It is notoriously difficult to dissociate the processes of orthography, phonology, and semantics in visual word recognition. Using homographic morphemes in Chinese homographs, the present study attempts to further examine the time course of orthographic, phonological and semantic activation in a masked priming paradigm.
Two-character compounds of Chinese were divided into such four conditions: Heterophonic-homography (“+O-P-S”, e.g., “作坊” / zuo1 fang / workshop), Homophonic-homography (“+O+P-S”, e.g., “作息” / zuo4 xi1 / work-and-rest), Identity (“+O+P+S”, e.g., “作诗” zuo4 shi1 / poetry-composing) and the control (“-O-P-S”, e.g., “账本” / zhang4 ben3 / account-book). Each of them served as a prime with both forward and backward masks and an SOA of 47ms, and was followed by the same target compound (e.g., “作画 / zuo4 hua4 / painting”) with its initial character being the same as those of the first three conditions. Two experiments were conducted, adopting a lexical decision task for Experiment 1 (behavioral) and a semantic categorization task for Experiment 2 (ERP) respectively.
It was found that (1) the Heterophonic-homography, Homophonic-homography, and Identity conditions all induced morphological priming effects relative to the control condition; (2) in P200 (120~220 ms) and Late N400 (430~540 ms), the amplitude and waveform of Homophonic-homography was much more similar to that of the control condition, but was significantly different from those of the Heterophonic-homography and Identity conditions; (3) in Early-N400 (280~400 ms), the amplitude and waveform of Homophonic-homography was closer to that of the Identity condition, but was significantly different from that of Heterophonic-homography.
The result indicates that the early stage of visual word recognition might be related to morpho-orthographic processing based on lexeme, in which orthographic similarity and phonological information may play an important role; however, the late stage of visual word recognition might be concerned with morpho-semantic processing based on lemma, which may involve meaning selection and lemma competition. The above findings tend to support Parallel Distributed Processing Model as advocated by McClelland and his associates.
Spatial iconicity is described as the perceptual characteristic of a concrete concept. This idea demonstrates that word pairs are processed faster when their positions match certain references in the physical world (e.g. ‘heaven’ is presented above ‘ground’). Embodied cognition theory explains that spatial iconicity involves processing concrete words to activate their embodied symbols automatically (e.g. spatial and colour symbols). This process then simulates the perceptual characteristics of the words’ physical reference. Symbolic theory proposes that spatial iconicity can also be interpreted by linguistic factors (e.g. word order frequency). Word order frequency is higher in the iconic order than in the reverse-iconic order, which facilitates the processing of word pairs. Symbol interdependency hypothesis integrates the two explanations above, claiming that the embodied and linguistic symbols are involved in shaping spatial iconicity. Furthermore, the respective contributions of these symbols depend on the type of stimuli or task. Despite these claims, the mechanism of spatial iconicity remains controversial. Moreover, whether abstract concepts have a similar spatial iconic effect is still unknown.
In Experiment 1, a semantic relationship judgment task was conducted to investigate the effect of embodied symbols on the processing of moral word pairs. Twenty-six participants were chosen randomly to discriminate the antonymous relationship of the moral word pairs in an iconic (e.g. moral-up & immoral-down) or reverse-iconic (e.g. moral-down & immoral-up) arrangement. In Experiment 2, a spatial iconicity judgment task was conducted to investigate the effect of linguistic symbols on the processing of moral word pairs. Twenty-seven participants were chosen to distinguish the iconicity of the moral word pairs, which may belong to an antonym or not. The EEG signals and the reaction times during both experiments were recorded.
