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  • Table of Content
       , Volume 43 Issue 10 Previous Issue    Next Issue
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    The Influence of Visual Working Memory Contents on Top-down Attentional Control: An ERP Study
    BAI Xue-Jun,YIN Sha-Sha,YANG Hai-Bo,LV Yong,HU Wei,LUO Yue-Jia
    . 2011, 43 (10): 1103-1113.  
    Abstract   PDF (476KB) ( 2833 )
    The biased competition model for attentional selection proposed by Desimone and Duncan (1995) provided a framework for researchers to understand the interaction between top-down working memory factors and bottom-up sensory factors in attentional control. This model suggested that the stimulus representation stored in visual working memory would automatically capture attention in a visual search. However, other studies found that the content of visual working memory played no role in attentional capture. In order to explore the influence of visual working memory content on top-down attentional control, we employed a visual search paradigm with a secondary memory task and recorded ERP’s.
    Sixteen participants performed the task under long or short ISI conditions. The short ISI varied randomly from 400 to 600ms, while the long ISI varied randomly from 800 to 900ms. Each trial began with a black fixation cross displayed on a gray background for 500ms, followed by a memory item (abstract shape) for 1000 ms, and a blank interval (ISI). After the interval, a search array of four abstract symmetrical shapes containing an arrow each was presented for 2000ms, and participants had to use a button box to indicate the direction of the only horizontal arrow presented in these shapes. This was followed by a 200ms interval. Finally, a probe stimulus was displayed for 1500ms, and participants had to indicate whether this item was the same as the initial abstract shape presented on its own at the beginning of the trial. The next trail commenced after a 500ms intertrial interval. The search arrays were divided into valid (the memory item appears in the search array and contains the horizontal arrow), invalid (the memory item appears in the search array, but does not contain a horizontal arrow), and neutral (the memory item is absent from the search array).
    The behavioral data demonstrated that the RTs were significantly shorter in the valid condition than those in the invalid condition regardless of ISI duration. The ERP data showed that the amplitudes of frontal P2 in the valid condition were significantly larger than those in the neutral condition. The amplitudes and latencies of occipital N1 and P1 did not show any significant differences between all visual working memory content conditions (valid, invalid and neutral). However, the main effect of ISI was reliable on the amplitudes of both P1 and N1. The amplitudes of P1 in the short ISI condition were larger than those in the long ISI condition, by the contrast, the amplitudes of N1 in the short ISI condition were smaller than those in the long ISI condition. That finding was considered to be related to the time course of visual working memory processing. Furthermore, the amplitudes of P300 in the valid condition were larger than those in the invalid condition when the ISI was short, and in contrast, the amplitudes of P300 in the valid condition were significantly smaller than those in the invalid condition when the ISI was long.
    The overall findings suggest that the influence of visual working memory content on top-down attentional control was affected by the time course of visual working memory processing. In the valid condition where search targets matched the content of working memory, an automatic selection advantage was observed for RTs and ERPs.
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    The Influence of Coherence on the Consciousness of Text Representation
    WANG Rui-Ming,WU Di,ZOU Yan-Rong,ZHOU Ai-Si,ZENG Xiang-Yan
    . 2011, 43 (10): 1114-1123.  
    Abstract   PDF (325KB) ( 996 )
    Long et al. (2006) found that the construction of situation model was conscious while the construction of textbase was unconscious through two paradigms (IRK and PDP)in text reading. With a careful examination to the experiment materials, it is found that the materials at two levels of coherence (low and high) are all globally coherent. Previous research on text-reading established a wide acknowledgement that the local coherence condition connects with the construction of textbase while the global coherence condition connects with the construction of situation model. However, the evidence given by Long is insufficient to prove the fact that the construction of textbase is unconscious because the conclusion is purely based on materials that are globally coherent. In this study, two experiments were designed to explore the influence of different coherence levels on the consciousness of text representation with the two paradigms (IRK and PDP).
