ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B


    25 February 2016, Volume 48 Issue 2 Previous Issue    Next Issue

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    Recognition without cued recall (RWCR) phenomenon in Chinese characters: Effects of restudying and testing
    JIA Yongping; ZHOU Chu; LI Lin; GUO Xiuyan
    2016, 48 (2):  111-120.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2016.00111
    Abstract ( 1952 )  
    Familiarity is thought to emerge when there is a match between the features currently presented and the features stored in memory, and it could be affected by both restudying and testing. It is still not clear whether all types of features can lead to familiarity. Though previous studies identified some types of features that could produce familiarity in the absence of recall, it is inconclusive as to whether semantic information gave rise to the familiarity feeling in recognition. No study has yet examined whether semantic features of Chinese can produce familiarity in the absence of recall. Furthermore, another open question remains as to whether the effects of testing and restudying on recollection and familiarity are dissociative.
    The RWCR paradigm provides a quantitative way to explore above questions. RWCR refers to the phenomenon that even when participants are unable to recall a studied item when cued at test, they can still reliably discriminate between cues that resemble studied items and cues that do not. In this research, we explored the RWCR effect in Chinese characters learning, and used RWCR to examine the effectiveness of testing and restudying in recognition.
    In Experiment 1, the final recognition test was taken immediately after the learning phase. A total of 60 college students were engaged in a 2 (Study Status: studied vs. nonstudied) × 2 (Study Strategy Type: testing vs. repeated study) mixed design experiment, to study different influences of testing and restudying on effectiveness of recollection and familiarity. In Experiment 2, 41 college students participated in a mixed design experiment. The procedure was identical to that of experiment 1, except that the final recognition test was taken one week after learning.
    The results showed that (1) when the final test was taken immediately after the study phase, both restudying and testing lead to better recollection performance than the studying-once encoding did, and there was an advantage of restudy encoding over test encoding. (2) Restudy encoding led to better familiarity performance relative to testing and study-once encoding, and there was no difference between test encoding and studying-once encoding. (3) When the final test was delayed for one week, there was no difference in the recollection performance after either restudy encoding or test encoding. (4) Familiarity performance in restudy encoding condition declined faster than that in the test encoding condition. (5) The semantics of Chinese could elicit the RWCR effect.
    The results demonstrated that the initial testing increased recollection relative to studying words once, whereas it did not affect familiarity. In addition, recognition tasks showed better familiarity on restudied words than on tested words, and test could enhance long-term retention of the tested material. Further, the semantics of word would also elicit the RWCR effect in logographically scripted language (i.e., Chinese).
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    The phonological or semantic activation of non-target language in an immediate cross-language switching paradigm
    MENG Yingfang, LIN Wuji, LIN Jingyuan, CAI Chaoqun
    2016, 48 (2):  121-129.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2016.00121
    Abstract ( 982 )   PDF (442KB) ( 139 )  

    Bilingual individuals need to switch their languages to understand different language information in daily life, which is called bilingual comprehensive switching. Prior studies mainly focused on whether the non-target language was activated when bilinguals intended to understand the target language, while inconsistent results were concluded for methodological ambiguities in paradigms. Therefore, this study was designed to further investigate the activation of non-target language in language comprehension with an immediate cross-language priming paradigm and event-related brain potential (ERP) technique.

