It is shown that readers can make inferences of the protagonist’s emotions during reading comprehension, and they can update their emotional representations when the emotions in the discourse shift (e.g., from positive to negative), reflected by increased reading time on the emotion-shifted sentences as compared with the emotion-continuation ones. However, during reading comprehension, not only the emotional information is processed, but also the information about discourse structure is processed by readers, and these two factors may both vary with the development of the story. So the present study was interested in whether topic structure could make influence on emotional updating in discourse context. Besides, through explicit and implicit emotional tasks, the present study investigated whether the influence of topic structure on emotional updating was modulated by the processing of emotional information. In our three experiments, two factors were manipulated: topic structure (topic-continuation, topic-shift) and emotion (emotion-continuation, emotion-shift). Through the explicit task in experiment 1, participants were instructed to read 48 critical discourses and 72 fillers (each discourse consisted of two sentences) using a sentence-by-sentence self-paced reading procedure, and were asked to choose a number from 1-9 to make judgment of the discourse emotion (1 represented for the most negative, 9 represented for the most positive). Then the rating grade and the rating time were recorded. Also, the reading time of the second sentence was recorded. In experiment 2 & 3, through the implicit task, participants were instructed to answer a comprehension question after reading 1/3 of the materials. In experiment 2, the reading time of the second sentence was recorded. In experiment 3, besides the second sentence, there was a third sentence which included an emotional word. Therefore, the reading time of the emotional word and the word following it were recorded. The results from Experiment 1 showed that for the explicit task where subjects were asked to make emotional judgment, topic structure did not affect emotional updating. However, the results from Experiment 2 and 3 showed that for the implicit task where subjects were asked to read for comprehension, topic structure significantly affected emotional updating in such as way that emotion-shifted sentences were read longer than emotion-continuation sentences in the topic-continuation conditions, but not in the topic-shifted condition. This suggested that the process of emotional updating was disrupted in the topic-shifted condition. To conclude, through the explicit and implicit emotional processing tasks, the present study conducted three self-paced reading experiments to investigate how topic structure influenced emotional updating in discourse context. It was shown that topic structure did not affect emotional updating under the explicit task. However, under the implicit task, emotional updating needed extra processing time for the topic-continuation conditions, but not for the topic-shifted conditions. These results provide evidence for a strong effect of discourse structure on emotional processing in discourse context.
Affirmation and negation is two main semantic and grammatical categories in any language. In order to explain the processing mechanism of negative sentence, some researchers have proposed schema-plus-tag model and two-step simulation hypotheses. However, these hypotheses cannot explain the processing mechanism of isolated negative sentences with uncertain states, such as the skirt is not blue. So anchor-based activation and satisfaction-constrained model was proposed to solve this problem. In the present study, we used eye-tracking to give further support to this new model. In the three experiments, a visual-world paradigm was adopted to explore the processing mechanism of negative sentences with uncertain states under three different contexts. In Experiment 1, participants were only presented with the alternative choice of the depicted event (e.g., red skirt), short for ‘A’; In Experiment 2 only presented ‘NOT X’ (e.g., blue skirt attaching negative marker); In Experiment 3 presented both ‘A’ and ‘NOT X’ simultaneously. In these three eye-tracking experiments, participants were first presented with the sentences by voice, and then at 1200 ms, four pictures were presented simultaneously at the beginning of the state word (e.g., blue). And participants’ task was to choose which picture matched the sentence. The materials of Experiment 4 were adopted from Experiment 3, however, presented by offline. So, participants have plenty of time to choose the matching pictures. The results demonstrated that, at the early stage of processing, participants had higher fixation probabilities to pictures depicting the negated state of affairs, such as ‘blue skirt’ in all the three experiments. Then at the later stage, participants showed higher fixation probabilities to the pictures depicting ‘A’ in Experiment 1; however, to ‘NOT X’ in Experiment 2 and 3. In addition, participants showed lower fixation probabilities to the pictures depicting the negated states than the random level. In Experiment 4, 30 out of 37 participants chose the pictures depicting ‘A’ rather than ‘NOT X’ being the matching pictures. The results from all four experiments showed that, when processing the negative sentences with uncertain states, participants would first simulate an anchor (representation of the negated state of affairs), then searched for the actual state of affairs based on the given context. If participants had enough time to get the actual state of affairs based on linguistic features and the given context, then the searching stopped and accepted the actual state as the final state of affairs. However, if participants cannot get the actual state of affairs based on linguistic features and the context or had not enough time to finish the whole process, then the searching also stopped and accepted the representation of the negated state of affairs attaching negative marker being the processing result. At the later stage, the representation of negated state of affairs would be suppressed for useless. The results support anchor-based activation and satisfaction constrained model as well as the suppression hypothesis.
