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  • Table of Content
       , Volume 46 Issue 4 Previous Issue    Next Issue
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    An Explorative fMRI Study of Human Creative Thinking Using A Specially Designed iCAD System
    FAN Liangyan;FAN Xiaofang;LUO Weichao;WU Gonghang;YAN Xu;YIN Dazhi;LV Yue;ZHU Mingjun;XU Dongrong
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2014, 46 (4): 427-436 .   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2014.00427
    Abstract   PDF (719KB) ( 2601 )

    Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is widely used in cognitive neuroscience and psychological research. Studying the mechanism of creative thinking in humans is one of the hottest topics in fMRI studies, which is actually a subject received intensive attention across many different disciplines. In the field of intelligent computer-aided design (iCAD), the framework of “multi-source analog generation design” based on analogical reasoning is a computable model that can mimic human creative thinking to certain extent, because of its characteristics of capable of generating things that did not previously exist. We developed an iCAD software system, called "Three-Source Analog System for Face Generation”, for fMRI studies of human creative thinking to explore its neurological mechanism. We also developed a magnetic resonance compatible platform, which can synchronize scanning with the corresponding experimental tasks, and simultaneously collect and record the subject’s reaction. While nobody has introduced this concept into fMRI studies, we propose for the first time to study human creative thinking in our work, using this analogue generation model. In this study, we designed two kinds of task: The “design task” under the open-ends mode and the “control task” under the problem solving mode. Design task allows a participant to design with freedom, however, the control task imposes some limits. We collected imaging data from a total of 15 healthy participants. Statistical analysis of comparing the imaging data under the two modes showed that the design task induced more significant activations in the medial prefrontal cortex, middle frontal gyrus, right superior temporal gyrus, temporal lobe gyrus, anterior cingulate cortex, bilateral hippocampus and precuneus, which may suggest that these regions are highly related to creative thinking. This activation pattern in human brains is consistent with the well-known model of “Three-factor Anatomical Model of Creativity”. Based on the findings, we speculate that: (1) The medial prefrontal cortex may be associated with the reception of ego during the creative activity, (2) The temporal lobe may be the major responsible region for continuous production and output of new ideas, (3) The limbic system consisting of the anterior cingulate cortex, hippocampus could be confirmed to be in charge of the power source for driving creative activity. In summary, this study has testified that creative thinking is the result of a collaboration of multiple brain regions, whose activities demonstrate a processing pattern of distributed network.

    Monetary Incentives Modulate the Processing of Emotional Facial Expressions: An ERP Study
    WEI Ping;KANG Guanlan;DING Jinhong;GUO Chunyan
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2014, 46 (4): 437-449.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2014.00437
    Abstract   PDF (528KB) ( 2818 )

    It is widely reported that monetary reward improves performance of cognitive tasks, such as spatial orienting, visual search, and conflict control by increasing task concentration and engagement. The current study used event-related potentials (ERPs) technique to investigate the impact of monetary reward on the discrimination of emotional facial expressions. Participants were asked to discriminate a happy, neutral, or angry face presented at the center of the computer screen, which was preceded by a monetary incentive or a non-incentive cue, and was followed by a feedback stimulus regarding the fastness and correctness of the response. Participants were informed that they would gain additional monetary reward if their reaction times (RTs) on incentive trials meet certain criteria. Behavioral results showed that RTs to emotional faces were generally faster than to neutral faces, and RTs in incentive trials were faster than that in non-incentive trials. Cue-elicited ERPs were modulated by monetary incentive, such that incentive cue elicited larger P1 (130~200 ms), P2 (200~300 ms), and P300 (300~600 ms) amplitude than the non-incentive cue. Target-elicited occipito-temporal P1, N170 and frontal-central N300 amplitudes were modulated by reward anticipation, such that target elicited more positively-going ERPs in incentive condition than that in non-incentive condition. Early P1, N170 and VPP amplitudes were not affected by emotional facial expressions. The neural processes involved in processing emotional faces (happy, angry) and neutral faces diverged 300 ms after stimulus onset. Results showed more positive N300 in emotional conditions than in neutral conditions. Additionally, the amplitude of N300 was influenced by both reward anticipation and emotional valence. While the positive emotion processing effect was not modulated by reward anticipation, the negative emotion processing effect and negative bias effect for the N300 component were larger in incentive condition than in non-incentive condition. These results suggested an impact of reward anticipation on the processing of upcoming emotional facial expressions. Motivational factors may modulate the distribution of attentional resources, which then bias the processing of negative emotion.

