ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B


    25 May 2019, Volume 51 Issue 5 Previous Issue    Next Issue

    Reports of Empirical Studies
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    Reports of Empirical Studies
    The effects of capacity load and resolution load on visual selective attention during visual working memory
    LI Shouxin, CHE Xiaowei, LI Yanjiao, WANG Li, CHEN Kaisheng
    2019, 51 (5):  527-542.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00527
    Abstract ( 6478 )   PDF (986KB) ( 141 )  

    Selective attention plays an important role in processing relevant information and ignoring irrelevant distractors. The relationship between visual working memory (VWM) and visual selective attention has been extensively studied. VWM is a complex system consisting of not only visual maintenance functions, but also executive control functions. High load on visual maintenance functions drains the capacity for perception and prevents distractors from being perceived, while high load on executive control functions drains the capacity available for active control and results in increased processing of irrelevant distractors. There are two types of load in VWM: capacity load referring to the number of items to be stored, and resolution load emphasizing the precision of the stored representations. It has been found that these two types of load exert opposite effects on selective attention. However the mechanism underlying the effects of different types of VWM load on selective attention is still unclear. In the present study, four experiments were designed to investigate how different types of VWM load affect selective attention.
    Thirty-six participants were enrolled in Experiment 1, 2 and 3, respectively, and 14 participants were enrolled in Experiment 4. Participants were asked to perform both a VWM task and a visual search task. In the VWM task, participants had to retain colors in VWM to perform a change detection task. There were three levels of VWM load: baseline load, high-capacity load and high-resolution load. In the baseline load condition, participants were required to retain two colors and the change between the memory colors and the probe colors was large. In the high-capacity load condition, participants had to retain four colors and the change between the memory colors and the probe colors was also large. In the high-resolution load condition, participants had to retain two colors and the change between the memory colors and the probe colors was small. In Experiment 1 and 2, the visual search task was a Flanker task that was presented either in the periphery or in the center of the memory array. The Flanker task was presented with the memory array simultaneously in Experiment 1 and sequentially in Experiment 2. In Experiment 3, the visual search task was a Navon task. It was presented after the memory array and only in the center of the memory array. In Experiment 4, a Flanker task was presented after the memory array and only in the center of the memory array. EEG data during the memory interval were recorded by a 64-channel amplifier using a standard 10-20 system.
    The results showed that high-capacity load and high-resolution load reduced Flanker interference, compared with baseline load, when the VWM task and the Flanker task were presented simultaneously, regardless of whether the Flanker task was presented in the periphery or in the center of the memory array. High-capacity load and high-resolution load also reduced Flanker interference, compared with baseline load, when the VWM task and the Flanker task were presented sequentially and the Flanker task was presented in the periphery of the memory array. Compared with baseline load, high-capacity load increased Flanker interference and high-resolution load reduced Flanker interference when the VWM task and the Flanker task were presented sequentially and the Flanker task was presented in the center of the memory array. Under the high-capacity load condition, the Navon interference for attending to global level was larger than that for attending to local level; under the high-resolution load condition, the Navon interference for attending to global level was smaller than that for attending to local level. ERP results showed that relative to the baseline load condition, the high- capacity load condition elicited smaller N2, whereas the high-resolution load condition elicited larger N2.
    In conclusion, when the Flanker task is presented during encoding stage of VWM, high-capacity load and high-resolution load reduce interference. When the Flanker task is presented in the periphery of the memory array during maintaining stage of VWM, high-capacity load and high-resolution load reduce interference. These findings support the load theory of selective attention. However, when the Flanker task is presented in the center of the memory array during the maintenance stage, high-capacity load and high-resolution load lead to opposite effects. High-resolution load reduce interference, while high-capacity load increase interference. The underlying mechanism is that the different patterns of neural activity associated with the two types of VWM load may result in different distribution of cognitive control resources to selective attention.

