment 3 included unfamiliar Korean characters as materials to further disentangle the contributions of visual and phonological similarities on the memory of similar words.
Results show that: 1) Compared with the similar chunking strategy, the dissimilar chunking strategy show better memory performance on similar words, which can be maintained for at least one week. 2) The dissimilar chunking strategy improves the memory of similar words and results in a high false memory for similar lures. 3) The memory advantage for dissimilar chunking strategy is evident for phonologically similar words (i.e., English pseudowords) but not for visually similar words (i.e., Korean characters).
The results suggest that the dissimilar chunking strategy improves the memorisation of phonologically similar words by enhancing the memory of common parts across similar words. In other words, the dissimilar chunking strategy may be an effective way to improve the memorisation of similar words. These findings have important implications for language learning and education.

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HRV evidence for the improvement of emotion regulation in university students with depression tendency by working memory training
PENG Wanqing,LUO Wei,ZHOU Renlai
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (6): 648-661.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00648
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Emotion regulation provides an effective way to understand and control our emotion. The lack of emotion regulation skill is viewed as one of the major causes of emotional problems, such as depression, anxiety disorder and others. Researchers have attempted to find an effective way to improve individuals’ emotion regulation ability. In recent years, a promising direction is working memory updating, which is an essential element in the central executive component of working memory. Some studies suggest that working memory updating plays a critical role in modulating the emotion regulation process and that working memory updating training can enhance emotion regulation ability.

Thus, it is possible to improve depression-prone individuals’ emotion regulation ability through working memory training.

In order to examine the effect of working memory training on the emotion regulation ability of depression-prone college students, we used CES-D (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale) and BDI-II-C (Beck Depression Inventory II Chinese) evaluation to recruit 40 depression-prone students and 20 healthy students. The depression-prone students were further divided into training and control groups voluntarily. The depression-prone training group completed a 20-day working memory training program. The depression-prone control group and healthy control group did not take part in the training. Participants’ scores for 2-back and 3-back tasks, Emotion Regulation Scale (ERS) scores, subjective emotion ratings for emotion regulation tasks, and HF (High Frequency Power) HRV (Heart Rate Variability) and LF (Low Frequency Power) HRV measurements for five conditions (resting, neutral, attending, relaxed and regulation) during pre-test and post-test phases were collected and analyzed. Statistical methods, including observation and variance analysis, were used to compare collected data from the three groups.

We found a significant main effect of condition on subjective emotion ratings. Participants’ subjective emotion scores for the regulation and attending conditions were significantly higher than those for the neutral condition. In addition, the emotion scores for the regulation condition were significantly lower than those for the attending condition. As for the HRV data, during the pre-test phase, the depression-prone training and control groups had no significant difference with respect to HF-HRV, and their HF-HRV was significantly lower than that of the healthy control group. As for the ratio of LF/HF-HRV, a significant condition × group interaction was found. Resting LF/HF-HRV of the healthy control group was significantly higher than that of the depression-prone training and control groups. During the post-test phase, there was a significant increase in HF-HRV for the depression-prone training group. HF-HRV for the depression-prone training group became closer to that of the healthy control group and was marginally significantly higher than that of the depression-prone control group. Moreover, HF-HRV for the depression-prone training group was significantly higher with respect to the regulation condition than the resting condition, while there was no difference for the other two groups. During the post-test phase, the ratio of LF/HF-HRV for the depression-prone training group was significantly higher than for the depression-prone control group, and there was no significant difference between the depression-prone training group and the healthy control group.

In conclusion, the HRV data for the depression-prone training group was more similar to that of the healthy control group during the post-test phase than that of the depression-prone control group, which indicated an improvement in emotional regulation ability. For future research, a larger sample size and a more sophisticated experimental paradigm for HRV data collection are needed.

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Linking abusive supervision with employee creativity: The roles of psychological contract breach and Zhongyong thinking style
SHEN Yimo,MA Chenlu,BAI Xinwen,ZHU Yanhan,LU Yunlin,ZHANG Qinglin,LIU Jun
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (2): 238-247.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00238
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Although creativity has been recognized as an important employee outcome related with work context, to date little research has examined the relationship between abusive supervision and employee creativity, which has perhaps been hindered by the lack of a theoretical framework outlining the mechanisms underlying this relationship. The current study examined the processes linking abusive supervision to employee creativity in the Chinese context by focusing on the mediating influence of psychological contract breach and the moderating influence of Zhongyong thinking style.
We collected data from 93 supervisors and 369 subordinates at three different time points. In the first survey, the subordinates were asked to provide information about abusive supervision and their demography. One week later, these subordinates were asked to answer some questions about psychological contract breach and Zhongyong thinking style. Approximately two months later, we asked these supervisors to rate their subordinates’ creativity. Multi-level structuring equation modeling technique and Monte Carlo resampling method were employed to examine the hypothesis about the moderating role of Zhongyong thinking style in the indirect relationship between abusive supervision and employee creativity through psychological contract breach.
These findings provided support for the hypothesis that the indirect relationship between abusive supervision and employee creativity through psychological contract breach is moderated by Zhongyong thinking style, such that the indirect relationship is weakened when Zhongyong thinking style is high, rather than low. These findings contribute to our understanding of the relationship between abusive supervision and employee creativity in the Chinese context, and imply that the negative influence of abusive supervision on employee outcomes could be decreased by guiding employees to cultivate Zhongyong thinking style because it can encourage self-regulation of behavior after experiencing abusive supervision.

