ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B


    25 December 2018, Volume 50 Issue 12 Previous Issue    Next Issue

    Reports of Empirical Studies
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    Reports of Empirical Studies
    Neural processing of ambiguous Chinese phrases of stutters
    LI Weijun, LIU Meng, ZHANG Zhenghua, DENG Nali, XING Yushan
    2018, 50 (12):  1323-1335.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2018.01323
    Abstract ( 3868 )  

    Prosodic boundary is an integrative part of spoken language that segments ongoing utterance into prosodic units. These boundaries are correlated with the perception of a pause, a lengthening of the pre-boundary syllable and tonal movement at the end of the phrase. Stuttering is characterized by involuntary disruptions in the flow and rhythm of speech, which was reflected by repetitions of words, sounds or syllables, prolongations and silent blocks. Behavioral response and neural processing results in the past few years indicated that adults who stutters exhibit processing differences compared with fluent speakers during syntactic, semantic and phonological (rhyme) processing. However, existing studies did not examine whether stutters encounter difficulty during perception of prosodic boundary.

    The present study aims to explore how stutters and fluent speakers process prosodic boundary of ambiguous Chinese phrases (Verb NP1 Aux NP2) in lexical and structural judgment task using ERPs. We used 168 typical ambiguous Chinese phrases as experimental materials. These phrases were temporarily ambiguous between modifier-noun construction (MNC) and narrative-object structure (NOS). Eighty-four phrases without ambiguity were used as fillers. Twenty-four (20 males) undergraduates/graduates participated in the experiment. They were told to listen carefully to pairs of phrase in two sessions with the same materials. In session one, they completed a lexical judgment task (to determine whether a visually presented word appeared in the pairs of phrase they heard), while in session two they were asked to complete a structural judgment task (to judge whether the pairs of phrase they heard belong to one kind of structure or not). Electrophysiological data were recorded by a set of 64 electrodes from eegmagine (ANT Neuro) according to the extended 10-20 positioning system. EEG data were time-locked to the offset of verb and Aux (de) of the first phrase using a 100-msec pre-stimulus baseline and an averaging time window of 800 msec. We selected two time windows (0~300 ms and 300~600 ms) for statistical analysis in the midline and lateral areas.

    During 0~300 ms, we found that prosodic boundary (v.s. non-boundary) elicited positivity in the midline, F (1, 22) = 24.28, p < 0.001, ηp 2= 0.52, and lateral areas, F (1, 22) = 45.51, p < 0.001, ηp 2= 0.67. Besides, the interaction between Structure and Boundary was significant in the midline, F (1, 22) = 5.84, p < 0.05, ηp 2= 0.21, and lateral areas, F (1, 22) = 4.18, p = 0.053, ηp 2= 0.16. Simple effect analysis indicated that prosodic boundary elicited positive effect for MNC in the midline, while in the lateral areas prosodic boundary elicited positivity for both of NOS and MNC, F (1, 22) = 10.35, p < 0.005, ηp 2= 0.32; F (1, 22) = 29.69, p < 0.001, ηp 2= 0.57. During 300~600 ms, we found that prosodic boundary (v.s. non-boundary) elicited positivity in the midline, F (1, 22) = 36.61, p < 0.001, ηp 2= 0.61, and lateral areas, F (1, 22) = 36.59, p < 0.001, ηp 2= 0.71. Besides, the interaction between Region and Boundary was significant in the midline, F (2, 44) = 10.07, p < 0.005, ηp 2= 0.31, and lateral areas, F (2, 44) = 24.16, p < 0.001, ηp 2= 0.52. Simple effect analysis indicated that although the positivity elicited by prosodic boundary was broadly distributed in the whole scalp area, it was prominent in frontal-central area. More importantly, the interaction between Task, Boundary and Structure was significant in the lateral area, F (2, 44) = 3.95, p < 0.05, ηp 2= 0.15. Simple effect analysis indicated that in lexical judgment task, prosodic boundary of MNP elicited positive shift, F (1, 22) = 23.41, p < 0.001, ηp 2= 0.52, but NOS didn’t, F (1, 22) = 2.47, p = 0.131. However, prosodic boundaries of both MNP and NOS elicited positive effect in structure judgment task, F (1, 22) = 17.02, p < 0.001, ηp 2= 0.44; F (1, 22) = 11.65, p < 0.005, ηp 2= 0.35.

