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ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B
主办:中国心理学会
   中国科学院心理研究所
出版:科学出版社

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    25 June 2021, Volume 53 Issue 6 Previous Issue    Next Issue

    Reports of Empirical Studies
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    Reports of Empirical Studies
    The influence of feature-based statistical regularity of singletons on the attentional suppression effect
    ZHANG Fan, WANG Aijun, ZHANG Ming
    2021, 53 (6):  555-564.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00555
    Abstract ( 2962 )   HTML ( 459 )  
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    Statistical regularity refers to the regular presentation of stimuli implicit in a task. Previous studies have shown that statistical regularity based on location can affect the judgement of subsequent stimuli presented at that location. The effect of attentional capture would decrease when the distractor frequently appears in a certain location. However, comprehensive studies on whether statistical regularity based on features can modulate attention are lacking. The current study adopted a variant of the additional singleton paradigm to investigate the influence of feature-based statistical regularity of singletons on the attentional suppression effect.

    Experiment 1 was a single-factor within-subject design, and the presentation of a colour singleton was manipulated (colour singleton absent vs. colour singleton present) to investigate the attentional suppression effect. During the task, the participants adopted a feature search strategy to search for a target of a specific shape (diamond or circle) and ignored the salient colour singleton. In half of the trials, all stimuli were the same colour (green or red); in the other half of the trials, one colour singleton was presented among the search sequences. Similar to Experiment 1, Experiment 2 was a single-factor within-subject design, but the statistical regularity of the singleton features was manipulated (colour singleton absent vs. low probability colour singleton present vs. high probability colour singleton present). In one-third of the trials, all stimuli were the same colour (colour singleton absent). In the trials in which a colour singleton was presented, the colour singleton frequently appeared in a specific colour (50%, called high probability colour); in the other half of the singleton-present trials, a colour singleton appeared in one of the three colours randomly (called low probability colour). The participants were asked to respond by pressing the keyboard as quickly and accurately as possible in both Experiment 1 and Experiment 2.

    Based on the reaction times, the results showed that (1) in Experiment 1, when the participants were forced to adopt the feature search strategy, they responded significantly faster in the colour singleton-present trials than in the colour singleton-absent trials; (2) in Experiment 2, regardless of whether there was a high or low probability colour condition, the participants responded significantly faster when the colour singleton was present than when it was absent; (3) compared with the low probability colour condition, the high probability colour condition corresponded to significantly faster responses.

    These results suggest that the influence of statistical regularity on attention is not confined to location, and feature-based statistical regularity of singletons can also modulate the attentional suppression effect.

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    Transitional probabilities and expectation for word length impact verbal statistical learning
    YU Wenbo, WANG Lu, QU Xingfang, WANG Tianlin, ZHANG Jingjing, LIANG Dandan
    2021, 53 (6):  565-574.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00565
    Abstract ( 1459 )   HTML ( 223 )  
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    Statistical Learning (SL) has long been established as a powerful mechanism in language learning and development. Within this framework, transitional probability (TP) of various levels have been shown to confer differing task performance for adults. Recent studies have also highlighted the role of linguistic experience in the process of SL. However, it remains unclear whether different word lengths as well as varying levels of TPs may impact the segmentation of continuous speech.

    In the low TP condition, the superior outcome of disyllabic contrasts might stem from the Mandarin speakers' prior linguistic experience—their expectation that words should be of two syllables. For the trisyllabic contrasts, lower TPs may provide relatively weakened statistical regularities for tracking word boundaries, which may in turn lead to difficulty extracting words. Importantly, our findings show that when both factors present difficulties (e.g., trisyllabic contrasts in the low TP condition), such that the word length violates the listeners' expectation and the TPs do not provide high levels of consistency, word segmentation can no longer be supported. The current study showed for the first time that when combining TP and word length in the speech material, these two factors impact word segmentation in a complex manner. This study offers new insight for future SL designs as well as potentially informative directions in exploring how individual differences based on linguistic backgrounds may manifest itself in word segmentation tasks.