    Twenty Chinese-English bilinguals participated in Experiment 1 where the phonological decision task was conducted, and sixteen Chinese-English bilinguals participated in Experiment 2 where the conceptual decision task was conducted. All of participants were Chinese natives, and English was their unskilled second language. In each experiment, target words (one language) were presented immediately after prime words (another language) which were phonologically related with the translation equivalents of target words (Experiment 1) or semantically related with the translation equivalents of target words (Experiment 2). Participants were instructed to make phonological decision (Experiment 1) or conceptual decision (Experiment 2) to all words presented on the screen. The behavior data and ERP data were recorded and analyzed with target words.
    The results showed that, in experiment 1, there were no RTs or P200 difference between phonologically related target words and phonologically unrelated target words no matter the switching direction was L1–L2 or L2–L1. So there was no evidence of cross-language phonological priming, suggesting that the phonological representation of non-target language was not automatically activated when the target words were processed at lexical level. And in experiment 2, significant cross-language semantically priming was found on both behavior and ERP data. Semantically related target words produced faster RTs and a smaller amplitude N400 than semantically unrelated target words in both switching direction. More importantly, the results provided evidence for the priming asymmetry, with larger priming from L1 to L2 than the reverse, and different spatial and temporal N400 priming effect (the ERP difference between two types of target words) between two switching direction. N400 priming effect was distributed towards more posterior sites for L2–L1 switching during the typical N400 window (300-500ms), and N400 priming effect for L1–L2 switching was distributed to more anterior sites, but lasted to 500-700 ms.
    In conclusion, results from the current study provide evidence for the semantic activation of non-target Language during the conceptual decision task, and the semantic activation was asymmetry between L1–L2 and L2–L1. But no evidence was found for the lexical activation of non-target Language during the phonological decision task.
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    The effects of semantic radicals and phonetic radicals in Chinese phonogram recognition
    WANG Xieshun; WU Yan; ZHAO Simin; NI Chao; ZHANG Ming
    2016, 48 (2):  130-140.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2016.00130
    Abstract ( 1583 )  

    The majority of Chinese characters are compound characters, and around 80% of the compound characters are phonograms which are comprised of a semantic radical and a phonetic radical. The semantic radical usually implies the meaning of the phonogram (e.g., 桐, tong2: tung, whose semantic radical is 木, mu4: wood), and the phonetic radical offers a phonological clue for the pronunciation of its host phonogram (e.g., 桐, tong2: tung, whose phonetic radical is 同, tong2: together/same). Since the semantic and phonetic radicals have different functional values, some researchers turned to investigate the issue whether their distinctive functions would generate different processing patterns during the phonogram recognition. However, regretfully, current results are confusing, with some studies reporting that the effect of the phonetic radicals were earlier and stronger than that of semantic radicals, however, others assuming that the semantic radicals played a predominant role.