The issue of how top-down modulation of Attentional Control Setting (ACS) occurs has been controversial. According to the simple filtering account, involuntary attentional captures do not occur when the cues do not match the top-down setting. The cues are filtered out under this condition, which results in a nonspatial filtering cost. However, according to the attentional disengagement account, all salient stimuli capture attention in a stimulus-driven manner, ACS modulates when the attention shifts away from an item which has captured attention. The key difference between the two accounts is that the former assumes irrelevant cues can’t capture attention and that the latter believes irrelevant cues can be suppressed. It is believed that the studies supporting the former did not involve strong ACS and that the results were not fully explained by the top-down ACS. When participants could or were forced to establish strong ACSs, suppression effects of irrelevant cues would appear. The present study was designed to explore the mechanisms involved in the attentional capture phenomenon using a variant of the classic precuing paradigm. In Experiment 1, each participant looked for the same target color (red or green) throughout the entire experiment. At the beginning of each trial, a prompt announcing the color of the target would appear. It is believed that the use of prompt would make ACS not fluctuate during the experiment; therefore, the participants would maintain a strong ACS level. In Experiment 2, every participant looked for a random sequence of target colors (red and green) which changed unpredictably on a trial-by-trial basis. Under such circumstance, the participants had to process the prompt with the target color in each trial so that they could find the relevant color in the target and respond correctly. The results demonstrated that (1) in both experiments, it was found that matched cues resulted in pronounced attention capturing effect, that irrelevant cues were suppressed and that the suppression effects were significantly smaller than the capture effects, (2) the capture effects of matched cues and the suppression effects of irrelevant cues in Experiment 2 were significantly larger than those in Experiment 1, (3) there was no significant difference between the suppression effects induced by irrelevant distractor-color cues and those induced by irrelevant neutral-color cues, It was concluded that (1) ACS operated through disengagement of attention from the location of a property that did not match ACS, which was followed by suppression of processing at that location, which supported the attentional disengagement account, (2) the capture of matched cues and the suppression of irrelevant cues used the same processing system; suppression of irrelevant features occurred as a by-product of facilitative ACSs, both of which were indicators for attentional capture.
With the increasing of aging and life expectancy, more attention was drawn to Alzheimer’s disease. Mild cognitive impairment and its effects have come to the vision of scholars due to it’s high risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Previous studies about mild cognitive impairment have focused on the executive function, visual spatial, episodic memory, language skills etc. Recent researches indicated that the performance of prospective memory was worse in patients with mild cognitive impairment than that in normal elder. In the literatures, In the literatures, few studies had been found to explore the influence of ongoing task change on event-based prospective memory in patients with mild cognitive impairment. This research mainly focused on two questions: (1) the difference of prospective memory between individuals with mild cognitive impairment and normal elderly; (2) the influence of ongoing task change on prospective memory in the two groups. We recruited 96 participants and followed a 2 (group: mild cognitive impairment patients, normal elderly) × 3 (ongoing task change: non-change, order-change, random-change) between-subjects design to address the above issues. Firstly, two groups of the participants were screened—mild cognitive impairment / normal elderly by measuring Activities of Daily Living (ADL), Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR). Then, the classic paradigm of prospective memory was applied to test the event-based prospective memory performance in the two groups. The ongoing task required participants to judge the outline or the color of stick drawings. The event-based prospective memory task needed participants to press the space key whenever they saw any of the three target cues. The dependent variables were the accuracy and response latency of the event-based prospective memory tasks as well as the ongoing tasks. The results suggested that: (1) prospective memory performance of the patients with mild cognitive impairment was significantly lower than that of the normal elderly. That is, remarkable impairment appeared in patients with mild cognitive impairment; (2) for the patients with mild cognitive impairment, response latency of prospective memory and ongoing task was significantly decreased with the changing of ongoing tasks. The results supported the strategic process theory of prospective memory. It proves that the deficits in executive function might cause the prospective memory failures in patients with mild cognitive impairment.
