ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B


    30 July 2009, Volume 41 Issue 07 Previous Issue    Next Issue

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    The Time Course of World Knowledge Integration in Sentence Comprehension
    JIN Hua,ZHONG Wei-Fang,XU Gui-Ping,CAI Meng-Xian,YANG Yu-Fang,MO Lei
    2009, 41 (07):  565-571. 
    Abstract ( 1385 )  
    Using a violation paradigm, Hagoort et al. observed that world knowledge and word meaning are integrated simultaneously at the end of a sentence. The present study was intended to track the time course of integration of world knowledge in sentence comprehension when world knowledge is embedded in a sentence rather than at the sentence end.
    The materials used were four-word sentences. The second word in the sentences was the target word that could contain information leading to semantic or world knowledge violations. Event-related brain potentials (ERPs) induced by the last three words in each sentence were recorded and compared across three conditions, the word meaning violation condition, the world knowledge violation condition, and the non-violation normal congruence condition.
    Compared with non-violation congruous sentences, presentation of the target message in world knowledge violation sentences immediately evoked a typical N400. As the sentence unfolded, the subsequent words in the sentence did not produce similar N400 effect except at the sentence end when a negative N400-like component was observed. It is noted that while the N400 evoked by the violation target words showed no obvious hemispheric asymmetry, the one evoked by the ending words showed right hemisphere dominance. Compared with word meaning violation sentences, there were no other ERP waveform differences except that the N400 amplitude was much smaller for world knowledge violation than word meaning violation.
    The results indicate that world knowledge, similar to word meaning, could be integrated instantly as the sentence unfolds during sentence comprehension and outcome of this integration process does not affect processing of subsequent information. Integrated world knowledge manifested earlier could be reactivated however when the reader reaches the sentence end and makes judgment about the facticity of the whole sentence.
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    Categorical Perception of VOT and Lexical Tones in Chinese and the Developmental Course
    XI Jie,JIANG Wei,ZHANG Lin-Jun,SHU Hua
    2009, 41 (07):  572-579. 
    Abstract ( 1597 )  
    Speech perception focuses on the mapping between properties of the acoustic signals and linguistic elements such as phonemes. One of the most important features of speech perception is the phenomenon known as categorical perception (CP) that the continuous sensory inputs are coded categorically. CP has an important influence on the developmental time course of speech perception. Although a large amount of research on CP has been conducted in English and other languages, CP (especially its developmental course) in Chinese has been barely studied. Chinese is a tonal language with some specific phonetic characteristics, such as strong aspiration with long positive voice onset time (VOT) and lexical tones characterized by syllable-level f0 contours. However, the questions such as whether the perception of VOT and lexical tones in Chinese is categorical and how they develop with age are still unaddressed. Using the stimuli of VOT and tone continua created by Klatt, the present two studies investigated CP of VOT and lexical tones in Chinese and their developmental course.
    Using the classical identification and discrimination paradigm, study 1 investigated the perception of Chinese lexical tone continua and VOT continua in adults. The study was comprised of 4 experiments which included identification and discrimination of VOT and tone respectively. Stimuli were presented to 20 adult subjects in each experiment. The results demonstrated that the perceptions of VOT and lexical tones are both categorical for Chinese adults.
    Study 2 further investigated the developmental course of Chinese phonetic categorization across lexical tone and VOT continua. The experimental design of this study is a 2 (entity stimuli: VOT, lexical tone) by 4 (age: 5ys, 6ys, 7ys, adults) mixed experiment design. The former was a within-subject factor, while the latter was a between-subject one. Results from Study 2 revealed that six-year-old children already acquired adult-like lexical tone CP competence, but even 7-year-old children were not as good as adults when doing CP of VOT tasks. Therefore, it is proposed that CP of lexical tones is acquired earlier than CP of VOT in Chinese. Further analysis of the correlation between the 2 phonological characteristics showed that they are not correlated with each other. Thus, it is suggested that these two phonetic characteristics are distinct and go through different developmental courses. CP of lexical tone seems to be a phonetic characteristic that is easier to acquire than CP of VOT in Chinese.
