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  • Table of Content
       , Volume 45 Issue 3 Previous Issue    Next Issue
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    Effects of Relevance and Congruity on Survival Advantage of Memory
    MAO Weibin;YU Rui;LI Chun
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2013, 45 (3): 253-262 .   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2013.00253
    Abstract   PDF (315KB) ( 1885 )
    Lots of research found that survival processing led to superior retention of the words relative to other semantic encoding tasks, which was termed survival advantage of memory. Nairne and Pandeirada (2011) claimed that survival processing may be a special and powerful memory encoding procedure; but Butler, Kang, & Roediger (2009) argued that Congruity effects between materials and processing tasks in the survival processing paradigm are critical cause of survival advantage of memory. In the present study, 2 experiments were conducted to investigate: 1) whether congruity will contribute to survival advantage of memory, namely whether people remember items better if those items are congruent with a survival scenario; 2) whether relevance of words to survival was the other cause of survival advantage of memory, namely whether higher relevance of words to survival will result in more superior memory performance. We preselected 45 words related to survival (15 high-related, 15 mid- related and 15 low-related words to survival scenario) and 24 words related to robbery (8 high-related, 8 mid-related, 8 low-related words to robbery scenario) by asking 80 participants to rate the words according to their relevance to survival scenario or to robbery scenario respectively. In experiment 1, 96 participants were asked to study 45 words in survival processing, pleasantness rating, and intentional memory procedures respectively, the results showed a significant survival advantage exists. In experiment 2a, we manipulated congruence between words and processing condition. 60 participants were asked to study 24 words related to robbery (preselected according to their relevance to robbery scenario) and 24 words related to survival (selected from experiment 1) in survival processing and robbery processing respectively; in experiment 2b, the other 60 participants were asked to study the same words as in experiment 2a under 2 unrelated processing conditions, such as pleasantness rating and intentional memory procedures respectively. The results of 2 experiments showed that: 1) congruence between words and processing condition enhanced memory performance, but not explained the whole survival advantage of memory; 2) high relevance to survival scenario of words per se did not result in survival advantage of memory, which may be affected by words frequency of study items preselected according to their relevance to survival, it deserves more further investigation. In a word, our results suggest survival advantage of memory is caused by survival processing, namely survival processing may be a special and powerful memory encoding procedure, which is consistent with the explanation of Nairne and Pandeirada (2011).
    The Modulation of Auditory-visual Deviant Distraction by Working Memory Load: Evidence from Periphery Visual Cue with Different Validity
    LI Biqin;PARMENTIER Fabrice B. R.;WANG Aijun;HU Yanmei;ZHANG Ming
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2013, 45 (3): 263-275.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2013.00263
    Abstract   PDF (556KB) ( 1378 )
    The present study addressed the controversy around the effect of a working memory load and cognitive distraction, and more specifically the finding in past work that this load sometimes increases distraction, sometimes reduces it. SanMiguel et al. (2010) found that the effect of unexpected novel sounds on performance in a visual working memory task reduced when the task placed significant demands on executive processing by imposing a memory load approaching capacity limits. This load reduced the involuntary orienting of attention toward the sounds and, in turn, their impact (facilitation or distraction) on behavioral performance. In contrast, Lavie (2005) argues that a working memory load increases distraction because load competes for resources with executive control mechanism that attempt to inhibit prepotent responses towards distractors and help limit distraction. We argue that there are two important factors that might influence the deviance distraction: whether distractors are inhibited because they provide no relevant information for the task (e.g., when cueing targets with 50% validity), and whether a load depletes resources otherwise needed for this inhibition. We predicted deviance distraction when attentional resources are directed toward the distractors because they are informative and when a load monopolizes resources otherwise used to inhibit uninformative distractors. In our experiments, participants performed a two-alternative categorization task in which they indicated whether a target stimulus appeared above or below the vertical centre of a computer screen. These targets were preceded by a location cue and, shortly after, a bilateral auditory distractor (standard sound on most trials, deviant sound on the others). Across experiments we manipulated the degree of validity of the location cue (50% or 80%) and whether participants performed the task with a load (1-back task) or without. The location cue was uninformative (50% valid) in Experiments 1 and 2, and informative (80% valid) in Experiments 3 and 4. A load was introduced in Experiments 2 and 4 by use of a 1-back task in which participants responded to the previous trial instead of the current one. The results from Experiment 1 revealed no deviance distraction but longer response times for valid trials, suggesting the inhibition of the distractors. Remarkably, the introduction of a load in Experiment 2 led to observation of deviance distraction, suggesting that the load used resources no longer available for the executive control mechanisms inhibiting responses towards the distractors. In Experiment 3, where location cues were 80% valid, deviance distraction was observed in the absence of a load. Interestingly, it remained so in the presence of a load (Experiment 4). Our results demonstrate that with peripheral visual cues can mediate the extent to which auditory distractors are processed. Distraction seems to appear when attentional resources are available to be directed toward deviant sounds.