    A self-paced, line-by-line reading paradigm was used in this study. In experiment 1, 30 university students were asked to read 16 narrative passages. One independent variable is the relationship between the elaboration on a characteristic of the protagonist and the subsequent target action carried out by the protagonist. The independent variable had two levels: high coherence and low coherence. The other independent variable is the coherence in the passage, which also had two levels: global coherence and local coherence. The dependent variable was the rate of “remember” or “know” judgment. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the four material sets and asked to read the texts, followed by a recognition test. They were instructed to press the key labeled new if they believed the sentence did not appear in one of the texts they had read. Otherwise, press the key labeled old, then they were asked to decide whether they had a vivid and clear consciousness of the sentence; if so, they were asked to press the key labeled R (for remember). If they did not have a vivid and clear consciousness of the sentence but still believed the sentence had appeared in one of the texts, they were asked to press the key labeled K (for know). In experiment 2, 40 University students were asked to read 16 groups of narrative passages. The two independent variables were the same as those in experiment 1. The dependent variable was the hit rate of “Old” judgment and the false alarm rate of “New” judgment. Participants were randomly assigned to a material set. Each participant read sixteen blocks of texts, and finished a recognition test in between each block. Upon finishing reading a block, they were given instruction (either inclusion or exclusion). In inclusion test, participants were asked to respond old if the sentence appeared in either Story A or Story B and were asked to respond new to any new item. In exclusion test, participants were asked to respond old only if the sentence appeared in Story B and were asked to respond new if the sentence was from Story A or if the item was new.
    According to the results from the two experiments, we find that in the global coherence condition, coherence level (high and low) only affects conscious processing but not unconscious processing; however, in the local coherence condition, coherence level affects both conscious and unconscious processing. To sum up, coherence level can provide different influence on text representation process in different coherence condition.
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    Undergraduates’ Classification of Odor Terms: A Study Based on Semantic and Imagined Similarity
    WANG Juan,SHEN Shu-Hua,ZHANG Ji-Jia
    . 2011, 43 (10): 1124-1137.  
    Abstract   PDF (648KB) ( 1584 )
    The world is suffused with various odors which are closely related to people’s life. Odors are not only non-ignorable in love scene and interpersonal communication but also irreplaceable to be as effective retrieval in criminal cues scouting. It also affects people’s physical and psychological health tremendously. However, few studies have focused on odor cognitions: it still lacks a uniform standard for classification of odor and basic odor categories has not been formed yet. Most of the previous studies investigated odors or odor categories based on semantics and perception. They focused on classification of specific odor or odor term clustering rather than getting the semantic space of odor or odor terms and summarization of standards of smell term clustering. Most studies highlighted the properties of odor presentation or culture’s influence on classification rather than the discovery of inner mechanism of classification. The aims of the recent study were to explore standards of odor terms classification and mechanisms of interaction of odor concepts and to observe concept organization under Chinese culture to reveal how Chinese construct concept of odor terms.
    Ninety college students including 40 males and 50 females were enrolled in the recent study. In Experiment 1, participants were asked to classify 60 daily odor-terms on the basis of semantic similarity. In Experiment 2, participants were instructed to imagine the odors of the 60 odor terms and classify them on the basis of imagined similarity. Data were analyzed with Multi-Dimensional Scaling and Hierarchical clustering program in SPSS 13.0.
    The results of Experiment 1 showed that semantic space of the 60 odor terms contains two dimensions: (1) food related/not food related, (2) artificiality objects/natural objects. Sixty odor terms were classified into 2 groups including food related odors and not food related odors with 6 sub-groups: (1) fruit, (2) food and man-made drinks, (3) meal and condiment, (4) natural plant and flowers, (5) human body and excretions, and (6) natural non-food. The results of Experiment 2 showed that semantic space of the 60 odor terms contains two dimensions: (1) pleasure, (2) density. Sixty odor terms were classified into 2 groups including pleasant odors and disgusting odors with 4 sub-groups, they were: (1) sweet, (2) objectionable (Ⅰ), (3) objectionable (Ⅱ), (4) fetid. Spearman correlation analysis of two kinds of classification’s coordinate value showed that “food related/not food related” dimension was significantly correlated with “pleasure” dimension and “man-made/natural” dimension was moderately correlated with “density” dimension. The classifications based on semantic similarity and perception similarity had not only some similarities but also some differences. Processing of one item would change with various classification scenes, showing that the conceptual system of human is flexible. The classification of odor-terms on imagined conditions revealed not only Chinese culture classification standard but also the semantic space and conceptual structure dimensions of Chinese culture.
