ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B


    30 July 2008, Volume 40 Issue 07 Previous Issue    Next Issue

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    The Allocation of Attention in Judgment of Categorical Spatial Relations on Simulation Scenes
    YOU Xu-Qun,ZHANG Yuan,LIU Deng-Pan
    2008, 40 (07):  759-765. 
    Abstract ( 2083 )   PDF (1568KB) ( 2001 )  
    Attention is very important in spatial cognition. Existing studies found that it can be obtained through a more selective and effectively subtle process when the target stimulus is in the cueing range. These studies, however, were mostly manipulations of tasks touching on detection and visual research—tasks that are basic and simple spatial activities. Human visual space attention activities are complicated and multiform and take place in real-world scenes. How, then, is attention allocated in judging categorical spatial relations that are in relatively complex spatial activities? Furthermore, how does it apply to real-world scenes? There is the hypothesis that in judging categorical spatial relations on simulation scenes, the validity of cues and the command of tasks affect attention allocation.
    By using the “cue-target” visual model, we study the allocation of attention when judging the categorical spatial relations in simulation scenes. The 71 subjects were randomly distributed into two groups; in one group, subjects were asked to judge—as quickly and correctly as possible—whether two little yellow “x”s were or were not within a certain object’s range; in the other group, subjects were asked to remember as much as possible the background when they were quick to perform judgment tasks. There were three kinds of cues—namely, different sizes of circles.
    There were three results in the study. First, in judging categorical spatial relations in simulation scenes, cues help concentrate one’s attention. The more valid and precise the cues, the higher the efficiency in attention allocation. Second, in judging categorical spatial relations in simulation scenes, the command of tasks affects the allocation of attention. Third, with the process of attention allocation, there is the possibility that the decision-making process helps amend the methods of attention allocation at any given moment.
    In judging the categorical spatial relations in simulation scenes, the validity of cues and the command of tasks both affect attention allocation. It is impossible that the simultaneity of the decision-making process and the allocation of attention helps to amend the methods of attention allocation at any one moment
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    The Influence of Repetition Priming on Temporal Order Perception
    ZHANG Feng,HUANG Xi-Ting,GUO Xiu-Yan
    2008, 40 (07):  766-773. 
    Abstract ( 1397 )   PDF (1350KB) ( 1582 )  
    There are two competing views that explain the influence of repetition priming on temporal order perception. One perspective assumes an enhanced perceptual processing; the other suggests a decisional response bias. Burnham et al. (2006) found that repetition priming caused a primed word to be perceived as having occurred earlier, and that a decisional response bias caused subjects to guess the primed word as the correct response in a temporal order judgment task. In order to investigate further the influence of repetition priming on temporal order perception, three experiments with figure stimuli were conducted in the present study.
    The target pair in all the experiments consisted of a pair of figure stimuli: a square and a diamond. The target pair was presented either above or below the center of the screen. One of the targets was preceded by a prime appearing at the center of the screen. The prime was a smaller replica of the primed target, and the side length of this prime was 2 cm. There were 18 participants (10 females; mean age: 21 years) in Experiment 1 and another 18 participants (eight females; 21 years) in Experiment 2. In one block, they made temporal order judgments by choosing which of the two shapes appeared first (1st instruction); in another block, they judged which appeared second (2nd instruction), in both Experiment 1 and Experiment 2. The two experiments were conducted using a 2 (prime: present versus absent) × 2 (instructions: 1st versus 2nd) × 9 (SOA separating the onset of the primed and unprimed figures: ±112 ms, ±84 ms, ±56 ms, ±28 ms, and 0 ms; positive numbers indicated the primed figure preceded the unprimed figure, whereas negative numbers indicated that the unprimed figure appeared first and 0 ms meant the primed figure and unprimed figure appeared simultaneously) within-subject design. The duration of the prime was 70 ms in Experiment 1 and 14 ms in Experiment 2. Seventeen volunteer participants (nine females; mean age: 20 years) took part in Experiment 3 and responded only with the 1st instruction. However, the maximum SOA was increased to 210 ms, and the interval between the prime and the first-presented target figure was increased to 196 ms in Experiment 3.
