Creativity has been previously defined as a behavior or product that is both novel and appropriately useful. It is a complex concept with many different processes, indicating that some of these processes require heavy executive processing. Executive function is the basic ability of cognitive processes to control one’s thoughts and behaviors, which is related to the prefrontal cortex, and it is mainly composed of three components: mental set transformation, inhibitory control, and working memory updating. Previous studies examining the relationship between cognitive inhibition and creative thinking have obtained inconsistent results. The following three hypotheses can be formulated regarding the relationship between cognitive inhibition and creative thinking. Creative thought has been variably associated with focused attention and effective inhibition control, disinhibition, and defocused attention or a flexible adaption of inhibition control.
The aim of present study was to investigate the relationship between cognitive inhibition and creative thinking using behavioral and physiological indexes, and the effects of time pressure on the relationship between cognitive inhibition and creative thinking. In this study, undergraduate students with different divergent thinking levels were asked to perform the Stroop task. In Experiment 1, a Stroop color naming task was carried out to test participants’ cognitive inhibitory ability. In Experiment 2, a more flexible Stroop word-color naming task was adopted and the physiological data was recorded to further investigate the relationship between cognitive inhibition and creative thinking, and time pressure situation was applied concerning reaction time. When participants responded after more than 550 ms, feedback of “too late” appeared on the display.
The results found that in Experiment 1, the highly creative persons showed smaller interference effect than did less creative persons; in Experiment 2, there was a significant time pressure condition × group × stimulus congruence interaction. The interference effect between the condition of time pressure and no time pressure of the highly creative persons was smaller than that of the less creative persons. Moreover, the time pressure condition × group interaction reached significance; the less creative persons showed significantly greater increases in skin conductance responses (SCRs) under the time pressure condition than in the no time pressure condition, but there was no significant difference for SCRs between the condition of time pressure and no time pressure of the highly creative persons. Furthermore, the highly creative persons exhibited significantly greater increases in SCRs under the incongruent condition in color naming task than in the congruent condition; however, they showed no significance between the congruent and incongruent conditions in the word naming task. There was no significant difference in SCRs between the congruent and incongruent in word and color naming tasks of the less creative persons.
The above results indicated that highly creative persons showed stronger cognitive inhibitory ability than did less creative persons; they could effectively suppress dominant but irrelevant response tendencies. Moreover, time pressure played a moderate role in the relationship between cognitive inhibition and creative thinking. Highly creative persons could focus on task-related information and inhibit task-unrelated information, adjust their attention to adapt to different time pressure task situations, and inhibit the interference characteristics. The highly creative persons showed variability in autonomic arousal levels in different conditions; the less creative were essentially fixed in a state of cognitive inhibition. The results agree with the hypothesis of adaptive cognitive inhibition of creative thinking.
The sound-induced flash illusion (SIFI) is an auditory-dominant phenomenon in multisensory integration in which the perception of brief visual flashes may be qualitatively altered by concurrent brief sounds. It has been well documented how attention modulates this illusion. It remains unknown, however, how modal-based endogenous attention interferes with the SIFI. In the present study, we adopted the classical paradigm of the SIFI and directed the endogenous attention to the visual modal or the auditory modal to investigate the effect of modal-based endogenous attention on SIFI.
Experiment 1 asked the participants to conduct the classical task of the SIFI as the baseline. In experiment 2, the ratio of the visual modal, the auditory modal, and the audio-visual modal was 3:1:1; that is, the endogenous attention was directed to the visual modal. In experiment 3, the ratio of the visual modal, auditory modal and audio-visual modal was 1:3:1; that is, the endogenous attention was directed to the auditory modal. In the present study, we asked the participants to judge the number of flashes, and we focused mainly on the occurrence of fission illusions (when a single visual flash is accompanied by two auditory bleeps and is perceived incorrectly as two flashes) and fusion illusions (when two visual flashes are accompanied by a single bleep and are perceived incorrectly as a single flash). The hypothesis was that directing endogenous attention to the visual or auditory modal could affect the auditory dominance.
A repeated measures ANOVA was analyzed for fission and fusion illusions separately, and the results showed that there were significant differences among the three experiments, F (1, 2) = 5.11, p < 0.01, η 2= 0.23. The occurrence of fission illusions was decreased when endogenous attention was directed to the visual modal (50%) and was increased when endogenous attention was directed to the auditory modal (71%). However, regardless of whether endogenous attention was directed to the auditory or visual modal, fusion illusion was not affected by attention (ps > 0.05). In addition, we also pooled the response counts across all of the participants and for both fission and fusion stimuli. The results showed that the odds ratio for fission was greater than that for fusion, and there was a difference among the three experiments for fission (17.5 vs. 9 vs. 21.95), and no effect for fusion (4.95 vs. 3.15 vs. 4.13).
