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    “Neijuan” in China: The psychological concept and its characteristic dimensions
    ZHANG Wen, PAN Chao, YAO Shiming, ZHU Jiajia, LING Dong, YANG Hanchun, XU Jingsha, MU Yan
    Acta Psychologica Sinica    2024, 56 (1): 107-123.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2024.00107
    Abstract410)   HTML35)    PDF (175KB)(278)      

    With the deepening and spread of reform and opening-up, China has undergone rapid and unprecedented economic growth and societal transformations over the past few decades. Accumulating evidence has revealed the impacts of sociocultural changes on Chinese mental health. Since 2020, a popular buzzword, “Neijuan” (involution), has garnered significant attention and discussion in daily life. Neijuan could be traced back to agricultural involution, which refers to a process of inward over-elaboration in agricultural development. This concept was first identified by the anthropologist Geertz (1963), who observed that population growth failed to enhance productivity growth and economic development.

    Despite Neijuan's growing attention, it is still unclear about the connotation and characteristic dimensions of this social phenomenon. Cultural psychology provides a solid theoretical and empirical basis for exploring how social and cultural changes affect individuals’ psychological states and behaviors. In this context, we propose that Neijuan is a multidimensional psychological concept of great significance in this new era, closely connected to cultural changes in China’s rapid development and growth.

    To explore the psychological concept of Neijuan, Study 1 employed a grounded theory approach through in-depth interviews to clarify the intricate psychological components of Neijuan, including resource scarcity, social norm, psychological pressure, and competition (see Figure 1). At the macro level, limited resources of society and organization would make people conform to the implicit norms and perform irrational behaviors related to Neijuan. At the micro level, people would perceive intrinsic and extrinsic stressors to make them feel stressed and lead to no-benign competitive behaviors.

    Based on the results of Study 1, Studies 2 and 3 developed a measurement tool to validate the multiple characteristic dimensions of Neijuan in Chinese culture, utilizing exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). We first designed the measurement including 68 items to assess individuals’ perception of Neijuan. Based on the classical measurement theory, the discrimination ability of 68 items was analyzed by using the independent sample t test and the correlation test of total scores and each item score as the discrimination index. Through item analysis, we deleted only one item because of no difference between the low- and high-score groups. Then, principal component analysis (PCA) and the Procrustes variance maximum-oblique rotation method were used to analyze the factors of 67 items. The results showed that there are four factors for the feature value greater than 1, the cumulative total variation is 56.62%, and the load value of each item is between 0.45 and 0.88. Further, we explored the rationality of the four-factor model. The results among employees and undergraduates showed that χ2/df was less than 3, SRMR was less than 0.10, TLI and CFI were all more than 0.80, and RMSEA was less than 0.10, which suggested the model fits well. Thus, we supplied the effective 18-item measurement for assessing the individual perception of Neijuan and confirmed that Neijuan comprises four dimensions: resource scarcity, social norm, psychological pressure, and competition. Subsequently, Study 4 used a Neijuan scenario-based task in the university and workplace environments to assess participants’ behavioral tendencies related to Neijuan and examined the relationship between individuals’ perceptions of Neijuan and their actual behaviors. Results revealed that individuals with higher levels of perceived Nejuan exhibited a greater tendency to engage in behaviors associated with Neijuan among employees (r = 0.66, p < 0.001) and undergraduates (r = 0.61, p < 0.001).

    In summary, the series of studies sought to explore the psychological concept and multiple characteristic dimensions of Neijuan, which provides a theoretical and empirical basis for understanding this significant phenomenon in the contemporary era. The current research also offers an effective measurement tool to assess individuals’ perception of Neijuan and enlightens future research on the effect of Neijuan on psychological maladjustment and non-benign competition behaviors related to Neijuan.

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    Associations between empathy and negative affect: Effect of emotion regulation
    GUO Xiao-dong, ZHENG Hong, RUAN Dun, HU Ding-ding, WANG Yi, WANG Yan-yu, Raymond C. K. CHAN
    Acta Psychologica Sinica    2023, 55 (6): 892-904.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.00892
    Abstract378)   HTML50)    PDF (492KB)(248)      

    Empathy refers to understanding, inferring and sharing others’ emotional states, which can be divided into affective and cognitive components. Although empathy contributes to prosocial behaviors and harmonious interpersonal relationships, it also increases an individual’s negative emotional experiences and affect distress. Emotion regulation, the psychological process of managing one’s own emotions, has been found to be closely associated with empathy. Cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression are two commonly used strategies to regulate emotions, of which cognitive reappraisal is effective in reducing negative emotional experiences while expressive suppression is usually correlated with more affective distress. However, the roles of emotion regulation strategies in the empathic response are still unclear.

    We conducted two studies to investigate the roles of emotion regulation on the negative affect related to empathy using self-report questionnaires and experimental task respectively. Study 1 administered the Questionnaire of Cognitive and Affective Empathy (QCAE), the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI), the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ), and the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS-21) to 442 college students. The moderating effects of cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression on the association between empathy and negative affect were examined separately. Study 2 adopted the Chinese version of the Empathic Accuracy Task (EAT) to further examine the effect of emotion regulation (i.e. cognitive reappraisal) on cognitive empathy and affective responses. The EAT requires participants to continuously rate targets’ emotional valence in video clips as a second person and rate emotional valence and arousal of both targets and themselves after each video. Seventy-five participants (33 for Experiment 1 and 42 for Experiment 2) were recruited to perform the EAT under two conditions, i.e., naturally viewing without any instructions and applying cognitive reappraisal while viewing the scenarios. Paired sample t tests and repeated-measure ANOVA were performed to examine the effect of cognitive reappraisal on task performance.

    As shown in Figure 1, findings from Study 1 showed that affective empathy was significantly correlated with higher levels of anxiety (r = 0.14, p = 0.003) and stress (r = 0.14, p < 0.001), while empathic concern was correlated with less anxiety (r = -0.28, p < 0.001), stress (r = -0.27, p < 0.001) and depression (r = -0.22, p < 0.001). However, when participants endorsed cognitive reappraisal more frequently, such positive association between affective empathy and stress was reduced (β = 1.48, Wald = 5.22, p = 0.022), while the negative association between empathic concern and anxiety was strengthened (β = 0.66, Wald = 4.73, p = 0.030). Cognitive empathy was significantly correlated (or marginally significantly) with reduced depression (QCAE-CE: r = -0.08, p = 0.096; IRI-PT: r = -0.11, p = 0.019; IRI-FS: r = -0.10, p = 0.034). Expressive suppression strengthened the negative association between cognitive empathy and depression (β = 1.77, Wald = 5.32, p= 0.021). Moreover, negative correlations between cognitive empathy and anxiety (β = 1.33, Wald = 4.67, p = 0.031) as well as stress (β = -0.37, Wald= 4.43, p= 0.035) emerged for participants endorsing cognitive reappraisal more frequently. Findings from Study 2 showed that task performances of the EAT were significantly improved when participants endorsed cognitive reappraisal strategy compared to the condition of naturally viewing. Specifically, under the cognitive reappraisal condition participants scored higher empathic accuracy (Experiment 1: t = -2.27, p= 0.030, Cohen’s d = 0.40; Experiment 2: F(1, 40) = 4.13, p = 0.049, η2 = 0.09), experienced less negative affect (Experiment 1: t = -2.68, p= 0.012, Cohen’s d = 0.47; Experiment 2: F(1, 40) = 29.20, p < 0.001, η2 = 0.42) in reaction to others’ affect distress, and experienced more positive affect in reaction to others’ positive emotions (Experiment 1: t = -10.9, p< 0.001, Cohen’s d = 1.90; Experiment 2: F(1, 40) = 31.54, p < 0.001, η2 = 0.44) (see Table 1 & Figure 2).

    Taken together, the findings from these two studies suggested that both cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression play a protective role in the associations between empathy and negative affect, and the endorsement of cognitive reappraisal would improve task performance on both cognitive and affective empathy. Our findings shed light on the psychological mechanisms of empathy and provide new approach for improving individuals’ social cognitive ability, especially for early intervention in clinical and subclinical populations.