The results showed that when Chinese moral antonyms were arranged against their spatial iconicity (e.g. moral-down & immoral-up), the processing of the antonymous relationship induced a larger N400 than the arrangement that was coherent with the spatial iconicity (e.g. moral-up & immoral-down). Furthermore, the judgment of the antonymous relationship was slower for the antonym pairs in a reverse-iconic arrangement than in an iconic arrangement. The results also showed that the Chinese word pairs, which did not have antonyms (e.g. trust - evil), induced a larger N200 and N700 than the antonym pairs (e.g. incorrupt - corrupt) did. Moreover, the reaction time of the iconicity judgment to the word pairs that did not belong to antonyms was slower than that of the antonym pairs. The results of the two experiments revealed that regardless of the task, the embodied and linguistic symbols contributed to spatial iconicity. Nevertheless, the mechanisms of the two symbols were different.
This study explored the spatial iconicity of abstract moral concepts, the roles of the embodied symbols and the linguistic symbols in shaping spatial iconicity. The results showed that (1) abstract moral concepts had a similar spatial iconicity to concrete concepts, which could be achieved by mapping the metaphors. (2) Furthermore, embodied and linguistic symbols were involved in shaping spatial iconicity regardless of the task. (3) When processing moral words, the linguistic symbols were activated to influence the process. The embodied symbols would only be activated and take effect in the middle of the process.
Stimuli presented with interference of the nature of targets detection are later recognized more accurately than that of distracted rejection, an unusual effect labeled the attentional boost effect (ABE). Spataro, Mulligan, Gabrielli and Rossi-Arnaud (2017) proposed the item-specific account, arguing that target detection mainly facilitates the processing of item-specific information rather than relational information. The item-specific account seems to have a larger scope of application. However, Spataro et al. (2017) proposed this account mainly based on the different degrees to which test tasks depended on item-specific and relational information. As a result, we propose a question: if target detection mainly promotes the item-specific information of the background stimulus, when the background stimulus mainly depends on the processing of relational information, will the promoting effect of target detection be reduced or even disappear? The discussion of this issue could provide more direct evidence for the item-specific account of the ABE. In the present study, mixed learning and classified learning methods were used to process the item-specific information and relational information of background stimuli. In general, pictures and words contain different perceptual information; the memory of picture preferentially utilizes image representations, while the memory of word preferentially utilizes semantic representations. Additionally, do the processing differences seen between words and pictures change the effects of classified and mixed learning on the ABE? To answer these questions, the current study performed two experiments to test whether the ABE is affected by the different types of processing needed for words and pictures used as background information.
The experiment was a 2 (presentation mode: classified learning, mixed learning) × 3 (stimulus type: target, distraction, baseline) mixed design. The presentation mode is the between-subjects variable, and the stimulus type is the within-subjects variable. In experiment 1, in classified learning, category words and words unrelated to the category were presented in sequential groups, and the words in each group were presented randomly. To enhance the effect of classification, a 3000 ms "blink" cue and a 1000 ms "continue" cue were inserted between every two groups of words. In mixed learning, category words and words unrelated to the category were presented randomly through a mixed display, and there were no extra intervals between groups. Sixty students participated in experiment 1, and 78 students participated in experiment 2. Participants were told to read each word aloud while simultaneously monitoring a small indicator above the word. Participants were then instructed to press the space bar as quickly as possible when they saw that the indicator was a “+” (a target) and to withhold a response when they saw that the indicator was a “-” (a distractor) or when they did not see an indicator at all (no indicator). In experiment 2, pictures (brief strokes) were used as background stimuli, and the other task and procedure were similar to those in experiment 1.
The main results were as follows. In Experiment 1, the ABE is robust only in mixed learning; that is, the recognition rate of target-paired words is obviously better than that of distractor-paired words (p = 0.004) and even reaches the level of full attention (baseline words) (p = 0.95). The recognition rate of distractor-paired words is obviously lower than that of baseline words (p = 0.044), showing a typical distraction inhibitory effect. Moreover, there was no significant difference between target-paired words (p = 0.636) and baseline words (p = 0.697) in the two presentation modes, but the recognition rate of distractor-paired words during classified learning was significantly higher than that of mixed learning (p = 0.008). In experiment 2, the ABE was found in both classified and mixed learning modes, but the ABE during classified learning (10%) was lower than that during mixed learning (16%). The recognition rate of target-paired pictures was even better than that of baseline pictures, showing an absolute attention boosting effect. Moreover, there was no significant difference between the recognition rate for the two kinds of target-paired pictures (p = 0.614). However, the recognition rates of distractor-paired pictures (p = 0.043) and baseline pictures (p = 0.036) show differences in the presentation mode. During classified learning, the recognition rates of distractor-paired pictures and baseline pictures are slightly higher than those during mixed learning.
