ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B


    25 January 2021, Volume 53 Issue 1 Previous Issue    Next Issue

    Reports of Empirical Studies
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    Reports of Empirical Studies
    The multiple phonological activation in Chinese spoken word production: An ERP study in a word translation task
    ZHANG Qingfang, QIAN Zongyu, ZHU Xuebing
    2021, 53 (1):  1-14.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00001
    Abstract ( 534 )   HTML ( 37 )  
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    A debatable issue regarding serial discrete models and interactive models is whether non-target lemmas activate their phonological words in spoken word production. Serial discrete models assume that only target lemma activates its corresponding phonological node to articulation, whereas interactive models assume that the semantic and phonological nodes linked to multiple candidates are co-activated during the retrieval of target word. Multiple phonological activation has been supported by evidences from alphabetic languages, but it remains unknown whether this finding can be generalized to non-alphabetic languages. Therefore, the current study aimed to investigate whether the not-to-be named pictures activate their phonological nodes in Chinese spoken word production.
    Using electrophysiological measures, the present study employed a word translation task in native Chinese speakers with a high level of English proficiency. Thirty-two participants (13 males, average 22.94 years) were presented with an English probe word and a context picture (semantically related or unrelated, phonologically related or unrelated to target word) simultaneously. Eighty-six English probe words from CELEX database and forty-three black and white line pictures from a standardized picture database in Chinese were chosen as stimuli. Participants were asked to translate English probe words into Chinese as accurately and quickly as possible while ignoring context pictures presented simultaneously.
    Behavioral results showed a typical semantic facilitation effect, with faster translation latencies in the semantically related condition than in the semantically unrelated condition. More importantly, phonological overlap, which generally elicits priming in Indo-European languages, resulted in a null finding for Chinese production. Electrophysiological results revealed that semantic relatedness induced significant ERPs effects after stimuli presentation: a widely distributed positivity in the 400- to 600-ms interval, while marginally significant effects were observed for phonological relatedness in the time interval of 600-700 ms in the right middle region. Furthermore, a negative correlation between the difference of translation latencies (semantically related minus semantically unrelated) and the difference of mean amplitudes (semantically related minus semantically unrelated) approached significance in the 400-600 ms time window in the middle posterior region, suggesting that more positive mean amplitudes were associated with shorter translation latencies.
    Although speakers present a weak but reliable neural activation, we suggest that phonological overlap between context pictures and target words had no impact on the translation processing in behavioral results. That is, the non-target lemma did not activate its phonological node, and multiple phonological activation was absent in Chinese spoken production. Meanwhile, the semantic information of context pictures was indeed activated, and according to the temporal course of word translation, the time window of 400-600 ms was estimated to reflect conceptual preparation when Chinese-English bilinguals completed a word translation task, although this activation was not transmitted from semantic level to phonological level. Overall, the present findings support a serial discrete model rather than an interactive model in Chinese spoken word production.

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    The brain mechanism of explicit and implicit processing of affective prosodies: An fNIRS study
    LEI Zhen, BI Rong, MO Licheng, YU Wenwen, ZHANG Dandan
    2021, 53 (1):  15-25.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00015
    Abstract ( 584 )   HTML ( 28 )  
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    Emotional expressions of others embedded in speech prosodies are important for social interactions. Affective prosody refers to a way to express and convey emotions through the dynamic changes of various acoustic cues such as pitch, intensity, stress, and intonation in speech, without relying on vocabulary and grammatical structure. Previous studies have shown that STC, IFG, OFC, and other cerebral cortex and subcortical structures are involved in affective prosody processing, and gradually formed a hierarchical model. However, existing studies on the neural mechanism of affective prosody processing mostly focus on the difference between non-neutral affective prosody and neutral prosody, while the comparison between various non-neutral affective prosody is less investigated. Besides, the differences involved in brain regions of affective prosody processing under explicit and implicit tasks are still not clear. Furthermore, it is necessary to further accumulate experimental evidence based on noise-free brain imaging technology such as fNIRS, which has a noise-free feature and is especially suitable for speech processing research.