    Sixty native Mandarin monolinguals participated in a word segmentation task. An artificial language was designed with the same flat tone paired with 13 syllables, resulting in two disyllabic and three trisyllabic monotonic words. While only the segmental tier offered reliable information to segmentation, information from the suprasegmental level ensured that each word was phonologically legal in Mandarin. The words were then combined into two conditions of a monotonic artificial language: for the hTP language, all TPs within words were 1.0; whereas they were 0.6 in the lTP condition. Two types of nonwords (trisyllabic and disyllabic) were created for the test phase, then paired with target words of equal length in each trial. Adults were first exposed to the monotonic artificial language and then tested in a 2 alternative forced-choice task (2AFC) to decide whether a word or a nonword sounded more familiar.

    The mixed two-way ANOVA with word length (disyllables vs. trisyllables) as a within-subject factor and TP (high TP vs. low TP) as a between-subjects factor yielded nonsignificant effects for either word length or TP levels. There was also no significant interaction. A series of one-sample t-tests were conducted between the participants' average accuracy and chance level (.5). Participants preferred words over nonwords in most conditions except for trisyllabic contrasts in the low TP condition. Additional planned contrasts among the conditions revealed that when the TPs were low, participants performed significantly better in the disyllabic condition than in the trisyllabic condition; under the trisyllabic condition, high TP yielded better performance than low TP.

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    The neural mechanism of the aesthetics of dynamic animal-stick figures
    ZHAO Xueru, LI Ting, LI Jinhui, HE Xianyou, ZHANG Wei, CHEN Guangyao
    2021, 53 (6):  575-586.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00575
    Abstract ( 1538 )   HTML ( 205 )  
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    “The love of beauty is an essential part of all healthy human nature.” Aesthetic need is a high-level spiritual pursuit of human beings. In recent years, researchers have gradually paid more and more attention to the importance of beauty. Although researchers have carried out many aesthetic studies, most have focused on the study of static stimuli and not dynamic stimuli such as flying birds or fast trotting horses. Thus, research in cognitive experimental aesthetics and cognitive neuroaesthetics has not addressed the following questions: Which areas of the brain are activated when we appreciate dynamic animals? What are the differences between the brain regions activated by dynamic animals versus static animals? Does dynamic property of the animal affect aesthetic judgment?

    In summary, the present study indicated that the dynamic property of animal-stick figures affected aesthetic judgment and dynamic animal-stick figures were more beautiful than static ones.

    We used behavioral research approaches and neurocognitive techniques (functional magnetic resonance image, fMRI) to gather converging evidence that addressed the above questions. In order to avoid the influence of irrelevant factors, we used stick figures as the experimental material. In Experiment 1 we explored if the dynamic property animal-stick figures affects aesthetic judgment. 20 college students participated in the formal experiment and 20 additional college students rated experimental materials. Participants were asked to evaluate the beauty and liking of dynamic animal-stick figures and static animal-stick figures. E-prime 2.0 was used to present stimuli and to collect the behavioral data. Results showed that dynamic animal-stick figures had higher aesthetic scores and liking scores than static animal-stick figures. Animal-stick figures were rated as more beautiful.

    In Experiment 2 we explored neural mechanisms that underlie aesthetic judgment of dynamic animal-stick figures and compared the neural mechanisms between the aesthetic judgments of dynamic animal-stick figures and static ones. 20 participants who did not participate in Experiment 1 were scanned while they performed aesthetic judgments on dynamic animal-stick figures and matched static animal-stick figures.

    Results revealed that regions of occipital lobe, frontal lobe, hippocampus, cingulate cortex, insula, orbital frontal cortex (OFC) and amygdala were commonly activated in the aesthetic judgments of both dynamic and static animal-stick figures. The neural networks involved in aesthetic judgments of dynamic animal-stick figures overlapped with those involved in aesthetic judgments of static animal-stick figures. Furthermore, compared to static animal-stick figures, stronger activations of lingual gyrus and middle temporal gyrus (MT/V5) were found in the aesthetic judgments of dynamic animal-stick figures. However, compared to dynamic animal-stick figures, no significant activations were found in beautiful judgments of static animal-stick figures.