    Therefore, the present study was conducted to explore the effects of semantic and phonetic radicals during the phonogram recognition, especially focusing on the relative importance of them. Two kinds of radical frequencies were manipulated: semantic radical frequency and phonetic radical frequency. Different from prior research, both semantic and phonetic radicals are standalone characters in the present study in order to make sure some confusing variables such as the pronunciation and the other lexical information are kept consistent between the two types of radicals.
    Behavioral results (Experiment 1) revealed only phonetic radical frequency could influence the processing of phonogram, the reaction time of phonograms containing high-frequency phonetic radicals was longer and error rate was higher than those containing low-frequency phonetic radicals. However, ERP results (Experiment 2) showed that both semantic radicals and phonetic radicals could play a role in Chinese phonogram recognition. High-frequency phonetic radicals elicited a smaller P200 during 200~300ms time window and a larger N400 around 350~500ms time window as compared to the low-frequency ones. By contrast, the high-frequency semantic radicals elicited a smaller N400 during the time window of 350~450ms than did the low-frequency ones.
    The present results indicated that both semantic and phonetic radicals could be activated and play a role in Chinese phonogram recognition. But the effect of phonetic radicals was found to be earlier as it was firstly reflected by P200 effects which a component was proved to indicate the sub-lexical orthographic processing. However, both semantic and phonetic radicals could influence the semantic extraction of its host phonograms, as reflected by the N400 effects. Such results were interpreted in terms of the properties of semantic and phonetic radicals in Chinese orthographic system.
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    Expression-based grouping in multiple identity tracking
    LEI Huanyu, WEI Liuqing, LYU Chuang, ZHANG Xuemin, YAN Xiaoqian
    2016, 48 (2):  141-152.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2016.00141
    Abstract ( 777 )   PDF (730KB) ( 37 )  
    The multiple-object tracking (MOT) task, proposed by Pylyshyn and Storm (1988), requires participants to simultaneously track the positions of several visual objects as they move among identical distractors. Yantis (1992) found that participants used perceptual grouping strategy when tracking multiple moving objects, indicating that moving objects with different identities could facilitate using of grouping strategy to help tracking. In this present study, we used facial expressions of emotions as object identities to investigate grouping strategies during multiple-identity tracking (MIT). With facial expressions of emotion playing an important role in daily life, understanding whether or not the processing of emotions would affect visual objects tracking is a topic of both theoretical and practical importance, compared with studies using physical properties as object identities.
    There are two experiments in the present study, where the only difference between the two experiments was that there was no eyebrows in the schematic faces used in the second experiment, in order to investigate whether eyebrows affected facial expression processing. We recruited 29 (11 males) and 16 (7 males) undergraduates from the universities in Beijing in Experiment1 and Experiment2, respectively. All the participants gave their consent form and filled in the Self-rating Depression Scale and State-Trait-Anxiety Inventory prior to the experiments. In each trial, eight objects appeared on the screen as blank squares, and four of eight occurred with red frames outside for 1.5 seconds to indicate targets. After that, all the objects turned into expression pictures and started to move randomly and independently for 5 to 6 seconds, and then turned back into blank objects after stopped. The participants’ tasks were first to select four targets and then to report the facial expression of each of the four targets they selected. There are three conditions: (1) grouping (Target Grouping, TG); (2) pairing (Target-Distractor Grouping, TDG); and (3) homogenous, in which the identity of all the objects was always the same expression (positive, negative, or neutral). TG condition included subcategories of pairing of identities. There were four conditions, each depicting one of the following: (1) positive targets, negative distractors; (2) positive targets, neutral distractors; (3) negative targets, positive distractors; and (4) negative targets, neutral distractors. While three subcategories were included in the TDG condition: (1) positive and neutral targets (and distractors), (2) positive and negative targets (and distractors), (3) negative and neutral targets (and distractors). We then did relevant analyses to answer the following three questions: 1) did grouping strategy improve tracking performance compared to homogenous condition? 2) did pairing strategy affect the overall tracking performance? 3) did eyebrows of the face images affect facial expression processing which further affect tracking performance?
    We found similar results in the two experiments: (1) grouping improved tracking performance significantly, compared with homogenous condition; (2) targets with negative expression improved tracking performance significantly, compared with either positive targets or homogenous conditions, indicating an attention bias to negative expression; (3) shared identities between targets and distractors impaired tracking performance, compared with homogenous condition; (4) absence of eyebrows in facial images did not affect processing of negative expressions.
    In conclusion, we examined grouping strategy in MIT using facial expression as object identities. Our results showed that targets with negative expressions improved tracking performance significantly compared with positive and neural expressions, indicating an attention bias to negative attention. People can not only effectively use location and physical properties information of objects during multiple objects tracking found in previous studies, but also more ecological facial expression information. Our study also provides a new way of investigating perception of facial expressions of emotions in dynamic scenes.
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    Interaction between spatial domain and spatial reference frame in deaf and hearing populations
    WANG Aijun, SHEN Lu, CHI Yingying, LIU Xiaole, CHEN Qi, ZHANG Ming
    2016, 48 (2):  153-162.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2016.00153
    Abstract ( 697 )   PDF (533KB) ( 42 )  