    This study used functional near-infrared spectroscopy to investigate how speech prosodies of different emotional categories are processed in the cortex under different task conditions. A group of 25 college students participated in this study with a 3 (emotion: angry vs. fearful vs. happy) í 2 (task focus: explicit vs. implicit) within-participant factorial design. We manipulated task focus by adopting two different tasks, with emotional discrimination task as explicit condition and sex discrimination task as implicit condition. Ten phonological materials for each of angry, fearful, and happy prosody were selected from the Chinese Speech Emotion Database and consisted of the corresponding affective prosodies and neutral prosodies. The emotional explicit task was to count the affective and neutral sentences contained in each 10-second speech, and the affective implicit task was to count the sentences played by two women in each 10-second speech. A multi-channel fNIRS system was used to record brain activity in a continuous waveform. According to existing literature, the brain regions observed in this study are the bilateral frontal and temporal lobes. Therefore, we used 13 emitters and 15 detectors to form 37 effective observation channels.

    We first adopted NirSpark-2442 software to preprocess the data, and then conducted general linear model analyses to calculate the cortical activation related to the task. The results showed that the brain activation was significantly higher when angry prosody was contrasted to fearful and happy ones in left frontal pole / orbitofrontal cortex, when happy prosody was contrasted to fearful and angry ones in left inferior frontal gyrus, and when fearful prosody was contrasted to angry and happy ones in right supramarginal gyrus. Importantly, there was an interaction between emotion and task. In the explicit task, cortex activity in the right supramarginal gyrus was more sensitive to fearful prosody than to angry and happy ones. But no similar results were found under angry and happy prosody. In addition, the brain activation in temporopolar, superior temporal gyrus, and middle temporal gyrus in the explicit task was greater than that in the implicit task.

    The present study demonstrated the specific brain regions for processing angry, fearful and happy prosody were left frontal pole / orbitofrontal cortex, right supramarginal gyrus, and left inferior frontal gyrus, respectively, and revealed the important role of right superior temporal gyrus and right supramarginal gyrus in emotional explicit task. These findings partially support the hierarchical model of affective prosody and question the third level of the model.

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    Can negative emotion of task-irrelevant working memory representation affect its attentional capture? A study of eye movements
    HUANG Yuesheng, ZHANG Bao, FAN Xinhua, HUANG Jie
    2021, 53 (1):  26-37.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00026
    Abstract ( 433 )   HTML ( 19 )  
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    Task-irrelevant negative emotional stimuli can divert attention away from the current task, thus resulting in lower performance on the current task. This attentional bias to task-irrelevant emotional stimuli was explained by the hypothesis in the aspects of the automatic processing of emotional information, the attentional biased competition, or the perceptual load. Despite increasing studies showed that attention could be caught by task-irrelevant representations maintained in working memory (i.e., memory-driven attentional capture), there have been few, if any, studies specifically examining attentional capture by representations of negative emotional stimuli in working memory. Such an issue is helpful for better understanding the mechanism of visual attentional capture of unwanted memory (such as intrusive memory), which has important clinical implications for individuals with traumatic experiences or emotional disorders.
    In this study, a dual-task paradigm consisting of a working memory task and a visual search task was performed with emotional pictures as stimuli. Beyond the end-of-search manual reaction times, the first fixation proportion was used to investigate the effects of the representations of task-irrelevant negative emotional stimuli on attentional selection at the early stage of the visual search task. In Experiment 1, the effects of the valence (negative vs. neutral) of task-irrelevant emotional stimuli on attentional capture were investigated. In Experiment 2, neutral emotional stimuli were used as the target in order to eliminate the competitive priority for emotional targets over the distractors. In addition, such manipulation could get an opportunity to compare the difference in attentional capture induced by negative emotional distractors between perceptual level and working memory level.
    The results showed that (1) negative emotional distractors elicit stronger attentional capture than neutral ones when no memory-matched distractor was included in the visual search display; (2) memory-matched distractors caught more attention than those that do not match the representations in working memory, indicating memory-driven attentional capture; (3) the memory-driven attentional capture was not affected by the emotional valence of representations in working memory; and (4) as indicated by the dwell time of the first fixation, after being caught by the memory-matched distractors, attention was accelerated to disengage from those distractors, so that the attentional capture effect indicated by the reaction time was suppressed (in Experiment 1) and even reversed (in Experiment 2).
    It can be concluded that (1) in the early attentional selection stage, memory-driven attentional capture is not affected by the valence of task-irrelevant emotional stimuli in working memory; and (2) after the early attentional capture stage, cognitive control prompts attention to quickly disengage from the memory-matched distractors, and its effect is modulated by the emotional valence of the target.

