ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B


    25 March 2019, Volume 51 Issue 3 Previous Issue    Next Issue

    Reports of Empirical Studies
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    Reports of Empirical Studies
    The effect of emotion on directed forgetting for continuous events
    REN Xiaoyun, LI Yuting, MAO Weibin, GENG Qiuchen
    2019, 51 (3):  269-279.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00269
    Abstract ( 10591 )   PDF (1222KB) ( 157 )  

    Forgetting is an adaptive process that can limit the interferences from irrelevant distractors and update valuable information. With regard to negative events, intentional forgetting can effectively help us to recover from trauma. The research on the intentional forgetting of emotional information usually adopts the directed forgetting paradigm. The better memory performance of R items relative to F items is referred to as the typically directed forgetting effect. Although emotional information is thought to be easier to remember than neutral information because of the attentional capture and elaborative process, whether emotional information is more resistant to forgetting is obscured. Most studies on emotional directed forgetting used various discrete items, such as words and pictures, and few addressed continuous events that are actually common in our episodic memory. Directed forgetting is not an all-or-nothing phenomenon because specific and general information appears to be forgotten at different rates. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the influence of emotions on the directed forgetting effect of continuous events. This study also explores the differences in forgetting rates between general/gist memory and specific memory.
    In the present study, we adopted the event directed paradigm that embeds memory instructions into continuous videos. In experiment 1, 36 participants were equally divided into two groups: one group watched a neutral video, and the other group watched a negative one. Each video contained nine R segments and nine F segments that were surrounded by green and purple borders. The colored borders acted as memory instructions. The participants were asked to remember the video segments when the border was green and to forget the video segments when the border was purple. The test phase involved free recall and recognition. The participants were requested to recall all information about the video regardless of the classification of the memory instruction (R or F segments). Then, the participants were asked to identify the old pictures among the distractors. The old pictures were taken from the studied videos, and the distractors were slightly similar to the old pictures. The participants’ responses were classified as general/gist memory and specific memory on the basis of previous studies. In experiment 2, we disrupted the play order of segments to further explore the influence of continuity on the directed forgetting effect.
    The results of experiment 1 showed that the directed forgetting effect was lower in the negative video than in the neutral video. In addition, the participants demonstrated good memory for the general/gist information of the negative video in free recall. In the recognition phase, no directed forgetting effect was observed for specific memory in the negative video. The result indicated that emotions impaired or eliminated directed forgetting for continuous events. However, the performance of the gist-only memory for the R and F segments was not significant in the neutral and negative videos. Therefore, we speculated that the sequential play of segments might have led to the possibility of participants correctly guessing the general gist of the content. Therefore, we disrupted the order of segments in experiment 2, and the results showed a typically directed forgetting effect for gist-only memory.
    In conclusion, directed forgetting could appear in continuous events. However, emotions impair the directed forgetting effect for a specific memory. For gist-only memory, the directed forgetting effect is affected by the continuity of events.

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    Impacts of chunking strategy on memorising similar words
    ZHANG Lei, LU Chengrou, LIN Junfeng, MEI Leilei
    2019, 51 (3):  280-292.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00280
    Abstract ( 4643 )   PDF (1912KB) ( 323 )  