    Spatial location of an object can be represented in the human brain based on allocentric and egocentric reference frames. The perception/action hypothesis of the ventral and dorsal visual streams proposed that egocentric representations are readily encoded in the dorsal stream as sensorimotor representations, and allocentric representations are encoded in the ventral stream as perceptual representations. In addition, the dorsal visual stream, which transforms visual information into sensorimotor representations is implicated in near-space processing, and the ventral stream, which transforms visual information into perceptual representations is involved in the conscious perception of objects in far space. It has been well documented that how the spatial domain and spatial reference frame works, separately. However, it remains poorly understood how the spatial domain interacts with spatial reference frame, especially for the deaf populations. In present study, we synchronously operated different spatial domains (near vs. far) and different spatial reference frames (egocentric vs. allocentric) to investigate the potential interactions in deaf and hearing populations.
    By asking 17 congenitally deaf participants and 17 hearing participants to perform allocentric and egocentric judgment tasks on the same stimulus set in near and far spaces, respectively, forming a 2 by 2 factorial design in Experiment 1. The stimuli in each trial contained two 3-D objects: a fork on the top of a round orange plate. In near space, stimuli were presented on a screen with the eye-to-screen distance as 50 cm, and in far space, stimuli were presented via a projector on a screen with the eye-to-screen distance as 226 cm. Retinotopic sizes of the objects and visual angles of the egocentric and allocentric distances were both matched for near and far spaces. To test the sense of balance was impaired in the deaf group of the present experiment, we asked both groups to perform a open loop pointing test in Experiment 2.
    The main results showed that there were different interaction patterns between deaf and hearing participants. The interaction between spatial domain and spatial reference frame was significant in deaf participants. RTs to targets in allocentric judgment tasks were significantly longer than RTs to targets in egocentric judgment tasks when targets appeared in the far space, t(16) = 2.13, p < 0.05, d = 0.75, and in the near space, t(16) = 3.93, p = 0.001, d = 1.38. The interaction between spatial domain and spatial reference frame was also significant in hearing participants. RTs to targets in allocentric judgment tasks were significantly shorter than RTs to targets in egocentric judgment tasks when targets appeared in the far space, t(16) = 3.64, p < 0.005, d = 0.64. However, there was no significant interaction between spatial domain and spatial reference frame when targets appeared in the near space, t(16) = 1.55, p > 0.05. In addition, the results of Experiment 2 indicated that the difference between deaf and hearing participants was not due to the sense of balance was impaired in the deaf participants.
    We concluded that the interaction between spatial domain and spatial reference frame was altered after early deafness, resulting in generating the different interaction patterns between deaf and hearing participants.
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    The interaction between emotional concept processing and emotional face perception
    LIU Wenjuan, SHEN Manqiong, LI Ying, WANG Ruiming
    2016, 48 (2):  163-173.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2016.00163
    Abstract ( 2494 )   PDF (598KB) ( 94 )  
    There are two theories concerning conceptual representation: One is the Amodal Symbol Systems and the other is Modal Symbol Systems. The former one holds that the representation of a concept is amodal and consists of abstract symbols. The abstract symbols are independent from the sensorimotor experience. The latter one is based on embodied cognition and holds that conceptual representation is built on sensorimotor simulation. There are interaction between conceptual processing and perceptual processing. The sensorimotor experience has great influence on the representation of concrete and abstract concepts. The representation of concrete concepts has attained many supports from a mass of studies. However, abstract concepts cannot be associated with sensorimotor experience directly and the representation of abstract concepts is still under-explored. One of the critical questions concerning abstract conception is whether the relationship between conceptual processing and perceptual processing is symmetric or asymmetric. In our experiments, we use emotional concepts and emotional faces to address this question.
    All the experiments were carried out using E-prime1.0. In experiment 1, emotional faces were presented to the participants and they were told to judge the valence of the faces. Participants also judged the target emotional face that following the emotional words. The results showed that there was interaction between emotional concept processing and emotional face perception on the deep semantic level. The relationship between emotional concept processing and emotional face perception was symmetric. In order to further explore the influence of semantic depth on emotional concept processing and emotional face perception, we changed the valence judgment task to pseudo-words judgment task in Experiment 2 so as to ensure that readers would only engage in shallow semantic processing in this task. We found then that concept processing affected the processing of emotional face, but not vice versa. Their relationship was asymmetric.
    According to the two experiment results, we can conclude that the depth of semantic processing affected the relationship between emotional concept processing and emotional face perception. These results, along with others in the literature, indicate that conceptual processing uses sensorimotor representation, and that the depth of semantic processing affects the relationship between emotional concept processing and emotional face perception. In experiment 3, we further explored the depth of perceptual processing on this relationship. We changed face duration in experiment 3 and we found that when emotional face duration was shortened, emotional face perception did not affect emotion concept processing, and vice versa. There was no interaction between emotional concept processing and emotional face perception. Thus, our results suggested that the depth of perceptual processing also had an influence on the relationship between emotional concept processing and emotional face perception.