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    Language and culture influence cognition: Effects of indirect or direct language
    YANG Qun, ZHANG Qirui, FENG Yiran, ZHANG Jijia
    2019, 51 (5):  543-556.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00543
    Abstract ( 4709 )   PDF (1775KB) ( 168 )  

    The relationship between language and color cognition is key to understanding language and cognition. With the arguments between linguistic relevance and linguistic universal hypotheses, researchers prefer the eclectic theory that color cognition includes physics, perception, and culture-related properties. Given these theories and various investigations, interaction theory between color terms and color cognition has been proposed. One argument suggests that color perception should be influenced by language and culture, given the normal sense organs and level of intelligence.
    Numerous types of studies have proven that language and culture play a role in color cognition, but how such a role is performed remains to be fully understood. Discussions on the essential mechanism of this effect remain lacking, and whether this effect is a direct or indirect effect (i.e., language strategies or cognition structure changes) continues to be unclear. According to the literature, the color category perception effect proposes that people are more likely to distinguish colors from different colors than those that landed in the same area. Thus, two categories of color were used as materials in past research, which made it difficult to distinguish between the direct and indirect effects. Accordingly, this paper employed just one category color, which was further divided into two different categories. Color culture is import to a nation. Thus, green is vital to Uygur culture, with red as the counterpart for the Han culture. In relation to this, the present study designed a perceptual task (Experiment 1) as well as classification and recognition tasks containing memory (Experiments 2 and 3), in order to explore the effect of language and culture on color cognition for the Uygur and Han nationalities.
    Focal colors of red (RGB: 0, 255, 0) and green (RGB: 255, 0, 0) were selected as base points, and a vertical demarcation line was drawn on the RGB chromatography. On each side of the line, nine different stimuli in the same lightness saturation level (240-120) but with different chromaticities were selected. In Experiment 1, three colors (two from the same side of green or red and another from the other side) constitute one set of experimental material. Participants were asked to judge as quickly and as accurately as possible whether the left or the right color block looked more similar to the middle one, and press the corresponding button on a response box. A total of 62 college students participated in the experiment (31 of Han nationality and 31 of Uygur nationality). In Experiment 2, the materials and the participants (in terms of number and categories) were identical to those in Experiment 1. Participants were instructed to remember the colors and identify as quickly and as accurately as possible whether the following colors belong to the left or to the right of the color pair, and then press the corresponding button on a response box. In Experiment 3, 62 participants from the two nationalities who were using identical materials were asked to judge as quickly and as accurately as possible whether the left or the right color looked more similar to the standard one, and then press the corresponding button on the response box.
    Results showed significant differences in the perception, classification, and recognition tasks between the Uygur and Han nationalities. Compared with the Han nationality, the Uygur nationality had the advantage in distinguishing, classifying, and even recognizing green, but suffered a disadvantage when processing the color red. For the perception task, the two groups both spent a long time in the classification and recognition tasks. Accordingly, we believe that language and cultural differences in terms of perceiving the green and red colors affect color cognition and that such an effect is indirect, that is, language and culture can influence the color perception structure.

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    Brain spatio-temporal dynamics of understanding kind versus hostile intentions based on dyadic body movements
    HUANG Liang, YANG Xue, HUANG Zhihua, WANG Yiwen
    2019, 51 (5):  557-570.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00557
    Abstract ( 2199 )   PDF (2184KB) ( 64 )  