    The successful memorisation of similar words is critical for individuals’ vocabulary acquisition. Previous studies have found that individuals perform significantly better in an immediate serial memory test for dissimilar words than similar words. However, the memory advantage for dissimilar words in those studies was mainly based on the comparison of two sets of different learning materials (i.e., similar and dissimilar words). Therefore, whether similar words are memorised better in a similar chunking condition (similar words are successively presented) or dissimilar chunking condition (similar words are alternately presented by other dissimilar words) is unclear.
    To address the above question, we performed four experiments in this study, in which within-subject design and study-test paradigm were used. Experiment 1A aims to explore the effects of chunking strategy on the memory of similar words. In this experiment, two matched sets of similar English pseudowords were used for the similar and dissimilar chunking conditions, respectively. In the similar chunking condition, similar words were successively presented, whereas in the dissimilar chunking condition, similar words were alternately presented with other dissimilar words. Participants were instructed to memorise the words during the study phase. A recognition memory test was administered one hour after the study phase. Experiment 1B aims to investigate the memory advantage of the dissimilar chunking condition for long-term retention. Experimental materials and tasks were the same with those of Experiment 1A, but the interval between study and test was prolonged to one week. Experiment 2 used Deese-Roediger-McDermott (DRM) paradigm to examine whether the dissimilar chunking strategy facilitated the memory of similar words by improving the memory of individual words or enhancing the memory of shared parts across similar words. Experiment 3 included unfamiliar Korean characters as materials to further disentangle the contributions of visual and phonological similarities on the memory of similar words.
    Results show that: 1) Compared with the similar chunking strategy, the dissimilar chunking strategy show better memory performance on similar words, which can be maintained for at least one week. 2) The dissimilar chunking strategy improves the memory of similar words and results in a high false memory for similar lures. 3) The memory advantage for dissimilar chunking strategy is evident for phonologically similar words (i.e., English pseudowords) but not for visually similar words (i.e., Korean characters).
    The results suggest that the dissimilar chunking strategy improves the memorisation of phonologically similar words by enhancing the memory of common parts across similar words. In other words, the dissimilar chunking strategy may be an effective way to improve the memorisation of similar words. These findings have important implications for language learning and education.

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    The effects of discourse context and world knowledge on pronoun resolution
    WU Yan,GAO Yuefei,ZHAO Simin,WANG Suiping
    2019, 51 (3):  293-303.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00293
    Abstract ( 2031 )  

    Pronoun resolution can play a vital role in narrative comprehension. Understanding nature of pronoun resolution can help us to learn more about the cognitive processes underlying comprehension. Studies have shown that comprehension processes will be interrupted when a pronoun mismatches its prior context or the gender stereotype of its antecedent. This indicates that discourse context and world knowledge about gender stereotype can play an important role in pronoun resolution. Recently, researchers tried to combine these two factors together and to examine which factor is crucial to the pronoun resolution. The most controversial issue is that whether the discourse context could override the world knowledge which was told to be wrong by the passage, and exert earlier influence on the pronoun resolution. Therefore, the present study examined the effects of context and world knowledge as well as its time course on pronoun resolution with eye tracking measures.
    In the Experiment 1, participants were asked to read the discourse with a personal pronoun congruent or incongruent with the gender stereotype of its antecedent, an occupation name. The results revealed that reading times (including gaze, second reading time and total reading time) increased when the gender of the pronoun mismatched with the gender stereotype of its antecedent.
    In the Experiment 2, another personal pronoun indicating the gender of the antecedent would be inserted into the discourse as the prior context to update the readers’ gender stereotype of the occupation name. Therefore, readers would meet two identical personal pronouns while reading the passage. The first pronoun provided the updated gender information for the second pronoun. Again, the results of the first pronoun indicated that the gender stereotype of occupation could influence pronoun processing immediately. As for the second pronoun, the complicated results showed discourse context had an early influence on resolution of pronouns, but with the processing went on, the gender stereotype of occupation continued to influence integration. However, when the first pronoun was changed into an obvious gender description in Experiment 3, the discourse context was found not only to exert an earlier effect but the effect would be continued as the only factor to influence the pronoun resolution.
    The current results clearly suggest that both gender stereotype and discourse context can affect the comprehension of Chinese pronouns. However, when the discourse context updates the gender stereotype of the antecedents, the updating information can override the world knowledge information to exert an earlier effect on pronoun resolution. But whether the effects will be continued depend on the strength of the discourse context. These findings provide evidence for the interactive model of sentence comprehension.