    Overall, we found that stutters and fluent speakers exhibit similar neural process during prosodic boundary processing. This finding was reflected by the fact that the stable CPS was elicited by prosodic boundaries of both MNP and NOS. The positive effect elicited by MNC in an earlier time window was distributed more broadly in scalp than that elicited by NOS in both kinds of task. In a later time window, prosodic boundaries of both MNC and NOS elicited the stable CPS regardless of the kind of experimental task in the midline. In the lateral areas, the CPS was detected in the prosodic boundary of MNC in both kinds of task, whereas the CPS was stably observed at the boundary of NOS in structure judgment task. In conclusion, we contend that stutters and fluent speakers are both sensitive to prosodic boundary and their processing was influenced by the structure of ambiguous phrases and experimental task.

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    Influence of the frequency of fixated words and the number of strokes of parafoveal words on saccadic target selection in Chinese reading
    WANG Yongsheng, ZHAO Bingjie, CHEN Mingjing, LI Xin, YAN Guoli, BAI Xuejun
    2018, 50 (12):  1336-1345.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2018.01336
    Abstract ( 1842 )  

    In alphabetic languages, such as English, the spaces between words are one kind of cue of visual word segmentation that guides the reader in selecting the word center as the saccadic target. Previous studies have shown that in English reading, such visual word boundaries can be extracted from parafoveal vision. However, no visual word boundary serves as a saccadic target for selection in Chinese reading. Most recently, several researchers have claimed that Chinese readers adjust their saccade length to accommodate lexical processing, rather than moving their eyes to specific saccadic targets. The properties of fixated words affect the subsequent saccadic target selection. For example, the saccade length is longer for high- than for low-frequency words. Moreover, parafoveal processing also has an important influence on the modulation of saccade length. Some researchers have nonetheless found that the load of fixated word processing modulates the processing of parafoveal words, where readers then adjust the selection of the next saccade target, though several studies have failed to find an interaction between the fixated word and foveal and parafoveal processing.

    Given the evidence that the frequency of fixated words and the strokes of parafoveal words significantly influence the upcoming saccade length, in the present study, the frequency of fixated words in foveal processing and the strokes of parafoveal words were manipulated to explore the relationship between foveal processing and parafoveal processing on saccade target selection. If the load of processing of fixated words modulates the processing of the word in parafoveal vision, then we predicted that the effect of parafoveal word strokes from adjusting the current saccade length would be more pronounced when the fixated word is processed in high- rather than in low-frequency foveal processing.

    The results showed that participants fixated on low-frequency words for a significantly longer time than for high-frequency words; they fixated on parafoveal words with a low number of strokes for a significantly shorter time than those with a high number of strokes; the saccade length of high-frequency words was longer than that of low-frequency words; the upcoming saccade length in parafoveal vision was significantly longer for words with a low than a high number of strokes; and the location of the initial fixation on words with a low number of strokes was closer to the word centre than with words with a high number of strokes. Unfortunately, we failed to observe significant interactions between these two factors for any eye movement measures used in the present study.

    The results indicate that the frequency of fixated word and the number of strokes of parafoveal words independently affect the selection of saccadic targeting in Chinese reading.

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    Effects of lyrics on the processing of musical emotion: Behavioural and ERP study
    ZHANG Weixia, WANG Wanqi, ZHOU Linshu, JIANG Cunmei
    2018, 50 (12):  1346-1355.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2018.01346
    Abstract ( 8813 )   PDF (472KB) ( 282 )  

    Music and language are unique to the human beings. It has been suggested that music and language have a common origin as an emotional protolanguage. The development of socialisation has resulted in the development of language into a symbolic communication system with explicit semantics. By contrast, music has become an important means of emotional expression. However, whether language with explicit semantics affects the emotional processing of music remains uncertain. Given that songs contain melody and lyrics, previous behavioural studies have focused on songs to analyse the influence of lyrics on the processing of musical emotion. However, several studies have also shown the influence of lyrics, although such findings are relatively contradictory.

    Thus, the current study used behavioural and electrophysiological measurements to investigate the impact of lyrics on the processing of musical emotion. Experiment 1 analysed whether the emotional connotations in music with and without lyrics could be perceived by listeners at the behavioural level. Experiment 2 further investigated whether there are different neural responses to emotions conveyed by melodies with and without lyrics.

    A cross-modal affective priming paradigm was used in Experiments 1 and 2, in which musical excerpts served as the prime and emotional faces as target. To avoid the impact of familiarity, 120 musical stimuli were selected from European opera. Each was sung by a vocalist with and without lyrics, thereby resulting in 240 musical stimuli in two versions as potential prime stimuli. A total of 160 facial expressions affectively congruent or incongruent with the preceding musical stimuli were selected as potential target stimuli. Three pre-tests were conducted to ensure the validity of the stimuli. Eventually, 60 musical stimuli for each music version were selected as the prime stimuli, whilst 120 images were used as the target stimuli, thereby resulting in 240 music-image pairs. To ensure that each stimulus appears only once for each participant, two lists were prepared using a Latin square design. Each prime and target was presented in either the congruent or incongruent condition within each list. Thus, each list comprised 120 trials, with 30 trials in each condition. During the experiment, the two lists were equally distributed across the participants. A total of 40 healthy adults participated in Experiment 1. They were asked to judge as quickly and accurately as possible whether the emotion of the target was happy or sad. The accuracy and reaction time were collected. Meanwhile, 20 healthy adults participated in Experiment 2. They were required to judge whether the emotion between music and image was congruent or incongruent whilst their EEG waveforms were recorded. ERPs were analysed and compared between conditions at the time windows of 250~450 ms and 500~700 ms after the onset of the target.