The results indicated that modal-based endogenous attention can affect the occurrence of fission illusions but does not affect the occurrence of fusion illusions. The present study provides insight into the top-down factors that can modulate sound-induced flash illusions.
It has been widely acknowledged that visual working memory (VWM) only maintains and manipulates a limited amount of visual information (e.g. 3~4 objects). Studies on how VWM stores and processes objects have been effective and have yielded useful results. Previous studies in this field are focused on the processing mechanisms of individual objects. However, the mechanisms for grouping and organization of visual objects have received an increasing amount of attention recently. Among numerous types of organizations, configuration, i.e. the spatial formation of visual objects, plays a vital role in understanding the flexibility of human VWM. Many studies have shown that configuration had significant influence on VWM performance. However, configuration was usually employed as an approach to explore the effect of other factors on the memory system. Only a few studies have directly addressed the mechanism of the configuration VWM. In this study, we attempt to determine the critical factor of the information contained in a given configuration that influences VWM. We then attempt to outline the underlying mechanism of the processing in memory system for a given configuration.
In experiments 1 and 2, we separately controlled the variation of two aspects for a given configuration: the spatial position (i.e. relative position of an object described in left, right, and up/down, will be changed when configuration rotates), and the geometric shape (i.e., shape of the polygon with the objects as its vertexes, irrelevant to rotation). These two factors might vary independently or simultaneously. If the spatial position is the dominant factor in the influence of configuration on VWM, the performance will improve when the spatial position is kept constant. Consequently, broken or rotated geometric shapes will not affect memory performance. If geometric shape is the critical factor, the effects would be in reverse, wherein the performance would improve if the geometric shape is kept constant. The results from our experiments indicate that spatial position is the dominant factor. There was no significant difference on VWM performance between same-position-different- shape conditions (geometric shape varied while spatial position preserved) and the baseline condition (configuration were completely identical). The memory performance declined significantly against the baseline level when spatial position changed, regardless of the geometric shape.
In experiment 3, we systematically considered the rotation of a given configuration. A rotation clue was provided such that mental rotation can be conducted on the previewed configuration. The paradigms were identical to experiments 1 and 2; however, the controlled factor of experiment 3 was the consistency between the rotation clue and the spatial position/geometric shape in test phase. When spatial position is consistent with the rotation clue, the memory performance was better. Once again, the geometric shape showed no significant effect.
These findings suggest the following: First, when a given configuration boost the efficiency of VWM, the primary factor is the spatial position of the object. Second, the overall geometric shape has no significant influence on VWM performance. Third, the role of these two factors maintains the same under mental rotation of a given configuration.
The automatic grouping effect is the finding that inter-target grouping improves performance, while target-distractor grouping impairs performance during multiple object tracking (MOT). Many features can induce the automatic grouping effect, such as color, shape, interpolation, and symmetry. However, none of these features are spatial-temporal. Motion information is the principal spatial-temporal feature, and it plays an important role in multiple object tracking (MOT). Using motion information stored in visual spatial working memory (VSWM), people can not only keep track of multiple moving targets among identical distractors, but also periodically extrapolate the motion trajectory of targets. We investigated whether or not participants can use motion information as the basis of the automatic grouping effect just as they can with other feature (e.g. color, shape) during attention tracking.
To test this question, we used classic random motion as the baseline and added two new types of chasing motion in MOT tasks. One chasing motion condition was target-chase-target; the other chasing motion condition was distractor-chase-target. Given that surface features can influence the grouping effect based on motion information, we next tested the motion-based grouping effect in a condition where targets and distractors are assigned different color combinations (Experiment 2) and different shape combinations (Experiment 3). The different color combinations included identical color between targets and distractors, distinct colors between targets and distractors, and mixed colors between targets and distractors. The shape combinations were analogous to the color combinations.
Results of Experiment 1 showed that, compared to the random motion condition, tracking performance was better when targets chased targets and worse when distractors chased targets. In other words, motion information can be used as an automatic grouping cue. Results of Experiment 2 indicated that the tracking performance in the target-chase-target condition was always better than the distractor-chase-target condition when colors were identical, distinct, or mixed. However, compared with the identical color condition, the difference between chasing conditions (target-chase-target condition minus distractor-chase-target condition) was smaller in both the distinct color condition and the mixed color condition. When Experiment 3 varied the surface feature from color to shape, the results were the same as Experiment 2. The surface feature (i.e., color and shape) did not eliminate the motion-based grouping effect, but it did reduce the difference between the target-chase-target condition and distractor-chase-target condition.