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    The language and cultural differences of father-reference processing: Based on the retrieval-induced forgetting
    YANG Qun, FENG Yiran, ZHANG Jijia
    2019, 51 (3):  304-315.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00304
    Abstract ( 2422 )   PDF (1259KB) ( 105 )  

    Remembering some material can cause forgetting of related information, which is known as retrieval-induced forgetting (RIF), but it has some boundary conditions, such as “self” in western culture and some important others such as mother in Chinese. In such boundary condition, RIF was eliminated when material was encoded to be related to self (known as self-referential) or significant others. Name is a symbol and important to the self, but it has different constitution forms in different language and culture. In Uygur nationality culture, the name constitution is known as father and son joint, that is after the first name is the father name, which is different form the Han nationality. In Han nationality, the first name comes after the family name. All these differences may lead to the different constructions of the self, so this study intend to compare self-referential, father-referential and others-referential for the two nationalities.
    90 Ugyur participants and 90 Han participants from Xinjiang district took part in the experiments. The experiment was a 3 (Conditions: Self-reference, Father-reference, Other-reference) × 3 (Retrieval Factor: Rp+, Rp-, Nrp items) design. The condition was manipulated as a between-subjects factor, while the retrieval factor was manipulated as a within subject factor. The study has four phases: (1) Study phase: the participants were shown the Chinese characters in computer of a series of 32 category exemplars in a random order with the form of “category-exemplar” and were instructed to memorize the exemplars while associating them with the paired category; (2) Retrieval-practice phase: The participants were sequentially presented with word pairs form of 8 cues that probed their memory. Each cue comprised a category name and a first initial character of an exemplar and the participants were asked for written recall of the target exemplar in response to each cue; (3) Distractor phase: The participants were asked to perform mathematical operations within 3 minutes; (4) Final test phase: The participants were required to retrieve written recall as many exemplars as possible in response to each presented category name. And the self-inflation test was used for more accurate results.
    The results showed that in Uygur culture contexts, RIF was not observed under the self-referential and father-referential but in other-referential encoding. While in Han culture, RIF was observed in father-referential and the other-referential but not in the self-referential.
    All these indicated that the constructions of self are different for Uygur and Han nationalities. For Uygur nationality, father is included in the self; but for Han nationality, though father is important, but it is not included in the self, and the boundary between others is significant. Thus, language is the way how culture affect the self, such as patronymic linkage naming system, religion culture and kinship terms.

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    Cue specificity of reconsolidation update mechanism in remote fear memories
    HU Jingchu,ZHANG Weixin,CHEN Xiaoting,WANG Wenqing,WANG Zijie,ZHUANG Chuqun,FENG Biao,ZHENG Xifu
    2019, 51 (3):  316-323.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00316
    Abstract ( 2320 )  

    Recent studies of fear memories conducted in both humans and animals have suggested that new fear memories (1-day old) can be attenuated using a reconsolidation update mechanism, which is selective to the reactivated cue. In real life, patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) usually receive treatment much after the traumatic memories form, and a traumatic event can be associated with multiple cues. However, the cue specificity of reconsolidation update mechanism in remote fear memories (> 7 days) remains largely unknown.
    To assess the cue specificity of remote fear memories (14 days) reconsolidation, we explored whether retrieval-extinction during the reconsolidation time window of remote fear memories is selective to the reactivated cue. We used a within-subject design, and skin-conductance response (SCR) served as the measurement. All subjects underwent fear conditioning by three coloured squares on day 1. Two squares (CSa+ and CSb+) were paired with the shock on 38% of the trials. The third square (CS-) was never paired with the shock. Fourteen days later, subjects received a single presentation of CSa+ (reactivated CS+) but not CSb+ (non-reactivated CS+). Ten minutes after the reminder trial, extinction training was conducted (within the reconsolidation window). Twenty-four hours later, all subjects returned to the experiment room and received spontaneous recovery test of the remote fear memories.
    Results showed that there is no recovery for the reminded CS+, but significant recovery for non-reminded CS+ during spontaneous recovery testing. The recovery index (which was calculated as the first trial on day 16 minus the last trial on day 15 by differential SCR) of non-reminded CS+ was found to be significantly higher than that of the reminded CS+ (p < 0.05). Thus, retrieval-extinction during reconsolidation window only attenuates the fear memory of the reactivated cue.
    Our findings demonstrated that the reconsolidation update mechanism is effective for attenuating remote fear memories, and that this mechanism is selective to the reactivated cue of remote memories. We provide evidence to support the ongoing efforts in the development of novel strategies to combat remote pathogenic memories, which we think could lead to a more effective application of the reconsolidation update mechanism.