    In summary, the interaction between emotional concept and emotional face perception existed in the deep semantic level and deep perceptual processing level. The depth of semantic processing and perceptual processing affected the relationship between emotional concept processing and emotional face perception.

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    Cognitive mechanisms of the emotional attentional blink: Evidence from behavior and ERPs
    JIA Lei, ZHANG Chang-Jie, ZHANG Qing-lin
    2016, 48 (2):  174-184.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2016.00174
    Abstract ( 1665 )   PDF (588KB) ( 125 )  
    The emotional attentional blink (EAB) refers to a specific limitationreduced ability to report the second of two targets (T2) in a stream of distractors if it appears within 200-500 msec following the first target (T1). This effect is known as attentional blink (AB). However, when emotional/ affective stimulus is used as T1 and T2 is neutral, the AB effect can be strengthened. This specific effect of attentional blink is emotional attentional blink (EAB). Compared with the standard AB effect, the EAB has its unique characteristics. For example, the stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) between T1 and T2 in EAB could be less than that in standard attentional blink (e.g., ≤134 msec; Stein et al., 2009). Nevertheless, the task of T1 recognition should be aimed at the dimension of emotional process. of humans' attention system that consciously perception ability of target stimuli distributed across time is reduced by emotional/affective processes. Under conditions of rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP), participants usually display a significant
    Although recent behavior studies have provided much evidence about the process of EAB, details about the cognitive neural mechanisms of EAB are still unknown. Therefore, this research aimed to examine the cognitive neural processing mechanisms of the EAB and verify the divergences between views of the Bottleneck Theory (Martens & Wyble, 2010; Zhang & Wang, 2009) and the Overinvestment theory (as well as the Boost and Bounce Theory; Olivers & Meeter, 2008; Olivers & Nieuwenhuis, 2006).
    To achieve this purpose, the present study employed a modified dual-task RSVP paradigm referred from the Study 1 of Stein et al. (2009). Moreover, the technology of event related potentials (ERPs) was used to examine the fast neural process of the EAB. In this RSVP stream, emotional faces (three conditions: fear faces, neutral faces, and face absent) were used as T1, and pictures of house scene (neutral: outdoor vs. indoor) were used as T2 stimuli. Participants were instructed to recognize T1 and T2 when the visual stream was presented. Once the visual stream disappeared, participants had to make judgment of T1 and T2 based on their categories or features. Meanwhile, EEG/ERPs from the facial recognition of T1 to the scene recognition of T2 were recorded and off-line analyzed.

    The results of the final behavioral data analysis revealed that the condition of emotion T1 (fear faces) led to a significant reduction in the efficiency of T2 recognition, which was much lower than that in the conditions of neutral T1 (neutral faces) and T1 missing. These behavioral results indicated a typical EAB effect. In addition, the ERPs results provided the first evidence for the process of the EAB. In this research, we focused on the P3 components of the two processing stages of T1 and T2, respectively. Because these P3 components indexed the resource of attention in central processing. The final results showed that compared with other stimuli conditions (neutral T1 and T1 absent), the P3 amplitudes evoked by emotion T1 and T2 presentation were both enhanced. This effect should deny the resource bottleneck between the T1 and T2 competition but support the emotional/affective overinvestment in EAB. Based on these results, the neural mechanisms of EAB were discussed.