Gratitude is the appreciation that one feels when people receive something beneficial. Appraisal theories argue that each emotion is associated with a specific pattern of appraisals about the perceived antecedents of emotional experiences. The goal of the current research is to reveal the appraisal patterns of gratitude by identifying specific components of gratitude. In Study 1, participants recalled five past emotional experiences (angry, happy, gratitude, pride, indebted) before rating on different cognitive appraisal components and emotions. Results showed that other accountability, perceived responsiveness, and moral norm were closely related to the intensity of gratitude, while goal congruence, unexpectedness, and self-importance were not significantly associated with gratitude. In addition, some emotions were associated with different patterns of cognitive appraisals. In Study 2, participants described pleasant situations they experienced recently, in each of which one of the cognitive appraisal components was present or absent. They were asked to indicate what emotions they had experienced. Results showed that other accountability, perceived responsiveness, and unexpectedness were not only correlated with gratitude, but also affected the intensity of gratitude. Study 3 aimed to explore how trait gratitude impacted state gratitude and cognitive appraisals, and whether the relation between trait and state gratitude was mediated by cognitive appraisals. Results showed that trait gratitude was closely related to state gratitude; further, other accountability, perceived responsiveness, and unexpectedness mediated this relation. In summary, the three studies provided empirical evidence to appraisal theories. More importantly, these studies revealed that other accountability, perceived responsiveness, and unexpectedness were all cognitive appraisal components of gratitude.
Reward and punishment play an important role in clinical education. A series of studies have indicated that the clinical effect of reward and punishment can be affected by the frequency, individual sensitivity and the expectation of reward and punishment. However, little is known about the timeliness of the role of reward and punishment. In the present study, we investigated the length of time for which the emotion triggered by cumulative reward/punishment could act on inhibition ability. This was investigated using a psycho-physiological methodology which used the stop-signal task to explore the timeliness of reward and punishment. The experiment comprised a 3 (group: reward group, punishment group, and control group) × 5 (periodicity: stage 1, stage 2, stage 3, stage 4, and stage 5) mixed factorial design, in which stimulus condition varied between subjects, and periodicity varied within subjects. Forty-five college students were allocated to the reward group, punishment group, or control group at random. The experimental process was divided into five latent stages. The experiment used the Super Lab system to present the stimuli, and to record the response time and rate of error inhibition made by participants in the stop-signal task during each stage. Automatic physiological responses were collected continuously by a 16-channel physiological recording system during each stage. The results showed that (1) differences in behavioral response time and error inhibition rate only occurred in Stages 2 and 3. Specifically, the response time of the reward group in Stage 2 was much higher than that in the control group; the response time of the reward group in Stage 3 was much higher than those observed in the punishment or control group; and the error inhibition rate of the reward group in Stages 2 and 3 was much lower than in the punishment or control group; (2) For automatic physiological responses, the impact of reward/punishment stimulations differed in almost all stages for skin conductance responses and finger temperature, but not heart rate. In conclusion, the present study demonstrated that the effects of reward/punishment stimulations on behavioral inhibition ability differed across time. At the critical time periods, only the reward condition improved behavioral inhibition ability; and the punishment condition increased the inhibition response. The effects of reward stimulations across time differed for heart rate, but not skin conductance responses or finger temperature activities.