    In summary, this study showed that: (1) On semantic condition, undergraduates classified the odor-terms according to objects’ function (food related/not food related) and the nature of semantics (artificiality objects/natural objects); (2) On imaginary condition, undergraduates classified the odor-terms according to odor’s feeling tone (pleasure) and intensity (density); (3) Odor-terms have rough semantic features, prototype played an important role in odor-terms’ concept organization; (4) Undergraduates’ classification of odor-terms between males and females were unanimous mainly but also remaining gender differences between some odor-items.
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    On the Relationship between Motivating Style and Elementary Students’ Creative Thinking: The Mediating Role of Autonomous Motivation
    ZHANG Jing-Huan,LIU Gui-Rong,SHI Wei-Wei,FU Xiu-Jun
    . 2011, 43 (10): 1138-1150.  
    Abstract   PDF (424KB) ( 2521 )
    Given its importance and applicability to literally every field, creativity is a topic of ever-increasing interest; Motivation has been frequently and predictably related to creativity. The focus of research, concerning their relationship, has transferred from distinguishing extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation – to treating extrinsic motivation differentially. Synergistic extrinsic motivation can contribute to creativity, while non-synergistic motivation can undermine creativity. Based on much empirical research, Self-determination Theory (SDT) treats motivation from a new perspective. SDT proposes that there are four types of internalization that differ in the degree to which the regulations become integrated with a person’s sense of self: external regulation, introjected regulation, identified regulation and intrinsic motivation. The conception of internalization and types of regulation has shifted the primary differentiation from a focus on intrinsic motivation versus extrinsic motivation, to a focus on autonomous motivation (AM) versus controlled motivation (CM). As has been made clear in many papers, the most positive outcomes are derived from AM, while CM is either unrelated or negatively related to adaptive outcomes. Research has shown that AM is effective for performance – especially on complex or heuristic tasks that involve deep information processing or creativity – while CM is associated with lower well-being and poorer functioning. However, in making predictions regarding which type of motivation has the most positive impact on outcomes, the nature of the task does make sense. Just as Gagné & Deci (2005) proposed, “Controlled motivation will yield poorer performance on heuristic tasks than autonomous motivation, but will lead to equal or better short-term performance on algorithmic tasks.” Based on SDT, we can predict behavior more accurately according to one’s degree of self-determination. Then what can SDT shed light on in the relationship between motivation and creativity? Research is needed to explore this point. Motivating style – autonomy supportive or controlling – is motivation orientation of children’s significant others. According to SDT, when the social context is autonomy supportive, people are motivated to internalize the regulation of important activities; whereas when the context is controlling, self-determined motivation is undermined. What’s more, children are sensitive to interpersonal environment. A number of studies have shown that AM mediates the relationship between autonomy support and adjustments. Accordingly, we suppose that self-determined motivation mediates the relationship between autonomy support and creativity.
    In addition, various cross-cultural researchers state that autonomy is not valued in Eastern cultures, and hence, is unlikely to predict optimal functioning. It has been argued that adults in Eastern societies are less focused on promoting autonomy. With regard to the Chinese cultural context in particular, the support of autonomy appears to be a less common socialization practice because of the prevailing Confucian values. Therefore, it is one of the primary purposes to test the applicability of SDT in China.
    The present study investigated the relationship among motivation (AM and CM), adults’ motivating style (highly controlling, HC; moderately controlling, MC; moderately autonomy supportive, MA; highly autonomy supportive, HA) and creativity in China. Academic Self-regulation Questionnaire, the Motivators’ Orientations Questionnaire, and Torrance Test Thinking Test (figure) were administered to 305 late elementary students (151 boys and 154 girls) in Jinan City, Shandong Province using hierarchical multiple regression analysis. The results supported SDT on the whole. Results were as follows: (1) MA, MA and HA were all positive predictors of one’s level of creative thinking; while HC could not predict one’s level of creative thinking. (2) AM was a positive predictor of creative thinking; while CM could not predict creative thinking. (3) AM played as a mediating role between the relationship of motivating style and creative thinking. To be specific, AM wholly mediated the relationship of MC and fluency, MA/HA and originality, and partially mediated the relationship of MA/HA and fluency. The results derived from this thesis indicated that SDT does have cross-cultural generalization, though there were some specific points regarding Chinese students that may be due to Chinese culture. These results imply that support from significant others do impact Chinese students. We can nurture children’s creative thinking by creating a supportive social climate and facilitating the more self-determined motivation.