    The Experiment 1 results showed that when faces were primed by music either with or without lyrics, the participants responded faster and more accurately under affectively congruent condition compared with affectively incongruent condition. This finding indicated that the emotional connotations in music with and without lyrics could both be perceived. The ERP results in Experiment 2 showed that distinct neural mechanisms were activated by music with and without lyrics. Specifically, when faces were primed by music without lyrics, a larger N400 was elicited in response to affectively incongruent pairs than to affectively congruent pairs at the time window of 250~450 ms. However, when faces were primed by music with lyrics, a more positive LPC was observed in response to the affectively incongruent pairs than to the affectively congruent pairs at 500~700 ms. This finding confirms the results of Experiment 1, thereby suggesting that the emotion conveyed by music with and without lyrics could be perceived by the listeners. Moreover, the emotional processing between music with and without lyrics differs in the time course of neural processing. That is, the emotional processing of music with lyrics lagged behind that of music without lyrics.

    In conclusion, the present results suggest that the neural processing of emotional connotations in music without lyrics preceded that of music with lyrics, although the emotional connotations conveyed by music with and without lyrics could both be perceived. These findings also supported theory of musical philosophy, which suggests that music without lyrics can express emotion more immediately and more directly than music with lyrics owing to the lack of “translation” from the propositional system. On the other hand, considering that lyrics influenced the time course of emotional processing in music with lyrics, our results also provide evidence that the emotional processing of music and language may share neural resources to some extent.

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    Cognitive advantage for self-information: Evidence from the orienting network of attention
    GAO Hong, LI Yangzhuo, HU Die, ZHU Min, GAO Xiangping, HU Tianyi
    2018, 50 (12):  1356-1368.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2018.01356
    Abstract ( 2283 )   PDF (3118KB) ( 90 )  

    The cognitive advantage of self-related information using various stimuli has been established in several studies. To explore the mechanism for this effect, this study examined the attention functions in the process of self-related information. By adopting the Attention Network Test (ANT), this study compared the process of self-related information to that of friend-related information in alerting, orienting and executive control networks.

    In Experiment 1, participants were assigned a classic ANT task in which arrow stimuli were replaced by face stimuli. In each trial, a test array consisted of one central target and four flanker stimuli. Participants were instructed to pay attention to the central target and judge whether the image was a self-face or a friend-face. Each test array was preceded by one of four cues, namely centre, double, spatial and none. Results showed that participants had a stable advantage in processing self-face. Specifically, the efficiency of orienting on self-face was significantly larger than on friend-face.

    In Experiment 2, a recently developed self-associated learning approach was employed to exclude the possible confounding of face familiarity. The stimuli used in Experiment 2 were geometric shapes that were temporarily associated with self or friend or had no social meaning. The result was consistent with that in Experiment 1. Self-associated shapes displayed advantages on orienting efficiency compared to friend-associated and non-social-meaning shapes. This finding implied that the improvement of orienting network on self-information processing was due to the important meanings in self-information apart from the simple familiarity of self-face.

    In Experiment 3, the processing priority of orienting network on self-face no longer existed when the task was to determine the colour of the face. This condition indicated that the cognitive advantage for self-information in orienting network was influenced by task requirements.

    In summary, this study found that among the three attention networks, only orienting network displayed a processing priority of self-related information and, therefore, played a more important role in self-processing advantage. Such advantage occurred only when self-information was task-related. By contrast, no special biases on self-related information processing were found in the alerting and executive control networks.

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    Imagination inflation effect in older adults
    ZHOU Chu, SU Man, ZHOU Chong, YANG Yan, XI Yaqi, DONG Qun
    2018, 50 (12):  1369-1380.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2018.01369
    Abstract ( 2885 )   PDF (716KB) ( 189 )  

    Most of the studies adopting the Deese/Roediger-McDermott paradigm or misinformation effect paradigm demonstrate that older adults are more susceptible to false memories than young ones. However, whether similar aging effect occurs under the imagination inflation paradigm remains unclear. In this study, two experiments were conducted to explore the imagination inflation effect and its potential underlying mechanism in older adults.