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Do more contacts bring stronger contact intention? It depends on valence and efficacy
HUANG Fei,WANG Changcheng,SHI Kuankuan,HALIKE Ababaikere,LI Linpeng
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (11): 1256-1268.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.01256
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Since they are critical components of today’s societies, interethnic relations can exert a great effect on the stability and harmony of a given social system. For multi-ethnic countries like China, achieving harmonious relations among different ethnic groups is an important but difficult task. Intergroup contact has been confirmed as one of the most effective prejudice reduction strategies across different target groups, situations, and cultural contexts, especially when the four optimal conditions, equal status, cooperation, common goals, and institutional support, are present. However, past contact research is biased because its predominant focus is on positive contact; insufficient attention has been paid to the examination of negative contact, especially in China. Moreover, much of the prior research has focused on intergroup contact from the perspective of majority groups. To address these limitations, this article tested the effects of positive and negative contact from the points of view of both majority and minority groups, and intergroup efficacy was examined as a mediator in positive and negative contact effects.

Two studies were conducted within two interethnic backgrounds on six samples in total. They were 448 Han (Mage = 20.3, SD = 1.66) and 375 Uyghur (Mage = 21.7, SD = 1.75) from several inland cities, and 791 Han (Mage = 20.1, SD = 1.23) and 901 Uyghur (Mage = 20.8, SD = 1.19) from Xinjiang Province of Study 1, 957 Han (Mage = 15.7, SD = 1.80) and 565 Hui (Mage = 15.9, SD = 1.91) from Ningxia Province of Study 2. All participants completed a battery of self-report questionnaires measuring their positive and negative interethnic contact experiences, interethnic self-efficacy, and intention of interethnic contact. All the measures in the present study showed good reliability and validity for each sample. Data were then analyzed using descriptive statistics, dependent t-test, correlation coefficients comparison, and path analysis to test the hypotheses related to the valence of contact and the role of efficacy.

he results indicated that: (1) the quantity of positive interethnic contact was significantly much more than negative interethnic contact in all six samples. The weighted average effect size measured by Cohen’s d was 1.75. (2) The correlations between positive interethnic contact and intention of interethnic contact in all six samples were positively significant with medium sizes; the correlations between negative interethnic contact and intention of interethnic contact in all six samples were negatively significant with small sizes, with weighted average rs 0.57 and -0.24 respectively. (3) Valence asymmetry effect showed positive interethnic contact’s effects on enhancing intention of interethnic contact were greater than negative interethnic contact’s effects on weakening intention of interethnic contact. The weighted average r difference was 0.38. (4) Positive and negative interethnic contact exerted significant indirect effects on intention of interethnic contact via interethnic self-efficacy with weighted average indirect effects of 0.13 and -0.08 respectively; positive and negative interethnic contact could also affect intention of interethnic contact directly. (5) Positive and negative interethnic contacts’ effects on intention of interethnic contact were stronger among Han compared with Uyghur in Xinjiang, and positive contact’s effect was significantly lower among Han than Hui in Ningxia. No significant differences were found between majority and minority samples in inland samples on both effects, and no significant difference was found in Ningxia samples on negative contact’s effect. In general, the moderation effect of the majority-minority status was not supported.

Research into the effects of positive and negative interethnic contact and the mediating role of interethnic self-efficacy demonstrates both theoretical and practical implications. Theoretically, conducting research taking into positive and negative interethnic contact simultaneously could not only serve as a response to the call for strengthening negative contact research, but more importantly, it enriches intergroup contact theory through acquiring evidence from Chinese ethnic background and contributes to a comprehensive understanding of intergroup contact. Practically, the findings presented above suggest that to achieve harmonious interethnic relations, effective measures can be taken to promote positive interethnic contacts and prevent negative interethnic contacts through increased interethnic self-efficacy or directly enhancing the contact intention.

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The influence of dopaminergic genetic variants and maternal parenting on adolescent depressive symptoms: A multilocus genetic study
CAO Yanmiao, ZHANG Wenxin
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (10): 1102-1115.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.01102
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For decades, there is increasing evidence for the importance of single-gene by environment interactions (G × E) in understanding the etiology of depression. However, several concerns have been raised about the ignoring the polygenic traits of depression when conducting G × E research using single loci. Within this context, the multilocus genetic profile score (MGPS) have recently emerged as an approach of capturing polygenic nature across multiple genes. In line with the monoamine deficiency hypothesis, recent research has begun to show that the combined effects of multiple dopaminergic genetic variants are stronger than the influence of any single gene examined in isolation. Additionally, genes related to the functioning of the dopaminergic system, which coordinates individual’s response to stress. However, existing G × E research has largely focused on adverse family environments (i.e., maltreatment, maternal unresponsiveness) and to a lesser extent on positive environment, such as positive parenting. Therefore, the present study aimed to examine the interaction between dopaminergic genetic variants and maternal parenting on adolescent depressive symptoms, by adopting the approach of multilocus genetic profile score.