    The results illustrate two main findings. First, there were significant main effects for instruction and priming—as well as a significant interaction between them—whereas the effect of the duration of the prime did not reach significance in the conditions of the unprimed target figure appearing first in Experiments 1 and 2. Second, the repetition priming effect on temporal order was reversed under the condition where the primed target figure appeared first, in Experiments 1, 2, and 3.
    Taken together, the results of the three experiments show that (1) the influence of repetition priming on temporal order is due to both the enhanced perceptual processing of primed target figure and the decisional response bias, (2) the duration of the prime has no influence on the instruction effect, (3) there is a reversal of the repetition priming effect when the primed stimulus appears first—an effect that has not been observed in previous studies, and (4) a new hypothesis about dual processes and representation matching modulation was proposed to integratively explain the present research results
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    The Effect of Language and Culture on Spatial Cognition: A Comparison of the Spatial-Terms Classification by Undergraduates of the Han and Naxi
    ZHANG Ji-Jia,XIE Shu-Shu,HE Xiu-Mei
    2008, 40 (07):  774-787. 
    Abstract ( 1880 )   PDF (2704KB) ( 1318 )  
    There are two different views on the relationships among language, culture, and cognition: one is Linguistic Universalism, which declares that language is only the input or output of thinking, and that differences in language do not affect consistency of thinking; the other is Linguistic Relativism, which asserts that culture affects thinking via language, and that people who speak different languages and are from different cultures may have different styles of thinking. This kind of controversy also exists with respect to the relationship between spatial terms and spatial cognition. Some researchers believe that mankind could universally share spatial cognition, but others believe that different languages could produce different spatial cognitions and different spatial experiences. This study probes the relationship between spatial cognition, language, and culture.
    This study consisted of two experiments that were different only in terms of the order of word pairs. Thirty-six Han nationality students (18 males and 18 females) and 37 Naxi nationality students (18 males and 19 females) took part in Experiment 1; they all came from the Dali Institute in the Yunnan province of China. All participants shared similar habitations and could speak Mandarin fluently, but the two nations’ students came from different cultures and had different first languages. They were asked to sort 17 pairs of Chinese spatial terms summarized by Yi-Fu Tuan into groups, according to the terms’ similarities. The groupings were subject to a Multi-Dimensional Scaling analysis and a hierarchical clustering analysis, in order to reveal the students’ spatial cognitive themes and spatial concept constructions. Another 36 Han nationality students (18 males and 18 females) and 35 Naxi nationality students (17 males and 19 females) joined Experiment 2. They too were asked to classify 17-pairs of Chinese spatial terms with the same word pairs as Experiment 1, only with the word order changed.
    The results of the Han nationality in both studies showed four different clusters concerning: 1) three-dimensional direction, 2) boundaries, 3) saturation of space, and 4) visual distance. The results also revealed two different dimensions: 1) state and direction, and 2) geo-center and body-center. However, the results of the Naxi undergraduates of both studies showed five different clusters concerning: 1) verticality, 2) horizon, 3) boundaries, 4) saturation of space, and 5) visual distance. The results also revealed two different dimensions: 1) state and direction, and 2) verticality and horizon. The difference in spatial cognition between subjects from the Han nationality, Naxi nationality, and Britain was the verticality and horizon dimension, which was in line with the differences in their respective languages and cultures.
    The entire study showed that language and culture play important parts in people’s spatial cognitive themes and spatial concept structure. The results support Linguistic Relativism
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    The Construction of the Situation Model with Goal-focus Information during Text Comprehension
    LENG Ying,MO Lei,,WU Jun
    2008, 40 (07):  788-799. 
