Phonograms are comprised of a semantic radical and a phonetic radical. The semantic radical usually implies the meaning of a character, while the phonetic radical offers a phonetic clue for the pronunciation of a character. Prior research has indicated that semantic and phonetic radicals each play an important role in phonogram cognition. However, the way in which the 2 kinds of radicals combine to influence both phonogram recognition and the activation process remains a controversial topic. Neighborhood size is one of the most important characteristics of radicals. The differences induced by the neighborhood size of radicals are called neighborhood effects. Prior studies employed various methods to investigate the roles of semantic and phonetic radicals on phonogram recognition and discovered that phonetic radicals have an advantage in phonogram processing. They also found that the neighborhood size of semantic radicals regulated the relative contributions of semantic and phonetic radicals. However, most of these researchers investigated the roles of semantic and phonetic radicals respectively. Only a few investigators have focused on the comprehensive role of semantic and phonetic radicals in character processing. This study attempted to investigate the comprehensive effect of semantic and phonetic radicals on phonogram recognition.
Participants’ brain responses were recorded using event-related brain potentials. Four types of characters were selected: HH (phonogram comprised of a high-frequency semantic radical and a high-frequency phonetic radical), HL (phonogram comprised of a high-frequency semantic radical and a low-frequency phonetic radical), LL (phonogram comprised of a low-frequency semantic radical and a low-frequency phonetic radical), and LH (phonogram comprised of a low-frequency semantic radical and a high-frequency phonetic radical). A lexical decision task was adopted; the frequency of the entire character and the number of strokes were equivalent for all groups.
The results showed that, for characters with high-frequency semantic radicals (HH and HL), the characters with high-frequency phonetic radicals (HH) elicited a larger P200 waveform component than the characters with low-frequency phonetic radicals (HL). However, for characters with low-frequency semantic radicals (LH and LL), there was no significant difference between the characters with high-frequency phonetic radicals (LH) and those with low-frequency phonetic radicals (LL). Characters with high-frequency phonetic radicals (HH and LH) elicited a larger N400 component than those with low-frequency phonetic radicals (HL and LL), and the N400 differences induced by the neighborhood size of phonetic radicals with high-frequency semantic radicals (HH and HL) were larger than those induced by characters with low-frequency semantic radicals (LH and LL). These results indicate that in the early stage of phonogram recognition, the neighborhood effect of phonetic radicals is regulated by the neighborhood size of semantic radicals. In the late stage of phonogram recognition, the higher the frequency of phonetic radicals, the stronger the semantic activation degree of the character. In general, the neighborhood size of phonetic radicals was found to affect vocabulary accessibility. However, the effect of the neighborhood size of phonetic radicals is regulated by the neighborhood size of semantic radicals.
Facial expressions are fundamental emotional stimuli. They convey important information in social interaction. Most previous studies focused on the processing of isolated facial expressions. However, in everyday life, faces always appear within complex scenes. The emotional meaning of the scenes plays an important role in judging facial expressions. Additionally, facial expressions change constantly from appearance to disappearance. Visual scenes may have different effects on the processing of faces with different emotional intensities. Individual personality traits, such as trait anxiety, also affect the processing of facial expressions. For example, individuals with high trait anxiety have processing bias on negative emotional faces. The present study explored whether previously presented visual scenes affected the identification of emotions in morphed facial expressions, and whether the influences of visual scenes on the identification of facial expressions showed differences between individuals with high and low trait anxiety.
Using the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), we placed 29 participants who scored in the top 27% in the high trait anxiety group (9 men and 20 women; mean age 19.76 ± 1.3 years) and 28 participants who scored in the bottom 27% in the low trait anxiety group (11 males and 17 females, mean age 19.71 ± 1.2 years). The images of faces (4 models, half male and half female) used in this study were selected from the NimStim Set of Facial Expressions. The face stimuli showed typical happy, neutral, and fearful expressions. Facial expressions were morphed to create a series of gradually varied images of facial expressions. Specifically, fearful face (100%) versus neutral face (0%) and happy face (100%) versus neutral face (0%) were morphed in 20% increments. In addition, 40 surrounding scene images were used, with 20 positive scenes and 20 negative scenes. In the face-emotion detection task, participants were asked to determine whether the emotion from the faces presented after the scenes were fearful, happy, or neutral.