Participants were 1052 mother-offspring (adolescents mean age 12.31 ± 0.37 years old at the first time point, 50.2% females) dyads recruited from the community. Youth completed assessments twice with an interval of one year. Saliva samples, self-reported depressive symptoms and mother-reported parenting were collected. All measures showed good reliability. Genotyping in three dopaminergic genes were performed for each participant in real time with MassARRAY RT software version 3.0.0.4 and analyzed using the MassARRAY Typer software version 3.4 (Sequenom). To examine whether multilocus genetic profile score moderates the effects of parenting on adolescent depressive symptoms and whether this potential moderating effect act in a diathesis-stress or differential susceptibility manner, hierarchical regression analyses were conducted. We also tested above questions by recoding into categorical variables and re-conducted analyses.

The results found that multilocus genetic profile score was a significant risk factor of depression, with higher dopamine genetic risk scores (indicating lower dopaminergic neurotransmission) predicting higher levels of depression. After controlling for gender and prior depressive symptoms, the G × E effect with positive and negative parenting were also significant, suggesting that G × E interaction significantly predicted change in depression level between Time 1 and Time 2. Specifically, adolescents with higher MGPS exhibited higher risk for depression when encountered with lower levels of positive parenting and higher levels of negative parenting, compared to their counterparts with lower MGPS. The results support the diathesis-stress model and highlight the complex ways that genes and environment interact to influence development.

These finding underscores complex polygenic underpinnings of depression and lends support for the mulitlocus genetic profile scores-environment interactions implicated in the etiology of depressive symptoms.

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Effects of embodied simulation on understanding Chinese body action verbs
WANG Bin,LI Zhirui,WU Limei,ZHANG Jijia
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (12): 1291-1305.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.01291
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Recent approaches on embodied cognition and theories of semantic and conceptual “grounding” have emphasized the role of perceptual and motor skills in language comprehension and action understanding. Evidence on the role of sensorimotor information in language processing has been obtained from behavioral and neuroimaging studies. These findings have been taken as a support for the claim that language is understood through sensorimotor simulations of actions and events being described. The theory on Perceptual Symbol Systems holds that the sensorimotor system participates in the language comprehension process, which is an empirical simulation of a situation through a series of complex language cues. Chinese characters may show different characteristics from English words because semantic radicals are linked with the meaning of these characters. These semantic radicals may affect the embodied effect of Chinese characters.
In the study, authors used single-character body action verbs in Chinese as experimental materials. Body action verbs are words that use body parts to perform mechanical movements. The directional semantic feature of body action verbs reflects the direction of physical space and can be perceived. Experiment 1 investigated the influence of semantic direction on the spatial judgment of an arrow direction in the motion channel under whole word priming. The repeated measurement design of 2 (Chinese character embodied direction: up/down) × 2 (arrow direction: up/down) was adopted. Thirty-five participants volunteered in this study. Experiment 2 investigated the influence of semantic orientation on the spatial judgment of letter orientation in visual channels under whole word initiation. The repeated measurement design of 2 (Chinese character direction: up/down) × 2 (letter position: up/down) design was used. Thirty-eight participants took part in this experiment. Experiment 3 investigated the embodied simulation of the semantic radical and whole character under the radical priming paradigm. Chinese body action verbs formed by semantic radicals “扌” and “?” were used as experimental materials. A within-subject design of 2 (priming type: semantic radical’s priming/control priming) × 3 (character type: consistent/inconsistent) × 3 (SOA: 43 ms/72 ms/243 ms) was used. Before the behavioral experiment, the participants were asked to hold their hands up for one minute to reinforce the bodybuilding experience of having their hands above and their feet below. Character type shows the direction and orientation between the character and its semantic radical. Consistent character type means that the character and its semantic radical have a similar direction and orientation. For example, the semantic radical “?” means “foot, ” which is below the body. Thus, “蹲” is a consistent character, whereas “跳” is an inconsistent character.
Results suggest the following: (1) When Chinese characters are in a downward semantic direction, the downward arrow is judged faster than the upward arrow. When characters are in an upward semantic direction, the direction of the arrow has a null effect. (2) Chinese characters with upward semantic movement can be used to recognize upper letters more quickly and characters with downward semantic movement can be used to recognize lower letters more quickly. (3) In the middle and late stages of Chinese character processing, the response of consistent and inconsistent Chinese characters is significantly different, indicating that the semantic radical is activated from the middle stage of the Chinese character processing until the late stage.
The present findings demonstrate the following: (1) An action-character compatibility effect is present in Chinese body movement verbs in the movement and visual channels. Understanding Chinese body movement verbs is a cross-channel embodied simulation process. (2) The semantic radical activation of the phonogram starts from the middle stage to the late stage of Chinese body action verb processing. A semantic understanding of Chinese body action verbs has an embodied simulation at the whole character and component (semantic radical) levels.