The influencing factors and underlying mechanisms of aggressive behavior are important fundamental issues in research on human aggression. With the advancement of molecular genetics, the research on the mechanisms of aggression has reached molecular level in recent years. Recent studies using candidate gene strategy have demonstrated that the COMT (catechol-O-methyltransferase) gene was significantly associated with human aggression. However, existing research mainly focused on physical aggression, while the genetics mechanism of relational aggression has scarcely been investigated. To our knowledge, only two studies examined the genetic underpinnings of the two specific subtypes of aggression by examining the direct associations between COMT gene Val158Met polymorphism and both physical and relational aggression, but these studies failed to investigate the gene-environment interaction. Recent research has revealed a new functionally single nucleotide polymorphism rs6267 in the COMT gene which also plays an important role in individual’s development, but its possible interaction with environment on aggressive behavior remains unclear. The present study aimed to extend the previous research by examining the association between COMT gene rs6267 polymorphism and both physical and relational aggression among Chinese children and adolescents, with a particular focus on the possible moderating effects of maternal parenting behavior and gender on the association. One thousand two hundred and fifty eight children (male = 649) from 40 classes of 14 primary schools in Jinan City were followed from grade 4 till to grade 7. The subjects’ physical and relational aggression were obtained through peer rating, and the maternal parenting behavior was measured by mother report. DNA was extracted from saliva. In detail, genotype at rs6267 polymorphism in the COMT gene was performed for each participant in real time with MassARRAY RT software version 22.214.171.124 and analyzed using the MassARRAY Typer software version 3.4 (Sequenom). Pearson correlation and hierarchical regression analyses were conducted to examine the effect of rs6267 polymorphism and maternal parenting behavior on adolescent aggression. The main findings of the present study were as follows: Rs6267 polymorphism in the COMT gene significantly interacted with maternal parenting behavior in predicting adolescent physical aggression, but this interaction was observed only among males, such that maternal warmth negatively predicted male adolescent physical aggression among carriers of GG homozygote but not T allele. Similarly, maternal rejection and punishment only positively predicted male adolescent physical aggression among carriers of GG homozygote but not T allele. However, the interaction between rs6267 polymorphism in the COMT gene and maternal parenting behavior on adolescent relational aggression was not significant. The findings of the present study indicate that gene-environment interactions on adolescents’ aggression may vary across physical and relational aggression and across gender, and thereby provide additional support for the dichotomy of these two subtypes of aggression. Besides, by elaborating the moderating effect of maternal parenting behavior and gender, the present study enriches the literature of the relation between COMT gene and aggression.
Fluid intelligence is one of the general intelligence types originally proposed by Cattell (1963), which refers to the innate ability of analytically solving novel problems and logically identifying new patterns and relationships. Increasing evidence has shown that cognitive training, especially those aiming at enhancing working memory, can significantly improve fluid intelligence. Moreover, central executive functions, especially working memory updating, were reported to positively correlate with individual intelligence. Thus, it is of great theoretical and practical significance to investigate whether working memory training can improve fluid intelligence. Recent studies have shown that, after short-term working memory training, performance in fluid intelligence tests, including running memory task and n-back paradigm, was improved both in adults and school-aged children. It is therefore suggested that the transfer of an improved working memory updating ability contributed to the reported training effects. However, there remain 2 major unsolved problems. On the one hand, although training has been reported effective for adults and school-aged children, few studies have focused on pre-school children. On the other hand, the demonstration of long-term effects was unreliable, because the reported studies either failed to examine lasting effects or lacked time for confirmation. In our study, 96 children aged 4-5 from one kindergarten participated in the experiment. They were randomly selected from 3 classes and assigned to 3 groups - experimental group, control group 1, and control group 2. Participants in experimental group were trained for 15 minutes per day for a period of 14 days using an n-back working memory training program displayed on tablet computers. In this program, participants were shown a series of stimuli and asked to judge whether the current stimulus is the same as the one displayed before the previous n items. As n increased, the task difficulty increased, resulting in higher demands of working memory. Each participant started training at 1-back level with n being continuously adjusted based on their performance. To account for the possibility that better fluid IQ performance is essentially due to attention improvement, participants in control group 1 played the Fruit Ninja game for the same period of time, which was designed to yield comparable attention improvements. For control group 2, children received no training. Parallel versions of Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrices (SPM) and the Test of Nonverbal Intelligence (TONI-4) were used to assess participants’ fluid intelligence in pretest, posttest and a follow-up test 6 months after training respectively. All experimental manipulations and the data analysis were designed and performed double-blinded. Results indicated that, after 14-day training, participants’ task performance in the training task was significantly improved. Children in experimental group significantly outperformed 2 other control groups in the posttest, which remained equally significant 6 months after training. As task motivation and attitude were balanced, our results were convincing in demonstrating training effects. In conclusion, our results proved that the n-back working memory task can efficiently improve kindergarten children’s fluid intelligence, whose effect is sustainable in the long term.