    Abstract ( 1893 )   PDF (2189KB) ( 1130 )  
    The primary focus in the study of discourse comprehension is the construction and updating of the situation model. It is generally assumed that the construction of the situation model requires the reader to maintain coherence at both the local and global levels. The maintenance of global coherence requires the reader to map incoming information onto relevant information presented earlier in the text but that is no longer available in working memory. The different views on the instantaneous reactivation of text information in long-term memory have lead to two controversial hypotheses. According to the memory-based text processing view, relevant background information becomes reactivated as a fast-acting, passive resonance process in which information in active memory sends a signal—in parallel—to the entire long-term memory. On the other hand, according to the constructionist theory, readers pursue coherent relations throughout the text and attempt to explain why actions, events, and states are mentioned in the text. According to the memory-based text processing view, the construction of the situation model is not instantaneous. However, according to the constructionist theory, readers develop and update the situation model instantaneously. In the past few years, both theories have received strong experimental support. Mo & Leng (2005) pointed out that the divergence between these two theories stems from the use of different materials in the experiments. Moreover, their research proposed the dual-processing view, which describes the focusing reading and coherent reading. Furthermore, the research tested focusing reading with goal-based text and indicated that under the control of goal-focus, the text information is constructed in a here-and-now manner. However, the time course of the construction of the situation model was not clear. The current research attempts to clarify this.
    The moving window display technique was used in Experiments 1 and 2a. The eye movement technique was used in Experiment 2b. The experiments involved 126 participants (56 in Experiment 1, 42 in Experiment 2a, and 28 in Experiment 2b). The participants in Experiment 1 and 2a read 18 passages each and the participants in Experiment 2b read 15 passages. Every passage described a character who attempted to accomplish a goal. The experimental design was a single-factor (consistent vs. inconsistent vs. qualified) repeated-measures design.
    The experimenters performed a repeated-measures ANOVA on the time taken to read the target sentences in Experiments 1 and 2a. The results indicated that there was a significant effect of success in target sentence 1: consistent version = qualified version < inconsistent condition. The experimenters also performed a repeated-measures ANOVA on first reading time, second reading time, total reading time, and regression times of the critical regions in Experiment 2b.
    The data from the three experiments demonstrated that the construction and integration of goal-based information occurred instantaneously during the reading
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    A Sampling Theory of Inductive Reasoning
    WANG Mo-Yun
    2008, 40 (07):  800-808. 
    Abstract ( 1137 )   PDF (1728KB) ( 1130 )  
    Inductive reasoning is an activity of the mind that takes one from the observed to the unobserved. For category-based induction, there are the following robust experimental results. For inference from a single premise, (1) similarity between the premise and conclusion categories promotes induction, (2) typicality of the premise category promotes induction, (3) homogeneity of the conclusion category promotes induction, (4) switching the premise and conclusion categories can lead to arguments with different inductive strength (i.e., an asymmetrical phenomenon), and (5) inductive strength increases with connection strength between induction features and relevant features. For inference from multiple premises, (6) a greater number of premises promotes induction, and (7) a greater diversity of premises promotes induction. Moreover, (8) contents of induction features affect inductive inference.
    For these phenomena, there are four major descriptive explanations: the similarity-coverage model (Osherson, et al., 1990), the feature-based induction model (Sloman, 1993), the relevance theory of induction (Medin, 2003), and the relevance similarity model of feature induction (Wang, 2006). None of these explanations can explain all the aforementioned inductive phenomena. Either of the similarity-coverage model or the feature-based induction model can at most explain items (1), (2), (4), (6), and (7) above. These models are limited because they do not embody the essence of the mostly general inductive phenomena inherent in inductive reasoning—according to some category or feature sample relevant to an induction feature—to infer the possibility that a conclusion category has the induction feature. The author proposes a sampling theory of inductive reasoning that argues human inductive reasoning can embody and conform to the essence. The sampling theory can explain (1), (2), (3), (4), (6), and (7) of the aforementioned inductive phenomena.
    Three major theories (the similarity-coverage model, the feature-based induction model, and the sampling theory) all seem to be able to explain phenomenon (4), but there has thus far been no discriminative test for these three theories. Two experiments were designed to serve as discriminative tests of the three theories; they had similar designs that used artificial categories as premise and conclusion categories. For example, the following two induction problems formed a pair comparison.
