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  • Table of Content
       , Volume 47 Issue 8 Previous Issue    Next Issue
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    Comparison of Facial Expressions and Body Expressions:  An Event-related Potential Study
    ZHANG Dandan; ZHAO Ting; LIU Yunzhe; CHEN Yuming
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2015, 47 (8): 963-970.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2015.00963
    Abstract   PDF (645KB) ( 2728 )

    Facial expressions and body expressions are both important emotion carriers in everyday communication and interaction. However, cognitive neuroscience in the field of emotion focuses mainly on the brain mechanism of facial expression processing and leave many problems of the body expression processing largely unsolved. The current study employed the event-related potentials (ERPs) to examine the time course of fearful and neutral body/face processing in 40 healthy adults. A total of 40 pictures of faces and 40 pictures of bodies were selected from Chinese facial and body picture systems. The experimental participants were required to discriminate the emotion (fear or neutral) of each picture (presented for 300 ms) as fast as possible. The task consisted of two blocks (face and body) of 120 trials each. Blocks were separated by self-terminated breaks. The order of the two blocks was counterbalanced across subjects. Stimulus display and behavioral data acquisition were conducted using E-Prime software. Brain electrical activity was recorded referentially against left mastoid and off-line re-referenced to average reference, by a 64-channel amplifier using a standard 10-20 system (Brain Products). The results of this study help to answer three question on the processing of fearful face and body expressions. First, the emotional carrier does influence the processing of fearful information. It is found that compared with facial expressions, the occipital P1 was larger in response to body expressions. Another finding in the early processing stage is that, similar with facial emotion processing, the brain could discriminate fearful and neutral bodies as early as approximately 100 ms post stimulus, reflected by a larger P1 in the fearful body condition. Second, the ERP components of N170 and VPP showed similar results in response to fearful facial and body expressions. The two components discriminated fearful and neutral faces but not bodies. In addition, compared with facial expressions, body expressions evoked smaller and slower N170/VPP, indicating that the brain in this processing stage allocated less cognitive resources to body expressions. Finally, the P3 component differed not only between body and face conditions, but also fearful and neutral conditions, suggesting a comprehensive processing of emotional information. The current result indicated that facial and body expressions had similar processing dynamics in the form of ERP data. Compared with facial expressions, it is seemed that the brain prefers body expressions at the early processing stage (the P1 time window). It is hoped that the current results regarding the emotional processing of facial and body expressions will be helpful for our understanding of the mechanisms of the emotional brain. The investigated ERP components in this study are potential biomarkers for the diagnosis of emotional disorders.

    The ERP Evidence of Modulation of Situation Reality on Empathy for Sadness
    YAN Zhiying; LU Jiamei
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2015, 47 (8): 971-980.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2015.00971
    Abstract   PDF (1204KB) ( 1790 )

     This study adopted empathy induced by sadness which is a kind of true human emotions as research object, using true and observable earthquake situation pictures with strong social reality meaning as stimuli materials. Based on the neuroscience perspective, previous research on empathy was mainly limited to sensation (especially pain), and the present study broke those limitations. With the event-related potential technologies and the picture perception paradigms, we explored whether the extent of situation reality could modulate empathy for sadness.

    Fourteen right handed undergraduate and postgraduate students (7 males and 7 females) were recruited to take part in the study. Participants were presented with earthquake pictures (sad stimulus) or life pictures (neutral stimulus) that were in real or film situation which was formed through instructions. Participants were instructed to view naturally.
    The behavioral results showed that subjective empathic response which induced by the real earthquake situation pictures was more intense than that induced by the film earthquake situation pictures. The ERP results showed early differentiation between earthquake and life pictures over the frontal-central area at 180 ms after sensory stimulation and a long-latency empathic response was observed after 300 ms over the central–parietal regions. The late empathic response was modulated by situation reality. Moreover, the mean ERP amplitudes induced by the film and real earthquake situation pictures at 160~180 ms and 300~350 ms were respectively correlated with the subjective reports of the degree of perceived sadness of self.