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    Aging of global motion perception is accompanied by the changes of resting-state functional activity in the middle temporal gyrus
    JIN Hua, LIANG Ziping, ZHU Ziliang, YAN Shizhen, LIN Lin, AISIKAER Aikedan, YIN Jianzhong, JIANG Yunpeng, TIAN Xin
    2021, 53 (1):  38-54.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00038
    Abstract ( 391 )   HTML ( 17 )  
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    Global motion perception (GMP) is an important aspect of visual perception. Numerous studies have found that GMP of cognitively healthy elderly declines with aging, and it cannot be explained by age differences in the visual system. The neural mechanism of GMP aging remains unclear. Resting-state fMRI has been widely used to detect the internal spontaneous activity of the aging brain. Thus, whether the functional activity of brain regions related to the GMP for the elderly in the resting state is an effective indicator of their global motion sensitivity (GMS) still needs further investigation. To reveal the neural basis of GMP decline for the elderly, the relationships between the resting-state functional activities of GMP related brain areas (Regions of Interest, ROI: V1, V2, V3, and MT/V5) and individuals’ motion coherence threshold (MCT) were analyzed by using rs-fMRI technology.
    In this study, Random Dot Kinematogram (RDK) paradigm was used to evaluate an individual’s GMS with the MCT as the indicator. A higher threshold of the RDK task meant lower sensitivity. Meanwhile, the rs-fMRI data of 36 younger adults (M = 22.04 years old) and 31 older adults (M = 65.05 years old) were acquired using rapid echo-planar imaging (EPI) sequence from a 3T Siemens Prisma magnetic resonance scanner, with TR = 2s, TE = 30ms, Time points = 240 (young) or 246 (old). Rs-fMRI data were preprocessed and processed using SPM (http://www. fil.ion.ucl.ac.uk/spm) and DPABI (http://rfmri.org/dpabi) toolbox to obtain the functional activities of the ROIs, including ReHo, ALFF, voxel-wise FC, and ROI-wise FC. Then, the regional measures including three nodal centrality metrics (degree K, efficiency Enodal and betweenness b) and the global measures including small-world parameters (clustering coefficient Cp, characteristic path length Lp, normalized clustering coefficient γ, normalized characteristic path length λ, and small-worldness σ) and network efficiency (global efficiency Eglob and local efficiency Eloc) were calculated using GRETNA (http//www.nitrc.org/projects/gretna/) graph toolbox. To determine whether there were significant group differences in these functional properties, two-sample t-tests were performed on each metric. When significant between-group differences in any functional metrics were obtained, the Pearson correlation coefficients among these metrics and individuals’ MCT were further calculated to assess the relationship between changes in brain function and GMP aging.
    Results showed that 1) the ReHo values of right V3 and bilateral MT/V5 for older adults were significantly lower than that of younger adults, as well as the ALFF of bilateral MT/V5, and these functional metrics were significantly negatively correlated with individuals’ MCT; 2) The FCs between V2 and left primary motor cortex, V3 and left secondary visual cortex, MT/V5 and left premotor cortex, as well as the FCs between V1, V2, V3 and MT/V5 regions for older adults were significantly stronger than that of younger adults, and these FCs were correlated with individuals’ MCT; 3) Older adults’ K, Enodal and b of most nodes in temporal lobe were significantly lower than younger adults, and the Enodal of the right temporal cortex were significantly negatively correlated with individuals’ MCT; 4) Older adults’ global network properties including small-world parameters (Cp, γ, Lp, λ, and σ) and network efficiency (Eglob and Eloc) were all significantly lower than younger adults’, with CP and Eloc significantly negatively correlated with their MCT.
    These findings suggested that the decline of GMS for the elderly was associated not only with functional changes in the dorsal visual pathway, especially in the MT/V5, but may also with functional changes in broader areas of the whole brain, which supported the theory of “dedifferentiation”.