    In conclusion, the findings demonstrated that: (1) the perceptions of both VOT and lexical tones in Chinese are typically categorical for adults; (2) there are different developmental courses for CP of lexical tones and VOT in Chinese. According to the theory proposed by Burnham, we conclude that the Chinese lexical tone is a “robust” contrast and is categorically perceived in early childhood; in contrast, VOT is a “fragile” contrast that requires more time to develop.
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    The Lexical Access of Individual Classifiers in Language Production and Comprehension
    ZHANG Ji-Jia,LIU Hong-Yan
    2009, 41 (07):  580-593. 
    Abstract ( 1603 )  
    The individual classifier, a kind of determiner, is a unique grammatical class of Chinese words. There are two theories explaining the lexical access of determiners: direct selection hypothesis and indirect selection hypothesis. Direct selection hypothesis assumes that the selection of determiners is an automatic process, directly retrieved syntactic or semantic information from their own nodes. The indirect selection hypothesis asserts that the selection of determiners is a competitive process, indirectly retrieved syntactic or semantic information from their headwords. This study focused on the lexical access of individual classifiers in language production and comprehension. As the individual classifiers are a kind of the closest determiners of nouns, some of them even have fixed relationships with nouns.
    Three experiments investigated the lexical access of individual classifiers during the production of noun phrases, the production of bare nouns, and the comprehension of noun phrases. In Experiment 1 (N = 31), a picture-word interference paradigm was conducted to study the selection of individual classifiers in NP production. On the one hand, utterance onset latencies in NP production were longer when the distractors and the target pictures had different individual classifiers than when they had the same individual classifiers; on the other hand, utterance onset latencies were found longer when the distractors were semantically related to the targets than those were not. It indicated that the picture naming task was inhibited by the semantic relationships between targets and distractors but facilitated by the consistency of their classifiers. In addition, this facilitation can be found even when the SOA was set from 0ms till 100ms. Such a result indicated that the classifiers can be activated in the early stage during NP production and can persist for a short time.
    In Experiment 2 (N = 25), the picture-word interference paradigm was again conducted to study the activation of individual classifiers in noun production. It showed the same tendencies as that achieved during bare noun production.
    In Experiment 3 (N = 25), the priming paradigm was used with 2(types of noun phrase) × 2(types of classifiers) × 3(SOA) within-subjects design to investigate the lexical access in language comprehension. The results of experiment 3 showed that the reaction time of unmatched classifier noun phrased was longer than the matched ones. It indicated that access of the priming words can activate not only the targets but also the information of classifiers.
    According to the achieved results, a theory called “dual-systems and dual-election combination network” of classifier lexical access was proposed. That is, there are two systems in the mental lexicon of Chinese speakers: the system of individual nouns and the system of individual classifiers. Because of the parsimony law in mental process, the indirect route would be chosen under most occasions. This study supplemented the theory of Chinese lexical access theory, and suggested that teaching classifiers with nouns together can expedite learning and help identifying/recalling or using individual classifiers.
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    ERP Study on Effects of Emotion on Auditory Response Conflict Monitoring
    YU Feng-Qiong,YUAN Jia-Jin,LUO Yue-Jia
    2009, 41 (07):  594-601. 
    Abstract ( 1344 )  
    As a central element of executive function, response inhibition includes four main components, namely, stimuli analysis, response selection, conflict monitoring, and behavior inhibition (Lin, Deng, Sun, & Li, 2007;Goldstein, et al. , 2007). Two successive components, frontal-central N2 and central-parietal P3, are widely accepted as indices reflecting conflict monitoring and response inhibition, respectively. Recently, neural mechanisms underlying the interaction of emotion and behavior control have become the focus of a variety of studies. The present study aimed to explore the neural correlates of the influence of auditory emotions on response inhibition, which may provide an insight into our understanding of the interaction of emotion and executive function.
    50 kinds of positive, neutral and negative voice pieces were selected as emotional prime materials. 400HZ and 1400 HZ tones were used as Go/Nogo signals. Block design method was adopted according to the valence of emotional context. Therefore, the experiment was divided into three blocks: negative, neutral and positive. The sound used in each block shared the same valence and induced a kind of emotion. The presentation of emotional sound which lasted for 5000ms was followed by the onset of Go/Nogo signal. The presentation of Go and Nogo tones were terminated by a key pressing or when it elapsed for 300ms. ERPs were recorded for Go and Nogo signals during a typical Go / Nogo task. At the end of each block, participants were asked to fill the Positive Affect and Negative Affect Schedule, in order to measure their subjective affective feelings (Watson D, Clark L A, & Tellegen A, 1988).