For the repeated measure ANOVA of the accuracy for facial expression detection, the results showed scene effects on the identification of emotions in facial expressions. The scene effects were varied between the different intensity of face emotion: for the emotionally vague faces, the detection of happy and fearful expression showed significant scene effects; for the faces with moderate emotional intensity, only the detection of the fearful faces showed significant scene effects; for the intense emotions on faces, there was a significant effect on happy and neutral faces but not on fearful faces. Trait anxiety as an individual factor was found to play a moderating role in the identification of facial expressions. For the high trait anxiety group, there were no significant differences in the accuracy of emotional detection between congruent and incongruent conditions. This means that the high trait anxiety group did not show significant scene effects. The low trait anxiety group showed a significant difference in the accuracy of identification of emotions in facial expressions between congruent and incongruent conditions, i.e., significant scene effects.In summary, the present study demonstrated that, for facial expressions with low emotional intensity, the identification of happy and fearful faces was more likely to be affected by visual scenes than the identification of neutral faces. Visual scenes were more likely to affect the identification of moderately fearful faces than moderately happy faces. Trait anxiety played a moderating role in the influence of visual scenes on emotional detection of facial expressions. Specifically, individuals with high trait anxiety were less affected by surrounding visual scenes and paid more attention to facial expressions.
Self-reference can improve the memorization of stimulated information, and this is a phenomenon called the self-referential effect. Previous studies from the perspective of social distance (such as parents, friends, and strangers) show that the speed of processing or classifying stimulus and memory performance under self-reference significantly outperform the cases under other-reference. Other than social distance, another concept greatly influences individual cognition and behavior: spatial distance. However, research from the perspective of spatial distance is scant. To broaden the perspectives on the self-referential effect, we constructed different distance conditions through a 2D corridor and investigated how spatial distance affects self-referential processing through a learning-recognition paradigm and event-related potential techniques. Neutral nouns were used as the experimental materials.
We designed a 2 (reference: self, other) ×2 (distance: far, near) within groups design and added a stranger reference as the alert group. The corridor has three grids: the upper, middle, and lower grids. In the learning stage, the neutral noun was randomly presented in the middle grid while the name was also shown randomly in the upper or lower grid. Two levels of the distance variable were measured by the distance between the middle and the upper or lower grids. Participants were required to press the up arrow“↑”when name (except stranger’s name) appeared in the upper grid, and press the down arrow“↓”when name (except stranger’s name) appeared below. If a stranger’s name appeared in any grid, the participants had to press “f”. And try to associate the words with the names in mind during experiment. After a simple calculation of the interference task, a surprise recognition test was conducted. The response time, accuracy rate and EEG data of the participants were recorded during the experiment.
The results showed that the response time under self-reference was significantly shorter than that under other-reference, and the response time of near-distance was significantly shorter than far-distance. The main effects of distance on the amplitude of P1 and N1 components and the latency of N1 component were significant, whereas the main effects of reference on those aspects were not significant. Self-referential and other-referential processing in near-distance induced larger LPC amplitude and right frontal activation relative to the far-distance alternative. In the recognition stage, memory performance in self-reference was significantly better than that in other-reference, and such performance under the near-distance condition was significantly better than that under the far-distance situation. However, memory performances under other-reference with the far- and near-distance conditions were not significant.
This study broadens our understanding of self-referential processing from the perspective of spatial distance. Compared with the far-distance condition, the near-distance counterpart enhances self-referential processing; thus, when individuals process the self-reference information in the near-distance, greater LPC amplitude and right frontal activation as well as better memory performance is achieved. This study provides implications for future exploration of the self-referential effect from the perspective of spatial distance.
The positive-negative valence of emotion affecting hand movements toward or away from the body is known as the approach-avoidance effect. Previous studies have shown that the positive images elicit quicker reaction on approach movement while negative images are sensitive to the avoidance. However, few studies have focused on how emotion affects the complete process of the movement. In current research, the effects of valence, arousal and appraisal of emotion on the dragging movement were investigated.