The aftermath of traumatic events differs from person to person. Although some people show negative results, many people report positive results such as Post-traumatic Growth (PTG). PTG refers to positive psychological changes resulted from individuals’ struggle against their main threatening life adversity, and it contains changed perception of self, changed sense of interpersonal relationship, and changed philosophy of life. Recently, the overwhelming majority of research has put their emphasis on the influencing factors of PTG, particularly the exploration of the developmental mechanism of PTG. According to Calhoun and Tedeschi’s model of PTG, traumatic event is assumed to challenge the important components of individuals’ assumptive world or core beliefs. When a trauma event happens, individuals are led to reexamine their core beliefs, and what makes it possible for individuals to recognize the positive changes and experience PTG. Therefore, the challenge to individuals’ assumptive world or core beliefs is an important element for understanding the developmental process of PTG. Although many theoretical and empirical studies agreed that core belief challenge had effects on PTG, the roles of other relevant factors in the relationship of core belief challenge to PTG have been ignored. Relevant theories indicate that rumination may play an important role in the process which core belief challenge affects PTG, and social support may moderate the path which rumination impacts on PTG. For this reason, rumination and social support were incorporated into the exploration of relationship between core beliefs and PTG in our study, and the internal mechanism how core belief challenge affects PTG was also taken into much account. In the current study, 354 adolescents (165 males, 189 females) from grade 8, 9 in junior schools and grade 11, 12 in senior high schools of the Wenchuan county were investigated by means of questionnaires four and a half years after the Wenchuan earthquake. The main results were as follows: (1) The overall level of PTG among adolescents was high, while the level of female students was higher than that of male students, and the grade 8 students’ PTG level was lower than that of students from any other grades. (2) Both intrusive rumination and deliberate rumination mediated partly the relationship between core belief challenge and PTG. On the one hand, core belief challenge could affect the PTG directly. On the other hand, core belief challenge could affect PTG negatively through intrusive rumination while had a positive effect on PTG through deliberate rumination. In addition, core belief challenge could affect PTG positively via the indirect way which intrusive rumination influenced deliberate rumination. (3) Neither the relationship of intrusive rumination to nor deliberate rumination to PTG, the path which social support moderated was the relationship of intrusive rumination to deliberate rumination. To be specific, the effect of intrusive rumination on deliberate rumination decreased with the increase of social support. That is, social support moderated the indirect path from intrusive rumination to PTG via deliberate rumination. The results have indicated that school psychologists should take notice of the changes in adolescents’ core beliefs before and after the disaster, and guide them to think the significance of life positively. Moreover, the encouragement of positive cognition should also be given while social support for students be provided.