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    Accept or change your fate: Exploring the Golem effect and underdog effect of underdog expectations
    MA Jun, ZHU Mengting
    Acta Psychologica Sinica    2023, 55 (6): 1029-1048.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.01029
    Abstract368)   HTML12)    PDF (617KB)(424)      

    In organizations, some employees are heralded as rising stars, whilst others are considered underdogs with no prospects. Scholars define individuals’ perceptions that others view them as unlikely to succeed as underdog expectation. The traditional view indicates that when individuals experience underdog expectations from others, they will reduce their subsequent performance through a sense of self-efficacy. This phenomenon, in which one’s performance is manipulated by someone else’s negative assessment, is also known as the Golem effect. Indeed, some studies have suggested that underdog expectations can enhance their desire to prove others wrong to improve performance. However, such studies have only focused on the influence of underdog expectations on employee behavior as social-situation cues but have disregarded its interaction with individuals’ traits. By integrating the preceding arguments, we proposed a comprehensive model based on trait activation theory, which examines the Golem and underdog effects. Specifically, under the moderating effect of underdog expectations, employees with fixed mindsets have a negative impact on subsequent task performance through feedback- avoiding behavior. Meanwhile, employees with growth mindsets have a positive impact on subsequent task performance by proving others wrong. The task context (task focus vs. future focus) plays a role in inhibiting and amplifying the two interactions.

    This study aimed to explore the reasons why employees who are trapped in underdog expectations become a Golem manipulated by fate and how to counter strike and become an underdog in the workplace. This study constructed a three-term interaction model of nested moderated mediation model. Three studies were designed to explore the internal and intervention mechanisms of the Golem and underdog effects activated by underdog expectations. In the first study, the existence of three interactions was initially examined through a multi-source, multi-point questionnaire of 341 employees. To test the stability of the three interactions and the extensibility of the research conclusions in different groups, a second multi-source and multi-time questionnaire survey involving 650 employees and a field study based on a quasi-experiment were designed for retesting. Regression analysis, bootstrap method and Johnson?Neyman (J?N) technology were used to analyse the questionnaire data to examine the moderated mediation effects of the three-term interaction. T-tests were used to analyse data from the field study.

    The analyses of the study showed the following results. (1) The interaction between underdog expectations and fixed mindsets positively affects subsequent task performance through feedback-avoiding behavior. (2) The interaction between underdog expectations and growth mindsets positively affects subsequent task performance through the desire to prove others wrong. (3) Lastly, task focus reduces the positive moderating effect of underdog expectations on fixed mindsets, and future focus strengthens the positive moderating effect of underdog expectations on growth mindsets.

    Findings of our research have several theoretical and practical implications. This study revealed the causes of the Golem and underdog effects, thereby enriching and expanding the research on implicit theory. It showed that fixed and growth mindsets have different paths in processing negative information, which is helpful in integrating the research on underdog and topdog employees. It also provided a theoretical explanation and transformation idea for the emergence and popularity of the depressed culture represented by the lie down and Buddha-like mindsets.

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    Extended Mind: Is the brain the sole basis for realizing the mind?
    SU Jiajia, YE Haosheng
    Acta Psychologica Sinica    2023, 55 (11): 1889-1902.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.01889
    Abstract349)   HTML27)    PDF (360KB)(222)      

    In the present era, humanity stands at the threshold of a new civilization spurred by scientific and technological advancements. Technologies such as the internet, computers, and smartphones have extended human cognitive abilities into machines, even altering human emotions and conscious experiences, gradually fostering the acceptance of the belief that “mental life is not confined to the brain”. This has led to the emergence of interest in the concept of “extended minds”. The concept of extended minds posits that psychological processes such as memory, thought, emotion, and sentiment are not restricted solely to the brain or the central nervous system of an organism. On the contrary, under certain conditions, the non-neuronal parts of an organism's body, the external environment, and the world at large play integral roles in realizing consciousness, exerting constitutive functions. Early research on extended minds primarily focused on investigating cognitive processes and underwent three waves of development. Later, it expanded to include extended emotions, exploring the extended attributes of emotions and sentiments. Recently, attention has been drawn to the question of whether conscious experiences can also be extended. If cognition, emotion, and conscious experiences can transcend the biological boundaries of the individual, incorporating external resources that facilitate mental processes, then psychological life may no longer be confined within the confines of the skull and skin, and the brain may not be the sole organ responsible for realizing mental life. In essence, extended minds remain grounded in the framework of embodied cognition, with a key emphasis on how to perceive the active role of the “body”. This has significant implications for redefining our understanding of the nature of psychological life.

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    Psychological richness increases behavioral intention to protect the environment
    WEI Xinni, YU Feng, PENG Kaiping, ZHONG Nian
    Acta Psychologica Sinica    2023, 55 (8): 1330-1343.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.01330
    Abstract335)   HTML30)    PDF (369KB)(387)      

    Understanding the relationship between happiness and positive factors and pro-environmental behavior offers important practical implications for sustainable social development. To investigate the positive antecedents of pro-environmental behavior, the current study focused on psychological richness and examined its influence on pro-environmental behavior as well as potential mechanisms and boundary conditions through 10 studies (N = 2979). It is shown that psychological richness facilitates engagement in sustainable activities (Studies 1.1-1.4) through an increased level of self-expansion (Studies 2.1-2.4). Furthermore, the effect of self-expansion on pro-environmental behavior was more significant when individuals viewed nature as smaller than themselves (Studies 3.1-3.2). These findings reveal the positive effect of happiness on pro-environmental behaviors and provide insights to promote people's participation in building a sustainable society.

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    The application of artificial intelligence methods in examining elementary school students’ academic cheating on homework and its key predictors
    ZHAO Li, ZHENG Yi, ZHAO Junbang, ZHANG Rui, FANG fang, FU Genyue, LEE Kang
    Acta Psychologica Sinica    2024, 56 (2): 239-254.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2024.00239
    Abstract332)   HTML21)    PDF (478KB)(180)      

    Background. Academic cheating has been a challenging problem for educators for centuries. It is well established that students often cheat not only on exams but also on homework. Despite recent changes in educational policy and practice, homework remains one of the most important academic tasks for elementary school students in China. However, most of the existing studies on academic cheating for the last century have focused almost exclusively on college and secondary school students, with few on the crucial elementary school period when academic integrity begins to form and develop. Further, most research has focused on cheating on exams with little on homework cheating. The present research aimed to bridge this significant gap in the literature. We used advanced artificial intelligence methods to investigate the development of homework cheating in elementary school children and the key contributing factors so as to provide the scientific basis for the development of early intervention methods to promote academic integrity and reduce cheating.

    Method. We surveyed elementary school students from Grades 2 to 6 and obtained a valid sample of 2, 098. The questionnaire included students’ self-reported cheating on homework (the dependent variable). The predictor variables included children’s ratings of (1) their perceptions of the severity of consequences for being caught cheating, (2) the extent to which they found cheating to be acceptable, and the extent to which they thought their peers considered cheating to be acceptable, (3) their perceptions of the effectiveness of various strategies adults use to reduce cheating, (4) how frequently they observed their peers engaging in cheating, and (5) several demographic variables. We used ensemble machine learning (an emerging artificial intelligence methodology) to capture the complex relations between cheating on homework and various predictor variables and used the Shapley importance values to identify the most important factors contributing to children’s decisions to cheat on homework.

    Results. Overall, 33% of elementary school students reported having cheated on homework, and the rate of such self-reported cheating behavior increased with grade (see Figure 1). The best models with the ensemble machine learning accurately predicted the students’ homework cheating with a mean Area Under the Curve (AUC) value of 80.46% (see Figure 2). The Shapley importance values showed that all predictors significantly contributed to the high performance of our computational models. However, their importance values varied significantly. Children’s cheating was most strongly predicted by their own beliefs about the acceptability of cheating (10.49%), how commonly and frequently they had observed their peers engaging in academic cheating (3.83%), and their achievement level (3.26%). Other predictors (1%-2%), such as children’s beliefs about the severity of the possible consequences of cheating (e.g., being punished by one’s teacher), whether cheating is considered acceptable by peers in general and demographic characteristics, though significantly, were not important predictors of elementary school children’s homework cheating (see Figure 3 for details).