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Classroom bullying norms and bullying behavior:The mediating role of fear induced by group identity and peer pressure
ZENG Xinran,WANG Yue,DING Junhao,ZHOU Hui
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (8): 935-944.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00935
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Evidence from past years has documented that group factors, such as group norms, are related to bullying in schools. Studies have revealed that groups’ bullying norms positively predicted individuals’ bullying behaviors. However, the mechanism underlying this phenomenon remains unclear. Studies have documented that peer pressure mediates the relationship between bullying norms among friends and cyber bullying. Moreover, when conflict is inevitable, fear leads to aggressive behavior. Therefore, the current research included two studies to clarify the relationship between classroom bullying norms and bullying behavior.


In the first study, a scenario-based experiment was conducted. A total of 89 male and 97 female primary school students in grades 4 through 6 were invited to participate in the study. Participants were randomly divided into the bullying norm priming group and the control group. After priming, participants in both groups completed the questionnaires addressing fear induced by group identity, peer pressure, and bullying behavior. Students from 23 classes were invited to participate in Study 2. A total of 459 males and 422 females (62 were lacking gender data) from grades 4, 5, 6, and 8 completed the questionnaires on classroom bullying norms, peer pressure, and bullying behavior. HLM version 7.0 was used for the hierarchical linear model.


The results of Study 1 showed that (1) participants in the bullying-norm priming group showed higher levels of bullying behavior, peer pressure, and fear induced by group identity than those in the control group; (2) fear induced by group identity and peer pressure was positively associated with bullying behavior; (3) after controlling for the effect of gender, peer pressure marginally but significantly mediated the relationship between classroom bullying norms and bullying behavior at the 95% confidence level (β = 0.064, p = 0.063). The result of Study 2 demonstrated that the mediating effect of peer pressure was significant at both the individual and the classroom level, even after controlling for the effect of gender. Specifically, (1) the indirect effect of peer pressure accounted for 22.24% of the total effect at the individual level and (2) the indirect effect of peer pressure accounted for 28.35% of the total effect at the classroom level.


The results of both studies highlighted the mediating role of peer pressure in classroom bullying norms and bullying behavior. The current study is the first to identify this mediating mechanism. The findings of the present study suggest that classroom norms and peer pressure deserve more attention in further prevention and intervention addressing school bullying.

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Does mobile shopping make fast decisions? The role of contextual factors and thinking style
Minxue HUANG,Wei WANG
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (5): 612-624.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00612
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Previous studies have proposed that firms attempt to reduce online shopping choice deferral, which may lead consumers to abandon or drop their shopping carts before making their final purchase. Moreover, given their mobility and tactile effects, the use of mobile devices can make consumers more emotional compared with the use of desktop computers, thereby triggering a decision-making process. However, the results of some surveys reject such case and instead reveal that the decision-making process of consumers is influenced by the interaction between contextual factors and product attributes. In this paper, these contextual factors were classified into mobile devices and personal computers, while product attributes were classified into low price and high price. Inspired by dual-process theory, we supposed that high (low) price might evoke the rational (experiential) thinking styles of consumers and that mobile devices (personal computers) could trigger their experiential (rational) thinking styles. When these thinking styles are triggered by price and device types, the online choice deferral of these consumers will be reduced.
We performed two studies to verify these hypotheses. In Study 1, we collected 3, 674 order data from the Tmall online shopping platform for around two months with the cooperation of a wine company based in China. The threshold regression analysis of secondary data showed that the shopping terminal (mobile phones and personal computers) had no main effect on online shopping choice deferral. However, these results highlighted a significant interaction between product price and device type. As predicted in hypothesis 1, the results indicate that online consumers have significantly more choice deferral for a low-price product when shopping using their personal computers than their mobile phones. Meanwhile, these consumers have significantly more choice deferral for high-price products when shopping using their mobile phones than their personal computers. We also conducted a laboratory experiment to test our hypotheses and verified the mediating effect of thinking style by bootstrapping. We recruited 138 participants in Study 2. Our 2 (device type: mobile phone vs. personal computer) × 2 (price level: low vs. high) between-subject design showed that these participants had significantly lower tendency of choice deferral for low-price products when using mobile phones than when using personal computers. On the contrary, these participants showed a significantly lower tendency of choice deferral for high-price products when using personal computers than when using mobile phones. The mediating effect of thinking style was also verified.
The results suggest that online shopping choice deferral is affected not only by product attributes (such as price level in this paper) but also by specific situations (such as device type in this paper). High- (low-)priced products may evoke the rational (experiential) thinking styles of these consumers, while mobile devices (personal computers) can trigger their experiential (rational) thinking styles. When the thinking style is triggered by the product price and device, the online choice deferral of these consumers can be reduced. On the contrary, triggering these two thinking styles at the same time can increase their online shopping choice deferral.
The theoretical contributions of this research are as follows. First, this study offers a deeper understanding of the consumer shopping scenario by showing that different types of devices can trigger different thinking styles, thereby extending the current perspectives toward mobile shopping. Second, this study enriches the previous research on choice deferral by exploring the situational effect on the decision-making process. Third, this study extends the current understanding of the experiential and rational thinking styles by examining the relationship between these two styles, thereby contributing to dual-process theory. The findings of this study can also help companies improve their scenario-based target marketing.