Internet addiction is becoming a worldwide mental health problem, and college students are one of several subgroups most vulnerable to this problem. Empirical studies have found that spent more time online may predict Internet addiction. This result is compatible with the theory of usage and gratification regarding the Internet. However, other empirical studies suggest that this association between time online and Internet addiction is moderated by the extent to which the Internet is used for social interactions. Thus, the first aim of the study was to examine the relationship between Internet addiction and time spent online and to determine whether the ratio of Internet for social use to total Internet use moderated this relationship. Studies have also found that craving for Internet use, which may lead to increased feelings of pleasure and reward when using the Internet, may present a key psychological variable in predicting and maintaining the intensity and degree of Internet addiction. According to the theory of conditioning-based craving, this craving is an unconscious reaction formed by repetitive stimulations that are especially pleasant and rewarding. The second aim of the study was to examine the extent to which Internet craving might mediate the relationship between time spent online and Internet addition. Considering that Internet-based social interactions may be more likely to provide people with pleasure and immediate rewards, we also tested whether the moderating effect of the ratio of Internet social use may be completely or partially mediated by craving for Internet use. A sample of 2250 freshmen was recruited for the study to answer a series of anonymous questionnaires reporting their Internet addiction level, their Internet use status, and their level of Internet use craving. Based on theories of usage and gratification regarding the Internet and conditioning-based models of craving proposed in the literature, a mediated moderation model was constructed in which the ratio of Internet social use moderated the relationship between the time spent online and Internet addiction and this moderated effect of Internet addiction was mediated by the craving of Internet use. The data were analyzed by the Structural Equation Model using the AMOS 17.0 program. Our findings are as follows: (1) students spent 13.58 ± 8.94 hours per week online on average and Internet social use occupied 27.18 ± 18.15% of the total time of Internet use; (2) time spent online, the ratio of Internet social use, and craving for Internet use showed significant positive correlations with the five dimensions of Internet addiction and its total score; (3) time spent online and the ratio of Internet social use directly predicted Internet addiction. The ratio of Internet social use moderated the relationship between time spent online and Internet addiction. That is, subjects with a higher ratio of Internet social use showed significantly higher Internet addiction levels relative to subjects with a lower ratio of Internet social use, and the ability of time spent online to predict Internet addiction was comparatively lower for subjects who had greater social use of the Internet. Additionally, the moderating effect of the ratio of Internet social interaction was partially mediated by craving of Internet use. In summary, this study suggests that future studies of Internet addiction might investigate the type and the craving of people’s Internet use in addition to their time spent online. Our findings provide a theoretical and empirical basis for future work on prevention and intervention efforts relating to Internet addiction.
With the development of emerging implicit social cognition research, it is suggested that the researches of social cognition should be re-discussed from two different aspects (i.e. explicit and implicit) in order to provide richer and more comprehensive explanation for understanding human behavior. Previous studies showed that personal involvement is an important variable when individuals process and understand information. The subjects were divided into low personal involvement and high personal involvement in the present study. Based on the dual-process model, the study aims to examine the psychological mechanism by which new brand impressions are formed and changed in groups with two different levels of personal involvement. A 2 (valence of learned impression: positive, negative) × 2 (level of reinforcement: 100%, 75%) × 3 (counter impression condition: control, 20CI, 100CI) between subjects design was implemented in the study 1 (low involvement) and study 2 (high involvement). The subjects were Chinese university students. They were selected by convenience sampling and assigned randomly to 12 subgroups to participate in the study 1 and study 2. The sample excluded subjects who omitted items in the explicit brand impression and had an error rate of IAT equal to or higher than 20%. All analysis reported here involve the remaining 216 participants in study 1 and 202 participants in study 2. The results show that explicit brand impressions are independent from implicit ones; Following rule-based procession, the forming and change of explicit brand impression are developed by fast-learning memory system; Whereas implicit brand impression forming and change follow association procession and are developed by slow-learning memory system; In information processing individual difference in brand involvement has much to offer dual-process accounts of brand impression formation and change. The study suggests that managers of enterprises should show the positive information involving the brand to the consumers through multimedia and multiple perspectives so as to establish a positive impression of the brand quickly. Apart from that, the managers can also improve the personal involvement of the brand by interacting with consumers. For example, they can let consumers participate in brand co-creating.