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    Mindfulness training can improve 3-and 4-year-old children’s attention and executive function
    LI Quan, SONG Yanan, LIAN Bin, FENG Tingyong
    2019, 51 (3):  324-336.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00324
    Abstract ( 8417 )   PDF (3607KB) ( 550 )  

    Mindfulness is a technique that alleviates the suffering of the yogi and implements self-awareness. Previous studies found that mindfulness training can improve work efficiency, emotional regulation, attention, and executive function. However, it is still unknown whether mindfulness training can improve attention and executive function in preschool children. This study sought to investigate the effect of mindfulness training for younger children to improve attention and executive function performance.
    The present study attempted to use a 2 (group: mindfulness training vs no-training) × 2 (test time:pre vs post) between-and-within-subjects design to investigate the effect of mindfulness training on improving 3-and 4-year-old children’s attention and executive function. The mindfulness training consisted of 12 sessions, with 20~30 minutes per session, and was held twice a week for two months involving 6 preschoolers at a time. The children were assigned to two groups, mindfulness group (N = 26, age range from 41.69 months to 51.42 months, SD = 1.12 months) and control group (N = 26, age range from 41.98 months to 53.98 months, SD = 3.60 months). In the mindfulness training group, the instructor guided children to perform activities of mindfulness, while children in the No-training group were given normal activities. In the study, the mindfulness training course consisted of three parts. Part 1 was “breath and attention” that children learned to master belly breathing and focused attention on specific sensory. Part 2 was “body perception and movement” that children gained balance awareness and body coordinates. Part 3 was “awareness of mental activity” that children learned to relax and perceive each body part. Children’s attention was measured before and after training using an attention task (e.g. Finding Animals Test), and three components of executive function were measured before and after training using three classic tasks (e.g. Inhibition Control: Peach Flower Heart Task, Cognitive Flexibility: Dimensional Change Card Sort Task (DCCS) and Working Memory: WPPSI-VI’s Picture Memory Test).
    To investigate whether mindfulness training can enhance children’s attention and executive function, we performed 2 (group: mindfulness training vs no-training) × 2 (test time: pretest vs posttest) repeated measures ANOVA. The results revealed that the interaction between group and test time was significant. An analysis of simple effects further indicated that in the pretest there was no significant effect between mindfulness training group and no-training group. In the posttest, the attention and two components of executive function performances (inhibition control and cognitive flexibility) improved significantly in mindfulness group, while no significant differences were found on attention and three components of executive function in no-training group. The results supported the usefulness of mindfulness training to enhance children’s performances on attention and executive function.
    In conclusion, our results suggested the positive effects of mindfulness training on two components of executive function (inhibition control and cognitive flexibility) and attention in preschool children. The results provided important theoretical and practical implications for 3-and 4-year-old children’s attention and executive function.

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    Similarity in processes of risky choice and intertemporal choice: The case of certainty effect and immediacy effect
    ZHOU Lei, LI Ai-Mei, ZHANG Lei, LI Shu, LIANG Zhu-Yuan
    2019, 51 (3):  337-352.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00337
    Abstract ( 3170 )   PDF (1151KB) ( 329 )  