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Preview processing of between words and within words in Chinese reading: No word highlighting effect
GUAN Yiyun, SONG Xini, ZHENG Yuwei, ZHANG Yingliang, CUI Lei
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (9): 969-981.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00969
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In the present study, readers’ eye movements were recorded to investigate the influence of word highlighting information on the preview processing of between-words and within-words.

Most studies on preview effects have found that the size of the preview effects is 30~50 ms. Hy?n? et al. (2004) examined parafoveal processing of the end lexeme of a long Finnish compound while the beginning lexeme of the compound was fixated. And the results found 80ms preview effect which was more pronounced than previous literatures. The larger preview benefit may have been due to the fact that the preview word is part of one larger linguistic unit (within-words); however, in previous experiments, the preview word and the current fixated word belong to different words (between-words). Consequently, researchers speculated that within-words might induce larger preview effect than that of between-words. Some researchers used compound words (within-words) and phrases (between-words) to further explore this issue and they found that there were no differences between within-words and between-words in preview effects. The results cannot exclude the possible explanation that larger preview effect for within-words is caused by the higher syntactic expectations of nouns comes from adjectives in phrases inducing larger preview effect and then counterbalances the possible differences between the two kinds of words. The present study adopted the boundary paradigm to probe the preview processing differences between within-words and between-words. In the present study, the first character of a two-character compounds (between-words) and the second character of a two-character compounds (within-words) was manipulated to be presented normally or replaced by a pseudo-character for previews. Moreover, word highlighting sentence and non-word highlighting sentence were introduced to examine whether the word boundary information could exert different influences on the preview processing of between-words and within-words. Marking word boundary by word highlighting has its unique advantages. Most of all, compared with word spaces, word highlighting can not only keep the same sentence length meanwhile providing the word boundary information but also control the same word lateral masking on different conditions.

Firstly, the results indicated that the preview effect for between-word was smaller than that of within-word. The results were consistent with the results of Hy?n? et al. (2004), which showed that the morphological information of target word could impact on preview processing. Secondly, we found that there were no differences among normal condition, highlighting condition and non-word highlighting condition. Even so, we did not found the significant influences of word boundary demarcation for preview processing, the possible benefit effect of word boundary still could not be ruled out thoroughly. As Bai et al. (2008) pointed out that readers are familiar with the text without any word boundary signals in normal reading; consequently, the null effect between normal and word boundary text may show a priming effect on word boundary condition, which is the one readers are not familiar with. Thirdly, the results showed that word boundary information had similar effects on within-words and between-words.

Results of the present study indicated that word morphological information could affect its preview processing; however, word boundary information do not necessarily facilitate preview processing for both between-words and within-words. The possible explanation may be that word segmentation and word recognition occur simultaneously. These results are consistent with the model of word segmentation and word recognition.

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Daily negative affect and emotional labor strategies
FANG Yanran,WEI Wei,LUO Ping,LIU Xiaodong,SHI Junqi,ZHAN Yujie
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (3): 353-365.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00353
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Emotional labor refers to the process of regulating both feelings and expressions in response to the display rules for promoting organizational goals. Instead of conceptualizing emotional labor as a stable behavioral tendency, the current study applied self-regulation theory to understand emotional labor (expressing proper emotion at work) as a self-regulation process, and specific emotional labor strategies (i.e., deep acting and surface acting) as approaches employees use to cope with negative moods on a daily basis.
By surveying 210 customer service representatives of a call center for fourteen consecutive workdays, this diary study examined a multilevel model of daily emotional labor, with morning negative affect as a within-person level predictor, and employee job tenure and emotional intelligence as between-person level moderators. Specifically, the main effects of daily negative affect on emotional labor strategies were reflected by mean values of the random slopes at the within-person level. To test the cross-level interactive effects, the random slopes of “morning negative affect-daily emotional labor strategies” relations were regressed on job tenure and emotional intelligence; the interactive effects were indicated by significant effects of between-level moderators on given within-level random slopes.
Results showed that service employees were more likely to engage in deep acting on days when they experience lower levels of negative mood. Further, job tenure and emotional intelligence significantly attenuated the negative effect of morning negative affect on daily deep acting. Specifically, the negative relationship between morning negative affect and daily deep acting was weaker (versus stronger) for employees with longer (versus shorter) job tenure, or higher (versus lower) emotional intelligence. Additionally, employees’ emotional intelligence also moderated the relationship between morning negative affect and surface acting, but in different directions. To be concrete, for employees with higher emotional intelligence, there was a positive relationship between morning negative affect and daily surface acting; whereas the relationship reflected a negative trend for employees with less emotional intelligence.
The current study contributes to the literature of emotional labor in several aspects. First, drawing on self-regulation theory, the current study conceptualized emotional labor as a coping strategy in employees’ daily self-regulation process. In conceptualizing deep acting and surface acting as coping strategies consuming different levels of resources, the current study provided a resources-based mechanism underlying the “negative affect-emotional labor strategy” linkage. Second, the current study also investigated cognitive resource (i.e., job tenure) and self-regulation resource (i.e., emotional intelligence) at the individual level as boundary conditions that shape the impact of daily negative affect on emotional labor strategies. In doing so, we were able to support the resource-based theoretical mechanism between the “negative affect-emotional labor strategy” linkage, and expand the literature on emotional labor.