    These results suggest that empathy research can be pushed to empathy for sadness with real emotional characteristics. Earthquake situation pictures can be used as experiment materials that induced empathy for sadness. The different degrees of situational realities formed by the cognitive evaluation which is based on induction can modulate the empathy for sadness and it happens in the late stage of finely controlled processing period.

    Dissociation of Inhibitory Tagging from Inhibition of Return by Long-term Training
    XU Ju; MA Fangyuan; ZHANG Ming; ZHANG Yang
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2015, 47 (8): 981-991.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2015.00981
    Abstract   PDF (1514KB) ( 1051 )

    Inhibition of return (IOR) refers to slower responses to targets presented at the previously attended location than to those at control locations. A recent theory suggests that aside from IOR, a mechanism called inhibitory tagging (IT), also works on previously attended locations to temporarily block the perceptual representations accessing its appropriate response. Due to its capability of explaining many complex interactions between IOR and other effects (e.g., the interaction between IOR and Stroop effect), the IT theory has received more and more attention in the recent literature. However, till now, no direct evidence of the dissociation between IOR and IT has been observed in healthy normal participants. In the present study, we tried to dissociate IT from IOR in healthy normal participants by using of a long-term training procedure. 21 healthy participants (2 male, 19 female, with mean age of 22±3.03) were required to finish a task combined the cue-target paradigm and Stroop task in 8 successive days. Specifically, in each training day, the participants were asked to react as fast and accurate as possible to the displayed color of Stroop stimuli (color words) presented at either the cued or uncued locations. Results showed that: 1) the IOR effect decreased significantly as the training days increased in both the traditional RTs difference index (RTcued – RTuncued, p = 0.01) or the RTs ration index (RTuncued /RTcued, p < 0.05). 2) In contrast to the IOR effect, the inhibitory tagging indexed by the interaction between IOR and Stroop effect didn’t show significant decrease with the increased training days. 3) Both the semantic and the response conflict effect expressed a significant decrease trend as the training days extended to 8-days. Taken together, those findings suggest that 1) IT could be dissociated from IOR, providing the first evidence for the dissociation between IT and IOR in heathy participants; 2) IOR could be affected reliably by 8-days training, supporting the “lack of enough training” explanation for the previous inconsistent results about the practice effect of IOR; and 3) at odds with previous studies regarding practice effect of conflict processing (e.g., Chen et al. 2010), the current results suggest that training, at least as long as 8-days training, could affect both the semantic and response conflict.

    The Impact of Cyber-Experience on Action Verb Processing
    LIU Siyun; ZHOU Zongkui; LI Na
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2015, 47 (8): 992-1003.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2015.00992
    Abstract   PDF (750KB) ( 2200 )

     Two major different approaches have been held when researchers study higher level cognitive processes. The classic symbolic approach suggested that our higher level cognitive processing belongs to an independent system from that of lower level cognitive processes; whereas embodied cognition theory proposed that our conceptual knowledge is grounded in our sensorimotor systems and shares common neural systems with them. Up till now, a growing number of behavioral and neurological data have provided supporting evidence for embodied cognition theory.

    In this study, we explored whether different degree of cyber-experience would affect higher level of cognitive processing. Three experiments were designed to investigate the impacts of cyber-experience on the processing of facial expression verbs, body action verbs and action schema verbs. In Experiment 1, two experimental groups of participants were presented with facial expression verbs while their facial positive expressive capability was either facilitated or inhibited. Results showed that participants who had excessive cyber experiences showed no different performance under two different facial muscle controlling conditions, while the participants with less cyber experience recognized positive facial verbs more quickly under facilitated condition than that under inhibited condition. In Experiment 2, the switching costs paradigm was used to explore the impact of cyber-experience on body action verb processing. Results showed that the participants with excessive cyber experience did not show any cost while they switched between verbs and nouns, but the participants with less cyber experience showed significant cognitive cost while switching. In Experiment 3, the serial recall experimental paradigm was applied to explore the impact of cyber-experience on action schema verb processing. Results showed that the excessive cyber-experience participants’ recall performance of the action schemas verbs was no different between logic sequence and random sequence conditions, whereas those with less cyber-experience showed significantly worse performance in random sequence condition than that in logic sequence condition.