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    Effects of prediction error and acute stress on retrieval-extinction of fear memories of different strengths
    LI Junjiao, CHEN Wei, HU Yanjian, CAOYANG Jingwen, ZHENG Xifu
    2021, 53 (6):  587-602.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00587
    Abstract ( 1410 )   HTML ( 170 )  
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    Under the framework of Reconsolidation Interference of conditioned fear memory, Prediction Error (PE) has been demonstrated as a necessary condition of memory destabilization. However, the role of PE in destabilizing fear memories of different strengths is unclear. The degree of PE that is needed to effectively reactivate fear memories may be dependent on the strength of memory. It is unknown whether the PE used to reactivate weak memories is also effective in destabilizing stronger memories. Memory strength was proved to be an important boundary condition of memory reconsolidation; however, explorations of solutions to overcome the boundary are rare. Among factors that are possible to help to overcome the boundary condition, the effects of stress hormones are worth exploring. However, the manipulation of memory strength in human laboratory studies has not been well developed. Thus, the present study has three main aims: (1) to test the effect of fear memory strength in a human laboratory setting based on previous results in animal studies; (2) to examine the effect of PE during reactivation on destabilizing different strength memories and (3) to test the possible influence of post-reactivation exogenous stress to the retrieval-extinction of fear memories.

    These results indicate that PE used to destabilize weak memories is insufficient to destabilize strong memories; and that post-reactivation acute stress cannot nullify this deficit which is due to boundary conditions (e.g., strength). We discuss possible interpretations of these results and the implications for the translation of retrieval-extinction to clinical practice.

    The three days retrieval-extinction paradigm was adopted in the present study. We manipulated memory strength through two kinds of acquisition procedures on the first day, which varied the predictability of the unconditioned stimulus (US) occurrence after the conditioned stimulus (CS). Twenty-four hours later, a reminder containing a single PE was used to reactivate memories, which was followed by a stress task (Social Evaluate Cold Pressor test, SECPT) or not before extinction. After 24 hours, a test of spontaneous recovery and reinstatement was utilized to measure the return of fear in each condition. All participants were divided into three conditions: CS-Predictable US_no Stress Group, CS-Unpredictable US_no Stress Group and the CS-Unpredictable US_Stress Group. Skin conductance response (SCR) and fear-potentiated startle response (FPS) were used as measurements of conditioned fear.

    The results showed that there was a relatively stronger increase in fear response (SCR) from Day 1 to Day 2 in the CS-Unpredictable US condition than the CS-Predictable US condition, which may suggest a difference in memory strength between conditions. And for the weak fear memory (CS-predictable US), the reactivation that involved a single PE and was followed by extinction training prevented the spontaneous recovery, especially on the SCR measurement. On the other hand, in the enhanced memory condition (CS-unpredictable US), the extinguished memory returned in the memory test on the third day, which suggests a failure of memory destabilization. Furthermore, when the post-reactivation acute stress task was adopted in the enhanced memory condition, the return of fear further increased, compared with the no stress manipulation conditions.

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    Propranolol rescued secondary trauma induced by immediate extinction
    WANG Hongbo, XING Xiaoli, WANG Huiying
    2021, 53 (6):  603-612.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00603
    Abstract ( 742 )   HTML ( 63 )  
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    One hallmark of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) involves impairments in the ability to extinguish conditioned fear memory. Accumulating evidence suggests that extinction training that occurs shortly after fear conditioning is less effective than delayed extinction training in yielding long-term extinction memory, a phenomenon that is referred to as immediate extinction deficit (IED). However, unknown is whether the IED is just an aberration or continues to affect re-extinction.

    This study revealed that the early extinction intervention after severe trauma may not only fail to inhibit the fear response but also act as a secondary trauma which can continually damage the ability to extinguish fear memory. Propranolol may be a good candidate to repair such damage. Our findings improve our understanding of the pathogenesis of PTSD and outcomes of an early intervention and may be helpful for selecting appropriate and effective interventions after trauma exposure and avoid secondary trauma that is caused by the intervention itself.

    In Experiment 1, 32 Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into four groups (Immediate-Extinction, Immediate-No Extinction, Delayed-Extinction, Delayed-No Extinction) and underwent a standard fear conditioning procedure in which they received five tone-footshock trials in chamber A. After either 1 h (immediate) or 24 h (delayed), half of the animals underwent 30 extinction trials (1st extinction session) in chamber B where the tone was presented alone. The other half remained in chamber B without any tone or footshock (these animals served as a no-extinction control group). Twenty-four hours later, these rats underwent the 2nd extinction session (re- extinction) in chamber B. Twenty-four hours after the 2nd extinction session, the rats were once again returned to chamber B and tested for their fear response to four continuous tones. The fear response was assessed by freezing behavior, and the effect of the 1st extinction session was assessed by the average freezing response across the first four trials of the 2nd extinction session. Compared with rats in the delayed extinction group, recently conditioned rats exhibited significantly higher levels of fear in the 2nd extinction session, although an equivalent decline in freezing was observed in both groups across the 1st extinction session, suggesting that immediate extinction failed to maintain fear suppression the next day. Furthermore, after undergoing two extinction training sessions, rats in the immediate extinction group exhibited no significant reduction of freezing compared with the non-extinguished control during the retention test, suggesting that the deficit reappeared during re-extinction.