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Scene effects on facial expression detection: The moderating effects of trait anxiety
LI Wanyue,HAN Shangfeng,LIU Shen,YANG Yaping,ZHANG Lin,XU Qiang
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (8): 869-878.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00869
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Facial expressions are fundamental emotional stimuli. They convey important information in social interaction. Most previous studies focused on the processing of isolated facial expressions. However, in everyday life, faces always appear within complex scenes. The emotional meaning of the scenes plays an important role in judging facial expressions. Additionally, facial expressions change constantly from appearance to disappearance. Visual scenes may have different effects on the processing of faces with different emotional intensities. Individual personality traits, such as trait anxiety, also affect the processing of facial expressions. For example, individuals with high trait anxiety have processing bias on negative emotional faces. The present study explored whether previously presented visual scenes affected the identification of emotions in morphed facial expressions, and whether the influences of visual scenes on the identification of facial expressions showed differences between individuals with high and low trait anxiety.


Using the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), we placed 29 participants who scored in the top 27% in the high trait anxiety group (9 men and 20 women; mean age 19.76 ± 1.3 years) and 28 participants who scored in the bottom 27% in the low trait anxiety group (11 males and 17 females, mean age 19.71 ± 1.2 years). The images of faces (4 models, half male and half female) used in this study were selected from the NimStim Set of Facial Expressions. The face stimuli showed typical happy, neutral, and fearful expressions. Facial expressions were morphed to create a series of gradually varied images of facial expressions. Specifically, fearful face (100%) versus neutral face (0%) and happy face (100%) versus neutral face (0%) were morphed in 20% increments. In addition, 40 surrounding scene images were used, with 20 positive scenes and 20 negative scenes. In the face-emotion detection task, participants were asked to determine whether the emotion from the faces presented after the scenes were fearful, happy, or neutral.


For the repeated measure ANOVA of the accuracy for facial expression detection, the results showed scene effects on the identification of emotions in facial expressions. The scene effects were varied between the different intensity of face emotion: for the emotionally vague faces, the detection of happy and fearful expression showed significant scene effects; for the faces with moderate emotional intensity, only the detection of the fearful faces showed significant scene effects; for the intense emotions on faces, there was a significant effect on happy and neutral faces but not on fearful faces. Trait anxiety as an individual factor was found to play a moderating role in the identification of facial expressions. For the high trait anxiety group, there were no significant differences in the accuracy of emotional detection between congruent and incongruent conditions. This means that the high trait anxiety group did not show significant scene effects. The low trait anxiety group showed a significant difference in the accuracy of identification of emotions in facial expressions between congruent and incongruent conditions, i.e., significant scene effects.In summary, the present study demonstrated that, for facial expressions with low emotional intensity, the identification of happy and fearful faces was more likely to be affected by visual scenes than the identification of neutral faces. Visual scenes were more likely to affect the identification of moderately fearful faces than moderately happy faces. Trait anxiety played a moderating role in the influence of visual scenes on emotional detection of facial expressions. Specifically, individuals with high trait anxiety were less affected by surrounding visual scenes and paid more attention to facial expressions.

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Eliminating the negative impact of subgroups by exchanging members in the subgroups
NI Xudong,JI Baile
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (2): 259-268.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00259
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The core of team research has shifted from team diversity to team faultlines and from faultlines to subgroups. In other words, the study of subgroups is the developmental direction of the study of team diversity and faultlines. Numerous studies have documented the negative effects of subgroups on group functioning, and scholars have explored whether team situations can eliminate such negative influence. However, no studies have explored whether the dynamic change of team composition at the subgroup level, such as subgroup member exchange, can eliminate this negative influence. This study aims to fill the research gap by focusing on this topic.
This research investigates teams with two balanced and identity-based subgroups as the research objects, and uses experimental research methods to explore whether subgroup member exchange can eliminate the negative impact of subgroups on team outcomes. By conducting experiments on 75 temporary teams (38 teams with subgroup member exchanges and 37 teams with no subgroup member exchange), this paper finds that (1) subgroup member exchange has a positive effect on team information elaboration and team decision quality and that (2) team information elaboration plays an intermediary role in the relationship between subgroup member exchange and team decision quality.
The theoretical contributions of this study are as follows: (1) it confirms whether variables at the subgroup level can eliminate the negative effects of subgroups on team functioning and proposes the concept of subgroup member exchange, and (2) it enriches the theory of CEM with subgroups involved in the path, which aims to develop team decision quality through information elaboration. The practical contributions of this study are two-fold. (1) It improves the ability of a team to solve complex tasks and managers can promote the movement of members among subgroups, such as providing them with the opportunity to work together, and valuing more interpersonal rather than inter-subgroup differences. (2) It increases team decision quality by allowing managers to create conditions to improve the degree of team information elaboration, such as fostering pro-diversity beliefs by communicating member’s belief in the value of diversity, and by explaining how task performance can benefit from the diversity of information and perspectives.
Although this research has provided theoretical contributions in subgroup research, numerous areas have yet to be explored. In the future, research on this topic can be improved by the following: (1) scholars can continue to explore how other changes in group composition can affect subgroup mechanism in the dynamic framework, and (2) scholars can continue to expand the CEM theory on subgroup backgrounds and investigate whether team information elaboration plays an active role in diversity, faultlines, and subgroups.

