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ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

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    25 June 2021, Volume 53 Issue 6 Previous Issue    Next Issue

    Reports of Empirical Studies
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    Reports of Empirical Studies
    The influence of feature-based statistical regularity of singletons on the attentional suppression effect
    ZHANG Fan, WANG Aijun, ZHANG Ming
    2021, 53 (6):  555-564.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00555
    Abstract ( 356 )   HTML ( 9 )  
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    Using the variant of the classical additional singleton paradigm, the influence of feature-based statistical regularities of singletons on the attentional suppression effect was investigated. The results showed that: (1) when participants were forced to adopt the feature search mode, the response times were significantly faster in all the conditions with singleton than in the condition without singleton; (2) compared with the condition with a low-probability color singleton, the response times were significantly faster in the trials of high-probability color singleton presented. The results show that the influence of statistical regularities on attention is not limited to the stimulus location, and the feature-based statistical regularities also affect the magnitude of the attentional suppression effect.

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    Transitional probabilities and expectation for word length impact verbal statistical learning
    YU Wenbo, WANG Lu, QU Xingfang, WANG Tianlin, ZHANG Jingjing, LIANG Dandan
    2021, 53 (6):  565-574.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00565
    Abstract ( 240 )   HTML ( 25 )  
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    Verbal statistical learning refers to the process in which an individual can track the transitional probability between syllables to achieve the segmentation of speech flow and the extraction of words. In this study, we used a mixed experiment design of 2(transitional probability: high transitional probability, low transitional probability) × 2(word length expectation: two-syllable, three-syllable) to investigate the effects of transitional probability and word length expectation on the learning of speech statistics; the transitional probability is the variable between the subjects, and the word length expectation is the variable within the subjects. The post-test showed that there was no significant learning effect only under the condition of three-syllable forced choice of artificial language with low transitional probability. The planned contrasts showed that after learning the artificial language with low transitional probability, the participants’ scores on the three-syllable forced test were significantly lower than those on the two-syllable forced choice task. In the three-syllable forced choice test, subjects’ scores of the artificial language with low transitional probability were also significantly lower than those with high transitional probability. These results showed that the transitional probability and word length expectation affected the individual statistical learning.

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    The neural mechanism of the aesthetics of dynamic animal-stick figures
    ZHAO Xueru, LI Ting, LI Jinhui, HE Xianyou, ZHANG Wei, CHEN Guangyao
    2021, 53 (6):  575-586.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00575
    Abstract ( 170 )   PDF (502KB) ( 97 )  
    “The love of beauty is an essential part of all healthy human nature.” Aesthetic need is a high-level spiritual pursuit of human beings. In recent years, researchers have gradually paid more and more attention to the importance of beauty. Although researchers have carried out many aesthetic studies, most have focused on the study of static stimuli and not dynamic stimuli such as flying birds or fast trotting horses. Thus, research in cognitive experimental aesthetics and cognitive neuroaesthetics has not addressed the following questions: Which areas of the brain are activated when we appreciate dynamic animals? What are the differences between the brain regions activated by dynamic animals versus static animals? Does dynamic property of the animal affect aesthetic judgment?
    We used behavioral research approaches and neurocognitive techniques (functional magnetic resonance image, fMRI) to gather converging evidence that addressed the above questions. In order to avoid the influence of irrelevant factors, we used stick figures as the experimental material. In Experiment 1 we explored if the dynamic property animal-stick figures affects aesthetic judgment. 20 college students participated in the formal experiment and 20 additional college students rated experimental materials. Participants were asked to evaluate the beauty and liking of dynamic animal-stick figures and static animal-stick figures. E-prime 2.0 was used to present stimuli and to collect the behavioral data. Results showed that dynamic animal-stick figures had higher aesthetic scores and liking scores than static animal-stick figures. Animal-stick figures were rated as more beautiful.
    In Experiment 2 we explored neural mechanisms that underlie aesthetic judgment of dynamic animal-stick figures and compared the neural mechanisms between the aesthetic judgments of dynamic animal-stick figures and static ones. 20 participants who did not participate in Experiment 1 were scanned while they performed aesthetic judgments on dynamic animal-stick figures and matched static animal-stick figures.
    Results revealed that regions of occipital lobe, frontal lobe, hippocampus, cingulate cortex, insula, orbital frontal cortex (OFC) and amygdala were commonly activated in the aesthetic judgments of both dynamic and static animal-stick figures. The neural networks involved in aesthetic judgments of dynamic animal-stick figures overlapped with those involved in aesthetic judgments of static animal-stick figures. Furthermore, compared to static animal-stick figures, stronger activations of lingual gyrus and middle temporal gyrus (MT/V5) were found in the aesthetic judgments of dynamic animal-stick figures. However, compared to dynamic animal-stick figures, no significant activations were found in beautiful judgments of static animal-stick figures.
    In summary, the present study indicated that the dynamic property of animal-stick figures affected aesthetic judgment and dynamic animal-stick figures were more beautiful than static ones.
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    Effects of prediction error and acute stress on retrieval-extinction of fear memories of different strengths
    LI Junjiao, CHEN Wei, HU Yanjian, CAOYANG Jingwen, ZHENG Xifu
    2021, 53 (6):  587-602.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00587
    Abstract ( 256 )   HTML ( 15 )  
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    Under the framework of Reconsolidation Interference of conditioned fear memory, Prediction Error (PE) has been demonstrated as a necessary condition of memory destabilization. However, the role of PE in destabilizing fear memories of different strengths is unclear. Memory strength was proved to be an important boundary condition of memory reconsolidation; however, explorations of solutions to overcome the boundary are rare. Among factors that are possible to help to overcome the boundary condition, the effects of stress hormones are worth exploring. In this study, we investigated the effects of prediction error on different strengths of fear memory in human participants and the effects of post-reactivation acute stress on the extinction process. The results showed that for weak conditioned fear memories, the spontaneous recovery of fear was significantly inhibited when single PE was involved in the retrieval phase; while for stronger fear memories, reactivation containing a single PE could not destabilize fear memories, and the extinguished memories returned in the memory test on the third day. Furthermore, when the post-reactivation acute stress task was adopted in the enhanced memory condition, the return of fear further increased, compared with the no stress manipulation conditions.