    Common Representations between Working Memory and Long-term Memory: Evidence from Event-Related Potentials
    LIU Zhaomin;GUO Chunyan
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2013, 45 (3): 276-284.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2013.00276
    Abstract   PDF (439KB) ( 1852 )
    Human memory can be characterized as an elaborate network of stored representations. Researchers propose that both working memory (WM) and long-term memory (LTM) utilize same representations, and the representations they activate are in diverse patterns. So the similarity and coherence between WM and LTM are emphasized in the activation-based model, and the priming effect of LTM on WM and vice versa should be both found. By simultaneously recording event-related potentials (ERPs), the present study aimed to investigate two long-term semantic priming effects to illustrate the common representations involved in WM and LTM. Fifteen college students (mean age=20.33±1.91; 7 male) participated in the experiment. The participants were all right-hand, had normal or corrected-to-normal vision and had no neurological or psychological disorders. Each participant signed a consent form prior to experiment and was paid after experiment. We combined a WM component (short-term verbal encoding) and a LTM component (category comparison) into one task, so that WM and LTM processing could be concurrently investigated. LTM priming on WM was manipulated by asking participants to learn before short-term verbal encoding, and the priming effect of WM on related LTM should be found in category comparison. Results revealed two long-term semantic priming effects in behavior data and ERPs. The first effect was found in short-term encoding phase, which was reflected as the priming of LTM on WM. Compared with new targets in WM, the reaction time of studied targets was shorter. They elicitedearlier N2 and P3, and they also decreased N2 amplitude. These may index the so-called neural priming (or repetition suppression) of scalp potentials. However, there was no difference between new and studied distractors in WM. Furthermore, the neural priming of WM on LTM also exhibited in category comparison. Specific contents, which were formerly concerned or ignored in short-term encoding phase, led relevant representations of LTM to diverse activation patterns. N400 elicited by target category (items in which were the same category as the targets in short-term encoding phase)was more positive than that of unprimed category, which also index the neural priming of scalp potentials. But this neural priming was modulated by repetation, that is, when target category was relevant to studied targets rather than new ones, the N400 would be more negative. Results indicate that common representations are used both in WM and in LTM, supporting the activation-based model. Furthermore, these results point to the key role of attention as a modulator in the linkage between WM and LTM.