From these results, we can conclude that motion information can be used in multiple object tracking and may be an automatic grouping feature. This suggests that spatial-temporal features can also induce automatic grouping, regardless of the effect of surface feature in MOT tasks. It may also imply that, although motion information is encoded automatically and in parallel during tracking, it may share visual spatial working memory resources with surface feature. Finally, motion-based grouping effect in MOT showed that the gestalt law was embodied in attentive tracking.
Previous research focused on the processing of verbal negation, while there was very little research in the area of visual negation. In this study, the lexical decision paradigm was used to explore the mental simulation of visual negation processing in early, middle, and late processing stages to reveal the mechanism of visual negation. To achieve this goal, we performed three experiments. In each experiment on each trial subjects first viewed a picture, and then after a interstimulus interval (ISI) that varied by experiment, viewed a word and had to decide if the word was consistent with the picture or not.
Experiment 1 explored the mental simulation of visual negation in early stage of processing using a short 250ms ISI. Participants reacted more quickly to the negative probes which represented the actual final states, as compared with the affirmative probes which represented the negated states. This implies that, in the early stage of the visual negation processing, the final state has already been simulated in the participants’ representation. Although the results did not confirm the two-step-simulation hypothesis, it supported the suppression / retention hypothesis.
Experiment 2 examined the mental simulation of visual negation in middle stage of processing using a 750ms ISI. The pattern of results was very similar to Experiment 1: participants reacted more quickly to the negative probes that represented the actual final states, as compared with the affirmative probes that represented the negated states. These results imply that the final state was simulated in the participants’ representation during the middle stage of processing.
Experiment 3 explored the late stage of processing using a 1500ms ISI. The results pattern replicated those of Experiment 1 and Experiment 2, that is, the reaction time to negative probes was significantly faster than to affirmative probes. The results demonstrated that in the late stage of the visual negation processing, participants simulated the actual final state of the visual negative pictures but not the negated state of the visual negative pictures. Again, it disconfirmed the two-step simulation hypothesis, but supported the suppression / retention hypothesis.
In sum, taken together the findings from the three experiments, we can draw the following conclusions. The actual state was simulated during the processing of visual negation similarly across the early, middle, and late visual processing stages. These results support the theory that simulation occurs in a single step (the one-step simulation view) rather than the two-step simulation view. Second, the suppression / retention hypothesis for the negated information processing in visual negation has been strongly supported.
Color categorical perception (CCP: faster or more accurate discrimination of color that straddles a color category boundary) has provided an empirical standard passage of the debate on the relation of language and cognition during the last half-century. A majority of studies suggested that CCP is tightly linked to the language and culture we are born into, which agreed with the Whorf hypothesis in which CCP is language-related and not universal. The participants of previous studies were mainly monolingual, so whether the results of monolingual research can be generalized to bilinguals remains uncertain. There are many Mongolian-Chinese bilinguals in Inner Mongolia. Mongolians divide the blue region of color space into a darker shade called huhe and a lighter shade called qinker, while both lighter blue and darker blue are simply described with the single word Lan in Chinese. To confirm whether the color category in first language (L1) of Mongolian-Chinese bilinguals is influenced by second language, the present study used a behavioral experiment and event-related potential (ERP) to compare the CCP between proficient bilinguals and nonproficient bilinguals.
The first experiment was a behavioral experiment using a visual search task and included 35 proficient bilingual and 33 nonproficient bilingual college students. The stimulus of visual search display appeared, consisting of a ring of 12 squares surrounding the fixation marker. All of the squares were of the same color except for the one that was the target. The target and distractor colors were either from within the same lexical category (e.g., different shades of qinker) or from different lexical categories (e.g., a qinker and a huhe). We explored whether nonproficient Mongolian-Chinese bilinguals show a greater advantage of the CCP effect over proficient Mongolian-Chinese bilinguals due to the endogenous preparation of task switching. To further explore the language learning effect on the perception of brain mechanisms, the second experiment was an ERP experiment with an oddball paradigm. In the ERP experiment involving 15 proficient Mongolian-Chinese bilinguals and 14 nonproficient bilinguals who were set to distinguish dark blue (dark green) and light blue (light green), we examined brain activities by observing the visual mismatch negativity (vMMN) as an electrophysiological index of preattentive change detection, which peaked at approximately 200 ms.