The results suggest that compared with the mixed learning condition, the ABE in the classified learning condition is reduced. Compared with pictures, the ABE for words is more vulnerable to classified learning, which can even makes the ABE disappear. This effect may occur because participants tend to encode relational information in classified learning, which may reduce the inhibitory effect of distraction rejection, thus reducing the difference between target-pair stimuli and distractor-pair stimuli. Therefore, the current study provides more direct evidence for the item-specific account of the ABE.
Conceptual Metaphor Theory assumes that metaphorical mapping represent abstract concepts in terms of concrete ideas. To investigate the cognitive developmental process of multiple metaphors of power concepts in children aged three to five years old, the present study aims to answer three questions: (1) when children’s multiple metaphors of power concepts first develop; (2) whether children can comprehend power concepts through concrete ideas (size, vertical spatial position, and weight) and whether the developmental process is balanced among these three kinds of metaphors; and (3) whether the development of children’s metaphorical perception of power concepts is consistent with metaphor correspondence theory or polarity coding correspondence.
To address the above questions, we conducted three experiments in the present study. A total of 90 preschool children were recruited and divided into three age groups: 3-year-olds, 4-year-olds, and 5-year-olds. Experiment 1 investigated the developmental processing of children’s size metaphor of power concepts, which refers to the perception that a powerful person is large whereas a powerless person is small. The experiment was a 3 (age group: three, four, and five) × 2 (picture type: powerful and powerless) × 2 (size: large and small) mixed design. Participants were requested to place pictures of familiar cartoon figures that exhibited powerful or powerless qualities onto large or small circles. Results revealed that the frequency with which children placed pictures of powerful figures in large circles and those of powerless figures in small circles increased considerably with age. Experiment 2 investigated the developmental processing of children’s vertical spatial metaphor of power concepts, which refers to the perception that a powerful person is spatially up whereas a powerless person is spatially down. The experiment was a 3 (age group: three, four, and five) × 2 (picture type: powerful and powerless) × 2 (spatial position: upper and lower) mixed design. Participants were requested to place pictures of familiar cartoon figures that exhibited powerful or powerless qualities into boxes printed above or below a stick figure. Results revealed that the frequency with which children placed pictures of powerful figures in the upper box and those of powerless figures in the lower box increased considerably with age. Experiment 3 investigated the developmental processing of children’s weight metaphor of power concepts, which refers to the perception that a powerful person is heavy whereas a powerless person is light. The experiment was a 3 (age group: three, four, and five) × 2 (picture type: powerful and powerless) × 2 (weight type: heavy and light) mixed design. Participants were requested to place pictures of familiar cartoon figures that exhibited powerful or powerless qualities into a teeterboard printed with heavy or light sides. Results revealed that the frequency with which children placed pictures of powerful figures in the heavy side and pictures of powerless figures in the light side increased considerably with age.
Taken together, results demonstrated that (1) children aged three have not yet developed metaphors of power concepts. The age of four is an important period for the development of metaphors of power concepts, when the ability of comprehending such metaphors developed. Children aged four could understand positive pole metaphors of power concepts, while children aged five enhanced this capability. In addition, children aged 5 could understand the negative metaphors of power concepts, which means that they developed a comprehensive ability to understand multiple metaphors (size, vertical spatial position, and weight) of power concepts; (2) preschool children had a balanced understanding of multiple metaphors of power concepts; (3) the development of metaphors of power concepts in preschool children is in line with metaphor correspondence theory. Moreover, the development of metaphorical representation does not follow a “with or without” pattern but rather a “gradual” developmental model.