    The Mechanism of Dissociation in Reward-Based Dual-task Processing: An ERP Study
    TAN Jinfeng;WU Shanshan;WANG Xiaoying;WANG Lijun;ZHAO Yuanfang;CHEN Antao
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2013, 45 (3): 285-297.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2013.00285
    Abstract   PDF (617KB) ( 1252 )
    The process of integrating working memory with attentional resource is referred to as branching. Branching is observed in everyday life, which enables people to hold a primary goal in mind while exploring and processing a secondary goal. The hemispheric effect of branching has been noted in several dual-task studies using high spatial resolution brain imaging techniques (e. g. functional magnetic resonance imaging). However, the brain mechanisms underlying the motivational system’s action on the pursuit of concurrent goals and the associated time course of such an action is less understood. The dissociation mechanism of dual-task processing based on the reward expectation is also not known. The present study attempted to address these issues using high-density event-related potentials (ERPs) and standard tasks. We recorded ERPs in 16 healthy right-handed participants. Each block began with a black fixation cross displayed on a gray background for 1000 ms, followed by a digital item for 500 ms, and a blank interval (ISI) ranged from 1500 to 2000 ms. The test stimuli were digits pseudo-randomly chosen from the series “135791” and successively presented on a black screen within a square frame. Subjects performed backward digit-matching tasks and pressed “F” and “J” buttons for match and non-match responses. They began each block of digits by indicating whether the first digit was “1” and proceeded by indicating whether two successively presented digits were also in immediate succession in the series “135791”. We referred to this task as the primary task. Triangle cues appeared at random times which instructed participants to start a secondary backward digit-matching task by either abandoning the primary task (single-task condition) or delaying its execution (dual-task condition). When the contextual cues disappeared, participants were required to abandon the secondary task, and started the primary task over again (single-task condition) or reverted back to the primary task and finished the execution (dual-task condition). In both conditions, the digits were accompanied by incentive cues indicating a reward associated with the ongoing task. The reward could be small or large and was earned only when the task was performed with no errors. At the end of the block, a visual feedback was presented indicating the monetary reward obtained from this block. One thousand ms after the offset of the feedback, the next block of digits started. Behavioral results confirmed that under both conditions, the primary and secondary rewards drove primary and secondary task performance, respectively. Furthermore, the reaction time in the secondary task was significantly longer in the dual task compared to the single task condition. ERP waveform analysis revealed that the single-task responses elicited a larger amplitude (N2) than did the dual-task responses in 290~330 ms and the dual-task responses elicited a larger amplitude (P3) than did the single-task responses in 350~800 ms. Moreover, we observed that the right hemispheric dominance drove the single-task performance according to the secondary reward during 500~700 ms in the dual-task condition. The right hemispheric dominance encoded the primary task reward driving primary task while the left and right hemispheric dominance jointly encoded the secondary task reward driving secondary task during 500~800ms. The overall findings suggest that the amount of mental resources consumed in the dual-task condition was much more than that in the single-task condition. This study provided electrophysiological evidence of dynamic hemispheric dominance of the primary task reward effect based on the character of primary task in dual-task processing.
    The Interaction of Semantic and Syntactic Information in Chinese–English Bilinguals’ Early Recognition of Polysemous Words
    WANG Yue;ZHANG Jijia
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2013, 45 (3): 298-309.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2013.00298
    Abstract   PDF (505KB) ( 1351 )
    Polysemy is an important linguistic phenomenon, and it appears widely in every language. The main issue of polysemy research includes whether there is semantic ambiguity advantage and its’ influencing factors. Studies of polysemy in bilingual research are few in number and are contradictory about polysemy recognition. This study, based on out-of-context condition, discussed the proficient Chinese-English bilinguals’ recognition process and relative factors using masked priming paradigm. Two experiments were involved: The influence of the dominant and non-dominant translation equivalence, syntactic category information and relatedness of translation equivalence were investigated in Experiment 1 with word decision task and English ambiguous words. The experimental procedure was classical masked priming procedure. Subjects were told to decide whether the word was true or not. All the participants were tested individually on computers. Reaction times for correct responses and error rates were analyzed by subject and item variance. Results showed a significant masked priming effect and semantic relatedness effect in English polysemous word recognition. Furthermore, when words were presented with their dominant translation, the recognition process was faster than when words were presented with their non -dominant translation. Experiment 2 was exactly the same with experiment1, except for the material. The aim of experiment 2 was to discuss how the above-mentioned factors influenced the Chinese ambiguous words. Surprisingly, the results were also similar with experiment1 despite the huge difference between Chinese and English ambiguous words. That is to say, We had observed the effect of dominance of translations and semantic relatedness of multiple translations. Responses were faster when the two translations of a word were related in meaning than when the two translations of a word were unrelated in meaning. It is well known that the distributed conceptual feature model has been proposed for bilingual memory. Our findings could also be explained in the light of this model with activated semantic nods. When it is dominant translation or two translations that are semantically related, it can increase the semantic overlap between target word and its translation equivalence. The difference between this research and previous study was that the syntactic information was activated in early stage of word recognition. We think this is due to the difference of experiments paradigm which reflected different process stage. Based on this research, the authors expand the Distributed Conceptual Feature Model to syntactic level.