    Previous social neuroscience studies focused mainly on the neural networks that sustain an understanding of a single individual’s neutral or negative intentions. However, few studies have explored those of different types of social interactive intentions performed by two or a number of individuals and their whole body movements. In addition, the spatio-temporal dynamics of understanding the kind and hostile intentions in the human brain also remain unclear.
    In order to address the above issue, the electroencephalograph (EEG) technique was employed to explore the dissociative neural correlates of understanding kind versus hostile intention. Twenty healthy participants were recruited for the experiment. Their behavioral data (accuracy and reaction time) and electrical brain activities were recorded while they were watching colorful photos depicting two actors’ actions and performing an intention inference task (IIT). There were three different types of action intentions: kindness, hostility and non-interactiveness (neutrality). The ERP data was analyzed using the Scan and sLoreta software in an off-line way.
    The Univariate Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) with repeated measures of mean accuracy showed no significant difference among three conditions, while a main effect of condition existed for reaction time. The reaction times of hostile intention were shorter than those of the kind and neutral intentions, while no significant difference was found between the latter two conditions. The ERP data were analyzed using a three-way repeated measure ANOVA. The ANOVA factors were intention condition (kindness, hostility and neutrality), laterality (left, midline and right areas) and caudality (frontal, central and parietal areas). Electrophysiological results showed, over the frontal area, a significantly more negative amplitude of N250 (170~270 ms) for neutral intention compared to kind and hostile intentions, and the N250 amplitudes for kind intention were also more negative than those for hostile intention, especially on the FZ electrode site. The source localization showed maximum activation in Broadman 10 (BA10), in the vicinity of middle frontal gyrus, for N250 for kind and hostile intentions. At the later stage (270~450 ms), the peak amplitudes of the P300 for hostile intention were more positive than those for the kind and neutral intentions, and the P300 amplitudes for kind intention were also more positive than those for neutral intention over the central, parietal areas as well as the right hemisphere. The maximum activation for P300 of kind and hostile intentions was found in BA45, located in the vicinity of insula, and a stronger activity existed for hostile intention compared to kind intention.
    These findings show that there is a spatio-temporal dynamic dissociation between kind and hostile intentions understanding in the brain. Altogether, the current study provides electrophysiological evidence underlying the kind, hostile interactive intentions and non-interactive (neutral) intention understanding, and suggests a prioritized and sustained processing for hostile interactive intention. The study enriches the contents of the two-stage intention-understanding model and the putative Hierarchical & Multi-level Cognitive Framework (HMCF) in Theory of Mind.

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    Neural mechanisms of third-party punishment: Evidence from transcranial direct current stimulation
    YIN Xile, LI Jianbiao, CHEN Siyu, LIU Xiaoli, HAO Jie
    2019, 51 (5):  571-583.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00571
    Abstract ( 1977 )   PDF (581KB) ( 165 )  

    The social order of human societies is largely maintained by social norms. However, we still know little about the cognitive and emotional foundations that shape social norms, which makes it difficult, if not impossible, to understand how social norms are developed and maintained. Prior neural studies, which mainly perform second-party punishment based on the ultimatum framework, rarely explore the relevant brain areas as well as the neural mechanisms of third-party punishment driven by social norms. In the current study, we provide evidences that support the influences of two types of mechanisms (i.e., negative emotions and self-interest mechanisms) on social norms compliance of third parties at opposite directions. Meanwhile, right dorsolateral prefrontal area (DLPFC) is found to play a crucial role in this process.
    In this study, we used transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to investigate whether increasing or decreasing right DLPFC excitability influenced third-party punishment in a dictator game. Following an experimental design of “between-subject (tDCS treatments: anodal, cathodal, sham) × within-subject (cost of punishment treatments: without cost, with cost)”, ninety participants were first randomly assigned to receive anodal, cathodal, or sham stimulation in 15 minutes. They then performed two dictator game tasks as third parties. In Task Ⅰ (without cost) participants did not need to carry any costs for their punishment (none-cost task), while in Task Ⅱ (with cost) they were required to pay for their punishment actions.
    The results are given as follows. We first performed repeated measured ANOVA and one-way ANOVA to examine the effect of tDCS treatment (anodal, cathodal and sham) on emotion response. We found a significant main effect of tDCS on emotion response. Meanwhile, post-hoc analysis (SNK) showed that anodal stimulation decreased negative emotions while cathodal stimulation enhanced negative emotions. Second, the results of repeated measured ANOVA and one-way ANOVA showed a significant main effect of tDCS on punishment in the none-cost Task Ⅰ, and post-hoc analysis (SNK) showed that cathodal stimulation significantly increased punishment while the effect of anodal stimulation was insignificant. Third, we also conducted repeated measured ANOVA and one-way ANOVA to test whether the difference of the punishment between the two tasks was affected by tDCS treatments. We found that the main effect of tDCS was significant. Moreover, post-hoc analysis (SNK) showed that the difference of punishment between the two tasks was significantly higher for cathodal stimulation than for sham stimulation, while the difference of punishment between the two tasks for anodal stimulation was insignificant compared to that of sham stimulation.
    The present study provides one of the first neural evidences for the role of right DLPFC in third-parties’ social norms compliance. The results indicate that DLPFC, by affecting the processes of negative emotions and self-interest, is an important brain area of social norms compliance. When third parties face violations of social norms, their brains first release negative emotions that drive third parties to punish violators. Further, if third parties need to pay for their compliance with social norms, their rational goals about self-interest weaken negative emotional impulses. Finally, the compliance with social norms depends on the trade-offs between negative emotions and self-interest mechanisms.