    In summary, current findings suggested that excessive cyber behaviors may hurt individuals’ higher level of cognitive processing, in that their verb processing may be weakened or delayed as a result of less normal conceptual representations. Our study also provided supportive evidence for the close relationship between the sensorimotor systems and the higher level of conceptual processing.

    Relations between Preference for Solitude and Psychological Adjustment in Middle Childhood and Early Adolescence: A Moderated Mediating Model
    LIU Junsheng; ZHOU Ying; LI Dan; CHEN Xinyin
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2015, 47 (8): 1004-1012.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2015.01004
    Abstract   PDF (428KB) ( 3598 )
    Socially withdrawn children remove themselves from opportunities for social interaction. Most previous research has focused shy children (who withdraw due to a social fear and wariness), whereas less is known about children who may simply have a preference for solitude. Empirical studies have found that although preference for solitude appears to be a relatively benign form of social withdrawal in Western societies, children who prefer solitude or aloneness tend to report higher level of adjustment problems in China. However, most of the studies conducted in Western societies have relied on children’s self reports, whereas the findings in China have been based primarily on peer evaluations of preference for solitude. These methodological inconsistencies reduce the comparability of the results. Thus, the first aim of the present study was to examine the relations between Chinese children’s self-reports of preference for solitude and indices of psychological maladjustment.
    According to the contextual-developmental perspective, cultural context plays an important role in the development of individual social and behavioral functioning. Whereas most Western societies emphasize independence and self-expression, Chinese society places greater emphasis on interdependent ties among individuals and group harmony. As a result, children who prefer aloneness and maintain distance from the group may be viewed as anti-collective, and thus would be more likely to be rejected by peers. Such negative feedback from peers may, in turn, place unsociable children at a higher risk for psychological maladjustment. In this regard, peer relationships would be expected to play an important mediating role in the relations between preference for solitude and psychological adjustment.
    As compared to the middle childhood, a significant developmental change during pre-adolescence is the increased value placed on privacy and alone time. Adolescents may begin to respect unsociable individuals’ decisions to be solitary, perhaps because of the change in their own needs for privacy. Therefore, the mediating effects of peer relationships in the relations between preference for solitude and psychological adjustment may also be moderated by age.

    Accordingly, in the present study a moderated mediation model was examined, in which peer preference mediated the relations between preference for solitude and psychological adjustment, and this mediation effect was moderated by age. Participants were 1026 children in middle childhood and early adolescence. Assessments of preference for solitude, loneliness, depression, self-esteem and peer preference were obtained from self-reports and peer nominations. Results indicated that: (1) in early adolescence, higher preference for solitude scores were reported than in middle childhood; (2) preference for solitude was positively associated with loneliness and depression, and negatively associated with self-esteem; (3) peer preference partially mediated relations between preference for solitude and indices of psychological adjustment, and age moderated this mediation effect. The mediation effects were found in middle childhood, but not in late childhood. Results are discussed in terms of the meaning and implications of preference for solitude in different developmental periods.

    Learning from Comparison: The Effects of Example Variability and Prior Knowledge
    GUO Jianpeng; YANG Lingyan
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2015, 47 (8): 1013-1027.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2015.01013
    Abstract   PDF (750KB) ( 5344 )
    There is an enormous body of example-based research consistently showing that comparing multiple examples supports greater learning than does studying one single example or studying examples separately. Not all comparisons, however, may be equally effective. The impact of comparison on learning depends on the example variability and students’ prior knowledge; but the findings are contradictory. The current study investigated the effects of example variability and students’ prior knowledge on learning multistep linear equation solving.
    In this study, problem type and solution method were identified as two critical aspects for learning how to solve linear equations, and four comparison conditions were designed accordingly. 251 seventh-grade students were randomly assigned to learn equation solving by (1) first comparing separate variation of problem types and solution methods and then comparing simultaneous variation of these two aspects, abbreviated as Type_Method_Type+Method, (2) first comparing separate variation of solution methods and then comparing simultaneous variation of problem types and solution methods, abbreviated as Method_Method_Type+Method, (3) first comparing separate variation of problem types and then comparing simultaneous variation of problem types and solution methods, abbreviated as Type_Type_Type+Method, or (4) comparing separation variation of problem types and solution methods but not comparing simultaneous variation of these two aspects, abbreviated as Type_Method_Type/Method. Students’ procedural knowledge, flexibility knowledge, and conceptual knowledge were assessed at pretest and posttest to evaluate the effectiveness of different comparisons.
    To examine the possible interaction effect between students’ prior knowledge and experimental condition, students were categorized as using shortcuts or not using shortcuts based on their pretest performance. Results showed significant interaction effects between prior knowledge and condition. Comparing the two critical aspects of problem type and solution method first separately and then simultaneously (Type_Method_Type+ Method) led to more flexibility knowledge and conceptual knowledge than other methods for students who did not use shortcuts at pretest. The effectiveness of this method, however, was reverse for students who used shortcuts at pretest. In addition, Type_Method_Type/Method was the least beneficial condition for students who did not use shortcuts at pretest; Method_Method_Type+Method was the most beneficial condition for students who used shortcuts at pretest.