    Development of Preschoolers’ Deontic Reasoning in Moral and Conventional Domain
    LIU Guoxiong
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2013, 45 (3): 310-319.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2013.00310
    Abstract   PDF (442KB) ( 1645 )
    Young children’s deontic reasoning has been abundantly addressed by developmental psychologist since Wason Selection Task was simplified to explore the development of children’s reasoning ability. It has been found that children around 2 to 3 years of age can make different judgments toward violations in moral and conventional domains. In the mean while, researches on children’s Theory of Mind development also boomed. These studies, to some extent, all seemed to support the domain specific theory of children’s cognitive development. In a recent research by Liu, Fang, & Keller (2003), children’s deontic reasoning was explored in conditional promises between mom and her child such as, “if you dress yourself everyday this week, mom will take you to the zoo on Sunday”. In their task with vignette, both mom and her child knew about the other’s action before the contract was due. In Keller, Gummerum, Wang, & Lindsey (2004)’s study, however, both sides in the contract had no idea what the other was doing during the contract period. The ignorant deontic reasoning paradigm of Keller et al (2004) was deemed to be simpler in procedure and related to children’s theory of mind development, thus was used in combination with the rule content of morality and social conventions, affirmative or inhibitive, to explore young children’s deontic reasoning and have a tap on the domain specificity of children’s cognitive development. Ninety-six 4-, 5-, and 6-year-olds (48 girls) were randomly selected from an ordinary kindergarten of Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province, who was organized into three age groups: 3-year-olds, Mean age =4.03; 4-year-olds, Mean age =4.93; 5-year-olds, Mean age =5.94. They were tested individually by telling stories accompanied by illustrations. Results show that: 1) Similar developmental trends and role effects were found in preschoolers’ deontic reasoning of both moral rule and conventional rules, that is, most preschoolers can detect the peer (the child protagonist in the story) violation in the contract, and percentages detecting mother’s and bilateral violation increase with age. In particular, some of 4-year-olds detected mom’s violation successfully, and even some of the 5-year-olds detected bilateral violation. 2) Under the paradigm of ignorant deontic reasoning, many 4-year-olds falsely reported that the protagonist violated the contract under the circumstances mother was the true violator, and many 6-year-olds falsely reported that mother violated the contract under the circumstances the protagonist was the true violator. 3) Though preschoolers’ deontic reasoning of moral rules and conventional rules showed similar pattern, significant differences were observed between their reasoning about affirmative social rules and inhibitive social rules. 5- and 6-year-olds’ detection of peer’s violation in inhibitive moral rules is significantly lower (around 56%) than that in affirmative moral rules, whereas 6-year-olds’ detection of mother’s violation in bilateral violating situations in inhibitive moral rules is rather higher. 6-year-olds’ deontic reasoning of conventional rules showed similar differences caused by affirmative or inhibitive rules. These findings excelled some conclusions of previous studies, and indicated both the generality across domains and the specificity within domains in preschoolers’ deontic reasoning of moral and conventional rules.