    Short-term Trained Lexical Categories Cause a Shift of Color Categorical Perception from Right Hemisphere to Left Hemisphere
    ZHONG Weifang;LI You;XU Guiping;QIN Kaixin;MO Lei
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2014, 46 (4): 450-458.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2014.00450
    Abstract   PDF (387KB) ( 1371 )

    Zhou et al. (2010) demonstrated that newly trained lexical categories produced lateralized categorical perception (CP) of color, suggesting that color CP can be a result of learned categories. However, since the way in which participants learned the name of a color in their study different from the one in actual life, the ecological validity of this study can be challenged. In actual life, a color name is connected with a color category. For example, the word “blue” refers to all kinds of blue. Can the training used by Zhou et al. (2010) induce participants to learn such a connection between the color name and a color and therefore produce color CP? In order to reveal the relationship between lexical categories and color CP more exactly, the present study probed into this question. Moreover, the present study also aimed at investigating the cognitive mechanism in acquired category effects. Six colors were used in the present study. B1 and B2 were light blue and dark blue. By making B1 and B2 lighter and darker, we obtained B11 and B12, B21 and B22 respectively. B11,B12, B21 and B22 formed a graded series from light to dark blue. Participants were trained to name B1 and B2 with two meaningless syllables duān and kěn, respectively, in six training phases. Given that participants may connect the color name to a color category after training, we expected B12B21 to be between-category color, but B11B12 and B21B22 to be within-category color pairs. Participants also completed a visual search task before and after the training, in which they were asked to search a target color from a ring of 12 colored squares surrounding a fixation marker, and indicated whether the target was on the left or right side of the circle by making button-press responses. The data showed that, in the visual search task before training, reaction times to targets were faster for between-category color pair candidate than for within-category color pair candidates. Moreover, this effect was more significant when the targets were presented in the left visual filed. In the visual search task after training, reaction times to targets were also faster for between-category color pair candidate than for within-category color pair candidates, but the effect was more significant when the targets were presented in the right visual filed. In conclusion, the findings of the present study suggested that (1) when perceiving different colors shared the same lexical category, participants may distinguish them into different sub-categories, which produced a right hemisphere color CP; (2) trained lexical categories can produce a left hemisphere color CP, and also cause a shift of color CP from right hemisphere to left hemisphere; (3) participants can learn a connection between color name and color category even when only a specific color was presented; (4) category learning may occur automatically even when participants learn only one example.

    Subliminal Reward Modulates the Tradeoff between Proactive and Reactive Cognitive Control
    XU Lei;WANG Lijun;ZHAO Yuanfang;TAN Jinfeng;CHEN Antao
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2014, 46 (4): 459-466.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2014.00459
    Abstract   PDF (372KB) ( 1636 )