    Example design should focus on aspects and features that are critical for student learning, and use the distinction of critical/uncritical instead of the distinction of surface/structural adopted by existing cognitive studies. Students with different levels of prior knowledge perceived different aspects of examples as critical for their learning. On the basis of these critical aspects, certain patterns of variation and invariance should be adopted to systematically determine the variability of examples, and to help students discern critical aspects first separately and then simultaneously. Suggestions for future research are provided.

    The Decision-making and Outcome Evaluation during a Repeated Trust Game
    WANG Yiwen; ZHANG Zhen; YUAN Sheng; GUO Fengbo; HE Shaoying; JING Yiming
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2015, 47 (8): 1028-1038.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2015.01028
    Abstract   PDF (829KB) ( 2077 )

    To trust or not to trust is a social dilemma which impacts our way of life. As an important social signaling mechanism, trust is critical to the development of long-term social relationships, which could reduce transaction costs, facilitate cooperative behavior, and promote the prosperity of human society. Previous fMRI research based on the Trust Game has revealed some brain regions recruited for the decision to trust, including medial prefrontal cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and right temporoparietal junction. However, the temporal characteristics of the trustor’s decision-making and outcome evaluation during the Trust Game are still unclear. We aim to address this limitation and understand the cognitive and biological mechanisms underlying decisions to trust. In the current study, we employed the event-related potentials (ERPs) technology to record 20 healthy participants’ electrical brain activity while they played the role of trustor in a repeated Trust Game. During this game, participants made decisions to trust or not to trust a same counterpart over 150 trials. The counterpart’s reciprocation strategy was manipulated by the experimenter (50% reinforcement rate). Participants were provided with post-decision feedback about the outcome of their decisions (gain or loss game points) in each trial. The behavioral data and ERP component in the decision phase and the outcome evaluation phase were analyzed. Behavioral results revealed that participants made trusting decisions more often than chance. Electrophysiological results found that the peak amplitudes of P2 for distrusting choice were significantly larger than trusting choice in the decision phase. The neural activity in the P2 time window that differentiated between distrusting and trusting choices was potentially generated in the middle frontal gyrus and the inferior frontal gyrus. In the outcome phase, the feedback-related negativity (FRN) was more negative going in response to loss feedback compared to gain feedback, while P300 latency was shorter in response to gain feedback than in response to loss feedback. Our data provide some insights into the psychophysiological processes underlying human’s trust decision-making for the repeated social interactions. Specifically, in the decision phase, distrusting choice induced a larger P2 than did trusting choice, which may reflect conflict detection caused by the violation of injunctive norms of cooperation and trust. In the outcome evaluation phase, FRN was larger in response to loss feedback compared to gain feedback, which may indicate the violation of reward expectation associated with trusting decisions. These findings highlight the ingrained norm of cooperation and trust in modern society, and reveal some temporal characteristics of the trustor’s decision making and outcome evaluation processes in the repeated trust game.