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Aging effect of picture naming in Chinese: The influence of the non-selective inhibition ability
YANG Qun, ZHANG Qingfang
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (10): 1079-1090.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.01079
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Older speakers frequently report more linguistic dysfluencies, verbose and even anomia in speech production than young speakers. The transmission deficit hypothesis assumes that normal aging reduces the activation transmission between the meaning and the word form of target words, which results in more failures. By contrast, the inhibition hypothesis assumes that the inhibitive ability about irrelevant information in older adults is decreased in comparison with young adults, thus more word retrieval failures in the old than in young adults. On the other hand, semantic interference effect and distractor word frequency effect have been observed in picture-word interference (PWI) task. Researchers interpreted the two effects via the competitive (i.e., lexical selection competition during lemma retrieval) and the non-competitive hypotheses (i.e., response exclusion hypothesis). The present study aims to investigate the influence of non-selective inhibition ability in picture naming by examining distractor frequency effect in young and older native Chinese speakers.

In the PWI task, participants were instructed to name pictures as quickly and accurately while ignoring distractor words. In experiment 1, we manipulated age (young vs. older), the frequency of distractor words (High vs. Low), and the onset interval between distractors and target pictures (-100 ms, 0 ms, and 100 ms). In experiment 2, we manipulated age, the frequency of distractor words, and the frequency of target names (High, Medium, and Low). The non-selective inhibition ability was measured by stop-signal task in both groups. Distractors and pictures were presented simultaneously.

Results indicated a target name frequency effect in both young and older groups. Importantly, we found distractor word frequency effects in young adults, but non in older adults. The distractor frequency effect in older adults was absent due to weaker phonological activation of distractor words, and thus support the transmission deficit hypothesis. The correlations between the ability of non-selection inhibition and distractor frequency effect were not significant in both groups, indicating this kind of ability did not affect the magnitude of distractor frequency effect. However, the ability of non-selection inhibition positively correlated with mean naming latencies only in older adults, indicating that the decrease of non-selective inhibition ability influences naming latencies in older adults, while the absence in the young due to the small variations of naming latencies, which need to be investigated further by covering a wide age range (18~80 years).

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Effect of childbearing deadline on women’s wanted fertility
XING Cai,MENG Yuqi,LIN Qingqing,QIN Ziyu
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (4): 428-436.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00428
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The transition to ultra-low level of fertility in China has become a major challenge to its sustainable development. As the population of reproductive-aged women will continue to decline in the upcoming years, enhancing women’s childbearing motivation is important and urgent to avoid further decline of fertility rate. This work is the first attempt to examine the effect of childbearing deadline on women’s childbearing motivation. With socioemotional selectivity theory, life-span theory of control, and previous findings about the ending effect in the field of decision making as basis, this work aims to examine the causal link between women’s childbearing deadline and motivation.

Three studies were conducted in this work. The first study used an online questionnaire to examine the relationship between the time left women perceived before their childbearing deadline and their childbearing motivation. Women who perceive they are closer to their childbearing deadline reported higher childbearing motivation. The second study, which was conducted in laboratory settings, examined the causal effect between these two factors by manipulating women’s perception of optimal childbearing deadline. Participants were randomly assigned to two experimental conditions: limited and extended. Participants who were told that women’s optimal childbearing deadline is 26 fell under the former condition, and those who were told that the deadline is 32 fell under the latter. Participants’ baseline childbearing motivation served as another independent variable. Participants completed an implicit association test with pictures of babies and baby animals served as stimuli. They also completed a brief questionnaire in which they answered three questions concerning their childbearing motivation. An interaction effect between childbearing deadline and baseline childbearing motivation emerged in the reaction time of the implicit association test. Simple effect analyses revealed that participants with higher baseline childbearing motivation showed greater increase in their childbearing motivation compared with those with lower baseline childbearing motivation. Participants in the limited condition showed greater increase in their childbearing motivation compared with those in the extended condition. Participants in studies 1 and 2 were young single women. Study 3 tested this effect among married women who were aged below 40 with one or no child. Half of them were primed with a childbearing deadline, whereas the other half were in the control condition. Participants primed with a childbearing deadline showed greater number of wanted fertility, which further supported the findings in studies 1 and 2. This work marks only the beginning. When and how does childbearing deadline influence women’s childbearing motivation should be further explored.