    The Dual Mechanisms of Control (DMC) theory suggests that cognitive control consists of two modes: proactive control (anticipatory and sustained control during the cue encoding and maintenance periods) and reactive control (control is engaged after rather than before the probe and in a just-in-time manner rather than consistently). There is a tradeoff between these two kinds of control to optimize task performance. Several studies have shown that the reward context is associated with a shift towards proactive control. Recently, it is suggested that awareness of reward cue is not necessary for the cue to work. Reward cue can improve working memory and cognitive control even when it occurs beyond subjects’ consciousness. However, it is still unclear how subliminal reward modulates the tradeoff between proactive and reactive control. The present study conducted an experiment to investigate this question by using the AX-CPT task. In this study, participants were engaged in a reward version of AX-CPT task, in which some reward-related cues and feedbacks were introduced. These reward-related cues and feedbacks were presented supraliminally (284 ms followed by a mask for 16 ms) or subliminally (16 ms followed by a mask for 284 ms) before and after each cue-probe sequence of AX-CPT task. There were two kinds of reward-related cues (“$$$” indicating a 50 scores potential reward, “###” indicating no potential reward) and two corresponding feedbacks (“+50” and “+--”). In AX-CPT task, letters (“A”, “B”, “X”, and “Y”) were individually and sequentially displayed on a computer screen. A target response was required only when an ‘‘X’’ probe is preceded by an ‘‘A’’ cue (AX trials). All other probe stimuli (AY, BX, and BY trials) required non-target responses. Participants were told to complete baseline condition, supraliminal reward condition and subliminal reward condition one by one. In baseline condition, the reward-related cues were presented subliminally and participants performed the AX-CPT task without any instruction on financial incentives. During the two subsequent conditions, participants would gain some money if they respond correctly and quickly. The only difference between supraliminal and subliminal reward conditions was the presentation of reward-related cues and feedbacks, the former was supraliminal while the latter subliminal. Two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to analyze the error rate and RT. The behavioral results showed that supraliminal reward cues improved the performance of AX trials while subliminal reward cues had no effects. Nevertheless, the interactions between trial types (AY vs. BX) and reward conditions (baseline vs. supraliminal reward, or baseline vs. subliminal reward), which was thought to index the tradeoff between proactive and reactive control, was significant. It means that just like supraliminal reward cues, subliminal reward cues modulated the tradeoff between proactive and reactive control and led to a preference toward proactive control. In contrast to some recent results, the present study does develop the DMC theory and the research on subliminal reward.

    Influence of Cumulative Frequencies of Chinese Syllables on the Activation of Homophone Representation in Auditory Lexical Access
    FANG Jie;LI Xiaojian;LUO Weiwei
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2014, 46 (4): 467-480.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2014.00467
    Abstract   PDF (423KB) ( 1457 )

    The cumulative frequency of a homophone syllable in Chinese is the summation of the specific frequencies of one-character words within the homophone family. It is the frequency of a syllable heard as a word and is thus called the syllable frequency. So far, there has been no consensus on its effect on lexical access. The aim of this study was to explore the influence of cumulative frequencies on the activation of homophone representation in auditory lexical access of syllables. The roles of specific frequencies of homophones and the homophone family sizes, which make up the cumulative frequencies, were also investigated. The study adapted a cross-modality paradigm, homophonic sound-character matching, together with a visual lexical decision task and ANCOVA, to separate the effect of the activation of representation in auditory lexical access from the whole response. In Experiment 1, the cumulative frequency and the specific frequency were designed to vary while the homophone family size was fixed. The higher and lower word frequencies within each homophone family served as the higher and lower specific frequencies. The results indicated that increasing the specific frequency facilitated the activation of representation. Increasing the cumulative frequency only elicited a weak inhibitory effect on error rates, which may be attributed to the representation inhibition of lower frequency words caused by the representation activation for higher frequency words within homophone families. In Experiment 2, the cumulative frequency and the homophone family size were designed to vary while the specific frequency was fixed. The results indicated that increasing the homophone family size inhibited the activation of representation, while the effect of cumulative frequency was absent. The results of the two experiments suggest that the influence of cumulative frequencies of Chinese syllables on the activation of homophone representation in auditory lexical access is indefinite. Instead, the activation of representation can be influenced by the specific frequencies and the homophone family sizes. Moreover, the inhibitory effect of homophone family size could only be seen when the specific frequency is fixed. The conclusive influence is determined by the mechanism for the representation activation of higher frequency words and the representation inhibition of lower frequency words within homophone families.