    Impulsivity in Non-Suicidal Self-Injurious Adolescents in China
    YU Lixia;LING Xiao;JIANG Guangrong
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2013, 45 (3): 320-335.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2013.00320
    Abstract   PDF (735KB) ( 3526 )
    Impulsivity has been proposed as an important risk factor in Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI). Yet, research outcomes on the relationship of impulsivity to NSSI have been mixed. The present study clarifies this relationship using event-related potentials (ERPs), along with self-reports and behavioral measures. Study 1 aimed to detect the prediction of emotion dysregulation and impulsivity to NSSI. 820 local common high school students and 72 counterparts with problematic behaviors were surveyed, and then the relation among NSSI, difficulties of emotion regulation (DER) and impulsivity were investigated by self-report measurements. Regression analysis results indicated that both DER and impulsivity could well predict NSSI, and contribution of impulsivity was much bigger than that of DER. In Study 2, a Go/Nogo paradigm was adopted to test the impulsivity of the injurers using behavioural measures and Nogo-N2 of ERPs. Participants were 12 confirmed self-injurious adolescents and 12 typical school middle students chosen from Study 1. The group differences (injurers vs controls) in behavior (response time and false alarm) and ERPs index (N2 amplitude and latency in successful Nogo trials) were analyzed in detail. Results disclosed that the NSSI group’s probability of false alarm was higher than the control group’s probability of false alarm in both Go and Nogo trials. In ERPs experiment, the NSSI group’s N2 amplitudes were significantly higher than the controls in correct Nogo trials, and NSSI group’s N2 latencies were clearly more delayed than the controls’ in correct Nogo trial. Results from Nogo-N2 amplitudes and latencies combining with the topographic maps showed that impulse processes occurred in prefrontal cortex mainly. According to the results from self-reports, behavioural measures and Nogo-N2 of ERPs, it can be concluded that self-injurious adolescents possessed stronger impulsivity; and they needed much more neural energy to fulfill an impulse inhibition; moreover, they were insensitive to Nogo stimuli. The present study is the first to examin Nogo-N2 in NSSI, and provides further evidence for impaired response inhibition in NSSI.
    Trust: Parents’ Similarity and Parent-Child Transmissibility
    CHI Liping
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2013, 45 (3): 336-344.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2013.00336
    Abstract   PDF (373KB) ( 2718 )
    Previous studies on intergenerational transmission found that parents could transmit some of their characteristics, values and behaviors to their children. Some researchers concluded that the level of parent’ interpersonal trust might correlate to that of their child, that is, there exists intergenerational transmission of interpersonal trust. However, few studies have found evidence for the conclusion or hypothesis. Recently, a study conducted in Germany found that father and mother had the similar level of trust and this positive assortative mating reinforced the impact of parents on children. By now, no empirical research has been done in China to examine the relationship of father’s and mother’s trust level, and intergenerational transmission of trust. Therefore, it is necessary to investigate how parents’ trust correlate to each other and predict their child’s trust. Research in this aspect may shed light on the family origins of people’s interpersonal trust. Based on a Chinese sample of 116 parents-child pairs, the present study aimed to examine whether there was significant similarity of father’s and mother’s interpersonal trust in the same family, and whether parents’ trust could be transmitted to their children or not. The study collected participants’ responses to trust game presented in a questionnaire so as to measure their interpersonal trust. Each child participant was asked to decide how many chocolates would he or she like to send a strange child and to guess how many chocolates would the strange child return to him or her after receiving participant’s chocolates. Each parent participant was also asked the similar questions, except that what being sent and returned were not chocolates but money. Both the numbers of chocolates the child participant sending and estimating to be returned were the indices of interpersonal trust. In the same way, both the amounts of money the parent participant sending and estimating to be returned was used to measure the level of interpersonal trust. The results showed that (1) children and their fathers and mothers exhibited trust to some extent in the investment game. (2) There was a significant positive correlation between the levels of father’s and mother’s interpersonal trust (i.e., a kind of intragenerational similarity), except that the estimated amounts of being returned of boys’ fathers and mothers were not correlated. (3) Gender of the child impacted on the strength of intergenerational transmission. Parents’ trust could not predict daughter’s trust; whereas they did for sons. The transmission patterns of father and mother were different: the relationship of father’s and son’s trust levels fit a positive quadratic model but data of mother’s and son’s trust fit a negative quadratic model. The present study has potentially important implications for understanding the mechanisms of intergenerational transmission of interpersonal trust, and it sheds light on the basic question of where trust comes from.