A push-pull task was performed on a touch screen to evaluate the ramifications which emotion holds for hand movement. Twenty-four right-handed participants volunteered in Experiments 1 and 2, and fifteen of these participants continued Experiment 3 two months later. In Experiments 1 and 3, emotional pictures with half positive and half negative valences included equal numbers of high-, medium- and low- arousal images. Participants were required to drag pictures upward or downward with their index finger. Experiment 1 and 3 differed in that only in Experiment 1 did the participants evaluate the valence of pictures. Neutral pictures as well as grey blank images were exploited in Experiment 2 to rule out the effects of other factors.
Repeated-measured ANOVA and Paired t-tests were carried out. The results illustrate that (1) approaching (pulling) the positive pictures or avoiding (pushing) the negative ones yields faster dragging movement; (2) compared to medium and low arousal, high arousal enhances the emotional effect, especially in negative condition; (3) the emotional effect diminishes when participants did not evaluate the valence of images, and when neutral images (e.g., furniture) and grey blank images were displayed.
In conclusion, this study indicates that the emotion does not only affect the reaction time of approach-avoidance movement, but also affects the latter hand movement. In addition, arousal and appraisal play an important role in this effect. This result suggests that the effects of emotion on the dragging movement might happen at the early stage and thus both movement programming and motor control are influenced by emotions.
Early adolescence is a critical period for examining the development of depression in that there is a sharp increase in the prevalence. Existing studies suggested that depression was significantly associated with negative life events. However, it is well-known that not all adolescents who experienced negative life events would become depressed. Findings from molecular genetics indicated that catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene Val158Met polymorphism might be an important candidate gene of depression. Some researches have also investigated the moderating effect of COMT gene Val158Met polymorphism on the association between negative life events and depression. However, the findings still remain inconsistent. According to developmental system theory, family factors, such as parental rearing behavior, may also play an important role on adolescent depression. However, whether and how COMT gene Val158Met polymorphism with parenting behavior moderate the association between negative life events and early adolescent depression remain unclear. Moreover, extant evidence has demonstrated that there is a significant gender difference in the interaction between gene and environment on depression. The aim of this study was to investigate the moderating role of COMT gene Val158Met polymorphism and parenting behavior on the association between negative life events and early adolescent depression, and its possible gender differences.
In this study, 637 adolescents (Mage = 13.50 years, male = 344) of two middle schools in Jinan were selected as subjects. Adolescent depressive symptoms, negative life events and parenting behavior were accessed using self-rated children’s depression inventory (CDI), adolescent life events scale and parental rearing behavior questionnaire. All measures showed good reliability. DNA was extracted from saliva. Genotype at Val158Met polymorphism was performed for each participant with MassARRAY RT software version 22.214.171.124 and analyzed using the MassARRAY Typer software version 3.4 (Sequenom). A series of hierarchical regressions, internal replication analyses and meta-analyses were conducted to examine the effects of negative life events, Val158Met polymorphism and parenting behavior on adolescent depression.
The results showed that negative life events significantly positively predicted early adolescent depression. Moreover, negative life events, COMT gene Val158Met polymorphism and positive paternal behavior had a significant three-way interaction on adolescent depression, which only existed in male adolescents. Specifically, for male adolescents with Val/Val genotype, positive paternal behavior played a significant moderating effect on the association between negative life events and depression. When the level of positive paternal behavior was lower, negative life events could positively predict male adolescent depression, whereas its effect was not significant when the level of positive paternal behavior was higher. Additionally, the above mentioned interaction was not observed among male adolescents with Met allele. The findings also indicated that both positive and negative maternal behaviors had marginally significant interactions with COMT gene Val158Met polymorphism and negative life events, and were also manifested only in male adolescents. In the further simple effect analysis of the three-way interactions, male adolescents with Val/Val genotype were still more sensitive to the environment.
Overall, our results suggested that the effects of negative life events on early adolescent depression were moderated by COMT gene Val158Met polymorphism and parenting behavior, and there were gender differences in the moderating effect. More importantly, this study emphasizes the effects of genes and multiple environments on depression, which lends a reference for future studies on the interaction between genes and multiple environments. Besides, the findings provide important implications for the theoretical construction and intervention of adolescent depression.