The results of the visual search task showed that the CCP effect of nonproficient bilinguals was significant, while that of proficient bilinguals was not. The present conclusion of the visual search task suggests that the category of L2 influences the category of L1. The ERP study found that nonproficient bilinguals have a greater brain potential amplitude of vMMN than do proficient bilinguals when distinguishing dark blue and light blue or dark green and light green. Considering vMMN as an index of the preattentive process, L2 learning affected the preattentive perceptual processing of bilinguals.
The results of the present study proved the proficiency of Chinese influence on the CCP effect in Mongolian-Chinese bilinguals and indicated that language does affect preattentive perceptual processing, where this procession may be implicit. The bilinguals’ concept of the two languages may interfere with each other, thus supporting Spair-Whorf hypothesis.
In China, disruptive sleep patterns and sleep deficiency are prevalent in preschool children. Literature has largely focused on the relationship between sleep duration and child development in adolescents and school-age children. Yet little is known about the impact of sleep duration in preschool children, for example, on their advanced neurocognitive function. Given that sleep need and sleep maturation develop rapidly in the first years of life, research findings in older children cannot be generalized to preschoolers.
Developmental research indicates individual differences in sleep need. From a developmental perspective, it is crucial to explore whether children’s susceptibility to neurocognitive disruptions is associated with sleep problems. Temperament, one aspect of individual susceptibility, is shown to be relatively stable across situations and developmental periods. In this study, negative emotionality in preschool children was used to indicate temperament. The goal of this study was to examine the links between preschoolers’ initial sleep duration (i.e., total daily sleep duration, ratio of nighttime sleep to total daily sleep, and sleep compensation over the weekend) and later executive function and the moderating role of children’s negative emotionality in the links. The sample was composed of 78 preschool children (Mage = 6.31 years, SD = 0.35) and their mothers. Total daily sleep duration, ratio of nighttime sleep, sleep compensation over the weekend, and child negative emotionality were assessed using parental sleep diaries and mother reports. Child executive function was measured three months later using a set of standardized measurement procedures offered by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The results of the present study indicated that controlling for children’s concurrent language ability, initial ratio of nighttime sleep significantly predicted children’s subsequent executive function. In addition, we found that negative emotionality significantly moderated the relation between sleep compensation and the three components of the executive function (working memory, inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility), in support of the differential susceptibility model. Specifically, sleep compensation was positively associated with performance in the executive function tests for preschool children with high negative emotionality whereas the association was nonsignificant for children with low negative emotionality.
In conclusion, our findings suggested that children who sleep longer at night would be more advanced in their EF development. For children with high negative emotionality, sleep compensation over the weekend has a positive effect on their executive function skills. The results of this study provided important practical implications for Chinese preschoolers’ sleep arrangements.
Analogical reasoning is a major form of abstract logical thinking. It refers to the transferring process of knowledge from one situation or field to another. To transfer successfully when facing new problems, it is important for the elderly to retrieve the appropriate sources of knowledge as quickly as possible. Additionally, the elderly rich in life experience are supposed to be the embodiment of wisdom, which is also helpful. Previous research about the elderly’s analogical reasoning mainly focused on the encoding stage, and, in most cases, the task paradigm was rigorous laboratory study. The task paradigm may have generated outcomes against participants’ reactions in natural settings, causing reduced ecological validity and inability to present their real competence. The present study was based on the problem-solving paradigm rather than a laboratory-based experiment. We aimed to figure out whether the elderly retrograde in the retrieval of source problems and whether there exist age differences in the usage of surface information and structural information. The encoding quality between the old and young participants was ensured to be identical.
Twenty-nine young adults (age: M = 21.86, SD = 1.43) and thirty-two old adults (age: M = 69.09, SD = 5.11) participated in the experiment. This study used a mixed design in which age group (old/young) was a between- subjects variable and surface similarity (high/low) and structural similarity (high/low) were within-subjects variables. There were two phases included in the whole procedure. During the learning phase, participants learnt twenty source stories and summarized the higher-order relation of each. Three days later, twenty other target stories were presented in which participants were to figure out how to solve the problems with the hints they recalled from the source stories learnt three days ago. The performance of reasoning (quality of solving the target problem according to the source problem) and retrieving (quantity of surface and structural information retrieved) were the dependent variables.