In classical decision theory, choices are guided by the principle of value maximization, such that when offered a set of attributes or dimensions, a decision maker chooses the option with the highest value (value-based choice). In real life, however, people often choose options that will make them suffer a loss. To explain this behavior, Tang (2012) and Zheng (2012) proposed and demonstrated a so-called “worth-based choice” model, in which the decision maker chooses the option with the highest “worth” rather than the highest “value”. To explore what gives an option its worth, and to study the rationale underlying such a choice, we conducted two substudies, as described below. In Study 1, we created two scenarios — one in which a decision maker makes a “value-based choice” and the other in which a decision maker makes a “worth-based choice.” We recruited 134 subjects and assessed their responses to the two decision makers’ choices as a means of comparing the latent benefits associated with each type of choice. We found that decision makers who had suffered an offered loss when applying the “worth-based choice” would gain more in the long term by securing the good opinions of others. In contrast, decision makers who had maximized their immediate benefits by making a “value-based choice” would be subject to revenge or punishment later. These findings suggest that it is potential or deferred benefit that may lead people to make “worth-based choices”. Study 2 consisted of two substudies. The first study explored the underlying dimensions constantly considered by decision makers when assessing each option’s worth to make a “worth-based choice” (Study 2a). The second study examined the linear correlation between “worth-based choice” and real benefit (Study 2b) in a real-world setting. In Study 2a, a random sample of undergraduates and employees (N = 72) was surveyed to collect typical cases of “worth-based choices.” Exploratory factor analysis was then conducted with a random sample of 224 undergraduates and employees (aged between 18 and 60), and four factors (i.e., 惠(favor), 善(virtuous), 义(righteousness) and 法(law)) underlying “worth-based choice” were extracted. The four-factor construct was further proved to be reliable and valid by the results of a confirmatory factor analysis. In Study 2b, we used a sample of 178 salespersons in the real estate and pharmaceutical industries to compare the latent benefits generated by “value-based choice” and “worth-based choice”. The results confirmed our hypothesis that individuals who made a “worth-based choice” would gain more benefit later. We concluded that, in the “worth-based choice” model, though an individual may suffer an offered loss in the short term, he might gain more benefit in the long term. In the process, we managed to explain, for the first time, the philosophy reflected in a Chinese proverb, “chi kui shi fu” (suffering a loss is a blessing). The implications of the present study are also discussed.
The role of self-control in the process of decision-making has become a hot issue recently. Impulsive decision often brings a variety of undesired consequences and therefore reducing such kind of decision is conducive to preventing unexpected accidents that may occur in daily life. To the best of our knowledge, little work has been done to investigate the effect of self-control on impulsive decision-making. To fill in this gap, the current study aims at exploring how self-control influences impulsive decision-making using behavioral and electrophysiological experiments. According to the self-strength model of self-control, a prior exertion of self-control resources may consume the limited resources of self-control (i.e., ego depletion), which in turn undermines subsequent self-control performance. In addition, based on the prefrontal-subcortical balance model of self-regulation, higher or lower activation of prefrontal cortex is one of the important neural mechanisms that results in self-control failure. In light of these, the present study hypothesizes that ego depletion may increase impulsive decision-making (experiment 1 and 2), and this effect may be indicated by lower amplitude of N1 and higher amplitude of P2 (experiment 2). Self-control resources depletion was manipulated by Stroop task, a task that had been consistently proved to be effectively distinguish high and low self-control resources in previous researches. In the current study, participants assigned to high depletion condition completed 160 trails, which consisted of 140 incongruent trials and 20 neutral trails, whereby those in low depletion condition finished 140 congruent and 20 neutral trials. Impulsive decision-making was assessed by delay discounting task, a task that had frequently been employed to examine participants’ impulsivity in decision-making. A number of confounding variables were specified and controlled (i.e., mood, trait self-control, and risk-preference). In experiment 1, participants (N = 50) were randomly assigned to either low or high depletion condition. After completing the Stroop task followed by manipulation checks, they worked on the delayed discounting task. The procedure of experiment 2 was very similar to the one of experiment 1 except that participants’ EEGs were recorded by 32-channel ERPs equipment while they were carrying out the delaydiscounting task (N =32). The results showed that after ruling out the intervening variables, participants in high depletion condition showed more discounting in the delay discounting task than those in low depletion condition (experiment 1 & 2). Moreover, while participants with their self-control resources highly depleted were working on the delayed discounting task, the N1 of left prefrontal cortex displayed lower amplitude whereby the P2 of right hemisphere showed higher amplitude in comparison of those whose self-control resources were relatively intact (experiment 2). In sum, these findings suggest that activation of left prefrontal cortex is inhibited by ego depletion in the early period of decision-making process, and thus people are less likely to detect conflicts between choices and override the temptation of immediate reward. This leads the experiential system to dominate the process of decision-making, and it, in turn, results in impulsive decision. The current study demonstrates the importance of self-control in the process of impulsive decision-making and provides insights into prevention for this problem.