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    Children’s quality-based resource allocation in different involvement contexts: The role of in-group favoritism
    LIU Lu,XIAO Xue,LIU Lisha,XU Liangyuan,ZHANG Xuran,LI Yanfang
    2019, 51 (5):  584-597.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00584
    Abstract ( 3141 )  

    Developing fairness is an important task of children's moral development. Equality, including numerical equality and quality equality, is one of the distributive justice principles. So far, most previous studies focus on the number-based resource allocation. However, children often allocate resources of different quality in daily life, and previous studies find that resource quality plays an important role in allocation. Therefore, it is necessary to investigate the development of children’s quality-based resource allocation and the related factors. Moreover, according to the evidence from numerous researches about number-based resource allocation, children’s allocation can be shaped by in-group favoritism that children allocate more resources to in-group members. Hence, whether the quality-based resource allocation can be influenced by in-group favoritism is worthy of attention. In addition, different involvement contexts (the first-party and third-party contexts), whether involving individual self-interest or not, can influence children’s resource allocation. Given the above, this study focused on the role of in-group favoritism in children’s quality-based resource allocation in the first-party and third-party contexts, as well as its age and gender differences.
    Two experiments were designed to understand above questions. Experiment 1 aimed to investigate children’s quality-based resource allocation in the first-party context. 61 children aged 5- to 6-year-old and 73 children aged 7- to 8-year-old were recruited and were asked to pick out two favorite objects (high-quality resources) and two objects enjoyed least (low-quality resources) from nine different objects. Then, we instructed the children to allocate any two of the four objects to themselves and the other two to either one out-group (strangers from other school) or in-group (good friends from the same class) member. Thus, two conditions including Out-group condition and In-group condition were generated. It was considered as quality equality only if each person received one high-quality resource and one low-quality resource. As for the quality-based equal distributive behavior, the result showed that there was no age difference, furthermore, there was no significant difference between In-group condition and Out-group condition for the two age groups. As for the children who allocated unequally, the results indicated that 5- to 6-year-olds were more likely to show altruistic distributive behavior in the In-group condition compared with Out-group condition, and showed more self-regarding distributive behavior in the Out-group condition than In-group condition. Furthermore, 5- to 6-year-old girls, rather than boys, were more likely to show altruistic distributive behavior in the In-group condition compared with Out-group condition.
    Experiment 2 was conducted in the third-party context to explore children’s quality-based resource allocation in the context without self-interest involvement. 64 children aged 5- to 6-year-old and 66 children aged 7- to 8-year-old were recruited and asked to allocate any two of four objects to each of two members from either in-group or out-group, generating three conditions including Out-group/out-group condition, In-group/in-group condition and In-group/out-group condition. The results showed that, on average, compared with younger children, older children were more likely to allocate equally. Besides, both of the two age groups were less likely to allocate equally in the In-group/out-group condition than in the other two conditions, but 5- to 6-year-olds allocated less equally in the In-group/out-group condition than did 7- to 8-year-olds. Furthermore, for the younger children, girls rather than boys allocated less equally in the In-group/out-group condition than in the other two conditions. Comparing the results of different involvement contexts, we found that the proportion of 7- to 8-year-old children who allocated equally in the third-party context was significantly greater than that in the first-party context.
    In sum, 7- to 8-year-old children’s quality-based resource allocation was more likely to be equal in the third-party context and showed less in-group favoritism in the two contexts than that of 5- to 6-year-old children. Furthermore, 5- to 6-year-old girls were more likely to be influenced by in-group favoritism. Besides, older children demonstrated higher level of equality in the third-party than in the first-party context. The implication of this study was that children’s quality-based resource allocation could be influenced by multiple competing motives including equality, in-group favoritism and self-interest.