The results showed that the elderly experienced analogical reasoning aging. To be specific, they relied more on the surface feature similarity than did the younger adults. As for surface and structural information, the more the information was provided, the better was their reasoning. It was beneficial to both age groups in reasoning when the surface and structural similarity increased, which indicated that the reasoning of the elderly and young people could benefit from better retrieval to the source problems. As for interaction effect, for the elderly in lack of surface information, increasing structural similarity would not enhance their reasoning quality. When there was enough surface and structural information, they performed the best. It implied that the elderly could benefit from structural similarity only on the condition that enough surface information was given. When retrieving information from source problems, surface feature exerted an across-information-type promotion effect on retrieval quality. However, the increase in structural information could only help the elderly to improve their retrieval in structural information. As for the younger adults, structural features and surface features were conducive to their retrieval of homogeneous information. With regard to the relation between retrieval quality and reasoning performance, the correlation was significant in both age groups. It enlightened us that people who cannot reason correctly were probably poor in retrieval.
To improve the performance of the elderly in analogical reasoning, we can increase the transmission of surface features, such as designing mobile phone apps with similar interfaces, which can reduce their learning cost. Further studies should focus on designing more realistic contexts as well as delving into the process of how far transfer of learning happens.
Researches on helping behaviors have always been a hot topic. Especially nowadays, helping others has become a risk-taking decision-making. Helping behavior is defined as an action that benefits others without return. In strange situations, the face, as the only clue to communicate or obtain information from, can affect people’s behaviors to a great extent. However, previous studies on helping behaviors did not take this issue into account, this study intended to combine situational factors and individual factors to comprehensively explore their impact on helping behaviors and to further investigate the moderating role of attachment security in the relationship between facial trustworthiness and helping behaviors.
This study included two experiments. Experiment 1 explored the effect of the characteristics of helpers’ trait attachment and facial trustworthiness by using a mixed experimental design of 2 (facial trustworthiness: high/low) × 3 (attachment type: security/anxiety/avoidance). Experiment 2 used a 2 (facial trustworthiness: high/low) × 2 (state-security attachment priming: yes/no) to investigate whether priming security attachment had safe influence as trait security attachment. During both experiments, subjects were presented randomly with faces of different facial trustworthiness. Participants selected their willingness to help others and donate money. The amount of money they donated represented their helping behaviors. These two indices were selected as dependent variables. A 7-point scale was used to measure help-willingness. The higher the score, the stronger of the willingness to help the seeker of participants. The amount of donation was between 0-100. The larger the number of donation, the more they were willing to contribute.
This study used SPSS 20.0 to analyze the data of the experiment, and the results verified the research hypotheses. The results of experiment 1 showed that there was a significant interaction between facial trustworthiness and the types of helpers’ attachment. The simple effect analysis showed that there were significant differences in the willingness and people’s behaviors with security attachments in both of the two facial trustworthiness, the willingness and money they input in high-facial trustworthiness were significantly higher than those in low-facial trustworthiness situation. There were also significant differences in the willingness and behaviors between low and high facial trustworthiness both anxious individuals and avoidance individuals. The willingness and behaviors to help in high-facial trustworthiness situation were significantly higher than those in low-facial trustworthiness situation. The results of experiment 2 on willingness and behaviors showed that there was a significant different in the interaction between facial trustworthiness and the types of helpers’ attachment. The simple effect analysis showed that there was a significant difference between the two facial trustworthiness situations for individuals of security attachment and a significant difference between the two facial trustworthiness situations for individuals of insecurity attachment, the willingness and helping behaviors in the high facial trustworthiness situation was higher significantly than low-facial trustworthiness situation. The different value in willingness and behavior in both experiment 1and experiment 2 under two facial trustworthiness situations for individuals of security attachment were significantly smaller than those for individuals of insecure attachment, indicating that attachment security to some extent had a regulatory role, it could buffer the risk-aided behavior to bring down.
This study has some significance. First of all, this study incorporated facial trustworthiness into helping behaviors, which provided a new way of researches of helping behaviors. Looking from the perspective of the face helped to distinguish the unfamiliar environment’s helping behaviors from the familiar environments. Second, the study found that individuals’ attachment types and the seeker’s face trustworthiness affects the helping behavior, indicating that the help-taking behaviors were the result of multiple factors, to remind the public to combine the help-seeking environment objectively and justly to see others’ behaviors. The media should also adopt a pragmatic attitude towards reports of people’s help behaviors so as to avoid reporting off the factual basis.