Stressor presents a risk factor in everyday life by not only triggering stress responses in the body but also influencing cognitive processing. Previous research has shown that the medial frontal cortex and dorsolateral frontal cortex, on which error processing depends, are susceptible to acute stress. However, few studies have explored the effect of stress on error processing. It is still unclear whether individuals with acute stress can effectively detect their own error responses and how acute stress influences the transfer from error monitoring to post-error adjustment.
To address these issues, we recruited 52 healthy male participants and randomly assigned them into stress (n = 26) or control (n = 26) groups. The participants were first asked to undergo an acute stress test or control-stress test and soon after that perform an error awareness task. Acute stress was induced by the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) which consists of a public speech task and a mental arithmetic task. The error awareness task was a motor go/no-go response inhibition task, in which the participants marked the responses where they recognized errors. Additionally, information on the participants’ heart rates, subjective emotional states, and perceived stress levels was collected to evaluate their immediate reaction to stress. Finally, we used salivary cortisol levels to explore the delayed reaction to stress during the experiment.
The acute stress induction was indexed by the increases in free cortisol levels, heart rates, perceived stress levels, and negative affect in the stress group compared with the control group. Two main findings were obtained in this study. First, the accuracy of error awareness in the stress group was lower than that of the control group, and the negative affect under acute stress was negatively predictive of the accuracy of error awareness in the stress group but not the control group, suggesting that acute stress led to poor error monitoring. Second, the accuracy of the first trials after aware errors was significantly lower than that after unaware errors in the stress group, but there was no change in the control group, showing that post-error performance was impaired following acute stress. Altogether, the present study demonstrated that participants could not effectively identify error responses after acute stress, and their post-error adjustment was impaired even when the error responses were identified. Our results show that stress plays an important role in error processing, which is consistent with the biphasic-reciprocal model that proposes that stress responses enhance the activation of the amygdala but impair neural functioning in the prefrontal cortex. In conclusion, the present study demonstrates that acute stress impairs the performance monitoring system, which leads to impaired post-error adaptive behaviors.
Brain imaging studies have found that the athletes engaged in racquet sports showed different brain structure and function based on expert-novice paradigm. However, the present findings cannot fully interpret the role of sport experience in brain plasticity. For example, it is still not clear whether such differences in brain structure are due to training experience or innate differences. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether young adults' brain structures are influenced by a short period of badminton training experience.
A group of young adults (23 ~ 27 years) without any professional or amateur sports training were recruited to take part in the experiment. They were randomly divided into either the experimental group (21 non-athletes) or the control group (17 non-athletes). Participants in the experimental group were trained for 12 weeks (one hour each time and three times each week), and participants in the control group did not attend any regular sport trainings during this period. Structure imaging and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) techniques were used to assess the effects of badminton training on the brain structural plasticity in young adults. T1 images and DTI data for all participants were collected before and after the intervention. Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and Tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) were used to perform a whole-brain analysis of the T1 and DTI data respectively. A 2 (participant group: experimental group, control group) × 2 (test time: pretest, posttest) repeated measure ANOVA was used to perform statistical analysis.
The results showed that there were significant interactions between participant group and test time for the gray matter volume in the left inferior occipital lobe, middle temporal gyrus and inferior temporal gyrus. Specifically, participants in the experiment group exhibited increased gray matter volume in the above brain regions after the training, whilst participants in the control group showed decreased gray matter volume in the left middle temporal gyrus at posttest as compared to pretest. Furthermore, for the participants in the control group, there were no significant differences between pretest and posttest in the volume of left inferior occipital lobe and inferior temporal gyrus. In relation with the white matter microstructures, the experiment group had increased fractional anisotropy (FA) in the bilateral posterior limb of internal capsule and the superior corona radiate in posttest as compared to pretest. And the increased FA was induced by decreased radial diffusivity (RD). In contrast, the control group had decreased FA and increased RD in the above fibers at posttest relative to pretest.