    Induction 1:
    It was formerly known:
    Insect A has features a, b, c, d, e, f.
    Insect B has features a, b, c, d, e, g, h, k, l, m.
    Now it is found that insect A has feature x. What is the possibility that insect B has feature x?
    Induction 2:
    It was formerly known:
    Insect B has features a, b, c, d, e, g, h, k, l, m.
    Insect A has features a, b, c, d, e, f.
    Now it is found that insect B has feature x. What is the possibility that insect A has feature x?
    For these two induction problems, there was a switch between the premise and conclusion categories. The three theories made different predictions for the size-order of the inductive strengths of the two inductions. The similarity-coverage model predicted that there would be no difference in inductive strength between the two inductions, because the similarity of the two kinds of insects was identical in the two inductions. The feature-based induction model predicted that the inductive strength of induction 2 would be larger than that of induction 1, according to the feature coverage of the premise categories over the conclusion categories. The sampling theory predicted that the inductive strength of induction 1 would be larger than that of induction 2, according to the proportion of features in the premise categories that transfer from premise categories to conclusion categories. Therefore, the three theories can be discriminatively tested by examining participants’ inductive strengths would conform to which prediction.
    The results of the four paired comparisons in each experiment consistently conformed to the predictions made by the sampling theory. The results consistently support the sampling theory rather than the other two explanations. The other two explanations essentially cannot explain the asymmetrical phenomena in the two experiments. Therefore, the sampling theory has a greater scope of explanation than do the other descriptive explanations of inductive reasoning
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    Cognitive Biases among College Students with a Fat or Thin Negative Physical Self
    CHEN Hong,FENG Wen-Feng,HUANG Xi-Ting
    2008, 40 (07):  809-818. 
    Abstract ( 2688 )   PDF (1723KB) ( 3249 )  
    From the perspective of negative physical self schema theory, highly efficient knowledge structures about body size and shape guide information processing related to the body. Distorted or negative self-schemata contribute to biased information processing about one’s body, resulting in disturbances in body image.
    In two experiments, we tested the hypothesis that individuals with specific concerns in self-reported negative physical self concept would display processing biases during a word judgment task. We extended past work by assessing biases for both fat and thin stimuli. Also, the study attempted to reduce possible confounds (i.e., priming effects, nonequivalent control stimuli, mood consistency) identified in past work.
    In Experiment 1, groups scoring high (31 females, 4 males) and low (30 females, 5 males) on the Negative Physical Self Scale (NPS) Fatness subscale evaluated a series of fat and non-body words as positive, negative, or neutral. Results indicated that the High Fatness group had faster reaction times (RT) in judging fat words (e.g. positive words and metaphor words) and rated them more negatively than the comparison group did. In contrast, there were no group differences in RT or judgment for non-body words. In Experiment 2, the same methodology was used to assess cognitive biases for thin body words. Groups scoring high (11 females, 20 males) and low (17 males, 14 females) on the NPS Thinness dimension evaluated thinness and non-body words. Although there were no group differences for non-body words, the high Thinness group had a faster mean RT in judging thin words than did the comparison group. Groups did not differ, however, in their evaluations of thin words.
    This may be the first study to highlight how information processing biases are found not only among those preoccupied with fatness but also among peers concerned about being too thin. Specifically, emerging adults with preoccupied with either thinness or fatness judge salient body information more quickly than their less preoccupied counterparts do. Howevever, those concerned with fatness have an additional interpretative bias in that they evaluate information about the body more harshly than peers do. Extensions to other sources of body image concern such as physical stature are warranted and future research is needed to clarify the extent to which these biases are risks for and consequences of body image concerns
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    The Training Effects of Different Linguistic Interference on Young Chinese Children’s Performance on A Theory of Mind Task
    ZHANG Li-Jin,WU Nan,ZHENG Yan
    2008, 40 (07):  819-827. 