Many studies have found self-other differences in decision making, but few studies have focused on the differences in decision making for different others. In fact, people often need to make decisions for different others in everyday life. In this study, two experiments were conducted to examine the differences in risk preference when people made decisions for others with different psychological distance. With the revised romantic relationship decision questionnaire (Beisswanger, Stone, Hupp, & Allgaier, 2003) as a tool, Experiment 1 examined whether there were differences in risk preference when male and female participants made decisions for hypothetical specific others (friends) and abstract others (typical students) with either low or high life-impact scenarios. Experiment 2 examined whether there were differences in risk preference when male and female participants made decisions for similar others (with similar dispositional traits) and dissimilar others (with dissimilar dispositional traits). The results of the two experiments showed that: (1) No significant difference in risk preference was observed between decisions for specific others and decisions for abstract others. However, male participants were more inclined to take risks when they made decisions for specific others than abstract others, whereas female participants did the opposite. (2) In contrast, participants were more risk taking when they made decisions for dissimilar others than for similar others. (3) Participants were more inclined to take risks in low life-impact scenarios than in high life-impact scenarios. (4) Male participants were more risk taking and less susceptible to life-impact manipulation than female participants. These results suggest that individual risk preference is sensitive to not only the self-other difference in general, but also different types of others. Moreover, compared to the distinction of specific/abstract others, the distinction of similar/dissimilar others is more effective in inducing psychological distance between the self and others. To a certain extent, this result supports a social value–based account of psychological distance instead of a construal level-based account.
Advice taking, which is a decision-making process formulated by decision-makers with the reference of others’ suggestions, has become a research hotspot as the interactive process between advisers and decision-makers, and receives more attention in the field of behavioral decision making. In this study, we proposed that the labeling for decision maker is a potential predictor in the advice taking process. Specifically, whether the decision-maker takes the advice from others will be influenced effectively by the descriptions (labeling stick to the decision maker). This study assumed that labeling in advance will exert an influence on advice taking by different mechanism in different decision-making scenarios. Using widely-used “Judge-Advisor System (JAS)” experimental model, this paper explored the influence of the prime of positive self-labeling on advice taking in three decision making scenarios which were decided by whether there are hopes to benefit or not, and whether they are public or in private. 3 studies have been done in this research in a gradually deepening logical sequence. Study 1 included preliminary and formal experiments, and used 2 (Positive Self-labeling Priming: Yes/No) × 2 (Hope of Benefit: Yes/No) between-subject design to explore whether the advice taking process and the cognitive dissonance of the decision maker will be influenced by positive self-labeling in the public condition. Study 2 used between-subject design to further explore whether the prime of positive self-labeling will influence the advice taking in the private condition of the scenario that there is likely no benefit will be available. Further, study 3 explored whether the positive emotion of decision-makers will be promoted by the prime of positive self-labeling of decision makers, and whether positive meaning-finding acts as a mediator between the positive emotion and advice taking under the public condition of hopefully benefiting decision scene. The participants are university students and the number is 91 (experiment 1), 135 (experiment 2) and 96 (experiment 3) respectively. The results found that the prime of the positive self-labeling of decision makers would promote them to take the advice no matter in the hopefully benefiting decision scene or in the likely no benefit scene, but it only caused cognitive dissonance of decision makers in no- benefiting decision scene in the public condition, and there is not a significant effect on the advice taking and cognitive dissonance. It also showed that positive meaning-finding mediated the effect between the positive emotion and advice taking under the public condition of hopefully benefiting decision scene. The implications, limitations and future directions of the study were discussed as well.