    Perspective Taking: Making Inferences Based on Oneself and Related Individual Differences
    WANG Yuqing; YOU Xuqun; JIAO Jian; CHEN Pengfei
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2015, 47 (8): 1039-1049.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2015.01039
    Abstract   PDF (437KB) ( 1983 )

    One remarkable feature of our social ability is that we are not only able to reason about our own mental states, but also have some insights into others' mental life. Our awareness of our own and other?s perspectives as well as our ability to shift between the two are fundamental processes in guiding how to people interact with each other. One question that interests researchers is how perspective taking is achieved when inferring what others are seeing, feeling, wanting, or thinking in situations where they themselves hold a different point of view. Being able to put their own perspective aside is thus a fundamental facet of our ability to read other people’s minds. Previous studies have shown that participants can not easily ignore what others see when making self-perspective judgments, or resist interference from one’s own perspectives. It would be helpful to understand the mechanism of Theory of Mind by exploring how people judge their own or others perspectives and the related individual differences. One hundred college students (50 males and 50 females)were selected as participants, with half of them majoring in liberal art and the other half in science. In two visual perspective-taking experiments, participants were asked to judge their own or someone else’s visual perspective in situations where the two perspectives were either the same or different. In Experiment 1, trials in which participants had to judge their own perspectives and trials in which they had to judge the other’s perspectives were mixed within the same block. In Experiment 2, trials in which participants had to judge their own perspectives and trials in which they had to judge the other’s perspectives were in separated blocks to help reduce interference from taking the other’s perspectives when it was unnecessary to do so. The results showed that: (1) Participants can not easily ignore what they themselves saw when taking other's perspectives judgments. This was observed even when participants were only required to take the other's perspectives within the same block of trials (Experiment 2) under the condition that it was unnecessary to do so. (2) Participants were more efficient in judging their own self perspectives than taking other's perspectives. (3) Men and women showed no gender differences when they judged their own perspectives. However, men were significantly slower than women when take other’s perspectives. Arts students were lower than students majoring in science whenever judging their own perspectives or taking others' perspectives. In summary, these results suggest that adults make use of more rapid and efficient processes to judge their own perspective than judging what other people see. Some results were different from those provided by Samson et al. (2010), which possibly suggests that the fast and efficient calculation of what the other people see is unlikely certain, that is, it may depend on some other factors, such as culture, gender and participants’ background. These findings provide further evidence for understanding the reasoning mechanism of the theory of mind.

    The Effects of Self-other Overlap on Helping Behavior: Moderating of Perspective Taking
    ZHONG Yiping; YANG Zilu; FAN Wei
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2015, 47 (8): 1050-1057.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2015.01050
    Abstract   PDF (365KB) ( 2271 )

    The relationship between perspective taking and helping behavior has always been the focus research within the fields of development psychology and social psychology. The previous research shows that perspective taking not only positively correlates to helping behaviors but also deepen the self-other overlap. Besides, effects of self-other overlap is short of being considered during the similar researches. Therefore, this thesis, through two experiments, studies self-other overlap and perspective taking as well as their effects on helping behavior. Experiment 1, a single-factor two-level within groups design, studies the different influences of high and low self-other overlap on helping behavior. Seventy university students (including 48 male, 22 female; mean age = 18.83) participated in the experiment and they were given a reward. Results show that the higher level of self-other overlap leads to the more obvious helping behavior, it means that the more we are intimate and similar, the more we are willing to help others. Experiment 2, a two-factor mixed design, studies what and how perspective taking and self-other overlap influence helping behavior. Sixty eight university students (including 27 male, 41 female; mean age = 18.97) were divided into two groups, which group had thirty four participants, and everyone had normal or corrected-to-normal version. Results prove the main effect of perspective taking and self-other overlap level are significant, the interactive effect of perspective taking and self-other overlap level is significant. To sum up, these results prove that self-other overlap have a significant effect on helping behavior, and perspective taking moderates the effect of self-other overlap on helping behavior.