    Introducing Neutrals: A Reinterpretation of the Endowment Effect
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2013, 45 (3): 345-352.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2013.00345
    Abstract   PDF (296KB) ( 1014 )
    In behavioral economics, the endowment effect refers to the phenomenon that people usually demand higher prices to relinquish an object they own than they would be willing to pay to acquire the object they did not own (Kahneman, Knetsch, & Thaler, 1990). For this phenomenon, dozens of studies have found the significant disparity between willingness to pay (WTA) and willingness to accept compensation (WTA), and this disparity is believed as an important reason to account for this effect. However, the WTA-WTP disparity cannot adequately interpret the endowment effect because sellers or buyers may be irrational traders. Therefore it is necessary to compare the endowment effect with the rational behavior. For this reason, in the present study we introduced the neutrals whose evaluation was regarded as reference price for reinterpreting endowment effect. In addition, one notable weakness of the previous researches in this domain is that the time period of the ownership is ignored. Although endowment effect can come from an instant valuation, the ownership in real life is dynamic and it may change with the time. Thereby, it is necessary to weigh the endowment effect on a dynamic time of change. Considering that, we inspected the changes of the WTA-WTP disparity in two continuous time periods including “past-present” and “present-future”. In this study, we posited that valuation of sellers or buyers was decreased both in the “past-present” and “present-future” time periods, whereas WTA-WTP disparity was unchanged. When the valuation of neutrals as reference price (market price, MP) was introduced, WTA-WTP disparity would be divided into two parts: WTA-MP and MP-WTP. We inferred that MP would decline into a range between WTA and WTP, and the variation tendency of WTA-MP would be different from MP-WTP in a given time period. A total of 674 undergraduates and 35 computer sellers participated in three experiments. In Experiment 1, the participants were randomly assigned to each of 12 scenarios: 3 roles (seller, buyer, and neutral) × 4 time periods from past to present (3 months, 6 months, 12 months, and 24 months). Participants were asked to fill in expected price for a bike after reading a description including its cost price and usage time. In Experiment 2, participants were randomly assigned to each of 8 scenarios: 2 roles (seller and buyer) × 4 time periods from present to future (3 months, 6 months, 12 months, and 24 months). Besides that, 35 computer sellers were specifically assigned to all of 4 time scenarios as the neutrals. They were asked to fill in expected price for a computer after reading a description including its cost price, usage time and configuration. The results revealed that: (1) in all three experiments, selling price was always higher than the buying price, and this gap (WTA-WTP) was even unchanged both in the “past-present” and “present-future” time periods. (2) When valuation of neutrals was introduced as reference price, selling price was closed to reference price in three months, and their gap (WTA-MP) gradually increased following the time prolonging of the ownership. Whereas buying price was closed to reference price in a long time period of two years, and their gap (MP-WTP) gradually decreased following the time prolonging of the ownership. To sum up, the present study showed that endowment effect in trade stably existed even in a long time period. Whereas the introduction of the neutrals, which take the endowment effect into a dynamic time course, could provide a new perspective for the contestable previous viewpoints.