    The aim of Experiment 2 was to investigate whether the deficit that was induced by immediate extinction could be rescued by the β-adrenergic receptor antagonist propranolol. In Experiment 2, 20 Sprague-Dawley rats underwent the same procedures as the immediate extinction groups in Experiment 1, with the exception that they received saline or propranolol (10 mg/kg, i.p.) within minutes after fear conditioning. We found that one injection of propranolol immediately after fear acquisition rescued the deficit of re-extinction but not immediate extinction.

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    Abnormalities in pain sensitivity among individuals with autism spectrum disorder: Evidence from meta-analysis
    ZHANG Wenyun, LI Xiaoyun, YAO Junjie, YE Qian, PENG Weiwei
    2021, 53 (6):  613-628.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00613
    Abstract ( 1175 )   HTML ( 107 )  
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    Pain is defined as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with, or resembling that associated with, actual or potential tissue damage. Pain is of vital functional significance, as it signals threat and initiates behavioral adaptations to avoid harm so as to protect the body. Previous studies have shown abnormalities in pain sensitivity among individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which have been associated with their clinical core symptoms, including restricted and repetitive behaviors as well as deficits in social behaviors. Evidence from case studies and surveys suggested the hyposensitivity to pain for individuals with ASD. Nevertheless, results from experimental studies that involved the application of noxious stimulations and psychophysical measurements were heterogeneous, e.g., some studies reported hypersensitivity to pain in ASD individuals, others reported their hyposensitivity or even normal sensitivity to pain.

    These results suggest that the abnormalities of pain sensitivity among individuals with ASD were modality-dependent, with the abnormality selectively applicable to pressure pain or medical pain. Future studies should combine behavioral, physiological, and neuroimaging measures to comprehensively investigate the pain sensitivity profiles of individuals with ASD. The potential link between pain sensitivity and clinical core symptoms among individuals with ASD should be characterized. Relevant results would potentially expand our understanding of ASD neurobiological mechanisms and provide the theoretical basis for pain assessment among individuals with ASD.

    In this study, we utilized a meta-analysis approach to systematically review experimental studies that investigated pain sensitivity among individuals with ASD and were published before August 10, 2020. The meta-analysis was performed according to the rigorous PRISMA Protocol. Studies were included in the analysis if they included both clearly diagnosed ASD individuals and healthy controls, reported data relevant to pain sensitivity, including pain threshold, pain tolerance, pain ratings, and pain-evoked physiological responses. Relevant studies were obtained from databases including China National Knowledge Infrastructure, Web of Science, PsycInfo, and PubMed by searching for keywords including pain, nociception, autis*, and Asperger. The meta-analysis was conducted in STATA 12, and the effect sizeHedge's g with ±95% confidence intervals (CIs) was calculated using a random effect statistical model. Further, we assessed possible moderating effects from variables of pain modality, pain site, the age of involved participants, the sample size of the ASD group and sample locations.

    Sixteen experimental studies were included in the meta-analysis, with a total sample size N = 822. Pain threshold was not significantly different between ASD individuals and healthy controls (g = 0.34, 95% CI = [-0.14, 0.82]), and this estimate was moderated by variables of pain modality, the age of involved participants, and the sample size of the ASD group. Specifically, individuals with ASD exhibited lower pain thresholds than those of healthy controls selectively for pressure pain (g = 1.62, 95% CI = [0.46, 2.77]). For the outcome variable of pain evoked physiological response, individuals with ASD showed significantly greater physiological responses to medical procedures than those of healthy controls (g= 2.87, 95% CI = [1.07, 4.67]). Nevertheless, ASD and control groups had comparable pain ratings (g = -0.26, 95% CI = [-0.64, 0.11]).