    Conclusion. This study for the first time examined elementary school students’ homework cheating behavior. We used machine learning integration algorithms to systematically investigate the key factors contributing to elementary school students' homework cheating. The results showed that homework cheating already exists in the elementary school period and increases with grade. Advanced machine learning algorithms revealed that elementary school students' homework cheating largely depends on their acceptance of cheating, their peers' homework cheating, and their own academic performance level. The present findings advance our theoretical understanding of the early development of academic integrity and dishonesty and form the scientific basis for developing early intervention programs to reduce academic cheating. In addition, this study also shows that machine learning, as the core method of artificial intelligence, is an effective method that can be used to analyze developmental data analysis.

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    Time course of the integration of the morpho-semantics and the meaning of two-character Chinese compound words
    CAI Wenqi, ZHANG Xiangyang, WANG Xiaojuan, YANG Jianfeng
    Acta Psychologica Sinica    2023, 55 (8): 1207-1219.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.01207
    Abstract291)   HTML39)    PDF (615KB)(221)      

    Previous studies have shown that morpho-semantic information can be automatically activated and influence word meaning access. However, the time course underlying the morpho-semantic activation and subsequent integration is unclear. In particular, an important issue is to clarify how morpho-semantic information involves in word semantic integration processing. The current event-related potential (ERP) study examined the time course of morpho-semantic information of the first and the second character that participated in whole-word semantic integration. We selected three types of two-character words: transparent compound words (e.g., 炽热, hot) having similar meanings with their two characters (both 炽 and 热 mean hot), opaque words (e.g., 风流, dissolute) having a different meaning to either the first (风, wind) or the second character (流, flow) and monomorphemic words (e.g., 伶俐, clever) having two characters that are not two independent morphemes. During the first character processing, the result found a morphological effect in the early (300~400 ms) and the late (460~700 ms) time window, showing more negative amplitude for two types of compound words than monomorphemic words. Whereas during the second character processing, the result found a significant semantic transparency effect at the early stage (260~420 ms), showing more negative-going waveform for the opaque words than transparent ones, and an inversed morphological effect at the late stage (480~700 ms) showing that two types of compound words evoked more positive amplitude than monomorphemic words. The results suggested that the morpheme was an independent unit represented in the mental lexicon and automatically activated at an early processing stage. Its meaning can facilitate the access of the related word meaning or inhibit the processing of the unrelated word meaning.

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    The effect of reward prediction error on temporal order and source memory
    ZHANG Hongchi, CHENG Xuan, MAO Weibin
    Acta Psychologica Sinica    2023, 55 (7): 1049-1062.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.01049
    Abstract262)   HTML28)    PDF (3550KB)(183)      

    Although previous research has demonstrated that event boundaries enhanced source memory at boundaries and reduced temporal order memory across boundaries, there is little research on whether there is a mnemonic trade-off between temporal order and source memory and how intrinsic, socially meaningful change as event boundaries affects memory. The present study explored the effects of RPE event boundaries on temporal order and source memory by reward prediction errors (RPE) as event boundaries in two behavioural experiments and one ERP experiment. The results showed that RPE event boundaries enhanced source memory at the boundaries, and high RPE event boundaries produced mnemonic trade-off effect; compared to within-event/non-boundary conditions, a larger N400 amplitude was induced by across-event/ boundary conditions, and activation of temporal order memory was focused on anterior region, activation of source memory was focused on posterior region. The present study showed that the strength of segmentation of event boundaries is an important factor in mnemonic trade-off effects, and that the N400 component may be an important indicator of the integration and segmentation of episodic memory by event boundaries.

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    Automatic processing of facial width-to-height ratio
    WANG Hailing, CHEN Enguang, LIAN Yujing, LI Jingjing, WANG Liwei
    Acta Psychologica Sinica    2023, 55 (11): 1745-1761.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.01745
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    The facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) is a stable perceptual structure of all faces. It is calculated by dividing the face width (the distance between the left and right zygion) by the face height (the distance between the eyebrow and the upper lip). Previous studies have demonstrated that men's facial width-to-height ratio is a reliable clue to noticing aggressive tendencies and behavior. Individuals with higher fWHR were considered by observers as more aggressive than those with lower fWHR. The researchers proposed that this may be related to facial expression. Observers more readily saw anger in faces with a relatively high fWHR and more readily saw fear in faces with a relatively low fWHR. However, it is unclear what the neural mechanism of fWHR is, particularly in the absence of attention. The present study investigated this issue by recording visual mismatch negativity (vMMN), which indicates automatic processing of visual information under unattended conditions. We hypothesized that faces with high fWHR would elicit a larger vMMN compared to faces with low fWHR. If the above result is related to the fact that high fWHR faces appear angrier and low fWHR faces appear more fearful, then high fWHR faces displaying an angry expression would evoke vMMN and low fWHR faces displaying a fearful expression would evoke vMMN.

    Participants performed a size-change-detection task on a central cross, while random sequences of faces were presented in the background using a deviant-standard-reverse oddball paradigm. High fWHR faces (deviant stimuli) were presented less frequently among low fWHR faces (standard stimuli), or vice versa. This paradigm allows us to investigate the vMMN induced by the same physical stimulus, as the same stimulus is utilized as both the deviant and the standard stimulus in different blocks, thus reducing the influence of lower-level physical stimulus attributes on ERP components. 41 (19 females, 21.05 ± 1.70 years) and 25 (13 females, 20.56 ± 1.635 years) Chinese participated in Experiment 1 and 2, respectively. In Experiment 1, faces with neutral expressions were used. We employed 2 (fWHR: high vs. low) × 2 (stimuli: deviant vs. standard) within-subject design. The occipital-temporal vMMN (the deviant stimuli elicited more negative responses than the standard stimuli) emerged in the latency range of 200~500 ms for faces with high fWHR (200~250 ms: 4.117 ± 0.591 vs. 4.685 ± 0.582 μV, p < 0.001, 95% CI = [-0.804, -0.331]; 250~300 ms: 3.273 ± 0.562 vs. 4.869 ± 0.553 μV, p < 0.001, 95% CI = [-2.043, -1.150]; 300~350 ms: 2.026 ± 0.532 vs. 3.725 ± 0.510 μV, p < 0.001, 95% CI = [-2.114, -1.284]; 350~400 ms: 2.104 ± 0.483 vs. 3.692 ± 0.443 μV, p < 0.001, 95% CI = [-2.064, -1.113]; 400~450 ms: 1.163 ± 0.463 vs. 2.936 ± 0.431 μV, p < 0.001, 95% CI = [-2.231, -1.316]; 450~500 ms: 0.331 ± 0.449 vs. 2.231 ± 0.434 μV, p < 0.001, 95% CI = [-1.889, -0.752]) and in the latency range of 200~250 ms (4.117 ± 0.591 vs. 4.685 ± 0.582 μV, p < 0.001, 95% CI = [-0.804, -0.331]) and 300~350 ms (2.563 ± 0.648 vs. 3.256 ± 0.588 μV, p = 0.009, 95% CI = [-1.207, -0.179]) for faces with low fWHR (Figure 1). More importantly, faces with high fWHR elicited a higher vMMN than those with low fWHR faces in the 300~350 ms latency range (-1.728 ± 0.242 vs. -0.693 ± 0.254 μV, p = 0.010, 95% CI = [-1.804, -0.266]).