    Effects of a Stranger’s Presence and Behavior on Moral Hypocrisy
    FU Xinyuan; LU Zhiyuan; KOU Yu
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2015, 47 (8): 1058-1066.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2015.01058
    Abstract   PDF (3071KB) ( 88629 )

    Moral hypocrisy is prevalent and the presence of a stranger and his/her moral or hypocritical behavior might affect an individual’s moral hypocrisy. Therefore, based on a donation situation, we used experimental paradigms to explore the effects of a stranger’ presence and his/her moral or hypocritical behavior on an individual’s moral hypocrisy. In the pilot study, we developed an online scenario-based questionnaire to identify whether the amount of donation would be affected by the total amount an individual had. A total of 46 university students (15 boys, Mage = 21.02, SD = 1.06) were asked to expect how much they would donate if they had 50 and 20 yuan, respectively. According to the results, the proportions of donation were equal (50 yuan: M = 0.32, SD = 0.24; 20 yuan: M = 0.32, SD = 0.33; t = 0.13, df = 45, p = 0.900) between the two conditions. Therefore, we created the indicator of moral hypocrisy by subtracting the proportion of donation an individual donated (20 yuan in total) from the proportion one expected beforehand (50 yuan in total). In Study 1, a total of 60 university students (7 boys, Mage = 20.31, SD = 1.81) were recruited and were randomly assigned to “no stranger” or “with stranger” group. The participants had expected their amounts of donation before they got into the experiment room and then their donation behaviors (i.e., the amounts of money they actually donated) were measured after they finished a filler survey. Results showed that, the proportions participants donated were both significantly lower than that they claimed in the two groups (“no stranger” group: t = 4.54, df = 29, p < 0.001, d = 1.05, 1-β = 0.97; “with stranger” group: t = 6.35, df = 29, p < 0.001, d = 1.17, 1-β = 0.99), and the degrees of moral hypocrisy were the same (t = 0.42, df = 58, p = 0.677). It indicated that a stranger’s presence could not inhibit moral hypocrisy. In Study 2, a total of 60 university students (12 boys, Mage = 20.28, SD = 1.24) were recruited and were randomly assigned to “moral stranger” or “hypocritical stranger” group. The participants had expected the amounts of donation before they got into the experiment room and then their donation behaviors were measured after they finished a filler survey. Results showed that, in “moral stranger” group, the proportions participants actually donated were the same as that they claimed beforehand (t = 0.12, df = 29, p = 0.903), while in “hypocritical stranger” group, the proportions participants actually donated were significantly lower than that they claimed beforehand (t = 6.39, df = 29, p < 0.001, d = 1.60, 1-β = 1.00). It indicated that a stranger’s moral behavior could inhibit moral hypocrisy, while his/her hypocritical behavior had no effect. Overall, findings in the present study suggested that a stranger’s presence and as well as his/her hypocritical behavior could not inhibit an individual’s moral hypocrisy, while his/her moral behavior could inhibit another one’s moral hypocrisy.

    The Impact of Loneliness on Consumer Preference of Uncertain Consumption: New Products, Product Packaging and Probabilistic Promotions
    CHEN Rui; ZHENG Yuhuang
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2015, 47 (8): 1067-1076.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2015.01067
    Abstract   PDF (493KB) ( 2550 )