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    The role of collective perception of school psychological environment in grades 4~6 students’ academic achievement
    ZHOU Cuimin; TAO Sha; LIU Hongyun; WANG Cuicui; QI Xue; DONG Qi;The Project Team of National Children’s Study of China
    2016, 48 (2):  185-198.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2016.00185
    Abstract ( 2014 )  
    School psychological environment (i.e., school climate) has been well documented as an important predictor for student academic achievement and social-emotional adjustment. Most previous studies examined the roles of school psychological environment at individual student level, and there is a paucity of research on the roles of the school-level psychological environment. As a vital context for student learning and development, the school-level psychological environment may contribute to students’ academic achievement uniquely beyond individual student’s perception and constitute a unique indicator for school effectiveness. This study aimed to examine the unique roles of students’ collective perception of school psychological environment beyond individual student’s perception in elementary school students’ academic achievement, motivation and attitude. Moreover, this study extended the investigation on the protecting effects of school psychological environment from attenuating the gaps between family background to the gaps between school characteristics (i.e., location, teacher quality and student collective socio-economic status).
    Based on the national representative data from the National Children’s Study of China, the collective perception of school psychological environment was measured on school safety and discipline, acceptance and support, equality and fairness, autonomy and cooperation among 12023 4th – 6th graders from 421 elementary schools, 100 counties across the 31 provinces. Other 10826 students from the same grades in the same schools completed a questionnaire about their perception of school psychological environment. Their academic achievement was measured by a questionnaire on academic motivation and attitude, as well as by the standardized tests on reading and mathematics.
    Multi-level modeling showed that: (a) There were considerable variances between schools on student’s academic test scores (33.3%), motivation and attitude (10.0%) in grades 4~6. (b) The collective perception of psychological environment at school level significantly accounted for unique parts of variances of both academic test scores and motivation and attitude even controlling for students’ grade, gender, family background, school location, school teacher education level, school collective socioeconomic status and students’ perception of school psychological environment at individual level. The collective perception of school psychological environment accounted for much more variances of academic test scores than academic motivation and attitude. (c) The roles of students’ collective perception of school psychological environment in students’ academic achievement, motivation and attitude were partially mediated by individual student’s perception of school psychological environment (16.7%, and 54.2% respectively). (d) The collective perception of school psychological environment significantly attenuated the gaps in academic motivation and attitude from school teachers’ education level and school collective family income level, and the gaps in academic test scores from school location, school teachers’ education level and school collective family education level.

    In conclusion, the collective perception of school psychological environment played important and direct roles in students’ academic achievement, especially for students from more disadvantaged schools. Findings from this study suggested that the collective perception of school psychological environment is an important indicator for assessing basic education quality.

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    Self-love and other-love: Research on the relationships among narcissism, empathy and implicit altruism
    HE Ning; ZHU Yunli
    2016, 48 (2):  199-210.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2016.00199
    Abstract ( 3948 )  
    Narcissism (narcissistic personality disorder or narcissistic personality trait) has long been characterized in the clinical and nonclinical literature by a lack of empathy. Although a large body of empirical studies link empathy to altruism as the trigger for prosocial behaviors, few studies have directly explored the relationships among narcissism, empathy and altruism. Here, we present two experiments that examined the relationships among these three dimensions and provide insights into the narcissists’ state empathy and its association with their altruistic tendencies.
    The total sample comprised 173 undergraduates divided into two groups, narcissists and non-narcissists, based on their responses to the Narcissistic Personality Inventory. Adopting split-half methods, participants scoring above the average were identified as narcissists and those below as non-narcissists. In study 1, the Interpersonal Reactivity Index–C and the Implicit Association Test were applied to compare the two groups on measures of empathy and implicit altruism. Narcissists were hypothesized to demonstrate lower levels of empathy and weaker tendencies of implicit altruism compared to non-narcissists. In study 2, a video was employed to investigate state empathy and its connection to implicit altruism. A 2 (narcissism: narcissists vs. non-narcissists) × 2 (experimental treatment: priming vs. control) design was applied, with participants randomly assigned into the two experimental conditions. The second hypothesis was that the priming of empathy would increase the empathy and implicit altruism of narcissists, whereas non-narcissists would be unaffected.
    In Study 1, narcissists demonstrated lower levels of emotional (but not cognitive) empathy, and of implicit altruism, compared to their non-narcissistic counterparts. In Study 2, a significantly higher level of state empathy and implicit altruism among narcissists emerged after priming compared to the control group, suggesting that narcissists are able to produce emotionally appropriate responses to others when primed. Further, ANOVA analyses revealed that the elevation of emotional empathy elicited through priming contributed to the enhancement of overall empathy for narcissists. Conversely, non-narcissists were unaffected by the priming.