    In Experiment 1, the classic imagination inflation paradigm was used to investigate whether older adults can induce larger imagination inflation effect than young ones. A 2 × 2 × 2 (age: older adults, young adults × time: pretest, posttest × imagination condition: imagined events, not-imagined events) mixed factorial design was adopted. Owing to their deficit in episodic memory and future simulation, older adults may show less internal (episodic) details than young ones during imagination. We hypothesized that older and young adults show similar false memory effects under the imagination inflation paradigm. In Experiment 2, we used episodic specificity induction technology to further investigate the mechanism of the imagination inflation effect in older adults. Through episodic specificity induction, the number of internal (episodic) details can increase selectively during the imagination of the events, which may facilitate imagination. Therefore, episodic specificity induction brings about larger imagination inflation false memories than control induction. A 2 × 2 × 2 (induction: episodic specificity induction, control induction × time: pretest, posttest × imagination condition: imagined, not-imagined events) mixed design was used in Experiment 2. The procedure of Experiment 2 was similar to that of Experiment 1, except that participants received episodic specificity or control induction before the posttest phase.

    Results showed that (1) older and young adults experienced significant false memory effect under the imagination inflation paradigm, but older adults did not show more false memories than young adults. (2) Participants who received episodic specificity induction showed more false memories than those who received control induction.

    Taken together, the results demonstrate that imagination of events plays an important role in producing the imagination inflation effect. The reason that older adults do not show significant higher imagination inflation effect than young ones may be closely related to the lack of internal details during imagination. The imagination inflation effect in older adults may be based on the age-related deficits in episodic memory and future thinking. The results are discussed in terms of activation/monitoring theory and constructive episodic simulation hypothesis.

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    The development of preschool children’s inductive reasoning about weight: A cross-cultural comparison of Sino-US
    WANG Zhidan, ZHOU Aibao, ZHANG Ronghua, BU Mengjin, LI Yuwen, WANG Haijing, WILLIAMSON Rebecca
    2018, 50 (12):  1381-1389.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2018.01381
    Abstract ( 1913 )   PDF (471KB) ( 114 )  

    Weight has been of interest to scientists from early in the study of cognitive development. More recent research indicates that preschool is an important transition period for using weight generally across tasks in the physical domain. For example, 4-year-olds, but not 3-year-olds, can choose a heavy versus a light object to make a balance with an intermediate weight tip and category objects by weight through observing others’ demonstration. In this research, we investigate when American (Study 1) and Chinese children (Study 2) can use verbal labels to make inductive reasoning about weight, and whether this ability is cross-cultural universal.

    In Study 1, two- to 6-year-old American children (N = 100) were familiarized with three identical-appearing objects, two of them have one weight, the third one has another weight (e.g., two heavy, one light). The experimenter picked up one object and said “This is a dax.” Children were requested to find another “dax” from the left two objects and give it to the experimenter. If the experimenter label a heavy object, the child chooses the heavy one of the two objects, s/he was scored as a 1. In contrast, if s/he chooses the light one, s/he was scored as a 0. There are two trials, thus, the total scores ranged from 0 to 2. The results indicated that there was a significant effect of age, H (4) = 41.75, p < 0.001. Children’s responses were compared to chance levels and the results suggested that the performance of 4-year-olds (p = 0.004), 5-year-olds (p < 0.001), and 6-year-olds (p < 0.001) was significantly above chance. However, the performance of 3-year-olds (p = 0.16) was not significantly different from chance, the performance of 2-year-olds was marginal significantly below chance (p = 0.055). To sum up, children can successfully pass the task by the age of 4.

    In Study 2, we examined whether Chinese children also can use the verbal label to make inductive reasoning about weight by age 4. Three- to 5-year-olds (N = 60) were recruited to participate in the experiment. All the procedures were the same as Study 1 except that: (a) children were tested in their school; (b) two new verbal labels were created to label the objects-"delu" and "peru". The results indicated that the effect of age is significant, H (2) = 18.71, p < 0.001. The performance of 4-year-olds (p < 0.001) and 5-year-olds (p < 0.001) was significantly above chance. However, the performance of 3-year-olds (p = 0.10) was not significantly different from chance.

    Overall, this research provides a timeline for the development of children using verbal label in inductive reasoning about invisible weight in the physical domain. At age 4, both American and Chinese children can reliably apply the verbal categorical label to weight. In addition, it appears that age 3 to 4 is an important transition period for solving such task universally despite of cultural difference. The three possible reasons that could account for the developmental difference were discussed. Also discussed were the implications of cognitive development for science education.