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    A Longitudinal Analysis of the Association Between Peer Victimization and Patterns of Psychosocial Adjustment During Middle and Late Childhood
    JI Lin-Qin,CHEN Liang,XU Fu-Zhen,ZHAO Shou-Ying,ZHANG Wen-Xin
    . 2011, 43 (10): 1151-1162.  
    Abstract   PDF (378KB) ( 2291 )
    Considerable percentage of children experienced certain kinds or extent of peer victimization during childhood, which impelled researchers to explore the multiple negative impact of peer victimization on children’s psychosocial adjustment. However, the existing studies in this area employed variable-oriented approach and only revealed the averaged association between peer victimization and children’s psychosocial adjustment. Research in developmental psychopathology indicated that a particular risk may have different developmental implications for, and lead to different developmental outcomes on different individuals, which was referred as multifinality (Kerig & Wenar, 2006, p. 22). The Probabilistic Epigenesis (Gottlieb, 2007; Gottlieb & Willoughby, 2006) also suggested that the same antecedent would cause different outcomes of development because of reaction potential and interaction. Based on these theoretical perspectives, we expected that peer victimization – although the same kind of negative peer experience – would result in different kinds of maladjustment among different children, i.e. there were heterogeneity in the impact of peer victimization on children’s psychosocial adjustment. Besides, the existing literatures on peer victimization mainly focused on its physical form, and relatively less was known about the impact of relational victimization on children’s psychosocial adjustment. Using both variable-oriented and person-oriented approaches, the current study was to identify the developmental patterns of children’s psychosocial adjustment different children exhibited from middle to late childhood and explore the associations between peer victimization and developmental patterns of children’s psychosocial adjustment. The heterogeneity of the associations, and the immediate and prospective relationships between physical victimization and relational victimization and the different patterns of children’s psychosocial adjustment were emphasized.
    1767 children from 40 classes of 14 primary schools in Jinan, a city in mid-east China were followed from age 9 to 11. A series of self-reported questionnaires were administered to tap the children’s experience of peer victimization, and feeling of loneliness and depression. The Aggression and Delinquency subscales of the Child Behavior Checklist were finished by the children’s mothers, and peer acceptance and rejection were obtained through peer nomination. All of the measures showed good reliability.
    Significant correlations existed between the two forms of peer victimization and all indicators of children’s psychosocial adjustment. Using the standard residuals of each indicator of psychosocial adjustment for controlling the developmental stability of each of the indicators of the psychosocial adjustment, latent profile analysis (LPA) showed 4 developmental patterns of children’s psychosocial adjustment from middle to late childhood. That is internalizing, externalizing, peer rejection, and normal development patterns. Discriminant analysis (DA) indicated associations between peer victimization and the four patterns of psychosocial adjustment. Specifically, victimization (mainly the physical form) at age 9 was associated with the peer rejection pattern and externalizing pattern, and victimization (mainly the relational form) at age 11 with the internalizing and peer rejection patterns. These results indicated that peer victimization was associated with different patterns of psychosocial adjustment and not all children victimized by peers developed the same kind of psychosocial adjustment. Moreover, the effects of earlier and current victimization, and those of the physical and relational forms of victimization on psychosocial adjustment differed regarding to the different areas of psychosocial adjustment. Future directions in research on the associations between peer victimization and children’s psychosocial adjustment were discussed.
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    The Influence of Childhood Trauma on Trait-depression and Trait-anxiety: the Mediation-specificity of Schemas
    CUI Li-Xia,LUO Xiao-Jing,XIAO-Jing
    . 2011, 43 (10): 1163-1174.  
    Abstract   PDF (417KB) ( 2415 )
    One of the most prominent cognitive theories of differentiation between anxiety and depression is Beck’s Cognitive Content Specificity Hypothesis (CCSH) developed in 1976, which suggests that specific cognitive content is associated with specific psychological disorders of anxiety and depression. While specific cognition, such as negative automatic thoughts, attributionnal style, have been examined, yet Early Maladaptive Schemas (EMSs) defined by Young (Young, Klosko, & Weishaar, 2003) as ‘extremely stable and enduring theme that develop during childhood and adolescence and are elaborated upon throughout the individual’s life-time, and that are dysfunctional to a significant degree’ has been not fully investigated. In particular it is still unknown. Thus, the present study was to investigate the mediation-specificity of schemas between early childhood trauma and depression and anxiety. We hypothesized that EMSs relating to danger, threat and uncertainty would mediate between children trauma relating to abuse and anxiety and EMSs relating to loss, hopeless, failure would mediate between children trauma relating to neglect and depression.