    Risk Preferences in Monetary Auction Tasks: The Roles of Self-esteem Levels and Genders
    ZHONG Yilu;LIU Yongfang
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2013, 45 (3): 353-362.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2013.00353
    Abstract   PDF (541KB) ( 2165 )
    Many studies have examined how high or low self-esteem affects risk preference, but almost none have considered the impact of moderate self-esteem on risk preference. In addition, these studies made few allowances for the effects of the participants’ genders and the competitors’ genders. In this study, two experiments are presented to examine the effects of self-esteem levels, the participants’ genders and the competitors’ genders on risk preference in monetary auction. Experiment 1 explores the effects of an individual’s self-esteem level and genders on risk preference in monetary auction by a “people to people” behavioral experiment. Experiment 2 introduces the genders of the auction opponents as a variable to examine further its effects on risk preference in monetary auction by a “people to machine” behavioral experiment. The results of the two experiments showed that (1) The levels of self-esteem tend to have a significant effect on the risk preference in monetary auctions: participants with moderate self-esteem have the highest risk preference; (2) The main effect of the bidders’ gender and its interaction with levels of self-esteem was not significant;(3) The main effect of the auction opponents’ gender was not significant, but its interaction with levels of self-esteem and the bidders’ gender was significant. These results do not concur with the general findings about the effects of self-esteem levels, the participants’ genders and the competitors’ genders on risk preference on competitive tasks. The complicated relationships among self-esteem levels, the participants’ genders and the competitors’ genders as well as the theoretical and practical implications are discussed based on the relevant findings.
    The Impact of Pay for Performance on Employees’ Creativity: Moderating Effect of Person-job Fit and Mediating Effect of Creative Self-efficacy
    ZHANG Yong;LONG Lirong
    Acta Psychologica Sinica. 2013, 45 (3): 363-376.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2013.00363
    Abstract   PDF (501KB) ( 2799 )
    Over the past three decades, a debate has being burgeoning in academic circles over the effects of extrinsic rewards on the likelihood of generating creativity. The learning theoretical approach has suggested that promised reward may bolster creativity by establishing a contingency between novel behavior and reinforcement. This view has been supported by a variety of studies, in which rewards offered for high performance have indeed increased creativity. However, a competing humanist approach has made the very opposite prediction, asserting that promised reward should undermine creativity by reducing perceived autonomy and thereby undermining the intrinsic motivation posited to drive creativity. It has also been proposed within this camp that promised rewards reduce creativity by drawing attention toward the rewards rather than the creative process. In previous studies, the relationship between pay for performance (PFP) intensity and creativity is inconclusive. In this study, we propose a process model based on social cognitive theory to explain how and when PFP affect individual creativity. Based on the cognitive evaluation theory and the learned industriousness theory, it is hypothesized that there is an inverted U shape relationship between PFP and creativity, and the impact of PFP on creativity is mediated by creative self-efficacy based on the social cognitive theory. Additionally, taking an interactional perspective, it is proposed that the interaction between PFP and person-job fit would be significant such that for those employees rating high on person-job fit, the positive effect of intermediate level of PFP on creativity would be stronger and the negative effect of high level of PFP on creativity would be weaker, and this interaction will also be mediated by employees’ creative self-efficacy. Data were collected from 296 dyads of employees and their immediate supervisors in 44 enterprises. The questionnaire for employee included PFP, creative self-efficacy, and person-job fit. Employees’ creativity and job complexity was rated by their immediate supervisors. Theoretical hypotheses were tested by hierarchal regression analysis. Results of analyzing the matched sample showed that PFP had unique reversed U shape indirect effects on employee creativity via creative self-efficacy. Further, moderated path analysis revealed person-job fit augmented intermediate PFP’s direct positive effect on creative self-efficacy and indirect positive effect on creativity, and attenuated high PFP’s direct negative effect on creative self-efficacy and indirect negative effect on creativity. In contrast to previous studies, the research demonstrated that employees would achieve highest creativity at intermediate level of PFP, this result clarified the relationship between objective incentive intensity and employees’ creativity in workplace. Second, by examining the mediating effect of creative self-efficacy, the results contributed to our understanding on the mechanism through which PFP influence creativity. Finally, through investigating the moderating effect of person-job fit, we confirmed it as an important bounded condition of the effect of PFP on employees’ creativity.
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