    The behavioral data demonstrated the longest response latency under the negative prime than under positive and neutral prime conditions, whereas the latter two conditions showed no differences. Moreover, prominent N1 component was elicited during Go and Nogo conditions, irrespective of the valence of emotional primes. N1 amplitudes were larger with neutral prime than with positive and negative primes. More importantly, clear N2 and P3 activity was mainly observed in the Nogo task, and there was a significant interaction effect of prime valence and task types on N2 amplitudes. The amplitudes of Nogo N2 were significantly compromised with positive and negative primes as compared to neutral primes.
    Therefore, the auditory emotional inducement has an effect on the response execution, and audition-induced emotions significantly impact the monitoring of response conflicts.
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    Comprehension of Verbal Communication Strategies Characterized by Chinese Primary School Students with Learning Disabilities: A Developmental Study
    YAN Rong,YU Guo-Liang
    2009, 41 (07):  602-612. 
    Abstract ( 1341 )  
    Verbal communication strategy(VCS) refers to the programmed knowledge applied by individuals to comprehend and express intentions in their achievement of communicative objectives according to social conventions. Even though the mechanism of VCS has been intensely studied over the past decade, very little is known about how LD children comprehend VCS from a developmental perspective. It is still controversial that LD children are developmentally retarded than NLD children owing to different approaches to measure VCS comprehension level. Using VCS comprehension scenarios, this study aims to explore the development of VCS comprehension skills characterized by Chinese learning-disabled children(Grade 3-6) in primary schools. It also examined the effect of speech act on LD children’s comprehension performance.
    117 LD children and 124 Non-LD children participated in this study. They were randomly chosen from two primary schools in Beijing. The testing materials are composed of 4 relevant scenarios and 4 filler scenarios. Each scenario was related to a face-threatening communication context. Two versions of each relevant scenario were created to manipulate the type of the strategy used in the conversation. One half of the time the speaker was adopting a request strategy to make a request; the reminder of the time the speaker was using a reply strategy to make a response to the question raised by the other peer. For each version, two different remarks were used to manipulate the directness for the expression of instrumental intention, aiming to save the hearer’s face. Dependent measures were analyzed with a 4×2×2×2(Grade×Group×Strategy type×Intention Expression) analysis of variance(ANOVA), with repeated measures on strategy type and expression of intention.
    The results indicated that LD children were developmentally retarded than those without learning disabilities in their global comprehension level. However, their developmental trajectory varied with specific speech act type and the delay was only manifested in those strategies with higher degree of indirectness for intention expression.
    The present study provided a new perspective to examine the social skills of LD children. Social behavior is conducted through the utilization of language, such as understanding and formulating requests or replies to achieve personal goals and make coordinated social actions. As expected, LD children exhibited significant difficulties in comprehending appropriate verbal messages to their peers in response to the changing social contexts, in that producing verbal massages can be a demanding cognitive task that requires not only basic linguistic knowledge, but also elaborate inferences about the partner and the situation. The above results suggest that pragmatic knowledge should be taken into consideration for the improvement of LD children’s social skills.
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    Family Income and Social Competence in Early Childhood: Examining Mediation and Moderation Effects
    ZHANG Xiao,CHEN Hui-Chang,ZHANG Yin-Na,SUN Bing-Hai
    2009, 41 (07):  613-623. 
    Abstract ( 2263 )  
    Family income plays a crucial role in child development, which has been recognized by a majority of developmental psychologists. Previous research indicated that although family poverty serves as a risk factor in children’s development, warm and cohesive family environment protects low-income children from poor developmental outcomes. However, previous research mainly focused on children’s ill-being as outcomes, while less attention has been devoted to their well-being. The aim of the present study was to investigate the associations between family income and children’s social competence in early childhood. Furthermore, through examining the mediating role of family socio-cultural environment and the moderating role of family affective environment in the associations between family income and children’s social competence, the present research also represents a specific program to identify the mechanisms underlying the effect of family income.