    Risky choice (RC) and intertemporal choice (IC) are two types of common decisions that are vital to human’s everyday life. RC and IC share similarities regarding theoretical development, behavioral effects, and neural basis. One critical challenge is that, although previous studies have revealed that RC and IC involve similar cognitive processes, results are mixed regarding what the exact mechanism might be. The mainstream discounting model hypothesizes that both RC and IC follow a compensatory and alternative-based rule. However, other models suggest that RC and IC commonly involve non-compensatory and attribute-based processing. Moreover, prior studies primarily based their findings on outcome data and few have attempted to determine whether RC and IC shared a common decision process at the cognitive computational level.
    To fill this gap, the present study adopts a systematic approach to disentangle the exact mechanism of RC and IC. We considered two well-studied behavioral effects, namely, certainty effect of RC and immediacy effect of IC, respectively, and compared their underlying local and holistic process characteristics by using eye-tracking technique. Besides, we employed hierarchical Bayesian modeling to assess whether alternative- or attribute-based models better fit both RC and IC. We designed a 2×2 within-subject paradigm, with the choice task (RC vs. IC) and the construct of decision options (with vs. without certain/immediate option) as factors. Thirty-three postgraduate students participated in our study. As we were particularly interested in two pairs of decision rules, i.e., compensatory/non-compensatory rules and alternative-based/attribute-based rules, we included a series of decision attributes that reflected them, based on the local and holistic process characteristics derived from eye-movement data to test our hypotheses.
    Our entire set of analyses aimed to (1) determine whether the decision processes of RC and IC are similar and (2) identify the best computational model that is more suitable for both decisions. For the first aim, results show that RC and IC indeed share comparable decision processes, albeit having a few differences in other aspects. Specifically, RC and IC differ in process characteristics, such as complexity and holistic eye-movement dynamics, and IC is processed in a relatively more deliberate, deeper fashion than RC. However, they are similar in other characteristics, such as search direction, which is more relevant to making decisions. For the second aim, computational modeling of process characteristics suggests that both types of decisions are consistent with non-discounting models. In particular, results of search direction, in light of Bayesian model comparison, reveals that participants are more likely to follow the non-compensatory, attribute-based rule rather than the alternative-based/attribute-based rule when deciding for both RC and IC. Furthermore, different task constructs of decision options, i.e., with or without certain/immediate option, show distinct process characteristics, such as direction, complexity, and depth in both RC and IC.
    To conclude, the present study shows that although differences exist between RC and IC, they indeed have shared cognitive mechanisms at the core of the decision processes. In both types of decisions, contrary to classic discounting models, individuals seem not to follow compensatory, attribute-based rules, which undergoes a “weighting and summing” or “delay discounting” process. Instead, they are more likely to use simple heuristic rules hypothesized by non-discounting models. Moreover, when including certain or immediate options, individuals tend to follow less compensatory and non-dominant (neither attribute-based nor alternative-based) rules. In sum, our findings not only provide a theoretical and empirical basis for the establishment of a common framework for RC and IC, but also provide a novel direction for thorough theoretical and methodological comparisons between variant decision tasks.

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    Daily negative affect and emotional labor strategies
    FANG Yanran,WEI Wei,LUO Ping,LIU Xiaodong,SHI Junqi,ZHAN Yujie
    2019, 51 (3):  353-365.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00353
    Abstract ( 3936 )  