    The Vertically Spatial Metaphors of Kinship words of Qiang Nationality
    LI Huijuan;ZHANG Jijia;ZHANG Ruixin
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2014, 46 (4): 481-491.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2014.00481
    Abstract   PDF (422KB) ( 1027 )

    The way human beings represent abstract concepts is an important issue worth exploring in cognitive psychology. The embodied cognition theory claims that the simulation of actual sensory-motor experiences gets involved into the process of mental representation of concepts. When people represent a concept, the pre-stored information of the sensory-motor experience is partly activated to form a simulation of this sensory-motor experience. The possibility and the ways for these abstract concepts to be represented in sensory-motor representation have always been unclear. The Conceptual Metaphor Theory proposes that abstract concepts are represented by metaphors. According to this theory, metaphors serve as the basis for abstract concepts by connecting them with more concrete representations. And, the up-down image schema is the most important metaphor. The kinship, the initial social relationship of individuals, is formed on the basis of blood relationship and marriage. There are corresponding words to represent kinship in each language system, and these words are termed as kinship words. Kinship words contain abundant information about genetics, marriage, sociology and culture. This study aimed to explore whether the embodied generation relationship of kinship words could be represented by more concrete representations through metaphors. Generally speaking, the senior generational kinship imply the higher authority, stronger and upper social status and more respect, but the junior generational kinship mean lower authority, weaker and lower social status and more care. Therefore, this article also tried to investigate the role of spatial up-down image schemas proposed in the Conceptual Metaphor Theory in the process of embodied generation relationship of kinship words. In this study, the authors chose the Qiang nationality, one of the oldest nationalities in China, as the subject for study.Kinship word judgment task and lexical decision task were introduced to examine the impact of the spatial up-down image schema on the seniority process of kinship words of Qiang nationality. Furthermore, the authors took spatial recognition task to examine whether the generation concept could automatically active the spatial up-down image scheme so as to guide the subjects’ spatial attention to the consistent position with image schema-congruent location. Results of experiment 1a and 1b indicated that “metaphor congruency effect” existed in Qiang subjects on the cognition of the kinship words. That is to say, the senior generational kinship words presented in the upper part of the screen, and the junior generational kinship words in the lower part were processed faster. Experiment 2 showed that when the spatial position of target stimuli were consistent with the information of the preceding kinship words, participants recognized the target faster. In sum, these results indicated that the embodied generation relation among Qiang’s kinship words might be explained through the vertical space relation, which automatically guided subjects’ space attention to the consistent position of the spatial up-down image schema affects. Thus, generation relation is partly understood in terms of vertical space, which demonstrates that the understanding of abstract concept is based on sensory-motor process, in accordance with Concept Metaphor Theory.

    Proactive Interference in Episodic Memory: Neuropsychopharmacology and Computational Cognitive Modeling Study
    FU Zhongfang;SUN Xunwei;LIANG Peipeng
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2014, 46 (4): 492-499.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2014.00492
    Abstract   PDF (416KB) ( 1148 )