Taken together, these results suggest that badminton training increased the gray matter volume in the brain regions related to visual motion perception processing and increased the myelin sheath thickness of the fibers associated with motor learning. These results imply that in early adulthood, the gray matter and white matter of the brain might have plasticity to some extent.
Self-face recognition of patients with schizophrenia has always been a controversial topic. Different opinions exist about whether patients with schizophrenia have the ability of self-face recognition. One theory holds that the ability to recognize one’s own face is impaired in patients with schizophrenia, whereas others assert that the ability to process one’s face is intact. The most recent studies on self-face recognition in patients with schizophrenia are only based on visual self-face recognition. Therefore, in addition to using self-face recognition of a single modality, the audiovisual integration task may become a new way to explore schizophrenics’ self-face recognition.
In the present study, 34 patients with schizophrenia and 26 participants without schizophrenia were assigned to complete a dynamic single-modality self-face recognition task, self-voice recognition task, and audiovisual integration task. Experiment 1 was a 2 (participant type: schizophrenic, participants without schizophrenia) × 3 (face type: self, same gender, opposite gender) within-groups design. Experiment 2 was a 2 (participant type: schizophrenic, participants without schizophrenia) × 3 (voice type: self, same gender, opposite gender) within-groups design. Experiment 3 was a 2 (participant type: schizophrenic, participants without schizophrenia) × 3 (face type: self, same gender, opposite gender) × 3 (voice type: self, same gender, opposite gender) within-groups design, which aimed to explore the influence of participants’ self-face recognition on voice recognition in the audiovisual integration task.
Results showed that: 1) There was no significant difference in self-face recognition between patients with schizophrenia and participants without schizophrenia, and patients with schizophrenia could recognize their faces; 2) In self-voice recognition, there was no significant difference between patients with schizophrenia and participants without schizophrenia, and the ability of self-voice recognition in patients with schizophrenia was better than the voice recognition of others; 3) In the audiovisual integration task, voice recognition in patients with schizophrenia could be influenced by faces. There was no significant difference between patients with schizophrenia and participants without schizophrenia in the ability to recognize their own voices and self-face recognition. However, the ability of patients with schizophrenia to recognize voices of the same gender and opposite gender was not as good as that of participants without schizophrenia. Faces of the same and opposite gender could influence self-voice recognition.
It was found that patients with schizophrenia have the ability of self-face recognition and self-voice recognition. In the audiovisual integration task, faces could affect voice recognition, and self-face recognition could promote self-voice recognition but inhibit the recognition of other voices, including the same and opposite gender’s voices. Thus, using the approach of the audiovisual integration, it could be proved that the ability of self-voice recognition of patients with schizophrenia is intact.
Leary’s circumplex model of interpersonal behavior categorizes the manifestation of personality in interpersonal interactions into two dimensions: affiliation (i.e., hostile-friendly) and control (i.e., dominant-submissive). Interpersonal complementarity refers to mutually adjusted and complementary behaviors along the affiliation and control dimensions during dyadic interactions, such that greater dominance in one partner invites greater submissiveness in the other (i.e., reciprocity) and greater friendliness invites greater friendliness (i.e., correspondence). The first aim of the study was to develop an assessment manual to reliably measure interpersonal complementarity using the computer joystick method. Using this innovative measurement method, the study tested the high-low-high pattern of interpersonal complementarity in early, middle and late stages of therapy sessions, and examined the relationships between interpersonal complementarity and therapists’ experience, working alliance, session depth and therapeutic outcomes.
Segments of early (first session), middle (sessions between first and last sessions), and late (last session) stages of session videos were selected from the “Directiveness Research” database from a university counseling center in central region of China. 48 selected segments were from 16 clients (5 male and 11 female) working with 13 therapists (3 male and 10 female) for 4 to 8 sessions (M = 5.8). Using the Interpersonal Complementarity Evaluation Manual of Counseling, two well-trained raters performed joystick assessments of interpersonal complementarity. In addition, therapists and clients filled out WAI-SR and SEQ after each session, and clients filled out OQ-45 at the start of treatment and one week after termination.