    668 undergraduate students completed Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ-SF; Bernstein & Fink, 1998), Young Schema Questionnaire-Short Form (YSQ-SF; Young, 1998), Trait-Depression Questionnaire (T-DEP; Ritterband & Spielberger, 1996), and Trait-Anxiety Inventory (T-AI; Spielberger, 1983). Data was analyzed using the mediation analysis procedure proposed by Baron and Kenny (1986). According to their definitions trait-depression and trait-anxiety should be more closely related to childhood trauma and EMSs. Thus in this study we used the trait-depression scale and trait-anxiety scale instead of state-depression scales and state-anxiety scales which were used in the past studies. The research focus was the mediation-specificity of schemas between childhood trauma and trait-depression and trait-anxiety.
    The results were: (1) Three kinds of childhood trauma (emotional maltreatment, emotional neglect and physical neglect) were significantly related to higher scores on trait-depression and trait-anxiety and no significant difference emerged between the correlation coefficient relating childhood trauma to trait-anxiety and that relating childhood trauma to trait-depression; (2) For all three kinds of childhood trauma schemas with themes of loss/worthlessness (Emotional Deprivation, Defectiveness/Shame schemas, Self-sacrifice and Social isolation/alienation) preferentially mediated the relation between childhood trauma and trait-depression, while schemas with themes of danger (Mistrust/Abuse and Vulnerability to harm or illness) preferentially mediated the relation between childhood trauma and trait-anxiety.
    Our results confirmed the mediation-specificity of EMSs. The specificity emerged in the mediation analyses added much to understanding of the different pathology of depression and anxiety. The same childhood trauma could lead to the development of EMSs in different individuals and result in different mood disorders. But Young’s theory that linked specific early traumatic experiences to the development of specific EMSs was not confirmed. Consistent with Young’s theory, all five of the early childhood trauma examined in this study correlated highly with scores on several EMSs and influenced trait-anxiety and trait-depression by different mediating EMSs. This confirmed Young’s theory that suggested childhood trauma was of great importance in the development of EMSs. Additionally, the important clinical implications are that insight into the process by which childhood maltreatment leads to specific symptom profiles in depression may help clinicians in tailoring individual treatments. Information regarding a client’s early history may need to be supplemented by an assessment of the schemas that have been formed as a result of that history in order to provide a full conceptualization of the client’s pathology.
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    The Relationship Between Interpersonal Self-Support and Depression
    XIA Ling-Xiang,WAN Li,SONG Yan,YANG Yi-Long
    . 2011, 43 (10): 1175-1184.  
    Abstract   PDF (377KB) ( 3707 )
    Interests in the relationship between personality and depression have a long history. However, most of studies focus on personality vulnerabilities to depression. According to positive psychology, protective personality factors for depression warrants exploration. In the present study, interpersonal self-support was proposed as a new protective personality factor of depression on the basis of our prior studies that found interpersonal self-support traits were negatively related with depression. Two studies were conducted to explore the roles of sociotropy and social support in the relationship between interpersonal self-support and depression.
    In Study One, the Interpersonal Self-Support Scale of Adolescent Students (ISSS-AS), Chinese version of Sociotropy Scale, and Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS)were administered to 471 subjects. The results showed: ① Interpersonal initiative and interpersonal flexibility were not related with sociotropy and ② Interpersonal self-support could significantly predict depression symptoms after controlling for sociotropy.
    In Study Two, the ISSS-AS, depression subscale of Symptom Check List 90, and Social Support Rating Scale (SSRS)were administered to 264 subjects. The result showed that the moderation model was not supported and that the effects of interpersonal independence, interpersonal openness, and interpersonal initiative on depression were mediated by social support.
    In sum, it could be concluded that interpersonal self-support may be a new protective personality factor for depression. Interpersonal factors may mediate the relationship between interpersonal self-support and depression.