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    Aging of the tip of the tongue in daily life: A diary study
    ZHAO Ruiying,LOU Hao,OUYANG Mingkun,ZHANG Qingfang
    2019, 51 (5):  598-611.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00598
    Abstract ( 2667 )  

    The “tip of the tongue” (TOT) refers to a state in which one cannot recall a familiar word but can recall words of similar form and meaning in speech production, which is common in our daily life, especially for the old speakers. The perspectives of cognitive (how linguistic properties and general cognitive abilities influence aging of TOT) and meta-cognitive (how the meta-cognitive evaluations of TOT influence TOT’s processing) have been proposed to explain the aging of TOT. However, little research has addressed this question in Chinese. The present study aims to examine how (a) individual characteristics (i.e., emotion, age) influence daily TOTs and (b) the interplay of cognitive factors and meta-cognitive factors influence daily TOTs.
    A sample of 67 participants (36 old adults, 13 males, age ranges: 60~81 years, M = 66.91, SD = 6.85; 31 young adults, 16 males, age ranges: 18~25 years, M = 21.50, SD = 2.43) filled in a quantitative and qualitative diary for 4 weeks (including weekends) to investigate their experience of TOTs. The questions and measurements used in our diary questionnaire included cognitive and meta-cognitive characteristics of TOT in speech production.
    Results indicated that the old adults generated more TOTs and took longer time to retrieve target words in successful production than the young adults in daily life, which confirmed our hypothesis that there was an aging of speech production in Chinese. Furthermore, when TOT happened, both old and young people could successfully retrieve alternative words and (or) semantically related information, but less phonologically related information, which supported transmission deficit hypothesis about aging of speech production. For the meta-cognitive experience, we found that young adults experienced higher degree of excitement and fatigueness than the old adults. In addition, the resolution time of TOTs was influenced by factors of target words familiarity, the presence of alternates and the comfort level when TOT happened. The assessments on TOT’s cognitive and meta-cognitive states affected the resolution time of the subsequent TOTs, reflecting that participants took more efforts and time to resolve TOTs after evaluating their meta-cognitive states. We suggest that TOT is the products of cognitive and meta-cognitive processes in Chinese speech production.

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    Does mobile shopping make fast decisions? The role of contextual factors and thinking style
    Minxue HUANG,Wei WANG
    2019, 51 (5):  612-624.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00612
    Abstract ( 4277 )  

    Previous studies have proposed that firms attempt to reduce online shopping choice deferral, which may lead consumers to abandon or drop their shopping carts before making their final purchase. Moreover, given their mobility and tactile effects, the use of mobile devices can make consumers more emotional compared with the use of desktop computers, thereby triggering a decision-making process. However, the results of some surveys reject such case and instead reveal that the decision-making process of consumers is influenced by the interaction between contextual factors and product attributes. In this paper, these contextual factors were classified into mobile devices and personal computers, while product attributes were classified into low price and high price. Inspired by dual-process theory, we supposed that high (low) price might evoke the rational (experiential) thinking styles of consumers and that mobile devices (personal computers) could trigger their experiential (rational) thinking styles. When these thinking styles are triggered by price and device types, the online choice deferral of these consumers will be reduced.
    We performed two studies to verify these hypotheses. In Study 1, we collected 3, 674 order data from the Tmall online shopping platform for around two months with the cooperation of a wine company based in China. The threshold regression analysis of secondary data showed that the shopping terminal (mobile phones and personal computers) had no main effect on online shopping choice deferral. However, these results highlighted a significant interaction between product price and device type. As predicted in hypothesis 1, the results indicate that online consumers have significantly more choice deferral for a low-price product when shopping using their personal computers than their mobile phones. Meanwhile, these consumers have significantly more choice deferral for high-price products when shopping using their mobile phones than their personal computers. We also conducted a laboratory experiment to test our hypotheses and verified the mediating effect of thinking style by bootstrapping. We recruited 138 participants in Study 2. Our 2 (device type: mobile phone vs. personal computer) × 2 (price level: low vs. high) between-subject design showed that these participants had significantly lower tendency of choice deferral for low-price products when using mobile phones than when using personal computers. On the contrary, these participants showed a significantly lower tendency of choice deferral for high-price products when using personal computers than when using mobile phones. The mediating effect of thinking style was also verified.
    The results suggest that online shopping choice deferral is affected not only by product attributes (such as price level in this paper) but also by specific situations (such as device type in this paper). High- (low-)priced products may evoke the rational (experiential) thinking styles of these consumers, while mobile devices (personal computers) can trigger their experiential (rational) thinking styles. When the thinking style is triggered by the product price and device, the online choice deferral of these consumers can be reduced. On the contrary, triggering these two thinking styles at the same time can increase their online shopping choice deferral.
    The theoretical contributions of this research are as follows. First, this study offers a deeper understanding of the consumer shopping scenario by showing that different types of devices can trigger different thinking styles, thereby extending the current perspectives toward mobile shopping. Second, this study enriches the previous research on choice deferral by exploring the situational effect on the decision-making process. Third, this study extends the current understanding of the experiential and rational thinking styles by examining the relationship between these two styles, thereby contributing to dual-process theory. The findings of this study can also help companies improve their scenario-based target marketing.