Sequential congruency effects (CSEs) or conflict adaptation effects refer to the ability to flexibly and rapidly adapt interference control. The Gratton effect, as demonstrated using a standard Stroop or flanker task, can be explained in at least three ways. The first explanation is the conflict-monitoring account. A second theory is the repetition-expectancy account. A third explanation rests on the notion of low-level repetition effects and has been incorporated in the feature-integration or feature-priming account. Concerning age differences in CSEs, the great majority of studies examined adult populations. The relatively few studies that (also) examined children and adolescents, using one of the standard interference control tasks. Previous studies examining age differences in cognitive control adaptations, as reflected in congruency sequence effects (CSEs) in tasks inducing stimulus or response conflict, did not consistently control for priming confounds. Hence, answering the question whether or not children have an equal ability and pattern of cognitive control adaptations, relative to adults, still requires more research.
The participants were 33 adults with a mean age of 20.6 years and 34 children with a mean age of 9.5 years. The experiment consists of two tasks: Task 1 is a Stroop task; Task 2 consisted of a mix of trials from the Stroop and flanker tasks. The stimuli used for the Stroop task (Task 1) consisted of the Hanzi representing the word “RED” printed in red (congruent trial) or green (incongruent trial), and the Hanzi representing the word “GREEN”, also printed in red (incongruent trial) or green (congruent trial). These stimuli were also used in Task 2, which also incorporated a flanker task. The stimuli of the flanker task were five arrows that all pointed to the right or left (congruent trials), or with the middle arrow pointing in one direction and the surrounding arrows in the other (incongruent trials). The experiment was performed on two consecutive days. On the first day, participants performed the Stroop task (Task 1), the next day participants performed the Task 2. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to analyze the RTs and accuracy in the two tasks.
For Task 1, of primary interest, the Trial n-1 congruency × Trial n congruency interaction was significant. Follow-up analyses revealed that the congruency effect was significant after congruent trials (cC vs. cI trials). The congruency effect was also significant after incongruent trials (iC vs. iI trials). Responding on cC trials was faster than on iC trials and responding on cI trials was slower than on iI trials, reflecting a clear CSEs. The two groups did not differ in the size of the conflict adaptation effect. The accuracy data, also suggest a clear reduction of the congruency effect in both age groups, which seemed to be mainly caused by more accurate responding on iI relative to cI trials. For Task 2, the Trial n-1 congruency × Trial n congruency interaction revealed that, although the congruency effect was significant both after congruent (cC vs. cI), and incongruent trials (iC vs. iI), cC trial pairs were associated with faster responses compared to iC trial pairs. However, RTs on iI trials did not differ from those on cI trials. There was no difference between the groups in mean CSE magnitude for both the Stroop→Flanker and Flanker→Stroop transition trials. The accuracy data suggest a similar pattern.
The strong resemblance between CSEs observed for 9~10-year-old children and adult participants under both single- and two-task conditions adds to the behavioral evidence of cognitive control adaptation capacities in children of this age, which seem to reach adult-like levels despite a relative immaturity of brain areas that subserve those capacities in adults. Hence, the observed CSE reflected higher-order, cognitive adaptation rather than the lower-level effects potentially induced by response repetition.
Vocabulary knowledge is one of the most important predictors of reading comprehension. According to the DVC (decoding, vocabulary, comprehension) reading skill triangle model, reading comprehension is dependent on knowing the meanings of words being read. At the same time, readers can infer the meanings of unfamiliar words encountered in reading. Therefore, a reciprocal relationship may exist between vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension, which is not documented in previous research. The aim of the present study is to examine the relation between vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension in different grades of elementary school.
A total of 399 students from first, third and fifth grades were tested on vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension tasks at two time points over one year, along with phonological awareness, morphological awareness and nonverbal reasoning at Time 1 (the fall semester in grade 1, 3 and 5) as control variables. A cross-lagged model was used to investigate the relation between vocabulary and reading comprehension in each grade span.
The results showed that, after controlling for phonological awareness, morphological awareness, and nonverbal reasoning, the relation between vocabulary and comprehension varied in different developmental stages. Vocabulary knowledge did not significantly predict later reading comprehension in primary grades (grade 1 to grade 2). Bidirectional predictive relation was found between vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension in middle grades (grade 3 to grade 4). Vocabulary knowledge in grade 5 did not predict later reading comprehension in grade 6, while reading comprehension in grade 5 significantly predicted later vocabulary knowledge in grade 6.