    Increased sensitivity to proactive interference (PI) was widely observed in patients with memory impairment. There were two competing theories proposed to account for the susceptible PI effect in amnesia patients, with one holds that PI occurs at encoding stage, and the other believes that PI occurs at retrieval stage, however, its underlying mechanism was still unclear. Moreover, the results from patient study may be confounded by the differences of age, gender, education level and intelligence between patients and controls. The present study focused on this issue by in combination using neuropsychopharmacological experiment and computational cognitive modeling technique. Based on the recent findings from amnesic mild cognitive impairments (aMCI) that encoding impairment and susceptible PI effect coexisted in aMCI, and susceptible PI effect still remained in the absence of response competition, we hypothesized that the susceptible PI effect in amnesic patients might be primarily due to encoding deficits. 20 healthy adults (11 females) voluntarily participated in a double-blind, between-subject, placebo- controlled experiment, with a 2 (drug: midazolam, saline) × 3(list: list1, list2, list3) ×3(word pairs: control, interference, practice) factorial design. Subjects were required to participate the experiment twice, one week apart, under midazolam (0.03mg/kg) or saline. In each day, subjects went through 3 lists of word-pair associative learning tasks and a final cued-recall test. For each list, subjects were asked to remember 45 word pairs firstly, and then each word pair was tested twice. Three kinds of word pairs were designed, with control pairs studied on only one list, practice pairs practiced on all three lists, and interference pairs involved recombining cue and response terms from one list to the next. An ANOVA statistical analysis was run on behavioral data and SAC (Source of Action Confusion) models were constructed accordingly. It was found that, episodic memory was significantly reduced after midazolam injection, as contrast to saline injection. In list2, the list directly followed the injection, the PI effect was detected both under midazolam and saline, but the PI magnitude under midazolam was significantly higher than that under saline. The similar pattern was also observed in list3, although not to be significant. The output of the SAC model was fitted well with the experimental data. In conclusion, by using drug studies, we replicated and further demonstrated the susceptible PI effect in amnesic subjects. Moreover, with SAC, the present findings suggested that the increased sensitivity of PI under midazolam, as compared with saline, may be due to the encoding impairment under midazolam. The present finding implies that the sensitive PI effect in amnesic patients, such as aMCI and Alzheimer's Disease (AD), may be due to encoding deficit, and thus may contribute to the diagnosis and cognitive training of these patients.

    The Effects of Long-term Exposure to Bisphenol-A on Fear Memory of Adult Mice
    ZHANG Qin;XU Xiaohong;LIU Xingyi;DONG Fangni;YANG Yanling;ZHANG Guangxia
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2014, 46 (4): 500-506.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2014.00500
    Abstract   PDF (458KB) ( 1204 )

    Bisphenol-A (BPA), an environmental endocrine disruptor used in the production of plastics, has been reported to possess weakly estrogenic and anti-androgenic properties. The present study aims to investigate the effect of BPA on fear memory of male mice exposed to BPA in adulthood. Nine-week-old male mice were orally exposed (ig) to BPA (0.4, 4, or 40 mg/kg/d) for 90d, and then received contextual fear conditioning test. The total time of freezing was measured 1 h and 24 h after training. At the same time, the hippocampus of mice before or 1 hr, 24 hr after fear conditioning training were dissociated for western blot analyses. The results showed that adulthood exposure to BPA (4 and/or 40 mg/kg/d) increased the freezing time 1 hr and 24 hr after fear conditioning training. Furthermore, western blot analyses showed that BPA exposure decreased the level of N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptor subunit NR1 and increased the expression of histone deacetylase 2 (HDAC2) before fear conditioning training. One and 24 hr after fear conditioning training, BPA enhanced the increases of the levels of NR1, histone acetylation, and extracellular regulated protein kinases (ERK1/2) phosphorylation in hippocampus induced by fear conditioning training. These results suggest that long term exposure to BPA enhanced acquisition and retention of fear memory by concomitant the increases of histone acetylation and the level of NMDA receptor which may be associated with activation of ERK1/2 signaling pathway.

    Conditioned Acquisition and Extinction Modulates in Men and Women: Event-related Potential Research
    SUN Nan;ZhENG Xifu
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2014, 46 (4): 507-515.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2014.00507
    Abstract   PDF (453KB) ( 1639 )