    Abstract ( 2041 )   PDF (1620KB) ( 1698 )  
    Despite the overall consensus that language plays a significant role in development of children’s theory of mind (ToM), it remains controversial with regard to the particular aspects of language that may play such roles. Astington et al. (1999) and de Villiers (2002) proposed that mental verbs and sentential complement, which provide a necessary format for children to deal with false beliefs, facilitate children’s performance in ToM related tasks. In contrast, Harris (1999) and nelson (2004) emphasized the importance of linguistic interchange process which conveys information that is essential for the development of ToM. Due to the presence of a large number of mental verbs and sentential complement in Chinese language, the purpose of this study was to examine how mental verbs and sentential complement, in comparison to linguistic interchange process, may be relate to development of ToM among Chinese young children.
    The participants were 77 children (M age = 4 years, 37 girls), pre-selected based on two criteria: (1) their performance in a standardized language task fell within age-specific norms; and (2) all failed in an appearance-reality task prior to the experiment. Using a pretest-posttest control group design, the children were randomly assigned to three experimental groups (i.e., sentential complement with mental verb + deception training, situation interchange + deception training, and sentential complement with mental verb training only) and one control group. The ToM posttests were conducted one week after the pretests.
    The results showed that all the three experimental groups exhibited significantly higher posttest than pretest scores, as well as higher posttest scores than did the control group. The results of ANOVA indicated that the group differences in ToM posttest scores can be largely attributed to the group differences in children’s performance on an appearance- reality task. The comparisons among the three experimental groups showed that the sentential complement with mental verb + deception training group had higher posttest ToM scores than did the other two groups (p < .05), whereas no differences were found between the situation interchange + deception training group and the sentential complement with mental verb training only group.
    Compared to linguistic interchange processes, mental verbs and sentential complement in Chinese language may play a stronger role in development of ToM among young children. Early experience of deception may also contribute to development of ToM, suggesting a combination of both mental verbs and sentential complement and deception may maximize the training effect on young Chinese children’s ToM
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    Predicting Job Performance of Chinese Local Government Executives with QZPS and NEO PI-R
    WANG Deng-Feng,CUI Hong
    2008, 40 (07):  828-838. 
    Abstract ( 1802 )   PDF (1893KB) ( 2336 )  
    The relationship between employee personality and job performance has been a hot topic in disciplines involving personality or human resources; both models of, and relations between, job performance and personality have been established and applied widely in Western literature. Models established in Western private organizations and public administrations cannot be applied directly to Chinese government executives, however, because of the existence of significant Chinese-Western cultural differences. The job performance of Chinese local government executives is practically evaluated, for example, by their superiors, coworkers, and underlings in a subjective rather than objective manner, and previous research has indicated that different dimensions emerge when different workers—such as superiors, coworkers, and underlings—are evaluated. Meanwhile, it has been claimed through indigenous lexical research that the Chinese personality structure has seven dimensions, in contrast with the Big Five model of the Western personality. The current research looks to explore the possible relationship between job performance evaluation and personality dimension, while testing the hypothesis that the indigenous Chinese personality scale (QZPS) has a higher predictive validity than the Western Big Five personality scale (NEO PI-R) in predicting job performance.
    A total of 172 Chinese local government executives—ranked as chief and vice-chief governors for both government and party committees at the county level—participated as subjects. They fulfilled both the QZPS and NEO PI-R, and their job performances were evaluated by both themselves and by others comprising three groups: (1) a superior group, consisting of leaders sent to evaluate county-level executives, in a group of three to five persons; (2) a co-worker group, of those who serve as co-worker executives at the same county level, in a group of 8~10 persons; and (3) an underling group, of those who serve as lower ranked executives, in a group of 10~20 persons. Group averages were aggregated as a job performance index, and self-rated job performance was based on a validity scale.
    Internal consistency of job performance evaluation by three groups and the three subjects themselves were 0.69, 0.79, and 0.83; the range of internal consistency for QZPS and NEO PI-R were 0.81~0.87 and 0.58~0.71, respectively. The emotionality dimension of QZPS could negatively predict job performance as rated by others, and the variance in job performance was 6.3%~12.8% when the QZPS was applied as a predictor; openness correlated negatively with job performance as rated by others, and the variance in job performance was 2.2%~2.7% when the NEO PI-R was applied as a predictor.