    In Experiment 2, faces with expressions of fear and anger were used. We employed 2 (fWHR: high vs. low) × 2 (stimuli: deviant vs. standard) × 2 (face expression: angry vs. fearful) within-subject design. Results showed that high-fWHR faces displaying an angry expression elicited a vMMN in the 200~250 ms at P4/PO8 electrode sites (P4: 2.291 ± 0.547 vs. 2.694 ± 0.542 μV, p = 0.039, 95% CI = [-0.784, -0.022]; PO8: 1.298 ± 0.669 vs. 1.966 ± 0.664 μV, p = 0.011, 95% CI = [-1.166, -0.169]) and 300~400 ms latency ranges (300~350 ms: P3: 1.068 ± 0.361 vs. 1.492 ± 0.291 μV, p = 0.009, 95% CI = [-0.731, -0.116]; PO5: 0.689 ± 0.580 vs. 1.097 ± 0.525 μV, p = 0.044, 95% CI = [-0.804, -0.012]; PO8: 0.775 ± 0.636 vs. 1.348 ± 0.702 μV, p = 0.049, 95% CI = [-1.143, -0.002]. 350~400 ms: P3: 0.613 ± 0.307 vs. 0.979 ± 0.229 μV, p = 0.031, 95% CI = [-0.696, -0.036]; PO8: 0.730 ± 0.553 vs. 1.343 ± 0.587 μV, p = 0.035, 95% CI = [-1.180, -0.047]), while low-fWHR faces displaying a fearful expression elicited a vMMN in the 250~400 ms latency range (250~300 ms: 1.484 ± 0.600 vs. 1.911 ± 0.551 μV, p = 0.026, 95% CI = [-0.797, -0.056]; 300~350 ms: 0.239 ± 0.538 vs. 0.820 ± 0.510 μV, p = 0.022, 95% CI = [-1.069, -0.092]; 350~400 ms: 0.657 ± 0.435 vs. 1.109 ± 0.390 μV, p = 0.035, 95% CI = [-0.870, -0.035]), especially in the left hemisphere (Figure 2).

    To gain a better understanding of the effect of facial expression on the degree of automatic processing in high and low fWHR, we compared vMMN responses to faces with high fWHR presenting neutral and angry expressions, and faces with low fWHR showing neutral and fear expressions (Table 1 and 2). The results revealed that faces with high fWHR displaying an angry expression elicited smaller vMMN than those displaying a neutral expression (300~350 ms at PO5 site: t(64) = -3.654, p = 0.001, Cohen’s d = 0.272, 95% CI = [-2.180, -0.639]; 300~350 ms at PO8 site: t(64) = -3.455, p = 0.001, Cohen’s d = 0.289, 95% CI = [-2.581, -0.690]; 350~400 ms at PO8 site: t(64) = -3.279, p = 0.002, Cohen’s d = 0.305, 95% CI = [-2.538, -0.617]).

    In conclusion, the present findings suggest that the facial width-to-height ratio is associated with automatic processing and provide new electrophysiological evidence for the different mechanisms underlying high and low fWHR faces under unattended conditions. The automatic processing of high fWHR exhibits greater neural activity than that of low fWHR, which might be related to facial expressions representing facial aggression. Consistent with previous studies, the current finding demonstrates that automatic processing of high and low fWHR is promoted by expressions of anger and fear, respectively. At the same time, due to the automatic processing of facial expressions, the automatic processing of faces with high fWHR is weakened by angry faces relative to neutral faces.

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    The influence of cultural differences between China and the West on moral responsibility judgments of virtual humans
    YAN Xiao, MO Tiantian, ZHOU Xinyue
    Acta Psychologica Sinica    2024, 56 (2): 161-178.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2024.00161
    Abstract256)   HTML12)    PDF (1051KB)(194)      

    Virtual humans are digital characters created in computer graphics software that take a first-person view of the world and have a social media presence. Compared with real humans, however, are people likely to attribute moral responsibility differently to virtual humans when they do something morally wrong? This important empirical question remains unanswered. Therefore, we addressed this query using Mental Perception Theory. We did so through exploring the influence and mechanism of cultural differences between China and the West on individuals’ moral responsibility judgments of virtual humans versus real humans. Findings revealed that, when virtual humans engaged in immoral behaviors—irrespective of whether real humans or artificial intelligence (AI) controlled them—people in China (vs. the West) attributed more moral responsibility to virtual humans but equal moral responsibility to real humans (Study 1a~1c). Perceived mental capacity, especially perceived experience, mediated the interaction effect of the culture differences (Study 2). Furthermore, compared with Westerners, Chinese people were more likely to punish virtual (vs. real) humans, such as by no longer following their social accounts (Study 3). The current research provided evidence for the cultural differences between Chinese people and Westerners on moral responsibility judgments of virtual humans and contributed to literature on cultural differences and the theory about moral judgments on non-human entities.

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    Emotion regulation promotes forgetting of negative social feedback: Behavioral and EEG evidence
    XIE Hui, LIN Xuanyi, HU Wanrou, HU Xiaoqing
    Acta Psychologica Sinica    2023, 55 (6): 905-919.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.00905
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    Receiving negative social feedback, e.g., social rejection, criticism, can bring social pain. Painful experiences tend to get sticky in minds that cause sustained mental distress, thereby contributing to the onset of psychiatric disorders such as depression. Here, we asked whether engaging in different emotion regulation strategies (cognitive reappraisal and distraction) toward negative social feedback would relieve subjective social pain and facilitate forgetting of unwanted social feedback. Besides, we examined whether and how individual differences in depressive symptoms may influence the neural activity and behavioral benefits of emotion regulation.

    During the experiment, participants (N = 66; 16 males; aged 20.6 ± 1.9 years) received positive and negative social personality feedback from their peers in an ostensible peer evaluation task. While reading social feedback, participants were instructed to either naturally watch or actively down-regulate their negative emotions using either cognitive reappraisal or distraction strategy, with electroencephalograms (EEGs) being recorded. Subsequently, participants completed a surprise recall test during which they verbally recalled the feedback upon seeing photos of peers from the previous session. We also measured participants’ self-evaluation and their attitudes toward peers. In addition to immediate tests, participants also completed the same tests after 24 hours to examine possible long-term benefits of emotion regulation. To understand the neural correlates of different emotion regulation strategies, we used both univariate event-related potential (ERP) analysis and the multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA).

    Results showed that after receiving negative social feedback, emotion regulation significantly modulated subjective emotional ratings (F(2, 130) = 66.6, p< 0.001, ηp2 = 0.506). Compared to natural watch (4.14 ± 0.81), both reappraisal (5.33 ± 0.95, p < 0.001) and distraction (5.10 ± 0.78, p < 0.001) attenuated participants’ negative ratings (a higher number indicating less negative or more positive feelings). Moreover, emotion regulation also influenced participants’ memory of social feedback valence (F(2, 130) = 7.80, p< 0.001, ηp2 = 0.107) and the specific word (F(2, 130) = 10.0, p< 0.001, ηp2 = 0.134). Specifically, for the valence accuracy, participants scored higher in the natural watch condition (0.50 ± 0.25) than the reappraisal (0.43 ± 0.27, p = 0.007) and distraction (0.41 ± 0.25, p < 0.001) conditions. For the word accuracy, participants recalled more specific words in the natural watch condition (0.07 ± 0.10) than the reappraisal (0.03 ± 0.07, p < 0.001) and distraction (0.03 ± 0.07, p < 0.001) conditions. These results demonstrated that both cognitive reappraisal and distraction induced forgetting of negative social feedback. Importantly, the mnemonic benefits of emotion regulation, i.e., forgetting of negative social feedback, were still evident on Day 2 after a 24-hour delay. In addition, participants' depression level significantly moderated the whole brain EEG activity patterns involved in different emotion regulatory strategies. Specifically, in the low-depression group, frontal-central EEG activity distinguished between watch and reappraisal conditions within 2~5 s post-feedback; whereas in the high-depression group, the whole-brain EEG activity patterns distinguished between watch and distraction conditions within 2~3 s post-feedback. Moreover, the amplitude of central-parietal late positive potential (LPP) under the distraction condition were negatively correlated with participants’ depression level (r = −0.386, p = 0.009), suggesting that participants with higher depressive symptoms might be more effective in using distraction to regulate negative emotion than their low-depression counterparts.