    Based on a sample of 325 preschoolers aged 3 to 5 and their mothers and teachers, the present study examined the associations between family income, child general social competence, quality of teacher-child relationships and family environment. Hierarchical regression analyses were applied to detect the effects of family income on children’s social competence as well as the mediating role of family socio-cultural environment and the moderating role of family affective environment in the effects of family income.
    Results indicated that after controlling for the effects of child gender, grade and parental education, family income displayed a main effect on general social competence as well as on quality of teacher-child relationships, in which high-income children were more socially competent than their low-income counterparts. Family intellectual-cultural and active-recreational orientations served to mediate the association between family income and child general social competence, and family control served to moderate this association in that high family control predicted a positive association (simple slope = 2.63, p < 0.05) while low family control predicted no significant association between family income and child general social competence. Additionally, family control and family conflict also served to moderate the association between family income and quality of teacher-child relationships in that high family control and conflict predicted a positive association between them (simple slope = 6.33, p = 0.001; simple slope = 5.60, p < 0.01) while low family control and conflict predicted no significant association.
    These findings highlight the importance of examining the role of family income in child development in modern China, and of expanding the existing research on family income by underlying the role of family environment in the effect of family income on children’s social well-being.
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    The Relation Between Vocabulary Comprehension and Spatial Orientation in Older Adults: A Cross-Lagged Regression Analysis
    PENG Hua-Mao,WANG Da-Hua,SHEN Ji-Liang,Lin Chong-De
    2009, 41 (07):  624-629. 
    Abstract ( 1332 )  
    New findings in the Seattle Longitudinal Study showed that vocabulary comprehension could predict some cognitively impaired, including spatial ability, memory, and speed, and so on. It may be concerned that if vocabulary comprehension can predict the age related change of other primary mental abilities. The findings from research of the aging of Primary Mental Abilities showed that spatial orientation and inductive reasoning declined with age growth and verbal abilities retained stable until 70 years old. Salthouse distinguished these two aspects of cognition as process and product. Process refers to the efficiency or effectiveness of processing at the time of assessment. Product refers to the accumulated products of processing carried out in the past. The interaction between process (such as spatial) and product (such as vocabulary) in aging is one of the issues needing to be clarified in the study of cognitive aging. As an index of knowledge, the role of vocabulary comprehension in cognitive process as spatial orientation is also concerned in this study.
    Verbal explanation and mental rotation task were chosen to measure vocabulary comprehension and spatial orientation, respectively. 240 people 60 years old or above in Beijing were assessed at Time 1 and 171 at Time 2. The data of 144 elders were final accepted to analysis according to the reaction accuracy. There was no education level difference among different age groups.
    Repeatedly measure ANOVA showed that vocabulary decreased and spatial increased after 20 months even controlled standard error of measurement of pretest performance. Cross-lagged regression analysis based on vocabulary and spatial showed that vocabulary at Time 1 can predict spatial at Time 2, β=-0.17; on the contrary, spatial can not predict vocabulary. There was no difference among the gain of practice effects in spatial of participants with different vocabulary levels (high, middle, and low).
    These findings suggest that the maintaining or increasing vocabulary comprehension can protect against spatial aging. There is interaction between process and product in the change with time, and product as well as knowledge may be a migrator in age-related change of process.
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    The Cognitive Characteristics of Pathological Internet Users in Different Emotional Modes
    ZHENG Xi-Fu
    2009, 41 (07):  630-638. 
    Abstract ( 1857 )  
    PIU(Pathological Internet Use) or the Internet Addiction Disorder(IAD),the problematic Internet Use, the incidence of which is about 6%~14%. It’s a mental barrier among young people that has received public attention. STROOP paradigm was adopted in the initial research of the cognitive characteristics of PIU. It was found that the RT of PIU subjects on Internet-related words and emotional words were longer than normal group. They can speculate if there may be cognitive processing and emotional processing through RT. However, these paradigms couldn’t ensure the basic characteristics of the cognitive and emotional processing.