    Despite the popularity of social networks and new technologies that make social interactions easier, more and more people feel lonely now than before. Prior research suggested that loneliness significantly affected social behavior, psychological cognition and physiological health, but little research has been done in the domain of consumer behavior. Building on prior research about loneliness, perceived loss of control and uncertainty avoidance, this paper argues that loneliness will cause perceived loss of control, which consequently will make consumers more uncertainty avoiding. A series of three studies were conducted in both China and the U.S. to test the above hypotheses in the consumption domains of new products, product packaging and probabilistic promotions. Study 1 used a 2 (product type: novel Sony speaker vs. traditional Sony speaker) × loneliness (continuous measurement) between-subjects design to test the aforementioned hypothesis. 102 participants from Amazon’s M-Turk pool were randomly assigned to one of the two product type groups. After reading information about a novel Sony speaker (or a traditional Sony speaker), participants evaluated the product and then completed the loneliness scale and some other demographic information. The results revealed a significant interaction between product type and loneliness. Specifically, loneliness had no effect on the evaluation of the traditional Sony speaker, but loneliness was significantly negatively correlated to the evaluation of the novel Sony speaker. Study 2 used a similar design as Study 1 to further test our proposition in the domain of product packaging (transparent vs. non-transparent packaging). 123 participants were randomly assigned to one of the two groups in which there were asked to imagine shopping for nuts with either transparent or non-transparent product packaging and consequently to indicate their preferences of the nuts. The results showed a significant interaction of product packaging and loneliness. Specifically, loneliness had no effect on the preferences of the nuts with transparent packaging, but loneliness was significantly negatively correlated to the preferences of the nuts with non-transparent packaging. Study 3 aims to further test our proposition in the consumption domain of probabilistic promotions and to test the underlying mechanism of perceived loss of control. Participants were first asked to make a choice between a certain discount promotion and a probabilistic promotion. Then, they were asked to fill out a set of items to measure their perceived loss of control and loneliness. The results showed that the more lonely participants were, the less likely for them to choose the probabilistic promotion. More importantly, perceived loss of control totally mediates the effect of loneliness on their preferences of probabilistic promotions. In summary, this research finds that loneliness causes uncertainty avoidance in consumption preferences, across a variety of consumption domains including new products, product packaging and probabilistic promotions. Further, this effect was mediated by lonely consumers’ perceived loss of control. Finally, the findings have important implications both theoretically and practically. Theoretically, our research is the first to show that other than the attachment motivation, loneliness can also affect people’s cognition that consequently affects their consumption behavior. Practically, our research suggests that firms should weaken the uncertain information featured in new products and probabilistic promotions or use transparent product packaging for lonely consumers such as the elderly or disabled.

    Nonparametric Cognitive Diagnosis: A Cluster Diagnostic Method  Based on Grade Response Items
    KANG Chunhua; REN Ping; ZENG Pingfei
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2015, 47 (8): 1077-1088.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2015.01077
    Abstract   PDF (687KB) ( 822 )

    Examinations help students learn more efficiently by filling their learning gaps. To achieve this goal, we have to differentiate students who have from those who have not mastered a set of attributes as measured by the test through cognitive diagnostic assessment. K-means cluster analysis, being a nonparametric cognitive diagnosis method requires the Q-matrix only, which reflects the relationship between attributes and items. This does not require the estimation of the parameters, so is independent of sample size, simple to operate, and easy to understand. Previous research use the sum score vectors or capability scores vector as the clustering objects. These methods are only adaptive for dichotomous data. Structural response items are, however, the main type used in examinations, particularly as required in recent reforms. On the basis of previous research, this paper puts forward a method to calculate a capability matrix reflecting the mastery level on skills and is applicable to grade response items. Our study included four parts. First, we introduced the K-means cluster diagnosis method which has been adapted for dichotomous data. Second, we expanded the K-means cluster diagnosis method for grade response data (GRCDM). Third, in Part Two, we investigated the performance of the method introduced using a simulation study. Fourth, we investigated the performance of the method in an empirical study. The simulation study focused on three factors. First, the sample size was set to be 100, 500, and 1000. Second, the percentage of random errors was manipulated to be 5%, 10%, and 20%. Third, it had four hierarchies, as proposed by Leighton. All experimental conditions composed of seven attributes, different items according to hierarchies. Simulation results showed that: (1) GRCDM had a high pattern match ratio (PMR) and high marginal match ratio (MMR). This method was shown to be feasible in cognitive diagnostic assessment. (2) The classification accuracy (MMR and PMR) of this method was not dependent on the size of sample. This method had high classification accuracy even in a sample of 100, so it can be used in small assessment and classroom assessment. (3) The classification accuracy under divergent or unstructured attribute hierarchy structure were better than other attribute hierarchy structure in having a high classification accuracy, especially under divergent attribute hierarchy structure. We used this method as in the simulation studies to analyze empirical data from cognitive diagnostic assessment on primary school student’s arithmetic word problem solving, and compared the results to that obtained using the rule space method which was based on the graded response model. Results showed that the attributes difficulty with the classification method was suitable for attributes nature. In different types of schools, the proportion of mastery in each attribute can be different. The better ones have more students mastering each attribute than the worse ones. So, GRCDM has high internal and external validity for use in these situations. In conclusion, this paper provides a new method and a new direction for the development of cognitive diagnostic assessment.

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