The results support reading stage theory and supplement the DVC reading skill triangle model. The relation between vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension among Chinese elementary children changes over time. The primary grades are in the stage of “learning to read”, children’s vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension are mainly affected by the basic cognitive and linguistic skills. The reciprocal relationship between vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension is evident in middle grades. The enrichment of vocabulary knowledge enables children to read skilled, and the comprehension of texts can also help children learn new words from texts. Reading comprehension plays an increasingly important role in vocabulary development from middle to upper elementary grades. These findings have implications for reading instruction in Chinese at different developmental stages.
Evidence from past years has documented that group factors, such as group norms, are related to bullying in schools. Studies have revealed that groups’ bullying norms positively predicted individuals’ bullying behaviors. However, the mechanism underlying this phenomenon remains unclear. Studies have documented that peer pressure mediates the relationship between bullying norms among friends and cyber bullying. Moreover, when conflict is inevitable, fear leads to aggressive behavior. Therefore, the current research included two studies to clarify the relationship between classroom bullying norms and bullying behavior.
In the first study, a scenario-based experiment was conducted. A total of 89 male and 97 female primary school students in grades 4 through 6 were invited to participate in the study. Participants were randomly divided into the bullying norm priming group and the control group. After priming, participants in both groups completed the questionnaires addressing fear induced by group identity, peer pressure, and bullying behavior. Students from 23 classes were invited to participate in Study 2. A total of 459 males and 422 females (62 were lacking gender data) from grades 4, 5, 6, and 8 completed the questionnaires on classroom bullying norms, peer pressure, and bullying behavior. HLM version 7.0 was used for the hierarchical linear model.
The results of Study 1 showed that (1) participants in the bullying-norm priming group showed higher levels of bullying behavior, peer pressure, and fear induced by group identity than those in the control group; (2) fear induced by group identity and peer pressure was positively associated with bullying behavior; (3) after controlling for the effect of gender, peer pressure marginally but significantly mediated the relationship between classroom bullying norms and bullying behavior at the 95% confidence level (β = 0.064, p = 0.063). The result of Study 2 demonstrated that the mediating effect of peer pressure was significant at both the individual and the classroom level, even after controlling for the effect of gender. Specifically, (1) the indirect effect of peer pressure accounted for 22.24% of the total effect at the individual level and (2) the indirect effect of peer pressure accounted for 28.35% of the total effect at the classroom level.
The results of both studies highlighted the mediating role of peer pressure in classroom bullying norms and bullying behavior. The current study is the first to identify this mediating mechanism. The findings of the present study suggest that classroom norms and peer pressure deserve more attention in further prevention and intervention addressing school bullying.
Nostalgic emotional advertising is a common advertising strategy used among businesses. It allows consumers to recall past experiences, by evoking emotional resonance and self-identity, which can improve brand communication. Previous studies have shown the predominantly positive impact of nostalgic advertising. However, some research has contested these findings. For example, nostalgic advertisements released by certain brands have failed to produce fruitful results. In this study, we explore the effectiveness of nostalgic and non-nostalgic emotional advertising by examining their impact on word-of-mouth communication. More importantly, we introduce brand image as the moderation, which is divided into warm-type and competent-oriented brands.
This article uses one study that employed second-hand data and two experimental studies that used first-hand data to prove the conclusions. First, we collected data from 15 brands through Weibo for the entire year of 2016, including posting content, likes, comments, and forwarding numbers. Through the research, the 15 brands were divided into warm-type and competent-oriented brands. After screening and coding, we obtained nostalgic and non-nostalgic posts. The experimental results show that for warm-type brands, nostalgic posts had better effect on word-of-mouth communication than non-nostalgic posts. For competent-oriented brands, non-nostalgic posts had better effect on word-of-mouth communication than nostalgic posts.