    Emotional labor refers to the process of regulating both feelings and expressions in response to the display rules for promoting organizational goals. Instead of conceptualizing emotional labor as a stable behavioral tendency, the current study applied self-regulation theory to understand emotional labor (expressing proper emotion at work) as a self-regulation process, and specific emotional labor strategies (i.e., deep acting and surface acting) as approaches employees use to cope with negative moods on a daily basis.
    By surveying 210 customer service representatives of a call center for fourteen consecutive workdays, this diary study examined a multilevel model of daily emotional labor, with morning negative affect as a within-person level predictor, and employee job tenure and emotional intelligence as between-person level moderators. Specifically, the main effects of daily negative affect on emotional labor strategies were reflected by mean values of the random slopes at the within-person level. To test the cross-level interactive effects, the random slopes of “morning negative affect-daily emotional labor strategies” relations were regressed on job tenure and emotional intelligence; the interactive effects were indicated by significant effects of between-level moderators on given within-level random slopes.
    Results showed that service employees were more likely to engage in deep acting on days when they experience lower levels of negative mood. Further, job tenure and emotional intelligence significantly attenuated the negative effect of morning negative affect on daily deep acting. Specifically, the negative relationship between morning negative affect and daily deep acting was weaker (versus stronger) for employees with longer (versus shorter) job tenure, or higher (versus lower) emotional intelligence. Additionally, employees’ emotional intelligence also moderated the relationship between morning negative affect and surface acting, but in different directions. To be concrete, for employees with higher emotional intelligence, there was a positive relationship between morning negative affect and daily surface acting; whereas the relationship reflected a negative trend for employees with less emotional intelligence.
    The current study contributes to the literature of emotional labor in several aspects. First, drawing on self-regulation theory, the current study conceptualized emotional labor as a coping strategy in employees’ daily self-regulation process. In conceptualizing deep acting and surface acting as coping strategies consuming different levels of resources, the current study provided a resources-based mechanism underlying the “negative affect-emotional labor strategy” linkage. Second, the current study also investigated cognitive resource (i.e., job tenure) and self-regulation resource (i.e., emotional intelligence) at the individual level as boundary conditions that shape the impact of daily negative affect on emotional labor strategies. In doing so, we were able to support the resource-based theoretical mechanism between the “negative affect-emotional labor strategy” linkage, and expand the literature on emotional labor.

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    Does power hierarchy benefit or hurt team performance? The roles of hierarchical consistency and power struggle
    JI Hao,XIE Xiao-Yun,XIAO Yong-Ping,GAN Xiao-Le,FENG Wen
    2019, 51 (3):  366-382.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00366
    Abstract ( 2815 )  

    Whether power hierarchy benefits or hurts team performance is a paradoxical question in the current literature. While functionalists contend that power hierarchy is likely to resolve conflicts and promote coordination within teams, in turn improving team performance, dysfunctionalists argue that power hierarchy can entail struggle and conflicts, in turn impairing team performance. This study suggests that this discrepancy can be reconciled by considering the effect of hierarchical consistency. Hierarchical consistency describes the degree of alignment between power hierarchy and status hierarchy within a team. We propose that hierarchical consistency may moderate the relationship between power hierarchy and team performance. Specifically, when status hierarchy and power hierarchy are aligned, power hierarchy will produce elevated team performance. Meanwhile, when status hierarchy and power hierarchy are misaligned, power hierarchy is likely to attenuate team performance. Furthermore, we suggest that the interaction of power hierarchy and hierarchical consistency may impact team performance via the mediating effect of power struggle.
    We tested our hypotheses through a multimethod approach that included survey, experiment, and archival data analysis. In Study 1, we collected data from 46 student teams in a four-week entrepreneurial practice program. The power and status of the team members were measured using the round-robin method, where each team member was asked to rate his or her teammates’ power and status. The data were collected through surveys at the beginning of the third week of the entrepreneurial practice program. Team performance was measured based on the overall profit of each team earned from this program. The financial data were collected at the end of the entrepreneurial practice program. In Study 2, we conducted a 2 (power hierarchy: power differentiation vs. power equality) × 2 (hierarchical consistency: consistent vs. inconsistent) between-subject design with a multiparty negotiation task. Overall, 192 undergraduates and postgraduates participated in our experiment, and they were randomly assigned into 64 three-person groups. Each group was randomly assigned to one of four experimental conditions. Finally, in Study 3, data from 203 observations from 169 listed companies in the Internet industry were collected to retest the moderating effect of hierarchical consistency on the relationship between power hierarchy and team performance. In this study, we measured power hierarchy based on the difference in equity among TMT members, hierarchical consistency was calculated through the absolute difference between TMT members’ equity and team tenure, and team performance was measured based on return on equity (ROE).
    We used hierarchical linear regression, ANOVA, a fixed effect model, and bootstrapping methods to test our hypotheses. As predicted, we found that the effects of power hierarchy on team performance are contingent on the degree of hierarchical consistency in Study 1. That is, when status hierarchy and power hierarchy were aligned, the power hierarchy was positively related to team performance; yet when status hierarchy and power hierarchy were misaligned, power hierarchy was not significantly related to team performance. The results of Study 2 showed that power struggle played a mediating role between hierarchical consistency combined with power hierarchy and team performance. Specifically, power hierarchy was likely to attenuate power struggle in the presence of a high level of hierarchical consistency, and hence improved the team’s performance. However, power hierarchy had no significant impact on power struggle and team performance in the presence of a low level of hierarchical consistency. In Study 3, we found that power hierarchy was not significantly related to team performance when hierarchical consistency was high, while power was negatively related to team performance when hierarchical consistency was low.
    Our study contributes to the literature in several ways. First, our findings help to reconcile the antithetical arguments and evidence in research on the relationship between power hierarchy and team performance. Although power hierarchy can increase team performance in the presence of high hierarchical consistency, it is likely to decrease team performance in the presence of low hierarchical consistency. Second, this study suggests that the legitimacy of a power hierarchy may be influenced by its alignment with a status hierarchy. Third, this study extends the research on hierarchical consistency. While contemporary studies focus on the effects of power and status consistency at an individual level, this study is among the first to introduce hierarchical consistency into group-level research and empirically test its important effect on the relationship between power hierarchy and team performance.