    A total of 454 college students were chosen according to the Adolescent Pathological Internet Use Scale (APIUS), of which 31 were PIU students as the subjects of this experiment. Another 31 students were selected randomly from the non-PIU subjects as the control group. There was no significant difference between the two groups in gender and age. The experimental materials were 60 pictures connected with words. Each first character had 3 alternative last characters ranging from positive, neutral to negative to form 2-character word. The positions of the last character were random in the experiment. The subjects were required to choose the proper character. Their choices and the RT are recorded. The research adopted a 3(positive, negative or neutral)×2(priming types: happy, sad, non-priming)×2 (PIU and non-PIU ) mixed design. The group with PIU/non-PIU was the between-subjects design, others were the within-subjects designs.
    There was a significant difference among the three sorts of words, For all the subjects,65.34% of the words they chose were positive words, 21.1% were neutral words, 13.5% were negative words. The PIU subjects chose less positive words but more negative words than the non-PIU group. the subjects with or without PIU chose positive words more (there was a significant difference), and negative words less (there was a significant difference in the non-PIU group, but not in the PIU subjects). There was a significant difference in the chosen of positive words between PIU group and the non-PIU group in the sad priming. In different priming types, however, there was only a nearly significant difference for negative words between the two groups. There was a significant difference among the RT of different type of words: the RT of negative words was the longest; the RT of positive words was the shortest. The RT for the positive words of PIU subjects was longer than the non-PIU group, but shorter for the neutral words and negative words and the difference was significant. For the two groups, the RT in the happy priming was the longest, that in the no-priming one was the second, and that in the sad priming was shortest. But only in the condition of happy priming, the PIU subjects chose more quickly than those from another group, there was a significant difference but not in other priming conditions. In the sad priming condition, the RT for the positive words of PIU subjects were longer than neutral and negative words. In other priming conditions, there was no significant difference between the RT of two groups.
    All the subjects chose the positive words most and the negative least, which showed a cognitive choose tendency of which is “happy approach and pain avoidance”. The PIU group chose less positive words but more negative words than the non-PIU group,. In the happy priming condition, the choice of negative words was increased for all the subjects ,but in sad priming condition , the choice of positive words was increased. In the condition of sadness priming, PIU students chose less positive words and more negative words than non-PIU students. All the subjects chose positive words most quickly, and negative words most slowly. Compared with the non-PIU students, PIU students chose positive words more slowly, negative words and the neutral words more quickly. The RT of both groups was longest in the condition of happy priming, least in the sadness priming. In the condition of the happy priming, the RT of PIU subjects were shorter than non-PIU subjects, but the opposite in the sadness condition. In the condition of sad priming, the PIU student spent more time choosing the positive words and less time choosing the negative words than another group.
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    Team Learning, Transactive Memory System and Performance: A Longitudinal Study Based on IMOI Approach
    MO Shen-Jiang,XIE Xiao-Yun
    2009, 41 (07):  639-648. 
    Abstract ( 2045 )  
    The past few decades, interest in team learning behavior has increased significantly. Most of previous studies paid attention to the effects of learning behavior on group outcomes, but less work was done on how the effect takes place. In other words, the mechanism which transfers the learning behavior into group effectiveness was far from straightforward. The present study seeks to examine the mediating effect of transactive memory system (TMS) on the relation between team learning and performance; and analyzes the dynamic mechanisms of team learning within a time series framework. We employed an input-mediating-output-input (IMOI) approach as proposed by Ilgen et al. (2005), instead of the traditional input-process-output (I-P-O) model in industrial & organizational psychology.
    Data was collected from an operational business-planning competition held in a comprehensive university in China. Each group was requested to have 3~8 members, worked together for 6 months, and finally completed a business plan as a team output. Ninety-nine groups were recruited as our initial samples at the first stage, and we obtained the measurement following a field study paradigm. After three months we traced the initial samples and obtained fifty-five groups at the second stage. Finally, based on testing internal consistency of intra-group data, we aggregated the bi-teammate data into group level data at both stages.