    For self-rated job performance, five out of seven dimensions of QZPS—namely, extroversion, behavior styles, emotionality, human relations, and ways of life—and nine out of 18 secondary factors were found to be significantly related to job performance, while the variance in job performance was 31.7%~34.1% and 40.3%~49.9% when dimensions or secondary factors of the QZPS were applied as predictors, respectively. Meanwhile, the variance in job performance was zero and 8.0%~16.0% when dimensions or facets of the NEO PI-R were applied as predictors, respectively.
    Job performance evaluations of Chinese government executives were influenced significantly by the different roles of the evaluators. The personality dimensions of extroversion, behavior styles, emotionality, human relations, and ways of life could predict the job performance evaluation results from others and/or the subjects themselves. Only the openness dimension of the NEO PI-R entered the regression equation when predicting job performance as evaluated by others. The amount of variance in job performance as explained by personality dimensions of QZPS was significantly higher than that explained by the personality dimensions of NEO PI-R. The cultural differences vis-à-vis job performance and personality structures were also discussed
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    Standardization of the Cross-cultural [Chinese] Personality Assessment Inventory for Adolescents in Hong Kong: A Combined Emic-Etic Approach to Personality Assessment
    Fanny M. CHEUNG,FAN Wei-Qiao ,Shu Fai CHEUNG,Kwok LEUNG4
    2008, 40 (07):  839-852. 
    Abstract ( 1591 )   PDF (2336KB) ( 1945 )  
    This study explored two major issues in personality assessment: Cultural universality versus cultural relevance in personality assessment, and the stability and change of personality structure from adolescence to adulthood. Current personality theories and assessment have focused on adults. Growing interests in adolescent mental health and the emerging field of life-span personality development have led to an expansion of approaches in the personality assessment of adolescents. Early experiences in cross-cultural assessment showed that the importation of well-established and comprehensive Western personality inventories for adults and adolescents provided local psychologists with a wealth of research database for their applications. However, the "import and test" approach has been criticized for the imposition of universal (etic) personality dimensions and the inadequate attention paid to indigenous (emic) personality dimensions that would provide a fuller understanding of personality in the local context. In the context of personality assessment in Chinese culture, the emic-etic debate focuses on two questions: 1) Are imposed etic personality dimensions universally applicable? 2) Are there dimensions that are important in the understanding of personality in the local culture that are left out by the Western measures?
    The Cross-cultural (Chinese) Personality Assessment Inventory (CPAI-2) was developed using a combined emic-etic approach to cover both universal and indigenous personality constructs. This paper reported the standardization study of the Cross-cultural (Chinese) Personality Assessment Inventory – Adolescent Version (CPAI-A). The normative sample consisted of 2,646 students (1446 females, 1200 males) from 21 secondary schools and 43 non-student adolescents (13 females, 30males) from 11 youth centers in Hong Kong. The ages of the total sample ranged from 12 to 18 (M=15.23, SD=1.72). The internal consistency and test-retest reliability of the CPAI-A scales were examined in the study. The factor structure of the CPAI-A was tested through both EFA and CFA procedures.
    The results indicated that the CPAI-A was statistically reliable among adolescents in Hong Kong. The factor structure of personality measured by the CPAI-A included four factors for the 25 normal personality scales (Social Potency/Expansiveness, Emotional Stability, Interpersonal Relatedness, and Dependability), and two factors for the 14 clinical scales (Emotional Problem and Behavioral Problem). Through a comparison between the CPAI-2 and CPAI-A, we reported the changes in the scales included in the adolescent version, and investigated the similarities and differences in personality structure between adolescence and adulthood. The results basically supported the stability of personality structure from adolescence to adulthood. However, there were specific personality features which distinguished adolescents from adults.
    The CPAI-A provides a comprehensive instrument for normal and clinical assessment of adolescents in the Chinese cultural context. The contributions of the combined emic-etic approach adopted in the development of the CPAI-A over traditional methods of personality assessment were demonstrated in the study
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