The results showed that: (1) Therapists’ experience and counseling stage had an interactive effect on interpersonal complementarity. Specifically, experienced therapists (more than 3 years of experience) showed higher correspondence of affiliation in the early stage than that in the middle and late stages, and higher complementarity of dominance in the late stage than that in the early and middle stages. In contrast, novice therapists (less than 3 years of experience) showed no significant change in interpersonal complementarity over the three stages; (2) In the middle stage, the affiliation correspondence negatively predicted working alliance and interpersonal complementarity negatively predicted session depth; (3) The cases with a high-low-high pattern of affiliation correspondence tended to have better therapeutic outcomes.
Results provided partial support for the three-stage high-low-high model of interpersonal complementarity in psychotherapy. Findings help shed light on the underlying mechanism of the three-stage model of interpersonal complementarity, because lower interpersonal complementarity uniquely predicted greater working alliance and session depth in the middle stage of therapy.
As a Chinese popular saying goes, “Money turns a good man into a bad man”. Is this saying reflecting the truth or not? This research would discuss this phenomenon from the evolutionary perspective.
“Good Resource” has been regarded as one of the most important aspects that males self-evaluate in the mating process. However, little has been known regarding whether and why male mating strategy would vary under different levels of resource availability. According to Life History Theory, the development of humans’ sexual strategy is based on childhood experiences, which would be influenced by current environmental conditions as well. According to previous research, two studies explored how resource-acquiring cues and childhood experiences (including childhood economic condition and parent-child relationship) would influence unmarried males’ unrestricted sociosexual attitudes.
Study 1 adopted the imaginary method, recruited 62 college students (M = 19.53 years, SD = 2.78) in a psychology class at Fudan University. Participants were randomly divided into two groups and filled their demographic information including childhood economic background and parent-child relationships, followed by the task of writing an article. The article was based on the imagination of living either a wealthy life or an underprivileged life. Participants completed the questionnaire adapted from the SOI-STMO (Sociosexual Orientation Inventory - Short-term Mating Orientation Scale; Jackson & Kirkpatrick, 2007) after writing the article. The results showed that parent-child relationship during early childhood was a moderator in the association between the quality of resource and their sexual attitudes. However, the moderating effect of childhood economic background was not found to be statistically significant.
Study 2 utilized Experiences in Close Relationships-Relationship Structures questionnaire (ECR-RS) to explore the moderating effect of attachment styles on the association between the quality of resource and participants’ sexual attitudes. Participants were randomly divided into two groups and filled out their demographic information including childhood economic background and the ECR-RS. Participants were presented with three pictures that showed either “good” or “bad” resource, wrote an article regarding the experience, and completed the questionnaire adapted from the Brief Sexual Attitudes Scale (Hendrick, Hendrick, & Reich, 2006). Participants’ photos of their own face were integrated in those pictures to increase a sense of authenticity. According to the results, avoidantly-attached behaviors in the early childhood had the most significant moderating effect on the relationship between resource-acquiring capability and participants’ sexual attitudes. To be specific, highly avoidant participants were more likely to have more open sexual attitudes if they had “good resource.” Those on the lower end of avoidance tended to show a significant lower level of unrestricted sexual attitudes under the situation of “good resource” (vs “bad resource”).
Given these two studies, the previous statement of “Money turns a good man into a bad man” seemed to be true only for those who showed an avoidant attachment style to their parents at the young age. The current study aimed to enrich the Life History Theory literature and provide useful implication and direction for future studies.
As the world population continues to grow, social crowding has become a ubiquitous and pervasive phenomenon in daily life. A growing body of research has mainly investigated the negative consequences of social crowding on individual cognition and behavior. However, little research attention has been given to its potential positive outcomes. This research documents that to cope with social crowding, individuals are motivated to choose self-improvement products. Our findings suggest this effect is mediated by the need for self-improvement and moderated by perceived social equity and employment rate.