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    Quality or price? The effect of stock-out middle option on consumer choices
    YAO Qing, CHEN Rong
    2019, 51 (5):  625-636.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00625
    Abstract ( 3831 )  

    Consumers in real world sometimes face situations in which information about unavailable products is still present in the decision contexts. For example, consumers may find that certain options are sold out and thus marked by an out-of-stock stamp in such a way that consumers can still examine their attributes information. Traditional models of consumer choices have assumed that the addition of an unavailable alternative to a choice set has no impact on the shares among the original alternatives. However, recent studies on asymmetrical dominance choice sets suggest that adding an alternative that asymmetrically dominates a targeted alternative and is declared to be unavailable increases preference for the target in the original choice set. Three categories of theories, range-weighting, similarity-substitution and relative-advantage, have been used to explain the phenomenon.
    Despite prior research interest in extending attraction effect in unavailability context, little is understood about how unavailable options influence preferences among available options in other choice settings. Dominant literature have advocate for the preference for the compromised option in a three-option set. Thus, it is typical that the unavailable option is the compromised one. The above three explanations all fail to predict the preference on the remaining options in this situation.
    We propose that consumers are experiencing increasing decision difficulty or feeling greater conflict deciding in the unavailable compromise set than in the two-option set, and thus are likely to alleviate this negative task-related emotion by engaging in conflict-reducing heuristics. In particular, if choice of the compromise option that is associated with smallest maximum error or likelihood of being criticized is impossible, consumers forced to make difficult trade-offs among extremes are likely to rely more on the unambiguous attribute in the evaluations, because unambiguous outcome is associated with a lower likelihood of criticism. Thus, consumers seek to guarantee (avoid) advantages (disadvantages) of their selected option in precision rather than in ambiguity. Based on findings that attributes in quantitative nature (e.g., price) are easier to trade-off than attributes (e.g., quality) in qualitative nature, we predict that the relative preferences for low-quality, low-price option which has a precise and certain advantage will be stronger in presence than in absence of an unavailable intermediate option.
    Study 1 establishes that the addition of an unavailable compromise option into a two-option local set can increase the relative share of the cheaper option. In Study 2, we demonstrate that the degree to which the quality advantage (disadvantage) can be ambiguously evaluated moderates this effect. When the value of quality becomes less ambiguous to evaluate (providing experts’ quality evaluations, Study 2A) or more ambiguous to evaluate (describing product quality by a range of performance, Study 2B), the effect that the cheaper option fares better in the unavailable middle option set attenuates or strengthens. Study 3 further examines the underlying mechanism by testing the moderating effect of consumer product knowledge, and the mediating effect of decision conflict. We conclude with a discussion of the theoretical and managerial implications.

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