    Together, these results demonstrate that both cognitive reappraisal and distraction strategies could alleviate social pain and facilitate forgetting of negative social feedback. Moreover, distraction may be a more suitable regulatory strategy among individuals with high levels of depression. In conclusion, this study broadens our understanding of the relationship between emotion and memory from the perspectives of social cognition and motivated forgetting; and provides insights for the alleviation of social pain using emotion regulation strategies.

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    Different attentional selection modes of object information in the encoding and maintenance stages of visual working memory
    PANG Chao, CHEN Yanzhang, WANG Li, YANG Xiduan, HE Ya, LI Zhiying, OUYANG Xiaoyu, FU Shimin, NAN Weizhi
    Acta Psychologica Sinica    2023, 55 (9): 1397-1410.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.01397
    Abstract245)   HTML36)    PDF (393KB)(154)      

    Visual working memory (VWM) and selective attention are two essential topics of investigation in the field of cognitive psychology. Previous studies have suggested that object-based attention selection modes may be present during the VWM encoding stage, and feature-based attention selection modes may be present during the maintenance stage. Nonetheless, these conclusions are based on different research paradigms, object feature dimensions, and response indicators, so it is prudent to exercise caution when inferring the existence of distinct attention selection modes during different stages of VWM processing. The aim of the present study is to evaluate this hypothesis and provide empirical support.

    In Experiment 1a, thirty college students were recruited to complete a change-detection task. Participants were instructed to memorize the features of the objects presented in the memory display by means of a pre-cue or retro-cue presented prior to or following the memory display. Specifically, in pre-cue trials, participants were asked to memorize only the cueing task-relevant feature while ignoring the task-irrelevant feature. In retro-cue trials, participants needed to memorize the entire object so that they could select the task-relevant feature according to the retro-cue. The present study examined the “irrelevant-change distracting effect” by comparing memory performance between the condition of task-irrelevant feature changes and no-changes on the memory probe test display. Experiment 1b had a similar procedure, except that the cue types were block designs. Based on the design of Experiment 1b, Experiments 2 and 3 increased the number of memory items to test whether the memory load would modulate the attention selection modes. Twenty-eight participants were recruited for Experiment 1b, Experiment 2, and Experiment 3. All experiments were 2 (cue types: pre-cue, retro-cue) × 2 (change types: irrelevant change, irrelevant no-change) within-subjects designs, participants’ reaction times (RTs) and correct rates were recorded, and the sensitivity and criteria of the participants were calculated by signal detection theory (SDT).

    The purpose of Experiment 1a and Experiment 1b was to investigate attentional selection modes in the VWM coding and maintenance stages under low memory load. The results of Experiment 1a showed that the main effect of change types in RTs [701 ms vs. 668 ms, F(1, 29) = 34.48, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.54] and criteria [−0.15 vs. 0.15, F(1, 29) = 47.93, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.62] was significant. In addition, the interaction between cue types and change types in criteria was significant, F (1, 29) = 19.98, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.41. Pairwise comparisons showed that in the pre-cue trial, the criteria under the condition of irrelevant change was smaller (−0.19 vs. 0.25), t (29) = 9.62, p = 0.001, Cohen's d = 1.42, 95%CI = [1.12, 1.72]; In retro-cue trials, the criteria under irrelevant changes was also smaller (−0.11 vs. 0.05), t (29) = 2.55, p = 0.016, Cohen's d = 0.50, 95%CI = [0.10, 0.89] (see Table 1 and Figure 1). The results of Experiment 1b showed that the main effect of change types in RTs [739 ms vs. 722 ms, F (1, 27) = 10.14, p = 0.004, η2p = 0.27] and criteria [−0.12 vs. 0.07, F(1, 27) = 27.87, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.51] was significant (see Table 2), but the interaction in RTs [F (1, 27) = 2.55, p = 0.122] and criteria [F (1, 27) = 2.28, p = 0.143] was not significant (see Figure 2 A/B).

    The purpose of Experiment 2 was to investigate attentional selection modes in the VWM coding and maintenance stages under middle memory load. The results of Experiment 2 showed that the main effect of change types in RTs [956 ms vs. 921 ms, F (1, 27) = 18.18, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.40] and criteria [0.19 vs. 0.33, F(1, 27) = 16.23, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.38] was significant (see Table 3). In addition, the interaction between cue types and change types in RTs was significant, F (1, 27) = 8.29, p = 0.008, η2p = 0.24. Pairwise comparisons showed that in the pre-cue trial, the criteria under the condition of irrelevant change was smaller (915 ms vs. 860 ms), t(27) = −6.07, p < 0.001, Cohen’s d= −0.61, 95% CI = [−0.82, −0.40]; In retro-cue trials, however, there was no significant difference between irrelevant change and no-change conditions (998 ms vs. 983 ms), t(27) = −1.24, p = 0.227, Cohen’s d= −0.17, 95% CI = [−0.45, 0.11] (see Figure 2 C). The interaction between cue types and change types in criteria was significant, F (1, 27) = 14.10, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.34. Pairwise comparisons showed that in the pre-cue trial, the criteria under the condition of irrelevant change was smaller (0.16 vs. 0.42), t(27) = 5.23, p < 0.001, Cohen’s d= 0.95, 95% CI = [0.58, 1.32]; However, there was no significant difference between irrelevant change and no-change condition in retro-cue trials (0.23 vs. 0.24), t(27) = 0.24, p = 0.816, Cohen’s d= 0.04, 95% CI = [−0.30, 0.37] (see Figure 2 D).

    The purpose of Experiment 3 was to investigate attentional selection modes in the VWM coding and maintenance stages under high memory load. The results of Experiment 3 showed that the main effect of change types in RTs [1044 ms vs. 1009 ms, F (1, 27) = 11.17, p = 0.002, η2p = 0.29] and criteria [0.27 vs. 0.41, F(1, 27) = 20.05, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.43] was significant (see Table 4). In addition, the interaction between cue types and change types in criteria was significant, F (1, 27) = 16.90, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.39. Pairwise comparisons showed that in the pre-cue trial, the criteria under the condition of irrelevant change was smaller (0.31 vs. 0.56), t(27) = 5.71, p < 0.001, Cohen’s d= 0.83, 95% CI = [0.53, 1.12] (see Figure 2 E); However, there was no significant difference between irrelevant change and no-change condition in retro-cue trials (0.23 vs. 0.25), t(27) = 0.38, p = 0.705, Cohen’s d= 0.05, 95% CI = [−0.21, 0.31] (see Figure 2 F).

    We further conducted a mixed-design analysis of variance on the RTs and criteria of retro-cue in Experiment 1b, Experiment 2, and Experiment 3, combining them into 3 (memory load: low, middle, high) × 2 (change types: irrelevant change, irrelevant no-change) conditions. Memory load was treated as a between-subjects variable and task-irrelevant feature change type was treated as a within-subjects variable. The results revealed a marginally significant interaction effect on criteria, F(2, 81) = 3.10, p = 0.051, η2p = 0.07. Pairwise comparisons showed that under low memory load condition, the difference between the irrelevant change condition and no-change condition was significant (−0.16 vs. −0.01), t(81) = 3.34, p = 0.001, Cohen’s d= 0.64, 95% CI = [0.26, 1.02]; However, under middle memory load (0.23 vs. 0.24), t(81) = 0.25, p = 0.807, Cohen’s d= 0.05, 95% CI = [−0.33, 0.43], and high memory load(0.23 vs. 0.25), t(81) = 0.35, p = 0.728, Cohen’s d= 0.07, 95% CI = [−0.31, 0.45], the difference between the irrelevant change condition and no-change condition was not significant (see Figure 3 A). In addition, we also calculated memory capacity K values for each condition, and conducted a mixed-design analysis of variance on them with 3 (memory load: low, middle, high) × 2 (cue type: pre-cue, retro-cue) conditions. The results indicated a significant interaction effect, F(2, 81) = 23.34, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.37. Pairwise comparisons showed that under low memory load, there was no significant difference between pre-cue trials and retro-cue trials (1.91 vs. 1.92), t(81) = 0.17, p = 0.869. Under middle memory load, K values under pre-cue trials were significantly larger than those under retro-cue trials (2.77 vs. 2.28), t(81) = 4.73, p < 0.001, Cohen’s d= 0.91, 95% CI = [0.53, 1.29]. Under high memory load, K values under pre-cue trials were also significantly larger than those under retro-cue trials (3.00 vs. 2.02), t(81) = 9.50, p < 0.001, Cohen’s d= 1.82, 95% CI = [1.44, 2.20] (see Figure 3 B).