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    The relationship between dispositional self-construal and empathy for ingroup and outgroup members' pain: evidence from ERPs
    CHEN Jie, WU Ke, SHI Yupeng, AI Xiaoqing
    2021, 53 (6):  629-638.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00629
    Abstract ( 937 )   HTML ( 104 )  
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    Empathy to others' pain is key to human social interaction and development. Previous studies suggest that pain empathy is influenced by numerous factors, including different characteristics of the observed target and the observer. Moreover, the relationship between an observer and the target also plays an important role. Self-construal, a personality trait, reflects the extent to which people consider themselves as connected to or separated from others. Recently, researchers have found temporal self-construal priming could modulate empathic neural responses to pain and change racial in-group bias measured in the neural response to pain. Unlike temporary, situational self-construal, the dispositional self-construal is a stable trait, the formation of which is influenced by long-term cultural experience. Previous ERP studies have found dispositional self-construal to modulate self-relevant processing more rapidly than temporal self-construal. Thus, the present study explores whether dispositional self-construal is related to empathic neural responses to others' pain and whether in-group bias mediates such modulation. It has been shown that the temporal processing of empathy for pain consists of an early emotional sharing stage and a late cognitive evaluation stage. Accordingly, we assumed dispositional self-construal would correlate with either automatic emotional sharing or top-down controlled processes of empathy for pain.

    In sum, the present study demonstrated a significant ingroup bias in the early N2 stage, but not in the late P3 stage. Moreover, dispositional self-construal correlated with both ingroup and outgroup empathy for pain, and high interdependence was associated with enhanced P3 response to other's pain regardless of group membership.

    Twenty-seven Chinese participants took part in the present study. Before the formal experiment, participants were informed that the models in the pictures were selected from their fellow-townsman WeChat groups (ingroup) and other WeChat groups (outgroup). Next, we recorded electroencephalography (EEG) while participants took part in a word-priming paradigm, in which a word cue (“ingroup” or “outgroup”) was presented for 500 ms, indicating the identity of the model, followed by a picture of the model's face touched either by painful or non-painful stimulation. Participants were instructed to judge whether the model in the picture was feeling pain by pressing a button using the left or right index fingers. After the EEG recording, participants rated the intensity of pain supposedly felt by the model as well as the degree of unpleasantness they felt when they saw each picture. Participants also completed the 24-item SCS on a seven-point scale to evaluate their interdependence and independence of self-construal.

    The ERP results showed a significant ingroup bias in the early N2 component. Painful stimuli elicited a greater negative shift relative to non-painful stimuli in response to ingroup faces. No such effect was observed on outgroup faces. The N2 component has previously been associated with automatic emotion sharing. A long latency empathic response was also observed at P3 over parietal electrodes. Painful stimuli elicited larger P3 amplitudes than the non-painful stimuli in both ingroup and outgroup face conditions. The P3 component is related to the cognitively controlled process of pain empathy. Importantly, correlation analysis revealed significant relationships between dispositional self-construal score (interdependence minus independence scores) and the amplitude difference (painful minus no-painful stimulus conditions) of P3 in both ingroup and outgroup face conditions. Furthermore, correlation coefficients were similar between ingroup and outgroup face conditions. In addition, we observed a positive relationship between the level of the interdependent self-construal and subjective rating of perceived pain and self-unpleasantness.

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    Processing priority for avatar reference in online games: Evidence from behavioral and ERPs studies
    CAO Min, XIE Heping, SUN Lijun, ZHANG Dongjing, KONG Fanchang, ZHOU Zongkui
    2021, 53 (6):  639-650.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00639
    Abstract ( 1559 )   HTML ( 141 )  
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    As one of the ways to present oneself in virtual environments, avatars in online games exert an important influence on players' cognition and behavior in both virtual and real life. The self-reference effect suggests that materials related to oneself are easier to remember than materials related to others. Due to the manipulability and high emotional involvement of avatars, players may feel close to their avatars and can sometimes even be integrated with them. Therefore, for game players, avatar-related information may have the same processing priority as self-related information. In the current study, we designed two experiments to investigate the processing priority of avatars in online games.