Four studies were conducted to test the proposed hypotheses. Experiment 1 established the main effect of social crowding on individual preference for self-improvement products using a 2 (social crowding: crowded vs. uncrowded) between-subject design. In Experiment 2, we collected data from subways and compared the choice for self-improvement products during rush hours (crowded condition) and non-rush hours (uncrowded condition). Experiment 3 aimed to rule out perceived busyness as an alternative explanation. Experiment 4 further employed secondary cross-sectional data from the 2015 Chinese General Social Survey (N = 10, 229) to examine the moderating effects of perceived social equity and employment rate. The self-improvement index was abstracted from answers to the question “During the past year, how often did you learn to recharge in your spare time?” Perceived social equity was measured by answering “To what extent do you think society is fair?” We then calculated provincial population density and employment rate.
Experiment 1 documented the effect of social crowding on self-improvement products in a laboratory setting. We found that social crowding strengthened participants’ preference for self-improvement products, but it did not significantly change their liking toward general products. The results of Experiment 2 replicated the effect, that is, participants mainly preferred self-improvement products when feeling crowded (Mcrowded = 3.77, SD = 1.65 vs. Muncrowded = 5.07, SD = 1.48), F(1, 58) = 10.27, p = 0.002, Cohen’s d = -4.53. This effect was mediated by the need for self-improvement (95% CI = 0.0108 to 0.6388). Experiment 3 ruled out the mediating role of perceived busyness (95% CI = -1.2613 to 0.4922). In Study 4, linear least squares (OLS) confirmed the effect of population density on the frequency of residents’ learning to improve themselves. We further examined the moderating role of perceived social equity and employment rate. Perceived social equity moderated this effect, that is, when people perceived social equity as high, the influence of crowdedness on self-improvement behavior was intensified. However, this effect was attenuated when social equity was deemed low. In addition, high density strengthened the self-improvement behavior of participants from regions with low employment rates. However, this effect was attenuated for those from regions with high employment rates.
In summary, this research provides an initial investigation into the influence of social crowding on the preference for self-improvement products and its underlying process. This research contributes to the existing literature by identifying the positive behavioral consequence of social crowding.
Extant literature has long documented the important role of employee voice behavior with such literature pointing to leadership as a vital antecedent to employee voice behavior. However, one relatively unexplored area in this stream or research is the understanding of, how leader’s voice endorsement affects employees’ voice behavior. Prior studies have investigated the relationship between leader’s behavior and employee voice through a motivational theoretical perspective or a cognitive theoretical perspective. First, the voice literature has drawn on social exchange theory, conservation of resources theory and expectancy theory to explain how employee voice can be triggered through leader behavior that enhances employee motivation to voice. Second, the literature has also drawn on implicit voice theory, information processing theory, and social cognition theory to understand how the leader influences employee voice through a cognitive lens. However, this results in a fragmented literature with the need for an overarching theory that links these perspectives. Therefore, we provide an integrated framework through the self-organizing goal system theory of human psychology. In doing so, we develop a goal self-organization framework of employee voice behavior which integrates the cognitive and motivational approaches to voice. Based on this framework, how employees self-organize their goal system can function as the core mechanism that influences employee’s voice. Further, we explain how leader’s voice endorsement can promote employee voice using this framework.
Empirically, we tested the hypotheses that both employee’s work meaningfulness and voice efficacy mediate the positive relationship between leader’s voice endorsement and employee’s promotive voice and prohibitive voice. A two-wave survey was conducted in an internet-based financial company operating in Tianjin and Zhejiang. We used existing, validated measures with Chinese questionnaires as well as the standard translation and back-translation procedures to assure item wording validity. Separated surveys were distributed to the focal employees and their immediate supervisors at two different time points. At time 1, supervisors reported their voice endorsement behaviors towards particular subordinate. Two weeks later, focal employees reported their work meaningfulness, voice efficacy, and voice behavior. A sample of 73 supervisors and 236 subordinates’ valid responses was collected. We assessed the discriminant validity with confirmatory factor analysis and tested our hypotheses using Mplus and bootstrap analysis.