    Gender differences in response to conditioned acquisition and extinction were observed in previous studies. The possible reasons for these differences might be the different strategies and modulations applied on males and females. Event related potentials have been used to quantify the conditioned acquisition and conditioned extinction of late recently. In this study, the event related potentials associated with sex differences in the acquisition and extinction of conditioned negative context were measured. Fifteen man with age and weight matched women were enrolled in this study. The present research consisted of three experimental phases of memory: habituation phase, acquisition phase and extinction phase. In the habituation phase, there are three negative context pictures as conditioned stimuli (CS). Participants were asked to attractively view the three pictures. In the acquisition phase, there was a neutral tone (as the unconditioned stimuli, US) signal appeared at the end of the presentations of negative context pictures. Participants were instructed to press a button as soon as possible when the tone emerged. Then they would go to the next trail. In extinction phase, the neutral tones were extinguished. Participants were instructed to press a button as soon as possible when hearing the tone and not press any button when hearing nothing. ERP analyses showed that shorter P2 latency and more N2 modulate in men than in women, whereas more P3 modulate in women than in men in habituation phase. The results suggested that men might probe the CS-US conditional acquisition faster than women. It indicated that women might be more difficult to get rid of the influence of negative context than men. In extinction phase, results showed attenuated P2 amplitude and larger P3/LPP amplitude in women than in men. The results showed that women might detect the extinction process slower and allocate more attention resources in the extinction process than men. Combined with the results of the two stages, the differences between men and women in the conditioned acquisition and extinction processes may be underlaid very complicated cognitive processes. The findings in this study extends our knowledge from previous behavioral studies in this field and shed light on the neural associates of the gender differences in the cognitive and emotional processes.

    Saliva Cortisol and Upper Respiratory Tract Infection in Young Children Experiencing Kindergarten Transition: The Effect of Temperament
    HE Qiong;WANG Zhengyan;WANG Li;JIANG Caihong;SHANGGUAN Fangfang
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2014, 46 (4): 516-527.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2014.00516
    Abstract   PDF (478KB) ( 1605 )

    The effects of psychosocial factors, in particular, stress on human health have been widely examined; and results showed that stress levels could account for a number of different acute and chronic health problems. Unfortunately, to date, most studies primarily focused on adults rather than children. The possible reason might be that the measurement of stress level in children is much more difficult than that of adults. Relatively few studies have confirmed that the susceptibility to or resistance against diseases of young children is related to their psychological stress. Moreover, the sources of stress include not only the characteristics of external stimulation, but also the individual innate characteristics (such as temperament). However, little research has examined the role of children’s temperament on the relationship between stress level and diurnal and disease. Thus, the present study aimed to investigate the relationship between salivary cortisol level (a physical index of stress level) of young children experiencing kindergarten transition and the occurrence of upper respiratory tract infection (URI) during their first 2 months in kindergarten and then further examined the moderating role of temperament on this relationship. Fifty-nine mother-child dyads were (mean age = 36.8months, 34 females) recruited from a kindergarten in Bejing. In the kindergarten, saliva samples were respectively taken from the children in the morning and afternoon and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay of salivary cortisol was done. Children’s primary caregiver was asked to complete a Temperament Questionnaire. Symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection (URI) were recorded in diary form, and variables relating to URI occurrence and duration owere assessed. In addition, three tasks were performed to measure children's temperamental self-control. The data were analyzed using hierarchical linear regression. The results showed: (1) Cortisol levels in the afternoon were significantly higher than those in the morning for all children. (2) Children with higher afternoon cortisol experienced significantly fewer episodes of URI in the following 2 months and diurnal cortisol change was negatively correlated with the number of URI during the 2 months. (3) Distractibility was positively correlated with the number of URI. (4) Temperamental self-control was negatively correlated with the duration of URI. (5) Approach-withdrawal plays a moderating role in the relationship between diurnal change in cortisol and URI duration, indicating the greatest resistance to URI infection in children who approach to the novel stressor of transitioning to kindergarten and who have a smaller diurnal change in cortisol from morning to afternoon. Taken together, the present findings suggested that increased cortisol is a natural response to the stress of young children experiencing kindergarten transition, and may prime the immune system to protect the children from URI at this critical stage of development. Also, expanding on the previous research, the present study explored the interaction between alivary cortisol level and temperament on the upper respiratory tract infection (URI) and findings have some important implications for interventions.