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Quality or price? The effect of stock-out middle option on consumer choices
YAO Qing, CHEN Rong
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (5): 625-636.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00625
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Consumers in real world sometimes face situations in which information about unavailable products is still present in the decision contexts. For example, consumers may find that certain options are sold out and thus marked by an out-of-stock stamp in such a way that consumers can still examine their attributes information. Traditional models of consumer choices have assumed that the addition of an unavailable alternative to a choice set has no impact on the shares among the original alternatives. However, recent studies on asymmetrical dominance choice sets suggest that adding an alternative that asymmetrically dominates a targeted alternative and is declared to be unavailable increases preference for the target in the original choice set. Three categories of theories, range-weighting, similarity-substitution and relative-advantage, have been used to explain the phenomenon.
Despite prior research interest in extending attraction effect in unavailability context, little is understood about how unavailable options influence preferences among available options in other choice settings. Dominant literature have advocate for the preference for the compromised option in a three-option set. Thus, it is typical that the unavailable option is the compromised one. The above three explanations all fail to predict the preference on the remaining options in this situation.
We propose that consumers are experiencing increasing decision difficulty or feeling greater conflict deciding in the unavailable compromise set than in the two-option set, and thus are likely to alleviate this negative task-related emotion by engaging in conflict-reducing heuristics. In particular, if choice of the compromise option that is associated with smallest maximum error or likelihood of being criticized is impossible, consumers forced to make difficult trade-offs among extremes are likely to rely more on the unambiguous attribute in the evaluations, because unambiguous outcome is associated with a lower likelihood of criticism. Thus, consumers seek to guarantee (avoid) advantages (disadvantages) of their selected option in precision rather than in ambiguity. Based on findings that attributes in quantitative nature (e.g., price) are easier to trade-off than attributes (e.g., quality) in qualitative nature, we predict that the relative preferences for low-quality, low-price option which has a precise and certain advantage will be stronger in presence than in absence of an unavailable intermediate option.
Study 1 establishes that the addition of an unavailable compromise option into a two-option local set can increase the relative share of the cheaper option. In Study 2, we demonstrate that the degree to which the quality advantage (disadvantage) can be ambiguously evaluated moderates this effect. When the value of quality becomes less ambiguous to evaluate (providing experts’ quality evaluations, Study 2A) or more ambiguous to evaluate (describing product quality by a range of performance, Study 2B), the effect that the cheaper option fares better in the unavailable middle option set attenuates or strengthens. Study 3 further examines the underlying mechanism by testing the moderating effect of consumer product knowledge, and the mediating effect of decision conflict. We conclude with a discussion of the theoretical and managerial implications.

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Visual representation of items with semantic information in sensory memory
HU Jingjing,XU Haokui,CAO Liren
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, 51 (9): 982-991.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00982
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Visual representation is one of the most important topics in sensory memory. Traditionally, visual representation with respect to sensory memory was regarded as an ‘icon’, the processing of which would cease after a subsequent stimulus (backward masking). Recently, an increasing number of researches have suggested a more flexible representation of visual sensory memory in which the features of the visual stimulus could be expressed in an abstract form. As previous researchers paid considerable attention to only the schematic features of a visual stimulus, the abstract information contained in a stimulus has rarely been explored. In this study, we have focused on the semantic information of the visual representation of the sensory memory. In a part-report task, the Arabic digits were employed as the target, and the Chinese digits as the semantic-similar mask, which were semantically related to Arabic digits; the noise patterns were employed as the non-semantic mask. If under the Chinese mask condition, the participants’ performance of reporting target digits decreased, it would reveal a conflict between the representations of the target and the mask, thereby suggesting that the visual representation of the sensory memory contains semantic information of the stimulus.

In Experiment 1, the target stimuli were arrays of 3×4 Arabic digits generated by selecting at random from a set containing digits zero to nine. A mask stimuli could either be (a) a single binary visual noise with an element size equal to the stroke width of the target digits, or (b) a 3×4 array of random standard Chinese-digits in capital form whose spatial arrangement is identical to that of the target and its size is big enough to overlap the corresponding target digits. Both the targets and masks were presented within 23.5 ms (2 frames in 85 Hz) and the inter-stimulus interval (ISI) between the offset of the target and the onset of the mask was 105.9 ms (9 frames in 85 Hz). There were three conditions for reporting: part-report with 0 ms cue-delay, part-report with 447 ms cue-delay, and whole-report with no cue-delay. A correct response was recorded only when the participants reported the correct digits at the locations they occurred in the target array. The results showed a significant difference between the noise and standard Chinese-digit mask under all of the three reporting conditions; there was a significant part-report advantage for the noise mask, but not for the Chinese characters. This indicated that semantic information can influence information processing in the sensory memory. Considering that noise and Chinese characters are different at a schematic level, we inverted the Chinese digits in Experiment 2 to destroy their semantic information but reserve their schematic feature.

Therefore, Experiment 2 was identical to Experiment 1, except the Chinese digits were inverted. The results showed that the difference between the noise and inverted Chinese-digit masks still existed, while both showed significant part-report advantages. We conducted an analysis across-experiment afterwards. There was a significant difference between the standard and inverted Chinese-digit masks, while there was no significant difference between the noise masks across the two experiments. Results above revealed that masks with different semantic information but the same schematic information can influence the target processing differently. Considering that the standard and inverted Chinese digits are different in semantic strength, we employed commonly used Chinese characters in Experiment 3 to ensure that the two masks under comparison have different meanings but a similar semantic strength.

In Experiment 3, we employed Chinese digits and commonly used Chinese characters as masks. These two masks had similar word frequencies and number of strokes. However, the Chinese-digit mask still showed a significant stronger masking effect, which revealed the effect of semantic similarity. This implied that the visual representation in sensory memory could contain semantic information.

In conclusion, our findings demonstrate that the feature represented in sensory memory is not only schematic but also semantic. The functions of such a feature-based representation and its interaction with the icon have also been discussed.

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