    The results of the three experiments showed that the change in task-irrelevant features had an impact on task performance in the pre-cue trials, with longer RTs and lower criteria in the task-irrelevant feature change condition than in the no-change condition. This distracting effect was not modulated by the memory load. This suggests the existence of robust object-based attentional selection during the encoding stage in VWM. In contrast, in the retro-cue trials, the distracting effect was present only in the low memory load condition (Experiment 1a/1b) and disappeared when the memory load increased (Experiment 2/3). This suggests that during the maintenance stage, task-irrelevant features are processed only under low memory load conditions, and insufficient resources lead to their inability to be processed as the demand for attentional resources for task-relevant features increases.

    In summary, the present study provides further evidence for the hypothesis that different modes of attentional selection exist in the encoding and maintenance stages of VWM, specifically that the attention selection mode during the VWM encoding stage is object- based, while the attention selection mode during the maintenance stage is feature-based and regulated by memory load. This study has important implications for resolving the controversy surrounding the attention selection mode of multifeature objects in VWM.

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    The cognitive mechanism of reducing procrastination by emotion regulation: The mediation role of task aversiveness
    TONG Tingting, BAI Youling, FENG Tingyong
    Acta Psychologica Sinica    2024, 56 (4): 458-468.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2024.00458
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    Prior studies have demonstrated that employing adaptive emotion-regulation strategies, such as cognitive reappraisal, can effectively mitigate procrastination. Nevertheless, the cognitive mechanisms that account for the impact of emotion regulation on procrastination still lack clarity. The temporal decision model of procrastination postulates that procrastination is primarily influenced by the tradeoff between task aversiveness and outcome utility. When task aversiveness exceeds outcome utility, individuals are prone to procrastination; conversely, if outcome utility outweighs task aversiveness, they are more likely to take immediate action. Consequently, emotion regulation has the potential to reduce procrastination by either diminishing task aversiveness or enhancing outcome utility.
    In order to explore this matter, this study adopts Gross’s emotion regulation theory and the temporal decision model of procrastination. Specifically, the study targets individuals with high levels of procrastination, as indicated by scores above 67.5 on the General Procrastination Scale. These individuals were assigned to the positive reappraisal group (n = 34) and the ineffective strategy group (n = 34), respectively. The longitudinal tracking of both groups took place over a period of 7 days, resulting in a total of 14 data collection points obtained through empirical sampling.
    The results showed that: (1) There was no notable disparity between the two groups in task executive willingness during the pre-test (M Pre-test of positive reappraisal group = 2.05, SD = 1.67, M Pre-test of ineffective strategy group = 2.42, SD = 2.17; F(1, 202) = 1.88, p = 0.172), while the positive reappraisal group demonstrated a significantly higher task executive willingness compared to the ineffective strategy group in the post-test (M Post-test of positive reappraisal group = 5.26, SD = 1.97, M Post-test of ineffective strategy group = 2.91, SD = 2.44; F(1, 202) = 57.49, p < 0.001, partial η2 = 0.22) (Figure 1a), indicating that positive reappraisal significantly enhanced individuals’ task executive willingness. (2) No significant difference was observed in task aversiveness between the two groups during the pre-test (M Pre-test of positive reappraisal group = − 5.81, SD = 1.65, M Pre-test of ineffective strategy group = −5.56, SD = 1.88; F(1, 202) = 1.06, p = 0.304), while the positive reappraisal group exhibited noticeably lower levels of task aversiveness compared to the ineffective strategy group in the post-test (M Post-test of positive reappraisal group = − 0.77, SD = 3.19, M Post-test of ineffective strategy group = − 3.75, SD = 3.02; F(1, 202) = 46.59, p < 0.001, partial η2 = 0.19) (Figure 2a). Additionally, initial outcome utility levels did not differ significantly between the two groups (M Pre-test of positive reappraisal group = 6.94, SD = 2.33, M Pre-test of ineffective strategy group = 6.81, SD = 2.62; F(1, 202) = 0.14, p = 0.714), while the positive reappraisal group demonstrated significantly higher outcome utility compared to the ineffective strategy group in the post-test (M Post-test of positive reappraisal group = 7.69, SD = 1.90, M Post-test of ineffective strategy group = 6.68, SD = 2.69; F(1, 202) = 9.58, p = 0.002, partial η2 = 0.05) (Figure 3a). (3) Mediation analysis indicated that the reduction of task aversiveness mediated the influence of emotion regulation on the degree of improvement in procrastination (that is, the increase in task executive willingness)(b = 0.44, 95% CI = [0.765, 1.561]) (Figure 4), whereas the increase of outcome utility did not mediate the impact of emotion regulation on the degree of improvement in procrastination (that is, the increase in task executive willingness) (b = 0.06, 95% CI = [− 0.013, 0.367]).
    These findings suggest that emotion regulation primarily enhances individuals’ task executive willingness by diminishing task aversiveness, consequently mitigating procrastination behavior. This provides a robust theoretical basis for interventions that aim to address procrastination by focusing on emotion regulation.

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    Lost radiance: Negative influence of parental gender bias on women’s workplace performance
    XU Minya, LIU Beini, XU Zhenyu
    Acta Psychologica Sinica    2023, 55 (7): 1148-1159.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.01148
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    The relationship between gratitude and social well-being: Evidence from a longitudinal study and a daily diary investigation
    YE Ying, ZHANG Linting, ZHAO Jingjing, KONG Feng
    Acta Psychologica Sinica    2023, 55 (7): 1087-1098.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.01087
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    The positive psychological construct of gratitude is crucial for health and well-being. Previous studies have shown a significant positive correlation between gratitude and social well-being. However, to the best of our knowledge, no studies have examined this potentially reciprocal relationship from a longitudinal perspective. According to the broaden-and-build theory and gratitude amplification theory, we hypothesized that gratitude has a predictive effect on social well-being. In addition, based on the personality and social relationships model and self-determination theory, we proposed that social well-being is an antecedent to gratitude. In summary, this research combines a longitudinal study and a daily diary investigation to systematically explore the causal relation between gratitude and social well-being.

    Study 1 employs a two-wave cross-lagged design to explore the long-term relationship between trait gratitude and social well-being. The sample comprised 563 undergraduate students, who all participated online. Pursuant to the study purpose, participants were asked to complete the gratitude and social well-being scales twice, separated by a seven-month interval. The cross-lagged path analysis suggested reciprocal effects between trait gratitude and social well-being. To reduce recall bias and explore the short-term association between gratitude and social well-being, Study 2 employs a daily diary method. A total of 274 young adults completed daily gratitude and social well-being measures for 21 consecutive days.

    In Study 1, trait gratitude at T1 significantly positively predicted social well-being at T2, while social well-being at T1 also significantly predicted trait gratitude at T2. These effects remained significant after controlling for age and gender. Consistent with Study 1, Study 2 also revealed a reciprocal relationship: state gratitude on one day positively predicted social well-being the next day, while social well-being on one day also positively predicted state gratitude the next day. Moreover, these relationships were stable after controlling for time trends. Overall, the results of Study 1 and Study 2 support the hypotheses by showing reciprocal predictive effects between gratitude and social well-being.

    In summary, we predicted that experiencing gratitude would lead to higher social well-being, which would, in turn, result in higher gratitude, activating an upward spiral. This work deepens understanding of the interaction between gratitude and social well-being, paving the way for future intervention research to help increase both.