    Experiment 1 recruited 40 players of League of Legends (LOL) to investigate the processing priority of avatar reference in online games from the perspective of memory. This experiment adopted the R/K paradigm to compare memory performance under three different reference conditions (avatar-name, self-name and familiar other's name). Experiment 2 recruited 20 players of LOL to investigate the processing priority of avatar-related information in online games from the perspective of neural mechanisms, with event related potential (ERP) technology. This experiment adopted the oddball paradigm to compare the brain mechanisms of three kinds of stimulations (the names of familiar avatar, familiar other from the same country and familiar other from other country).

    Results of behavioral experiment (Experiment 1) showed that: (1) The total recognition rate, R response recognition rate, and discrimination d′ in the avatar-reference condition were much better than those in the other-reference condition, which preliminarily suggests that there were memory processing priorities of avatar reference in online games. (2) When referring to self-reference, the total recognition rate, response recognition rate, and discriminationd′ were much better than those in the conditions of the avatar-reference and other-reference. In summary, the preliminary results of Experiment 1 confirmed the superiority of avatar reference in memory performance, but the avatar-reference effect was not as strong as the self-reference effect. Results of ERP (Experiment 2) showed that in the P2 (160~260 ms) processing stage, greater amplitude was induced when processing the name of the avatar than that of familiar others from a different country. In terms of P3 (370~600 ms), greater amplitude was induced when processing the name of the avatar than the names of familiar others from the same country and other country. Moreover, compared with processing the names of familiar others from other countries, the latency was shorter when processing the avatar's name.

    Both behavioral and ERPs results indicate that there exists processing priority of avatar-reference effect in both memory and neural mechanisms. Specifically, compared with familiar others, online game players have processing priority for information related to avatars. The present study expands the theory of reference effect and provides evidence for the processing priority of the avatar-reference in online games from cognitive neuroscience.

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    Influence of an individual's own gains and losses on the evaluation of friends' gambling results: Evidence from ERPs
    YUE Tong, HUANG Xiting, YUE Caizhen, XUE Liming, FU Anguo
    2021, 53 (6):  651-666.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00651
    Abstract ( 2805 )   HTML ( 194 )  
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    Previous studies have indicated that the alternative evaluation responses to watching the gambling results of one's friends can be affected by self-interest concerns. However, until now, no systematic discussion is available addressing whether one's own different gains and losses will have different effects on the evaluation mode on a friends' gambling results; moreover, it remains unclear how this effect mode is modulated by the mode of an individual's self-construction. Research in this domain is conducive to identifying the dynamic changes of self-other sharing representations in the context of complex interpersonal interactions. Furthermore, this research provides empirical evidence toward understanding people's mentality of social interaction in the context of different cultures. This study presents a step by step discussion of the above problems via classic monetary gambling tasks in three separate experiments using the FRN and P300 as electrophysiological response indexes.

    In summary, this study shows that: (1) the evaluation model for one's friends' gains and losses differs depending on the own experienced gains and losses. Under favorable conditions, an individual is more inclined to show indifference to his friends' gains and losses, which may be because the individual employs stronger egocentric tendency in such a case. (2) The independent self-construction initiation group shows more indifference and competition when observing the gains and losses of a friend than in case of the interdependent self-construction initiation group.

    This pilot study mainly investigated the evaluation model for a friends' gambling results without involving one's own gains and losses. This aimed to verify previous research results and provided a baseline level for investigating the responses to the evaluation of a friends' gambling results. A total of 17 subjects and their same-sex friends participated in this pilot study. When an individual only observed but did not participate in gambling in person, such observing of a friends' gambling results can generate an electrophysiological response mode similar to own gains and losses. Many researchers suggested that such “mirror image” processing represented evidence for sharing presentations between an individual and his friends, i.e., the part that involves friends in people's self-concept.

    Experiment 1 explored the neural electrophysiological responses that occur in the two parties when one observes the gains and losses of a friend after he himself has had the experience of losing and winning money in gambling. A total of 38 subjects and their same-sex friends were recruited to participate in a number of monetary gambling tasks. The results showed that the model for one's evaluation of the gains and losses of a friend could indeed be influenced by his own gains and losses. When one benefitted from gambling, the FRN and P300 discrepancies resulting from seeing the gains and losses of a friends were no longer significant. However, when one suffered monetary losses from gambling, although the discrepancy in FRN regarding seeing friends' gains and losses remained significant, friends' gains no longer elicited a higher amplitude of P300 than their losses.