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    Preschoolers' selective trust and belief revision in conflicting situation
    LI Tingyu, LIU Li, LI Yilin, ZHU Liqi
    2018, 50 (12):  1390-1399.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2018.01390
    Abstract ( 2764 )  

    One of the most imperative issues in developmental research on social cognition is whether young children selectively trust informants' testimonies and revise their beliefs based on those testimonies. Previous research has shown that both the nature of the information and the traits of informants affect young children's selective trust and belief revision. However, the role that contradictory information may play in young children's selective trust and belief revision has yet to be examined. The present study examined Chinese preschoolers' selective trust and belief revision in situations in which their beliefs were contradicted by information provided by a familiar informant (the mother).

    The present study adopted the conflicting sources paradigm. Testimonies about hybrid pictures with different perceptual cues (the 50%-50% hybrids task vs the 75%-25% hybrids task) were presented to 74 4- to 6-year-old preschoolers, to investigate young children's selective trust and belief revision. Participants heard two informants (the mother and the stranger) name the hybrid differently. In all tasks, the stranger’s naming was more consistent with the perceptual cues. Children were asked about their own naming (What animal is this?), whom they would like to ask (mother or stranger?), whom to believe and the endorsement question (What animal do you think this is?).

    The results showed that children's selective trust and belief revision are influenced by the degree of conflict between mother's testimonies and perceptual evidence. In the low conflicting situation (50%-50% hybrids task), children are more inclined to ask for and explicitly trust the mother's testimony than in the high conflicting situation (75%-25% hybrids task). Furthermore, in the low conflicting situation, older children are more likely to revise their beliefs than younger children; whereas in the high conflicting situation, older children are more hesitant to revise their beliefs than younger children. The findings indicate that older children are more flexible in selective trust and belief revision. They are better able to factor the available perceptual cues into their consideration of the adult's testimony.

    In summary, 4- to 6-year-old preschoolers' selective trust and belief revision are influenced by the degree of conflict between others' testimonies and perceptual evidence. In high conflicting situations, they typically refuse to ask for and endorse the testimonies provided by the familiar informant, or to revise their beliefs. The results of the present study demonstrate that young children are able to distinguish between different degrees of conflict. When the mother's testimony conflicted dramatically with the young children's existing beliefs, older Chinese preschoolers in our study tended to distrust the mother and refused to revise their beliefs.

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    Assessing the symptom structure, characteristics, and predictive factors of posttraumatic stress disorder among Shidu parents
    SONG Chao, LI Wanjun, MENG Xiaohui, XING Yilun, FU Zhongfang, WANG Jianping
    2018, 50 (12):  1400-1412.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2018.01400
    Abstract ( 2588 )  

    The Chinese culture regards death as a taboo subject that is often avoided in daily conversations. Moreover, the death of a family member is a family affair that is inappropriate to share with others. Thus, the bereavement experience of the Chinese is a particularly mysterious territory that provides limited information. Among all types of bereavement, the death of a child is the most significant stressor that a parent could experience. In particular, an only child’s death is the ultimate trauma that any parent could ever encounter. However, China’s one-child policy, which has been implemented since the late 1970s, has the number of bereft parents who lost their only child to illness, accident, and other causes reaching millions. For shidu parents, the death of their only child may be the most significant source of traumatic stress, coupled with financial difficulties, thereby possibly leading to a state of stress and even severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Therefore, research on PTSD symptoms in shidu parents is critical. This study attempts to analyze the symptom characteristics and predictive factors of PTSD in shidu parents.

    The study investigated 463 shidu parents (mean age = 60.20 years, SD = 7.58) from March 2017 to December 2017 by using convenience sampling. The subjects completed the Parents Themselves and Their Children’s Basic Information Questionnaire and PTSD Checklist—Civilian Version (PCL-C). The survey results indicated that (1) the five-factor dysphoric arousal model entailing intrusion, avoidance, emotional numbing, dysphoric arousal, and anxious arousal was verified in the sample group of shidu parents. (2) The PTSD prevalence in the sample group was 71.9%. Among them, the incidence of PTSD, intrusion, avoidance, dysphoric arousal, emotional numbing, and anxious arousal increased. Repeated stress events; memory of past events (children), ideas, and the pain; and attempt to avoid stress factor (children’s death events) memory are the symptoms with the highest positive rates. (3) PTSD symptoms are significantly correlated with the duration of the loss and age of the shidu parents. Significant differences in PTSD symptoms were demonstrated in terms gender, home location, and family income status. The variables were incorporated into a regression equation and the three factors (i.e., gender, home location, and age) can be used to predict the PTSD symptoms.