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    Test-retest reliability of EEG: A comparison across multiple resting-state and task-state experiments
    QIN Huiyi, DING Lihong, DUAN Wei, LEI Xu
    Acta Psychologica Sinica    2023, 55 (10): 1587-1596.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.01587
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    Owing to its advantages in time resolution, electroencephalography (EEG) provides an important basis for studying the dynamic cognitive process of the human brain. To explore the electrophysiological mechanism of psychological processes, scalp EEG must have good test-retest reliability. Most studies explore the reliability of the resting-state EEG (rsEEG) or event-related potentials (ERP), lacking a comprehensive comparison of multiple states. We comprehensively compared the test-retest reliability of the two rsEEG with eyes-open (EO) and eyes-close (EC) states, and the ERPs of PVT and oddball tasks, from frequency, time, and spatial domains to identify more widely applicable indicators.

    A total of 42 healthy adults (age range = 18-26 years old; mean = 19.5 ± 1.4 years old; 14 males) underwent all three EEG recording sessions, including the present (Session 1), 90 mins later (Session 2), and one month later (Session 3). During each EEG recording session, all the participants completed the same five states including two resting states (eyes-open, eyes-closed, each with 5 minutes) and two task states (PVT and oddball task) (Figure 1). Intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC) were computed to assess the test-retest reproducibility of the five states.

    This study compares and analyses the test-retest reliability of two resting-state and three task-state EEG from the perspectives of time, frequency, and spatial domains. Results revealed the following: (1) The test-retest reliability of rsEEG was generally better than that of ERP (Figure 2). (2) For rsEEG, the test-retest reliability of the EC resting-state was higher than that of the EO, with the ICC median value of approximately 0.6 (Table 1). Furthermore, the test-retest reliability of the alpha band was the highest in all frequency bands. (3) For the two task-states ERP (Figure 2), the overall ICC of the PVT paradigm was higher than that of the oddball paradigm, and the test-retest reliability was highest at about 200 ms after the stimulus onsets (Figure 3). (4) In the spatial domain, the test-retest reliability is higher in the central region than in the peripheral region (Figure 4/5, Table 2), which may be related to the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR).

    Our research involves multiple resting-state and task-state experiments. Based on the characteristics of frequency, time, and space domains, we comprehensively compared the optimal retest characteristics of multiple EEG and suggest the possible reasons. Some suggestions for the selection of appropriate experimental paradigms and indicators for the follow-up study of EEG test-retest reliability are provided and guide the application of EEG in the basic and clinical fields.

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    Morphological structures of two-character words influence character position encoding
    SU Xingzhi, LI Xiaoxuan, LI Rongrong, ZHAO Changze, CUI Lei
    Acta Psychologica Sinica    2024, 56 (4): 383-393.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2024.00383
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    The Transposed-Letter effect (TL effect) demonstrates the importance of letter position encoding in word recognition, highlighting its stable flexibility. In order to understand the processing mechanisms of word recognition, recent research investigated letter position encoding in words with different morphological structures. If the compound word is processed in the morphological decomposition manner, the transposition across morphemes will cause more interference than within morphemes. Resulting in a reduced TL effect. In Chinese, it was also found that the character position encoding is flexible, which is demonstrated by the Transposed-Character (TC) effect. It was examined whether the character position encoding is different between the monomorphemic word and the compound word. And no significant difference was found between them. It indicates that the compound word is accessed in a holistic route. However, the Chinese compound word consists of various types of morphological structures. Since the semantic role of each morpheme is different across morphological structures, the subordinative compound word, which is formed by a modifier and a semantic headedness, might have more rigid character position encoding than the coordinative compound word, which is formed by two semantic headednesses. Then causes different processing mechanisms. Therefore, this study employed eye-tracking technology and the boundary paradigm to explore character position encoding in different morphological structures of two-character words.
    Seventy-eight students participated in the experiment, which utilized a 3 (Word type: monomorphemic word, subordinate compound, coordinative compound) × 3 (Preview type: identical preview, transposed preview, unrelated preview) within-participants design. We hypothesized the TC effect exists in all types of the two-character word. However, for the processing of the subordinative compound word, the assignment of the semantic role is needed. Thus, the character flexibility of the subordinative compound word should be lower than that of the coordinative compound and monomorphemic word, which is indicated by the lower TC effect for the subordinative compound word.
    The results showed that the fixation times (First fixation, Gaze duration, and Regression path reading time) of transposed previews were significantly shorter than those of unrelated previews. It indicates a significant TC effect and demonstrates the flexibility of character position encoding. Furthermore, the fixation time of identical previews was significantly shorter than that of transposed previews. It indicates that character position encoding is important in accurate word recognition. We also found an interaction effect between word type and preview type. The subordinate compound word exhibited a smaller TC effect than the coordinative compound word and the monomorphemic word. However, the TC effect of the coordinative compound word did not differ from that of the monomorphemic word. Additionally, the difference between the identical preview and the transposed preview conditions was greater for the subordinate compound word than for the coordinative compound word and the monomorphemic word. However, the difference between identical preview and transposed preview conditions of the coordinative compound word did not differ from that of the monomorphemic word. The means and standard deviations are shown in Table 1, and the results of the linear mixed effects models are shown in Table 2.
    In conclusion, the character position encoding of the monomorphemic word and the coordinative compound word showed greater flexibility than that of the subordinate compound word. At the same time, no significant difference was observed between the monomorphemic word and the coordinative compound word. These findings suggest that the morphological structure of the two-character word directly influences the TC effect, supporting the dual-route race model of the processing of the morphological complex word and providing empirical support for the Chinese reading model.

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    How semantic prosody is acquired in novel word learning: Evidence from the “Double-Date Tree” Effect
    WU Shiyu, LI Zan
    Acta Psychologica Sinica    2024, 56 (5): 531-541.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2024.00531
    Abstract217)   HTML50)    PDF (518KB)(168)      

    Generally, a word’s meaning consists of at least two components. The first is denotative meaning, representing the definitional meaning found in dictionaries and serving as the word’s fundamental meaning. The second component involves semantics that a word “absorbs” from its linguistic context, not constrained by definitions; this is known as semantic prosody, described as a consistent aura of meaning with which a form is imbued by its collocates. While theories and empirical studies have shed light on mechanisms supporting the acquisition of the first word meaning component, the acquisition of the connotative meaning engendered by semantic prosody has been overlooked. It remains unclear whether readers can unconsciously acquire the semantic prosody (or emotional connotations) of a novel word after encountering it consistently in a context with a strong emotional polarity.
    Against this backdrop, we conducted a word learning experiment, manipulating context emotionality (negative versus neutral versus positive) and context variability (same-repeated versus varied contexts) as crucial contextual variables. This aimed to address two understudied questions in vocabulary acquisition: (1) Does transfer of affect to a word from its linguistic context take place through reading exposures, facilitating the acquisition of semantic prosody for the word? If so, is such transfer influenced by context variability? (2) Does the acquired semantic prosody for words affect the acquisition of word forms and meanings, and is this acquisition modulated by context variability? This experiment involved two sessions: a reading-and-learning phase and a testing phase. During the reading-and-learning session, participants read emotionally charged passages, simultaneously learning embedded target words. The testing session included an immediate posttest, incorporating four vocabulary tests—valence rating, orthographic choice, definition matching, and definition generation. A total of 196 Chinese speakers participated in the experiment.
    Mixed-effects models were utilized to analyze data from the valence rating task and the other three vocabulary knowledge tests. The findings revealed that, within the same-repeated context, manipulating context emotionality (positive versus neutral versus negative) significantly influenced valence ratings, showing significantly higher ratings in the positive condition compared to neutral and negative conditions. Conversely, in the varied context, no significant differences in valence ratings were observed. This result supports the hypothesis of the “Double-Date Tree” effect, emphasizing the effect of repetitive texts compared to multiple texts. However, in the varied context, valence ratings played a role in influencing participants’ performances in the vocabulary tests, leading to better outcomes as valence ratings increased. In the same-repeated context, valence ratings had minimal effect on accuracy in the orthographic choice test and the definition prompting test.
    We posit that the effective mechanism for learning the semantic-prosody-engendered connotations of words involves the transfer of affect from their collocations. However, this transfer seems to be contingent on context variability, occurring only in the same-repeated context and not in the varied context. Furthermore, we illustrate that the emotionality of context influences the quality of both orthographic and semantic word learning, with words being better learned in positive contexts as opposed to negative or neutral ones.