    This is the first empirical study to test the narcissism–empathy relationship hypothesis proposed by Stone (1998), who argued that there could be separable aspects of ability and willingness that affect narcissistic individuals’ empathic functioning. Some narcissistic individuals may have intact empathic ability, but choose to disengage from others’ pain or distress. These findings extend the empirical evidence of empathy and altruism in terms of individual differences, and contribute to the understanding of mechanisms underlying prosocial behavior among narcissists. Narcissism is essentially emotional and motivational in nature, and emotionally based priming appears to bear particularly strong promise for increasing altruistic behaviors among narcissists. The results suggest possible pathways to practical improvement in the lack of empathy among narcissistic individuals.

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    Money or romance: How should companies lead consumers in we-media sharing?
    HUANG Minxue; LEI Lei; ZHU Huawei
    2016, 48 (2):  211-220.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2016.00211
    Abstract ( 1981 )  
    Company we-media is a new information dissemination channel which is developing quickly in the mobile internet environment. This communication channel weakens the impact of companies’ direct communication with their consumers but strengthens the mutual influence among consumers. Compared to information from company, consumers rely more on other consumers’ comments when making their decision. In such environment, companies need to consider how to facilitate the communication among consumers (e.g., how to choose information exposed to consumers; how to motivate consumers to share information with their peers). Since different consumers may have interest in different content, we explore the moderating effect of relationship norms on the relationship between we-media content and consumers’ intent to share.
    To get some preliminary insights, we collected 20 companies’ micro-blog posts and coded them as either emotional posts or economic posts. The analysis of this secondary data showed that company’s fans (nonfans) shared more emotional (economic) posts.
    We conducted two laboratory studies to further examine our hypothesis. In study 1, we used a 2 (Relationship norms: exchange vs. communal) × 3 (Economic information: no discount, 65% discount, 85% discount) between-subject design. Results indicated that participants in exchange (vs. communal) norm conditions were more willing to share economical information, and that this effect is driven by participants’ motivation to help company in return. In study 2, we examine the moderating role of relationship norm in the effect of emotional information on consumers’ sharing intention. A 2 (Relationship norms: exchange vs. communal) × 2 (Emotional information: product information, emotional information) between-subject design is used. As expected, the results showed that participants in communal (vs. exchange) norm condition were more motivated to get better social interaction with other consumers and hence more willing to share emotional information.

     Our findings enrich literature about company’s communication in social media by focusing on consumers’ sharing behavior rather than purchases. First, this study provides a new perspective on company communication by differentiating the content into two types: economical information and emotional information. Second, present paper examined the impact of relationship norm in the domain of company communication by showing that consumers in different relationship norm might share different information. Third, we delineate the underlying mechanism of the interactive effect of information type and relationship norm by examining consumers’ sharing motivation. Besides theoretical contribution aforementioned, this study also provides useful implications for companies to utilize the social networks.

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