    This research has theoretical and practical significance. First, this research enriched the study of PTSD symptom structure by verifying Elhai’s five-factor dysphoric arousal model. Second, this study determined that the three main factors, namely, gender, home location, and age, can be used to predict PTSD symptoms. This finding is beneficial for scholars to study the mechanism for PTSD emergence and development. Lastly, this research will enable the development of effective intervention methods for Chinese shidu PTSD. In the process of psychosocially assisting shidu parents, patients with high risk of PTSD should be screened in five aspects: intrusion, avoidance, emotional numbing, dysphoric arousal, and anxious arousal, particularly intrusion and avoidance. Furthermore, shidu patients should be distinguished in terms of age, home location, and gender to be able to implement effective approaches to alleviate the symptoms of PTSD.

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    Physiological mechanisms of mindfulness: Preliminary evidence from self-similarity of heart rate variability
    SUN Shasha, LI Xiaobing, LI Baoshan, LIU Chengyi, HUANG Miner
    2018, 50 (12):  1413-1427.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2018.01413
    Abstract ( 1930 )  

    Mindfulness has a considerable contribution to one’s physical and psychological health and his/her ability to adapt to an endlessly changing environment. Researchers have proposed different perspectives in studying the mechanism of mindfulness. However, few of the previous theoretical frameworks are based on the ongoing changes in a dynamic process. In this study, we investigate the relationship between trait mindfulness and the functions of the autonomic nervous system from a “self-similarity” perspective, which represents function- specific homeostasis. The concept of self-similarity refers to the ability of the human body to remain stable when experiencing changes from the internal and external environmental factors In the current study, four conditions (5 min resting, 3 min stressful, 5 min post-stress states, and 5.4 min mindfulness practice) were established to induce different physical and psychological status and to examine the self-similarity levels of the participants. The cold-pressor task, a safe and effective paradigm to induce pain in laboratory settings, was used in this study, which involved 56 undergraduate students. Heart rate variability (HRV) with its time- and frequency-domain measures (SDNN, RMSSD, TP, LF, and HF), which represent the functions of the autonomic nervous system, were employed to calculate self-similarity. A biofeedback system (emWave Pro Plus) with an ear sensor was used to record the HRV measures consecutively during the four phases.

    The three main results of the study are as follows. First, one-way repeated analyses of the variance test on HRV measures (SDNN, RMSSD, TP, LF, and HF) yielded significant effects for the conditions. The post hoc test indicated that the HRV under stressful condition was higher than those under conditions of resting state, post-stress state, and mindfulness practice. Hence, the whole function and balance of the autonomic nervous system, HRV measure, and coherence were significantly higher in mindfulness practice than in the resting, stressful, and post-stress states. Second, correlation analysis revealed that the self-similarity level of HRV significantly correlated with trait mindfulness measured by the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS). Third, the 56 participants were divided into two groups according to mean self-similarity level. Measures of HRV (SDNN, RMSSD, TP, LF, and HF) of the high self-similarity group (n = 25) were significantly higher than those of the low self-similarity group (n = 31) only under stressful conditions. However, this was not the case under the other three conditions.

    The above results indicated that HRV changes according to the changing conditions; moreover, high trait mindfulness and self-similarity can protect organisms from poor adaptation, especially when they encounter stressful conditions. The correlation between mindfulness and self-similarity of HRV measures implies that self-similarity may play a core role in how mindfulness works. The current study is a pilot study conducted with only college students, thus limiting the generalization of our conclusion. Moreover, the participants in our study had no previous experience of mindfulness practice, as their mindfulness level was represented with the MAAS measurement. In the future, we seek to recruit people with mindfulness or meditation practice experiences to explore whether meditation experts would better keep their function-specific homeostasis in different processes than meditation novices would.

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    The influence and mechanism of external environment resource scarcity on employees remuneration preference
    SHAO Jianping, HAN Xue, LIU Wumei
    2018, 50 (12):  1428-1437.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2018.01428
    Abstract ( 2271 )  

    The external environment resources such as employment and natural resources (water, air, and biodiversity) on which human kind is dependent are becoming scarcer and less available. Whether the scarcity of these resources will affect employees' preference on both time and money remuneration thus arouse the attention of public interest. Meanwhile, the extant research of organizational behavior and human resources both at home and abroad seldom covers the issue, despite the evident theoretical value and practical significance of the issue. Aiming at the question, while being are exposed to a situation of resource scarcity (i.e. employment resources and natural resources), will people’s choice preferences to time and money change? Based on the theories of Life History, this paper explores the phenomenon, medication and moderation mechanism of employees’ remuneration preference for time and money in the case of different types of resources scarcity.

    This paper tests the hypotheses by conducting two experiments. In Experiment 1, where external job resources are primed to be scarce, a external resource scarcity (resource scarcity vs. not resource scarcity vs. control) is used in the one factor between-subjects design, with the choice between time and money as dependent variables. This experiment aims to test whether resource scarcity affects employee’s choice between monetary reward and time remuneration. Experiment 1 is laboratory experiments with college students as sample, with the aim to test the mediation of mental representation and the moderation of materialistic values. Experiment 2, in which external natural resources are primed to be scarce, uses an external resource scarcity (resource scarcity vs. not resource scarcity vs. control) in the one factor between-subjects design, with the choice between time and money as dependent variables. For Experiment 2, a field experiment is used with employees as a sample to test their remuneration preference in business practice.