    Emotional Empathy in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Evidence from Biofeedback Measurement and Eye Movements
    MA Weina;ZHU Beibei
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2014, 46 (4): 528-539.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2014.00528
    Abstract   PDF (576KB) ( 4955 )

    Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are considered as a series of pervasive developmental disorders, and characterized by deficits in social interaction, delays and deviance in communication, and repetitive behaviors, rituals and interests. Emotional empathy refers to unconscious experience of emotions consistent with and in response to those of others and imitation of the facial expression, induced by shared representations of perception and emotional contagion. Eye-tracking studies have demonstrated that the visual fixation patterns of children with autism in social situations differ from normal patterns. Children with autism do not seem to attend spontaneously to salient features of the social stimulus in the way that most people do. It is possible that this reflects an attentional style that limits empathic arousal. Children with autism, relative to typically developing children, focused less on the eye region of faces when viewing social stimulus, because they avoid eye contact with others in order to decrease arousal. Previous studies explored emotional empathic responses to affective stimuli in children with ASD, but their results are inconsistent. The present research was designed to investigate the emotional empathy and the face scanning patterns of children with ASD using biofeedback measurement and eye-tracking. Fifteen children with ASD, fifteen typically developing (TD) children, and fifteen children with intellectual disability (ID) viewed eighty emotional faces with happiness, sadness, fear and anger from the Chinese Facial Affective Picture System (each emotional category consists of twenty pictures). Facial electromyography (EMG) activity, eye movements and automatic physiological responses, including skin conductance (SCR), skin temperature (TEMP) and PLUS, were recorded during the experiment. Comparing with typically developing children, children with ASD demonstrated atypical processing patterns of emotional faces with reduced responses of automatic facial EMG, and automatic physiological (SCRs, TEMP, PLUS). This suggested that a failure to perceive emotional faces in children with ASD. Furthermore, results of eye-tracking showed that the children with ASD less viewed the eye areas than the typically developing children. At the same time, the fixation time and fixation counts of face for children with ASD were significantly less than the intellectual disability group and the typically children group. The fixation time of fear faces for children with ASD was significantly less than the happy faces and sad faces. This suggested that the limited eye gaze for emotional faces in children with ASD. The results suggest that a failure to orient to emotional relevant stimuli (four basic emotional faces: happiness, sadness, fear and anger) may be caused by the lower fixation time to the eye areas, and avoidance of emotional stimulus may become the default coping mechanism for some individuals with autism. In conclusion, the current study demonstrates deficits in emotional empathy and limited eye gaze in children with ASD, which may be contributing to their problems in the face scanning patterns.

    Boundary Flexibility and Work-family Conflict and Enrichment: from Person-environment Fit Perspective
    MA Hongyu;SHEN Chuangang;YANG Jing;TANG Hanying;XIE Julan
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2014, 46 (4): 540-551.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2014.00540
    Abstract   PDF (492KB) ( 2297 )