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    Functional connectivities of the right temporoparietal junction and moral network predict social framing effect: Evidence from resting-state fMRI
    CUI Fang, YANG Jiamiao, GU Ruolei, LIU Jie
    2021, 53 (1):  55-66.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00055
    Abstract ( 379 )   HTML ( 12 )  
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    As an important cognitive bias, the framing effect shows that individuals' decision preferences are sensitive to the verbal description (i.e., frame) of options. The social framing effect could be distinguished from the non-social one according to whether the decision would influence others. The psychological mechanism of the non-social framing effect (e.g., Gain/Loss framing effect) and that of the social one are essentially different. When people make non-social decisions, frames affect their judgment of which option is more beneficial or less risky. When people make social decisions, frames affect their preferences through other-regarding concerns and social norms.
    In the present study, a new paradigm was developed to induce the social framing effect. We asked participants to make a tradeoff between economic benefits and the feelings of others; when participants showed a stronger preference for income maximization, the probability for their partners to receive a painful electrical shock would increase proportionally. This decision was described as either a “harm” to, or simply “not helping” other persons in two frame conditions. 30 participants (age: 20.58 ± 1.91 years old) were enrolled in the experiment and 24 of them were included in the final analysis. The resting-state functional magnetic resonance (rs-fMRI) data was acquired using the Echo Planar Imaging (EPI) sequence from a 3-T Siemens scanner. This scanning acquired 180 volumes with TR = 2 s (lasting 6 min). Rs-fMRI data were processed and analyzed using the DPABI and RESTplus toolbox to calculate the amplitude of low-Frequency Fluctuation (ALFF) and Functional Connectivity (FC).
    At the behavioral level, we found that participants made more prosocial decisions in the Harm frame compared to the Help frame condition, resulting in a significant social framing effect. For the resting fMRI analysis, we first run a whole-brain correlation analysis between ALFF and the behavioral index and found the ALFF of the right temporoparietal junction (rTPJ) could significantly predict the behavioral index of the social framing effect. Considering the observed social framing effect would result from different levels of moral conflict between Harm and Help frames, we predicted that it would be closely related to the moral network. Therefore, we further localized 12 seeds from a new, meta-analysis of functional MRI studies for moral processing. Seed-based FC analysis showed that the functional connectivity between the medial prefrontal cortex and the caudate was significantly associated with the behavioral index of the social framing effect. Multivariate machine learning-based regression analysis further confirmed these results, suggesting the importance of rTPJ and moral network for the observed social framing effect.
    The present study is based on a novel experimental paradigm, using resting functional imaging techniques to explore the brain mechanism of the social framing effect. We found that the ALFF value of the right TPJ and the strength of the functional connectivity value between the medial prefrontal lobe and the caudate within a moral network can effectively predict the social framing effect. This study is the very first one to explore the extent to which individual social decision-making can be influenced by verbal description and its underlying neural mechanisms, which shed light on the further exploration of individual differences in social decision-making.