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    A Chinese Indigenous Study of the Construct of Employee Voice Behavior and the Influence of Zhongyong on It
    DUAN Jin-Yun,LING Bin
    . 2011, 43 (10): 1185-1197.  
    Abstract   PDF (480KB) ( 2196 )
    The firm’s innovation depends on employees’ initiative and creativity. As so, the study of employee voice behavior becomes increasingly important recently. Employee voice behavior is a kind of constructive, change-oriented communicating behavior which intends to improve the workground. Compared with the prevalence, the Chinese indigenous study of voice behavior is much scarcer. The fill in this gap, this research tries to explore the indigenous contruct of Chinese employee voice behavior. In addition, the relationship of the thinking style of Chinese people, i.e., Zhongyong and employee voice behavior is attempted to test to prove the discriminate validity of the contruct of Chinese employee voice behavior.
    The research was consisted of two sub-studies which sampled from private firms employees and joint ventures employees in Yangtze Delta Area. Study 1 was conducted to explore the Chinese indigenous construct of voice behavior. Firstly, 30 random samples of employees were interviewed to collect critical incidents of voice behaviors. And then the questionnaire items were made up of based on the incidents. Secondly, exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted with 159 samples. And two factors were extracted which the authors named it overall-oriented voice and self-centered voice respectively. The results of confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) with another 159 samples further supported the two-factor construct.
    The relationship of Zhongyong thinking style and employee voice behavior, and the moderating effect of empowerment between this relation, were tested in study 2 which was based on 278 employee-colleague matched samples. Hierachical regression analysis showed that, Zhongyong was unrelated to holistic voice behavior, but it was positively related to overall-oriented voice, and negatively related to self-centered voice. These results offered a good discriminate validity of the two-dimension contruct of Chinese employee voice behavior. Moreover, employees’ perception of empowerment moderated the relationship between Zhongyong and the two dimensions of voice behavior.
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    The Effects of Pay System Frame and Performance Appraisal on Individual’s Acceptance of Pay for Performance Plan
    HE Wei,LONG Li-Rong
    . 2011, 43 (10): 1198-1210.  
    Abstract   PDF (434KB) ( 2217 )
    The compensation system of pay for performance has been widely applied by organizations as a mean to attract, motivate and sustain employees in modern business society. In theoretical field, too much attention has been drawn to the incentive effects of PFP on both individual and organizational performance while only a little work were conducted to explore the antecedents of employees’ reaction and acceptance of the PFP plan. Considered the risky context of PFP plan, this study initially examined two different pay system frame effects on individual’ acceptance of PFP plan in perspective of behavioral decision theory. More specifically, we hypothesized that an individual may have an anticipated income frame in which a gain/loss frame is formed when actual income level is more/less than his anticipated income level respectively. Also, two different payment modes of base + performance pay and total – performance pay may lead an individual to form the positive and negative payment frame respectively. In situation of the loss frame in anticipated income and the negative frame in payment mode, individuals may more likely to accept the risky PFP plan according to rules of framing effect. Finally, the moderating effects of performance appraisal mode (open-goal and closed-goal) on above relationships were explored as well.
    A scenario experiment was used to test the hypotheses with a 2×2 between-subjects design, depicting two payment modes of positive/negative frame and two performance appraisal modes of open- and closed- goal. 304 undergraduates from business and economic related majors were recruited and randomly assigned to each one of the four scenarios. In consideration of that the dependant variable, whether choose a PFP plan or a fixed pay plan, is a dummy variable, we implemented logistic regression to test hypotheses with controlling risk aversion, confidence of performance, self-efficacy, and other demographic attributes.
    The results of our study revealed that individuals were more likely to choose the risky PFP plan over the fixed pay plan when they are in situations of the loss frame of income anticipation and the negative payment mode, supporting the main pay system frame effects hypothesized in this study. Also, those two pay system frame effects on individuals’ acceptance of PFP plan were much weaker when an open-goal oriented performance appraisal system was applied. These findings extended extant research of behavioral decision to organizational compensation management and enriched the existed studies in area of employees’ compensation attitudes by introducing a new theoretical perspective as well. The practical implications of this study for organization change of performance pay were discussed.