    Work and family are two important domains in an individual’s life. How to balance work and family domains have become an increasingly compelling and pressing issue for both the organizational scholars interested in theoretical advances, and for human resources practitioners seeking to promote the employee’s daily life. Individuals negotiate the boundaries between work and family in their daily activities. There are differences between the individual’s preference and the resource that provided by the organization in boundary management of work and family domain. In our study, using a person-environment (PE) fit theoretical base, we explored how the interaction between an individual’s boundary flexibility willingness and the perceived flexibility ability of the domain boundary affects work-family conflict and work –family enrichment. Specifically, we predict that the fit of domain boundary flexibility-ability and individual’s domain boundary flexibility-willingness would be associated with lower work-family conflict and higher work-family enrichment. Data were collected from a sample of 494 fulltime married employees from different industries. The questionnaire for employee included work-family boundary flexibility scale, work-family conflict and work-family enrichment. Among the major measures, the 16-items boundary flexibility scale was adopted from Matthews and Barnes-Farrell (2010), WFC was measured via 10 items that was adopted from Netemeyer and Boles (1996), the eight item WFE scale was adopted from Wayne, Musisca and Fleeson (2004). Results show that the Cronbach’s alpha coefficients for the above measures range from 0.72 to 0.89. Polynomial regression and response surface methodology were utilized to examine the proposed hypotheses. In line with the predictions, results of polynomial regression and response surface methodology demonstrate that work-to-family conflict decreased as work flexibility-ability (WFA) approached work flexibility-willingness (WFW), and increased as WFA exceeded WFW, family-to-work conflict decreased as family flexibility-ability (FFA) approached family flexibility-willingness (FFW), and increased as FFA surpassed FFW. The results also showed that the fit of WFA and WFW has no effect on work-to-family enrichment, and the fit of FFA and FFW has the significant effect on family-to-work enrichment, but it is opposite to the hypotheses. Specifically, family-to-work enrichment decreased as FFA approaching FFW, and increased as FFA exceeded FFW. The present study extends to our understanding the mechanism of the process of the work-family conflict and work-family enrichment happens. Finally, the theoretical and managerial implications of the findings, limitations and future research directions were also discussed.

    Why Is It Difficult to Balance Work and Family? An Analysis Based on Work-Family Boundary Theory
    GAO Zhonghua;ZHAO Chen
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2014, 46 (4): 552-568.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2014.00552
    Abstract   PDF (631KB) ( 3915 )

    Work-family conflict has been one of the central issues in organizational behavior and human resource management research since the late 1980s. Although antecedents and consequences of work-family conflict have been widely studied, there are several limitations in the current literature as follows. Firstly, many researchers pay much of their attention to figuring out the antecedents and consequences of work-family conflict, but little attention is directed toward uncovering the inherent mechanism. Second, the effects of work interfering with family on individuals’ work-related attitudes and behaviors have been examined extensively, but little attention has been paid to the effects of family interfering with work. Finally, many researchers regard work-family conflict as a source of role conflict and neglect the effects of work-family conflict on other forms of role stress, such as role ambiguity and role overload. Therefore, this study was designed to extend the existing literature. The causes of work-family conflict have been analyzed based on work-family boundary theory by taking the three portfolios of work-family boundary as external conditions and the ever-growing role requirements in both domains of work and family as internal conditions. The effects of the two forms of work-family conflict - work interfering with family and family interfering with work - on individuals’ work-related attitudes and behaviors were mediated by the three dimensions of role stress (role conflict, role ambiguity, and role overload). Two rounds of survey investigation have been conducted in seven subsidies of a large corporation specialized in manufacturing automatic control systems. In the first round, work interfering with family, family interfering with work, role conflict, role ambiguity, and role overload were included in the questionnaire. In the second round, job satisfaction and turnover intention were included in the questionnaire. Finally, 545 matching data, collected in the two-round investigation, were used to test the mediating effects of role stress on the relationships between work-family conflict and individuals’ work-related attitudes and behaviors through structural equation modeling. Results indicate that: (1) work interfering with family exerts positive effects on role conflict and role overload significantly; (2) family interfering with work exerts positive effects on role conflict, role ambiguity and role overload significantly; (3) role conflict, role ambiguity and role overload all exert negative effects on job satisfaction and positive effects on turnover intention; and (4) role stress plays as a full mediating role in the associations of work-family conflict with job satisfaction and turnover intention, and job satisfaction serves as a partial mediator in the association of role stress and turnover intention. Several practical implications for managers can be drawn from the mechanisms concluded based on work-family boundary theory. First, managers can implement work-family conflict interventions more precisely based on a deep understanding of the nature of work-family conflict. Second, work-family balance planning can be designed based on the mediating mechanism of work-family conflict on work-related outcomes through role stress. Third, job satisfaction can be taken as an indicator to reduce the potential violation of work-family conflict on individuals’ work-related attitudes and behaviors.

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