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    Reciprocal relations between relative deprivation and psychological adjustment among single-parent children in China: A longitudinal study
    XIONG Meng, LIU Ruojin, YE Yiduo
    2021, 53 (1):  67-80.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00067
    Abstract ( 758 )   HTML ( 41 )  
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    Increasing divorce rates in China have led to greater numbers of children growing up in single-parent homes. Previous studies have indicated that such single-parent children reported greater senses of relative deprivation and more psychological adjustment problems than their counterparts in undivided families. However, few studies have yet examined associations between relative deprivation and psychological adjustment and their directions. We thus explored characteristics of relative deprivation, psychological adjustment, and associations among them over 1.5 years beginning March, 2017. A sample of 273 single-parent children (50.5% boys) was recruited from two primary schools and two junior high schools in Hubei, China. Attrition was relatively minor; namely, 93.4% of participants completed all surveys during three assessment waves.

    Participants provided self-report data on individual and group cognitive and individual and group affective relative deprivation, and depression, loneliness, social anxiety, and self-esteem, as well as demographic variables (i.e., gender, academic period, and family economic status). All the measures had good reliability and validity. Results indicated that the relative deprivation of single-parent children was not obvious, and psychological adjustment was generally good. Boys reported higher levels of depression and loneliness than girls. Moreover, single-parent children with poor family economic status reported higher levels of relative deprivation, depression, and loneliness, as well as lower levels of self-esteem than their counterparts.

    To explore the possible reciprocal relations between relative deprivation and psychological adjustment, as well as to separate between-person effects from within-person effects, we analyzed data by using the random intercepts cross-lagged panel model (RI-CLPM). Results showed that there were reciprocal relations between relative deprivation and psychological adjustment at the within-person level when controlling for between-person effects and key demographic variables. Specifically, initial relative deprivation significantly negatively predicted psychological adjustment at Time 2, which in turn negatively predicted relative deprivation at Time 3. Moreover, relative deprivation at Time 2 also negatively predicted psychological adjustment at Time 3. These reciprocal relations between relative deprivation and psychological adjustment did not differ by gender and academic period (i.e., primary or secondary school). However, the association between psychological adjustment and relative deprivation was stronger for single-parent children with poor family economic status than for those with good family economic status.

    These observations expand the understanding of the complex relations between relative deprivation and psychological adjustment among single-parent children in China. Additionally, they have important implications for intervention and improvement of mental health for vulnerable groups, especially single-parent children. For instance, programs that aim to improve the mental health of single-parent children and to reduce the levels of relative deprivation among this vulnerable group may be helpful in breaking the detrimental cycle between relative deprivation and psychological adjustment.

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    Co-experiencing the same negative emotional events promotes cooperation
    MIAO Xiaoyan, SUN Xin, KUANG Yi, WANG Zuojun
    2021, 53 (1):  81-94.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00081
    Abstract ( 626 )   HTML ( 19 )  
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    Cooperation plays an essential role in the development and survival of humans. Previous research suggests that experiencing negative emotional events typically decreases cooperation. Yet the research has primarily focused on experiencing negative emotional events alone. People living in a social environment often co-experience negative emotional events with others. Less understood is the impact of co-experiencing the same negative events on interpersonal cooperation. The present research hypothesized that: 1) co-experiencing the same negative emotional events (i.e., failure) increases cooperation between co-experiencers compared with experiencing negative emotional events alone; 2) the need to belong mediates the relationship between those co-experiencing negative emotional events and their cooperation. Four experiments were conducted to examine the two hypotheses.
    In Experiments 1-3, the negative emotional events were manipulated either by failing in a lottery (Experiment 1) or in the Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrices (Experiment 2 and 3), and the cooperation was measured by a public goods game. The results of the three experiments showed that co-experiencing a negative emotional event promoted cooperation between the co-experiencers compared with experiencing the negative emotional event alone. Furthermore, to examine the underlying mechanism of this effect, three possible mediators, the need to belong, social bonds, and common in-group identity, were also measured in Experiment 2. The results showed that the need to belong, but not social bonds or common in-group identity, mediated the relationship between co-experiencing a negative emotional event (i.e., failure) and the promoted cooperation. In Experiment 3, the need to belong was manipulated rather than measured to further examine its effect on the increased cooperation between the co-experiencers. The results showed that when the need to belong was satisfied, the participants who co-experienced the negative emotional event did not behave more cooperatively than when they experienced the emotional event alone. Experiment 4 investigated whether people would be more willing to cooperate when they co-experienced the same negative emotional events compared with when they experienced different negative emotional events or when they experienced the negative emotional events alone. The results showed that only the participants who co-experienced the same negative emotional event, but not those who co-experienced a different negative emotional event, were more likely to cooperate than those who experienced the emotional event alone. The implication of the present findings on the formation of small groups and enhancing group cohesion was discussed.