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    The Impact of Effort on Consumers’ Purchase Decisions
    TONG Lu-Qiong,ZHENG Yu-Huang,ZHAO Ping
    . 2011, 43 (10): 1211-1218.  
    Abstract   PDF (283KB) ( 2682 )
    Consumers often face various self-control problems in their everyday life. Without good justifications, engaging in self-gratification may evoke guilt, consequently consumers only allow themselves to relax their self-control when they have compelling justifications. Past research has shown that there are several kinds of justifications (e.g., effort, excellence, virtuous behavior, self-control goal progress, etc.) which lead to self-gratification. In this study, we attempt to investigate the impact of effort on consumers’ purchase decisions, especially, their purchase decisions related to self-control.
    In three studies, we tested the hypothesis that high versus low effort would lead individuals to relax their self-control, which is, more willing to purchase and higher willingness to pay (WTP), and this effect is driven by the change in the guilt of consumption. Furthermore, compared to utilitarian products, this effect is more significant for hedonic products.
    In study1 and study 2, we aimed to test the basic influence of effort on consumers’ purchase decisions. The studies adopted a 2-condition (high effort versus. low effort) between-subject design. Though all participants were required to finish the same amount of work (constructing nine sentences), we manipulated the comparative effort (the work given to other participants) to change their relative effort perception. After they finished the sentence-construction task, they were asked to make purchase decisions for a box of chocolate (Study 1)/a purse (Study 2). We then examined their feeling of guilt after they gave their WTP, willingness to purchase, purchase possibility and time preferred to purchase. The results indicated that high versus low effort perception caused lower guilt, and then led participants more likely to purchase and give a higher WTP for the given product.
    In study 3, we examined the moderating effect of product category. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the four conditions in a 2 (effort level: high vs. low) × 2 (product category: hedonic vs. utilitarian) full-factorial design. The target product in this study was identical in all conditions; except that we changed participants’ consumption goal (study vs. entertainment) to manipulate the perceive product category (utilitarian vs. hedonic). The results support our hypothesis, which is, the positive effect of effort on consumers’ WTP is more significant when participants were considering purchasing the same product for a hedonic consumption goal than for a utilitarian consumption goal.
    Our findings provide significant insights for the research on self-control. Especially, when past research on consumers’ justification for indulgence mainly discuss the product choice between different categories, our research examines the impact of effort in a much more relevant marketing domain – purchase decisions. Besides demonstrating the basic effect, our research also sheds lights on the underlying mechanism, which may benefit future research on consumers’ self-gratification process. It also provides practical implications for companies’ pricing strategy and consumers’ purchasing decisions.
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    Appropriate Standardized Estimates of Latent Interaction Models without the Mean Structure
    WU Yan,WEN Zhong-Lin,HAU Kit-Tai,Herbert W. MARSH
    . 2011, 43 (10): 1219-1228.  
    Abstract   PDF (294KB) ( 1069 )
    There are two important lines of progress in the recent research on latent interaction modeling. First, the appropriate ‘standardized’ parameter estimates have been proposed and formulated using parameter estimates routinely available from existing SEM software packages (see, e.g., Wen, Marsh, & Hau, 2010). Second, it has been found that the mean structure is not necessary in the structural equation models of latent interaction, as the parameters of the main and interaction effects remain theoretically unchanged both with and without the mean structure (see, e.g., Lin, Wen, Marsh, & Lin, 2010).
    Although the appropriate standardized parameter estimates have been established under the framework of the traditional latent interaction models with the mean structure, it is unknown whether the same concepts and the formulae for standardized parameter estimates remain applicable under the framework of the simplified latent interaction models without the mean structure. To answer this question, we deduced the appropriate standardized form of the structural equation for latent interaction models, and formulated the appropriate standardized estimations of main and interaction effects without the mean structure in the models.
    Furthermore, through a simulation study, we compared two estimation methods—maximum likelihood (ML) versus generalized least squares (GLS), and two strategies for forming the product indicators—matched-pair product indicators versus all possible cross product indicators. Results showed that matched-pair product indicators had an advantage over all possible cross product indicators, and that ML estimates were preferable to GLS estimates when calculating the appropriate standardized estimates of main and interaction effects. It is therefore recommended that matched-pair product indicators should be adopted. The ML method is the preferred choice in estimating the latent interaction.
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