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    Autistic traits influence pain empathy: The mediation role of pain-related negative emotion and cognition
    ZHANG Wenyun, ZHUO Shiwei, ZHENG Qianqian, GUAN Yinglin, PENG Weiwei
    Acta Psychologica Sinica    2023, 55 (9): 1501-1517.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.01501
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    Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are typically characterized by impaired social interactions that are thought to be related to deficits in empathy. While cognitive empathy deficit in ASD is widely recognized, it remains controversial whether individuals with ASD have a deficiency in emotional empathy. According to the shared representation theory, psychological and neuronal mechanisms involved in the personal experience of an emotional or somatosensory state are also engaged while empathizing with other individuals in those states. It suggests that the deficits of empathy seen in the ASD population could arise from the atypical experience of first-hand pain. Mild, subclinical forms of the characteristics associated with ASD are referred to as autistic traits. Individuals with high autistic traits exhibit sensory, emotional, and social behaviors similar to those with ASD. Given the relationship between pain empathy and first-hand pain as well as the similarity between autistic traits and ASD, the present study tested the hypothesis that autistic traits in the general population would influence pain empathic responses, which could be contributed by first-hand pain-related profiles.

    In Experiment 1, we recruited 1131 healthy participants to complete the mandarin version of the Autism-spectrum Quotient (AQ) questionnaire, as a reliable measurement of ASD symptomatology in typically developing adults. The total AQ score ranges from 0 to 50, with higher scores indicating higher levels of autistic traits. According to the overall score distribution (20.08 ± 0.17, M ± SE), we divided participants into HAQ (with high autistic traits, AQ score ≥ 27) and LAQ (with low autistic traits, AQ score ≤ 13) groups by taking the top and bottom 10% of the overall distribution. Then, a subset of participants from both HAQ (n= 30, 15 males, aged 21.30 ± 0.31 years) and LAQ (n= 30, 16 males, aged 20.77 ± 0.34 years) groups were randomly recruited to participate in the EEG experiment. We adopted an ecological pain empathy paradigm and compared behavioral and neural activity between individuals with HAQ and those with LAQ. During the pain empathy paradigm (Figure 1), the participants either perceived the painful electrical stimuli themselves or witnessed the delivery of painful electrical stimuli to their partners in certain and uncertain contexts.

    When perceiving pain themselves, behavioral responses and brain responses were comparable between HAQ and LAQ groups (all p> 0.05). When witnessing others in pain, participants in the HAQ group had greater amplitudes of the P2 component (5.68 ± 0.74 μV vs. 3.50 ± 0.74 μV, p = 0.041) on the event-related potentials and reported higher ratings of unpleasantness (3.53 ± 0.29 vs. 2.44 ± 0.29, p = 0.009) than those in the LAQ group. HAQ reported higher ratings of fear of pain of predictability cue (2.97 ± 0.33 vs. 1.78 ± 0.33, p = 0.014). The between-group differences in the behavioral and neural responses related to pain empathy were not moderated by certainty of the context (certain or uncertain) (Figure 2 & Figure 3).

    We further tested the mediating role of fear of pain on the link between autistic traits on emotional empathy for others’ pain. Autistic traits showed a total effect (c = 0.40, SE = 0.12, 95% CI = [0.16, 0.64]) on emotional empathy for others’ pain. Autistic traits showed a direct effect (c’ = 0.29, SE = 0.12, 95% CI = [0.05, 0.53]) on emotional empathy for others’ pain. Autistic traits showed an indirect effect (a×b = 0.11, SE = 0.06, 95% CI = [0.01, 0.25]) on emotional empathy for others’ pain through fear of pain. These results revealed that the between-group differences in the unpleasantness elicited by witnessing others’ pain could be contributed by the greater fear of pain while anticipating the upcoming painful stimuli (Figure 4).

    In Experiment 2, the relationship among autistic traits, pain-related profiles, and trait empathy was assessed in randomly recruited participants (381 healthy college students; 202 males, aged 20.95 ± 0.12 years). We found that autistic trait levels were negatively correlated with scores on the perspective-taking subscale of the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (r(379) = −0.19, p < 0.001) and positively correlated with the personal distress subscale (r(379) = 0.27, p < 0.001) (Table 1). Importantly, pain-related fear and pain catastrophizing mediated the link between autistic traits and personal distress (total effect: c = 0.27, SE= 0.05, 95% CI = [0.17, 0.36], p < 0.001; indirect effect: a×b = 0.11, SE= 0.04, 95% CI = [0.05, 0.19], p < 0.001; direct effect: c’ = 0.16, SE= 0.05, 95% CI = [0.07, 0.25], p = 0.002) (Figure 5).

    Data from Experiments 1 and 2 demonstrated that autistic traits heighten emotional empathy, which can be explained by the negative emotion and cognition toward pain. Given the similarities between individuals with high autistic traits and ASD, this finding may help to expand the biological mechanisms underlying ASD, such as explaining empathy deficits or other social difficulties seen in the ASD from the perspective of atypical pain-related profiles. Future studies should combine multiple modalities of painful stimulations and multidimensional pain assessments to comprehensively characterize pain-related profiles among individuals with high autistic traits or ASD, and establish linkage between pain-related profiles and empathy or social deficits. This understanding has the potential to provide targets for clinical interventions and treatments of ASD.

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    The effect of cumulative risk related to family adversity on social adjustment among left-behind children in China: The mediating role of stress and the moderating role of psychosocial resources
    FAN Xing-hua, FANG Xiao-yi, ZHAO Xian, CHEN Feng-ju
    Acta Psychologica Sinica    2023, 55 (8): 1270-1284.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.01270
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    Relative to non-left-behind children (NLBC), left-behind children (LBC) are exposed to various risk factors related to family, such as lack of parental care and insufficient family support, which could increase their vulnerability to psychological and behavioral problems. Based on Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological theory and the cumulative risk model, this study used two-wave data (T1 and T2) to examine the association between cumulative risk related to family adversity (T1) and social adjustment outcomes (T1/T2), in which stress (T1/T2) is a mediator, and examined the moderating role of psychosocial resources (T1) in this association. The two-wave longitudinal household surveys were conducted among six hundred and fifty-one families of rural children. A total of 285 children whose both parents migrated for work throughout the study waves were categorized as the LBC group, while 366 children who reported living with their parents at least one of waves were categorized as the control group. All measures in the surveys showed good reliability, including family adversity, stress, psychosocial resources (i.e., psychological capital and social support) and social adjustment (i.e., subjective well-being, depression, positive behaviors and problem behaviors). Data analyses were performed using SPSS 24.0 and AMOS 22.0. Results showed that: (1) LBC’s T1 cumulative risk related to family adversity was linearly associated with their T1/T2 social adjustment; (2) After controlling for gender and age, LBC’s T1 cumulative risk related to family adversity was negatively associated with T1 social adjustment (β = ?0.42, p < 0.001), and T1 stress mediated this association. The association between stress and social adjustment was moderated by psychosocial resources, with a higher level of psychosocial resources associated with a smaller mediating effect of stress. (3) After controlling for gender and age, T1 stress and T1 social adjustment, T1 cumulative risk related to family adversity were negatively associated with T2 social adjustment (β = ?0.23, p < 0.001), and T2 stress mediated this relationship. T1 psychosocial resources moderated the association of T1 cumulative risk related to family adversity on both T2 social adjustment and T2 stress. This showed that with the level of T1 psychosocial resources increasing, the main effect of T1 cumulative risk related to family adversity on T2 social adjustment and the mediation effect of T2 stress decreased and eventually became statistically non-significant. The findings of this study demonstrate the detrimental impact of cumulative risk related to family adversity on social adjustment, as well as the mediating role of stress and the moderating role of psychosocial resources among LBC. Overall, these findings suggest that family risk factors are proximal factors for LBC’s social maladjustment, and future intervention should attend to psychosocial resource promotion.

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