    By the results from Experiments 1 and 2, it is observed that, in comparison to the no-scarcity condition and the baseline condition, a significant percentage of participants in the external resources scarcity condition chose monetary rewards rather than time rewards. This phenomenon occurred because when exposed to a resource scarcity situation, participants’ mental representation becomes more concrete, where they choose concrete monetary remuneration. And it is also found out that individual differences in materialistic value do matters, where those employees scoring low in materialism value scale do not prefer monetary remuneration although they were exposed to a resource-scarcity situation.

    Through the testing of whether, how and when the different types of resource scarcity will influence employees’ monetary versus time remuneration preference, this paper provides a useful reference to existing organizational behavior researches in studies of time and money preference and on resource scarcity. And the paper has also potential usage in human resource and business practice.

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    The influence of interpretation frame on the evaluation of culturally mixed products: The moderating effect of comparison focus and interpretation strategy
    NIE Chunyan, WANG Tao, ZHAO Peng, CUI Nan
    2018, 50 (12):  1438-1448.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2018.01438
    Abstract ( 1861 )  

    Culturally mixed products are products in which cultural symbols from two or more countries are presented simultaneously. This perception promotes categorical perceptions of culture and draws attention to cultural differences, which in turn enhances the perceived incompatibility of the two cultures. This perception, when coupled with a situation-induced cultural defense mindset, can lead to exclusionary reactions for culturally mixed products. The articles in the present special issue studied four major features of culturally mixed products: (a) the involvement of in-group culture, (b) the extent of mixing between cultures, (c) the level of cultural symbolism, and (d) the direction of cultural influence, all of which lack the perspective of marketing communication to discuss how to weaken consumers’ exclusionary reactions for culture mixing stimuli. From the perspective of enterprises’ marketing communication, this study explored how the bicultural framing strategy (“foreign-culture home-culture” vs. “home-culture foreign-culture”) influence consumers’ culturally mixed products evaluation, and further examined the moderating effect of comparison focus and interpretation strategy.

    This study used two main experiments to test the hypothesis. Experiment 1 sought evidence of how people evaluate culturally mixed products under a different framing strategy and how they evaluate the moderating effect of comparison focus. A total of 279 undergraduate students from a university in central China participated in experiment 1. Participants were randomly assigned to six conditions in a 2 (bicultural framing) × 3 (comparison focus) between-subjects design. The participants were informed to participate in two unrelated studies. First, they were told to participate in an “observation and comprehension study”, which functioned to serve its real purpose of manipulating the comparison focus. Then, the second study was a “new product survey”, in which the participants were asked to assess a new American-designed product entering the Chinese market. Experiment 1 used a culturally mixed product made up of moon-cake (Chinese culture) and hamburger (Western culture). In the “foreign-culture home-culture” strategy condition, the product is titled “Hamburger moon-cake”. In the condition of “home-culture foreign-culture” strategy, the title is “Moon-cake hamburger”. The objective of experiment 2 was to examine the moderating effect of interpretation strategy. A total of 177 undergraduate students participated in the “new product survey”. The participants were randomly assigned to four conditions in a 2 (bicultural framing) × 2 (interpretation strategy) between-subjects design. Experiment 2 used a culturally mixed product made up of paper-cutting (Chinese culture) and Mickey Mouse (Western culture).

    The results of experiment 1 showed a significant effect of bicultural framing strategy on the evaluation of culturally mixed products (F(1,273) = 24.08, p < 0.001) as well as a significant interaction of bicultural framing strategy and comparison focus (F(2,273) = 7.19, p < 0.01). In the difference comparison group, when culturally mixed products adopted the “foreign-culture home-culture” (i.e., “Hamburger moon-cake”) strategy, it led to a less favorable evaluation relative to the “home-culture foreign-culture” (i.e., “Moon-cake hamburger”) strategy (MMoon-cake hamburger = 5.45, SD = 1.64 vs. MHamburger moon-cake = 3.97, SD = 1.61, t(91) = 4.39, p < 0.001, Cohen’s d = 0.92). However, in the similarity comparison group, the product evaluations did not differ significantly between the two framing strategy conditions (M Moon-cake hamburger = 4.71, SD = 1.61 vs. M Hamburger moon-cake = 4.80, SD = 1.57, t(90) = -0.27, p = 0.78). This study also found that the effect of bicultural framing strategy on culturally mixed products was fully mediated by perceived cultural intrusion. The results of experiment 2 showed a significant interaction between bicultural framing strategy and interpretation strategy (F(1,173) = 8.81, p < 0.01). When the enterprises adopted the property interpretations, the product evaluation in the “foreign-culture home-culture” condition was lower than that in the “home-culture foreign-culture” condition (MPaper-cut Mickey Mouse = 6.63, SD = 1.78, vs. MMickey Mouse paper-cut = 4.96, SD = 1.81, t(84) = 4.28, p < 0.001, Cohen’s d = 0.93). However, when the enterprises adopted the relational interpretations, the product evaluations did not differ significantly between the two framing strategy conditions (MPaper-cut Mickey Mouse = 5.80, SD = 1.83, vs. MMickey Mouse paper-cut = 5.77, SD = 1.85, t(89) = 0.09, p = 0.93).