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    Evolution of Napoleon complex: Relative height disadvantage, mating motivation and men’s risk-taking behavior
    WU Qi, ZHONG Chunyan, XIE Jingyuan
    2021, 53 (1):  95-110.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00095
    Abstract ( 849 )   HTML ( 28 )  
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    Throughout the animal kingdom, larger animals are more likely to attain dominance and thus enhance their ability to acquire mates. In human males, body height is also associated with the success and failure in sexual selection. For example, studies have found that taller men have higher strength or fighting ability, are more likely to have higher overall income and higher social status, and hold greater potential for acquiring mates. However, shorter men are not necessarily doomed with disadvantages. Previous studies have suggested that men have a flexible status psychology that may allow them to exercise behavioral flexibility (e.g., by showing more indirect aggression or feeling more jealousy toward sexual rivals) to compensate for their disadvantage in height. Given the importance of risk-taking behavior in signalizing the quality of ones’ genes, in the present study, we hypothesized that when encountering a taller same-sex rival, shorter men would compensate for their disadvantages in height by showing more risk-taking behavior, and their mating motives would modulate such an effect.
    This hypothesis was tested by four behavioral studies. We measured risk-taking behavior by employing a well-validated and computerized laboratory task (i.e., Balloon Analogue Risk-Taking Task, BART). In Studies 1 and 2, male or female participants (176 participants in Study 1, and 246 participants in Study 2, respectively) were paired with taller or shorter same-sex opponents, and were asked to compete with their opponents in a computerized game (i.e., the BART task). In Study 3 (255 male participants), we further tested our hypothesis by situationally activating the mating motives of male participants (i.e., by watching videos depicting highly attractive females) and paired them with taller or shorter male opponents in the BART task as in Studies 1 and 2. In Study 4 (90 male participants), we further investigated the effects of chronic mating motive and the relative height disadvantage on men's risk-taking by employing the Mate Seeking scale of Fundamental Social Motives Inventory.
    The results showed that: 1) male participants had significantly higher BART scores (i.e., the average numbers of pumps per unexploded balloon) when their opponents were taller; 2) such an effect was caused by the increase in risk-taking propensity when facing a taller opponent; facing a shorter opponent didn’t affect the risk-taking of male participants (also be compared to a no-height-info control); 3) the relative height difference between participants and their opponents did not affect the risk-taking of female participants; 4) situationally activating the mating motives of male participants significantly affected the effects of relative height disadvantage on male risk-taking; after watching the mating prime, male participants were more likely to elevate their risk-propensity to compensate for their disadvantage in height; 5) male participants with higher level of chronic mating motivation were also more likely to elevate their risk-propensity to compensate for the height disadvantage.
    The above results support our hypothesis, suggesting that men may have evolved a behavioral strategy to elevate their risk-taking propensity to compensate for their height disadvantage, and this strategy is driven by motives of intrasexual competition and mating. Our study thus provides further evidence for the evolutionary theory of Napoleon complex.

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