    Based upon hierarchical regression analysis, the results show that the mediating effect of TMS on the relation between team learning and performance were promising at both stages, which means the TMS can adequately interpret how team learning influences team performance as a mediator. Another interesting result of this study is that team performance; as an output received at the end of stage one, also acted as an important input variable at stage two, which in turn positively influenced the following team learning process. The circular causal model based on path analysis showed that IMOI approach can be used to interpret organizational mechanisms better than the classic I-P-O approach; the result was consistent with the new trends within the team relevant IO psychological understanding.
    Several theoretical understandings and practical implications were obtained from the present study. Briefly, the results suggest that developing and maintaining a TMS is critical to achieve team outputs under a team learning setting. In addition, performance evaluation and feedback are also important factors within team learning processes from a time series framework. Third, we argued that organizational behavior researches based on an IMOI approach would have more generalizability and ecological validity than traditional I-P-O model.
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    Prefactual Thinking, Regulatory Focus and Unplanned Purchase
    ZHU Hua-Wei,TU Rung-Ting,Lin Cheryl C.J.,Tu Pikuei
    2009, 41 (07):  649-658. 
    Abstract ( 1542 )  
    Unplanned purchase is very pervasive in daily life, which is characterized by the combination of cognition and affect. This study aimed at investigating the question of how to influence consumers’ unplanned purchase decision when they hesitate on whether to buy or not. Previous studies confirmed that prefactual thinking can affect consumers’ behaviors through signifying possible results of a certain behavior. Thus, we proposed that both anticipated regret and anticipated rejoice has the potential to enhance consumers’ unplanned purchase intention. The motivation theory, however, suggests that consumers with different regulatory focuses have different sensitiveness towards gains and losses. Based on that, we proposed that anticipated regret was more effective for prevention-focused consumers, while anticipated rejoice was more effective for promotion-focused consumers. Regarding the mechanism of the effect of prefactual thinking, we drew inspiration from justification theory and proposed that prefactual thinking influences consumers’ judgment of reasonableness of unplanned purchase, through which to influence their unplanned purchase intention.
    This research contained two studies. Study 1 utilized quasi-experiment method with 136 subjects to examine the interactive effects of prefactual thinking and regulatory focus on unplanned purchase intention. In this study, we measured participants’ regulatory focuses and manipulated their prefactual thinking. We used paired t-test to examine the impact of anticipated regret and anticipated rejoice on the change of unplanned purchase intention, and used two-way ANOVA to analyze the interactive effects of prefactual thinking and regulatory focus on subjects’ final unplanned purchase intention and on their intention change. Study 2 was designed as an experiment with 218 subjects to examine the role of justification in the process. In this study, we manipulated both subjects’ regulatory focuses and their prefactual thinking. Like in Study 1, we utilized paired t-test to examine the impact of anticipated regret and anticipated rejoice on the change of unplanned purchase intention, and utilized t-test to examine the influence of prefactual thinking on subjects’ perceptions of gain-related reasons and loss-related reasons. The interactive effects of justification and regulatory focus were tested through regression analysis.
    The results demonstrate that marketers can enhance consumers’ justification perception of the unplanned purchase by designing anticipated rejoice and anticipated regret impetus, through which to enhance their unplanned purchase intention. However, the results indicate that the effectiveness of prefactual thinking varies with consumers’ regulatory focus. Anticipated rejoice is more effective for promotion-focused consumers while anticipated regret is more effective for prevention-focused consumers. We also find that promotion-focused consumers place more emphasis on gain-related reasons when making unplanned purchase decisions, while prevention-focused consumers place more emphasis on loss-related reasons when making unplanned purchase decisions.
    This study broads our understanding on consumer behavior by inquiring into unplanned purchase behavior, which is in the middle of impulsive purchase and planned purchase and characterized by combining both cognition and affect. Furthermore, it is the first to investigate the question of how to affect unplanned purchase behaviors. It can also have managerial implications. First, it reminds managers that consumers’ unplanned purchase can be influenced and managed by designing effective marketing tactics. In order to enhance unplanned purchase intention, retailing managers should encourage consumers to imagine the potential results of purchase or non-purchase. When designing marketing tactics, mangers should keep consumers’ characteristics in mind. They should encourage promotion-focused consumers to imagine the possible pleasure or rejoice of making purchase, and encourage prevention-focused consumers to imagine the possible pain or regret of making non-purchase.
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