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    A general simulation comparison of the predictive validity between bifactor and high-order factor models
    WEN Zhonglin,TANG Dandan,GU Honglei
    2019, 51 (3):  383-391.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00383
    Abstract ( 1464 )  

    Mathematically, a high-order factor model is nested within a bifactor model, and the two models are equivalent with a set of proportionality constraints of loadings. In applied studies, they are two alternative models. Using a true model with the proportional constraints to create simulation data (thus both the bifactor model and high-order factor model fitted the true model), Xu, Yu and Li (2017) studied structural coefficients based on bifactor models and high-order factor models by comparing the goodness of fit indexes and the relative bias of the structural coefficient in a simulation study. However, a bifactor model usually doesn’t satisfy the proportionality constraints, and it is very difficult to find a multidimensional construct that is well fitted by a bifactor model with the proportionality constraints. Hence their simulation results couldn’t extend to general situations.
    Using a true model with the proportionality constraints (thus both the bifactor model and high-order factor model fitted the true model) and a true model without the proportionality constraints (thus the bifactor model fitted the true model, whereas the high-order factor model fitted a misspecified model), this Monte Carlo study investigated structural coefficients based on bifactor models and high-order factor models for either a latent or manifest variable as the criterion. Experiment factors considered in the simulation design were: (a) the loadings on the general factor, (b) the loadings on the domain specific factors, (c) the magnitude of the structural coefficient, (d) sample size. When the true model without proportionality constraints, only factors (a), (c) and (d) were considered because the loadings on domain specific factors were fixed to different levels (0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 0.7) that assured the model does not satisfy the proportionality constraints.
    The main findings were as follows. (1) When the proportionality constraints were held, the high-order factor model was preferred, because it had smaller relative bias of the structural coefficient, and lower type Ⅰ error rates (but also lower statistical power, which was not a problem for a large sample). (2) When the proportionality constraints were not held, however, the bifactor model was better, because it had smaller relative bias of the structural coefficient, and higher statistical power (but also higher type Ⅰ error rates, which was not a problem for a large sample). (3) Bi-factor models fitted the simulation data better than high-order factor models in terms of fit indexes CFI, TLI, RMSEA, and SRMR whether the proportionality constraints were held or not. However, the bifactor models were less fitted according to information indexes (i.e., AIC, ABIC) when the proportionality constraints were held. (4) Whether the criterion was a manifest variable or a latent variable, the results were similar. However, for the manifest criterion variable, the relative bias of the structural coefficient was smaller.
    In conclusion, a high-order factor model could be the first choice to predict a criterion under the condition of proportionality constraints or well fitted for the sake of parsimony. Otherwise, a bifactor model is better for studying structural coefficients. The sample size should be large enough (e.g., 500+) no matter which model is employed.

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    CPS news
    2019, 51 (3):  392-394. 
    Abstract ( 1345 )  
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