    Our research contributes to the existing literature on culturally mixed products. Though previous research on culturally mixed products is mostly from the consumers’ perspective and the product design perspective, it lacks work from the perspective of marketing communication that discusses how to improve the consumers’ product evaluation. Our research, through exploring the influence of the bicultural framing strategy on the evaluation of culturally mixed products, opens up a new perspective to study the phenomena of culture mixing. We also found boundary conditions for the effect of bicultural framing strategy. The different bicultural framing effects only exist when the consumers focus on differences and when the enterprises adopt property interpretations. When the consumers focus on similarities and when the enterprises adopt relational interpretations, this effect disappears. Furthermore, our research tells the companies that a “home-culture foreign-culture” strategy will be an effective way to form a positive evaluation on culturally mixed products.

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    To switch or not to switch?Cognitive and neural mechanisms of card switching behavior
    SUN Yachen, ZHANG Hanqi, LI Yonghui, XUE Gui, HE Qinghua
    2018, 50 (12):  1449-1459.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2018.01449
    Abstract ( 2836 )   PDF (766KB) ( 154 )  

    Decision making is a common, frequent and important task. It is not uniform though; there are individual differences in decision making processes. One notable differences between decision makers is in repeated binary choice situations. Specifically, when facing repeated binary choices, some people keep choosing the same option while others often switch. Previous research used a random card guessing task to explore the underlying mechanism of such differences in choice strategy. In this task, participants are asked to match a computer-generated “random” choice of a black or red card. The computer does not follow a random choice pattern; it follows a canonical random sequence generated by a Bernoulli process characterized by an equal numbers of black and red choices, switch of color on half of the trials, and streak length following an exponential distribution. In theory, participants should guess cards randomly. Nevertheless, they switch significantly less often than the computer does. In other words, participants present some change resistance and have an increased likelihood to select the same card; this likelihood varies among participants. One notable gap in this research stream pertains to the underlying cognitive and neural mechanism of such card switching behaviors. We partially address this gap in this study.

    Three hundred and fifty healthy Chinese college students (194 females, mean age = 19.97 years) were recruited for this study. All of them completed the Card Guessing Task, the Temperament and Character Inventory-Revised (TCI-R), and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST). One session of high-resolution magnetic resonance anatomical image was also acquired for each individual using a 3T MRI scanner. First, subjects’ frequency of switching, persistence error on the WCST as an index for cognitive flexibility, and persistence dimension score on TCI-R were calculated. Next, the correlation between gray matter volume (GMV) and frequency of switching was tested with both univariate and multivariate voxel-based morphometry (VBM). In addition, the mediation roles of trait persistence and cognitive flexibility in the GMV and switching frequency were tested.

    Results suggested that the mean frequency of card switching in our sample was 43%, which was significantly lower than 50% (p < 0.001). Importantly, the number varied from 0% to 80%, suggesting large between-individual differences. Correlation analysis showed that both trait persistence and cognitive flexibility negatively correlated with card switching frequency. Univariate VBM analysis showed that (1) the GMV in the Frontal Pole (FP), Posterior Cingulate Gyrus (PCC), Putamen and the left Insular Cortex positively correlated with the card switching frequency, and (2) the GMV in the Medial Temporal Lobe and right Insular Cortex negatively correlated with card switching frequency. Multivariate VBM analysis suggested that the GMV of Posterior Cingulate Gyrus (PCC), Middle Frontal Gyrus (MFG), Insular Cortex, and Frontal Pole could significantly predict individuals’ frequency of card switching. Last, mediation analysis revealed that both trait persistence and cognitive flexibility mediate the relationship between GMV of the implicated regions and card switching frequency.

    Overall, this study examined individual differences in card switching frequency and the cognitive and neural mechanisms that underlie them. Understanding the reason why some people persist in choosing the same option, while others frequently change their choices is important, and can serve as a basis for understating complex decision making situations that follow a repeated binary choice pattern.

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