    Experiment 2 further addressed the previous situational self-reconstruction initiation pattern and investigated whether the neural response modes for the influence of one's own gains and losses on the evaluation of friends' gains and losses would differ under different modes of self-construction. The results indicated that in the interdependent self-construction initiation group, the electrophysiological response mode that results from watching friends' gambling was consistent with the result obtained in Experiment 1. However, after initiation of the independent self-construction of the subjects, the evaluation mode of the gambling results of a friend differed from that of the interdependent self-construction initiation group. In terms of the FRN index, regardless of one's own gains and losses, the differences in FRN for friends' gains and losses were no longer significant. In terms of the P300 index, the P300 discrepancy resulting from watching the gains and losses of a friend after suffering own losses was not significant. However, after having gained benefits, a higher P300 amplitude was induced by watching friends losing money in gambling than when watching them gain money.

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    Outwardly strong but inwardly weak, pretensions to wealth? Exploring the impact of heterogeneous high self-esteem on materialism in a self-threat situation
    YANG Baoyan, CHEN Shasha, SU Shaoqing, CHEN Fangli
    2021, 53 (6):  667-680.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00667
    Abstract ( 2704 )   HTML ( 259 )  
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    Self-esteem, as a core individual variable, has a long-standing inverse relationship with materialism. However, some studies have found that people with high self-esteem have higher materialistic orientation than those with low self-esteem, which contradicts previous research. In this connection, researchers need to rethink the relationship between these two variables. The heterogeneity hypothesis of high self-esteem holds that there are secure high self-esteem and fragile high self-esteem in high self-esteem groups, which may guide our understanding of this contradictory relationship. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore whether materialistic orientation was associated with different sub-types of high self-esteem, that is, that high self-esteem is heterogeneous, and to explore whether the relationship would change under self-threat situations.

    The results of study 1 indicated that the relationship between high fragile self-esteem and materialism was positive, while the relationship between high secure self-esteem and materialism was negative. The materialism of people with high fragile self-esteem was significantly higher than those with high secure self-esteem. The results of study 2 suggested that attractiveness threat moderated the relationship between heterogeneous high self-esteem and materialism. Specifically, in the attractive threat scenarios, materialism of secure high self-esteem was low, while materialism of fragile high self-esteem was high. In the non-attractive threat situation, the difference in materialism measures between them was insignificant. This finding was further replicated in study 3 where intellectual threat moderated the relationship between heterogeneous high self-esteem and implicit materialism. Notably, in the context of an intellectual threat, implicit materialism of the secure high self-esteem group was low, while implicit materialism of the fragile high self-esteem group was high. In the non-intellectual threat situation, the difference in implicit materialism scores was not significant.

    Therefore, from the perspective of heterogeneous high self-esteem, this study essentially proved the low materialism level of those with secure high self-esteem and high materialism level of those with fragile high self-esteem. It signifies that the two conclusions of previous studies are reasonable. If there exists a greater number of secure high self-esteem individuals among a population of high self-esteem persons, the relationship between high self-esteem and materialism is negative. On the contrary, if there is a greater number of fragile high self-esteem individuals, the relationship is positive, thereby solving the puzzle of the contradictory relationship between high self-esteem and materialism. Furthermore, this study can urge educators to pay more attention to the cultivation of children's secure high self-esteem rather than unquestioningly cultivating high self-esteem.

    To delve deeper into the impact of high self-esteem on materialism orientation, three studies were conducted. In study 1, 420 college students from 4 universities were surveyed by questionnaire to explore the correlation between heterogeneous high self-esteem and materialism. Study 2 was aimed to verify the causal relationship, and used attractiveness threat to self-esteem to investigate whether the attractiveness threat played a moderating role in the relationship between different types of high self-esteem and materialism where participants with fragile high self-esteem and secure high self-esteem were randomly assigned either to the attractiveness threat group or the control group. They were asked to compare their own attractiveness to the most and the least attractive images of the same sex selected from pre-test, respectively. Study 3 used intellectual threat as a form of self-threat priming and measured materialism at the implicit level where heterogeneous high self-esteem participants were randomly assigned to the intellectual threat group or the control group. The former completed 13 difficult questions from Raven's Progressive Matrices and received negative feedback, while the latter completed 13 simple questions from Raven's Progressive Matrices and received positive feedback.

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