Results of the confirmatory factor analysis showed good discriminant validity for the key variables, as well as a good fit between the hypothesized model and the data. In support of our hypotheses, the results revealed a significant positive relationship between leader’s voice endorsement and employee voice behavior (including promotive voice and prohibitive voice). Additionally, for both types of employee voice behavior, the aforementioned relationship was mediated by employee’s work meaningfulness and voice efficacy, indicating that there are dual psychological mechanisms: specifically, both motivational and cognitive, processes. Our results indicated that employee’s work meaningfulness and voice efficacy fully mediated the relationship between leader’s voice endorsement and both types of employee voice behavior.
To sum up, this study contributes to theory by providing a goal self-organization framework to integrate the fragmented literature on voice from both a motivational and cognitive perspective. Drawing on the theory of human psychology, we integrate the cognitive and motivational perspective by introducing psychological goal system. Furthermore, our study extends the voice literature by showing how leader’s voice endorsement promotes employee voice. Based on this goal self-organization framework, we show that leader’s voice endorsement promotes the attainment of employee’s psychological goals, which in turn triggers and regulates the dual psychological mechanism, and drives individuals towards the fulfillment of their psychological goals. This framework extends our understanding of the leader endorsement-employee voice relationship and contributes to theoretical integration of the voice literature as well as surfaces implications for practice. The implications, limitations and future directions of the study are discussed.
The essence of public administration is public decision-making. Social license of public decision (SLPD) refers to the extent to which local people accept and support a public decision from government or public authorities. Lack of this license not only hinders the efficiency of government policy, but also affects the decision-making authority and long-term goals of society. Moreover, government transparency is regarded as an important factor to eliminate public decision-making dilemma and enhance administrative legitimacy both in value and democratic practices.
This research explored the causal relationship between transparency of government decision-making (i.e., transparency in process and transparency in rational) and SLPD from the perspective of Behavioral Public Administration (BPA), which is a bridge linking Public Administration and Psychology. In other words, BPA is a new interdisciplinary sub-field of Public Administration from Psychology. The research of BPA mainly focuses on the process between government decision-making and citizen experience. In addition, based on the concept of bounded rationality and heuristic judgment as well as system justification theory, we built and tested the moderating roles of trust in government and outcome dependence between transparency of government decision-making and SLPD in two models. Outcome dependence is the extent to which someone is dependent on a powerful authority (i.e., the representative of a system) when that authority controls valued resources whose social and/or material outcome the person desires.
This research includes three studies, two survey experiments (N = 354 + 354) and one field survey (N = 520). The studies were conducted in China. The results showed that:
First, transparency of governmental decision-making positively influenced SLPD. That is, for both transparency in process and transparency in rationale of government decision-making, the higher the transparency is, the higher the SLPD is.
Second, trust in government moderated the relationship between transparency in rational and SLPD. Specifically, the positive relationship between transparency in rational and SLPD gets weakened when the trust in government is higher.
Third, outcome dependence moderated the relationship between transparency of governmental decision-making and SLPD. Specifically, the positive relationship between two types of transparency and SLPD gets weakened when the outcome dependence is higher.
Therefore, “Transparency effects” of SLPD was proposed through the present research. In addition, “cautious indifference” was used to indicate the moderating role of trust in government, and “selective neglect” was used to indicate the moderating effect of outcome dependence. The theoretical contributions were embodied in three aspects: (1) defining a new concept (i.e., SLPD); (2) introducing a new perspective (i.e., BPA); (3) discovering a new mechanism (i.e., transparency effect and its moderators). Regarding the practical implications, this research could shed light on the transparency practice, and provides empirical evidence to government for further enhancing the legitimacy of public decisions.