Next, we conducted two experimental studies to validate our hypothesis further. One study focused on designing experiments from the perspective of emotional arousal; the other deals with designing experiments from the perspective of cognitive arousal. The experiments use a 2 (ad type: nostalgic vs non-nostalgic) × 2 (brand image: warmth vs competence) between-subject design. First, the experimental results reinforce the conclusions obtained by the study using second-hand data. For competent-oriented brands, nostalgic advertising had better effect on word-of-mouth communication than non-nostalgic advertising. For warm-type brands, non-nostalgic advertising had better effect on word-of-mouth communication than nostalgic advertising. Second, we examined the mediation mechanisms of sense of history, trust, loneliness and satisfaction. The results show that consumer perceptions are more emotional for warm-type brands. Nostalgic advertisement can reduce consumers’ loneliness and make consumers feel satisfied. It also diminishes consumers’ desire to share information and gain social connections, which reduces word-of-mouth communication. For competent-oriented brands, consumers are more rational, and nostalgic advertisements bring consumers a long-standing perception of brand. Consumers are able to trust in the brand, which then improves the effect of word-of-mouth communication.
The theoretical contributions of this research are as follows. First, this study enriches understanding of nostalgic advertising. In the past, research on nostalgic advertising focused on the positive aspects of advertising, whereas this study found that nostalgic advertising focus on two perspectives. Second, this study expands understanding of the cognitive and emotional attributes of nostalgic advertising and deepens understanding of the two dimensions of emotion. Third, this study extends the internal mechanisms of the effects of nostalgic advertising on word-of-mouth communication. This study verifies the continuous double mediation mechanism of the influence of nostalgic advertisement on word-of-mouth communication from the perspective of consumer psychology.
Distributive fairness is a basic behavioral norm and an important pursuit in our daily life, and it plays an important role in our social interactions. In studies of distributive fairness, individuals' fairness perception and the factors affecting it have gathered much research attention. Previous research shows that the degree of fairness allocation can affect individuals' fairness perception. Based on the equity theory of fairness, equal allocation can be perceived as fairness for individuals if they have equal ability and equal contribution to the allocation; less than equal allocation may be perceived as disadvantageous inequality, and more than equal allocation as advantageous inequality. Previous studies also suggest that social situations, such as social hierarchy and social distance, can affect individuals' fairness perception. In real life, resource allocation often involves power situations, in which individuals may have different levels of power. How power influence individuals' fairness perception? Is the fairness perception power-dependent? So far, few studies have explored the effect of power on fairness perception directly. The present study aims to address this question through three experiments.
Based on the approach-inhibition theory, the powerful usually expect themselves to be surrounded by rewards and lack of threats, while the powerless usually expect themselves to be surrounded by threats and lack of rewards. Previous research shows that individuals' cognition and behavior can be affected by their internal expectations, and they are often sensitive to outcomes that violate their own expectations. Equal allocation and advantageous inequality allocation mean reward, while disadvantageous inequality means threat. Thus, equal allocation and advantageous inequality allocation are the expectation of the powerful, and disadvantageous inequality allocation is the expectation of the powerless. Therefore, we hypothesize that the interaction between power and fairness degree can impact individuals' fairness perception.
Three experiments were designed to test the hypothesis. To provide objective basis for the definitions of fairness, disadvantage inequality, and advantage inequality, we measured individuals' fairness ratings on different allocations in both the powerful and the powerless situations, after situation priming that manipulated power perception, in Experiment 1. In Experiment 2, we further investigated individuals' fairness ratings on three different allocations (i.e., disadvantageous unequal allocation, equal allocation, advantageous unequal allocation) in both the powerful and the powerless situations. We also recorded individuals' reaction times of fairness rating in Experiment 2 to gather extra evidence for fairness perception. In Experiment 3, a different manipulation method, role playing, was used to prime power. Same as in Experiment 2, we also recorded the fairness ratings and reaction times of the powerful and the powerless in Experiment 3.
In terms of fairness rating scores, the powerful rated the fairness degree of equal allocation and advantageous unequal allocation higher than the powerless, and they rated the fairness degree of disadvantageous unequal allocation lower than the powerless. In reaction time, the powerful reacted faster than the powerless no matter what the allocation was. These results suggested that individuals' distributive fairness perception is power-dependent, supporting our hypothesis. The present findings provide experimental evidence for the approach-inhibition theory of power and the equity theory of fairness. They also improve our understanding of the relationship between power and fairness perception.