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    Propranolol rescued secondary trauma induced by immediate extinction
    WANG Hongbo, XING Xiaoli, WANG Huiying
    2021, 53 (6):  603-612.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00603
    Abstract ( 237 )   HTML ( 9 )  
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    One hallmark of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) involves impairments in the ability to extinguish conditioned fear memory. Accumulating evidence suggests that extinction training that occurs shortly after fear conditioning is less effective than delayed extinction training in yielding long-term extinction memory, a phenomenon that is referred to as immediate extinction deficit (IED). However, the unknown is whether the IED is just an aberration or continues to affect re-extinction. In Experiment 1, extinction training (1st extinction session) was started at either 1 h (immediate) or 24 h (delayed) after fear conditioning, followed by the 2nd extinction session (re-extinction) 24 h later, and the extinction memory was tested 24 h after the re-extinction. The results showed that rats in the immediate extinction group exhibited no significant reduction of freezing compared with the non-extinguished control after undergoing two extinction training sessions, and exhibited significantly weaker extinction than those animals in the delayed extinction condition, suggesting that the deficit not only occurred in immediate extinction but also in re-extinction. In Experiment 2, rats underwent the same procedures as the immediate extinction groups in Experiment 1, with the exception that they received saline or propranolol (10 mg/kg, i.p.) within minutes after fear conditioning. We found that one injection of propranolol immediately after fear acquisition rescued the deficit of re-extinction but not immediate extinction. This study revealed that the early extinction intervention after severe trauma may not only fail to inhibit the fear response but also act as a secondary trauma which can continually damage the ability to extinguish fear memory. Propranolol may be a good candidate to repair such damage. Our findings improve our understanding of the pathogenesis of PTSD and outcomes of early intervention and may be helpful for selecting appropriate and effective interventions after trauma exposure and avoid secondary trauma that is caused by the intervention itself.

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    Abnormalities in pain sensitivity among individuals with autism spectrum disorder: Evidence from meta-analysis
    ZHANG Wenyun, LI Xiaoyun, YAO Junjie, YE Qian, PENG Weiwei
    2021, 53 (6):  613-628.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00613
    Abstract ( 361 )   HTML ( 32 )  
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    A meta-analysis was conducted to assess the abnormalities of pain sensitivity among individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which were characterized as pain threshold, pain-evoked physiological responses, and pain intensity ratings. This understanding has the potential to provide evidence-based guidelines for early diagnosis and intervention of ASD. Sixteen experimental studies were included in the meta-analysis, with a total sample size of N = 822. Pain thresholds were not significantly different between ASD and control groups, but this estimate was moderated by the variable of pain modality, such that individuals with ASD exhibited lower pressure pain thresholds than the controls. Pain-evoked physiological responses were significantly greater among individuals with ASD than the controls, but pain intensity ratings were comparable between ASD and control groups. Future studies should combine multi-modal painful stimulations and multi-dimensional measures to comprehensively investigate the pain sensitivity profiles for individuals with ASD and establish the link between their pain sensitivity and clinical core symptoms.

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    The relationship between dispositional self-construal and empathy for ingroup and outgroup members’ pain: evidence from ERPs
    CHEN Jie, WU Ke, SHI Yupeng, AI Xiaoqing
    2021, 53 (6):  629-638.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00629
    Abstract ( 224 )   HTML ( 5 )  
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    Previous studies have found that temporary shifts in self-construals modulate neural correlates of empathy for pain. The present study aimed to investigate the relationship between the dispositional self-construal and empathic neural responses to ingroup and outgroup members’ pain. Using a priming paradigm, event-related potentials were recorded for pictures depicting the faces in painful or no-painful situations while subjects performed a pain judgment task. The results showed a significant ingroup bias in empathy in the early N2 component where painful stimuli elicited a greater negative shift relative to non-painful stimuli in response to ingroup members’ pain only. It suggests that group factors influence automatic emotion sharing stage of pain empathy. Regardless of whether it is ingroup priming or outgroup priming, the painful picture evoked greater P3 amplitudes than the non-painful picture. More importantly, there were significantly positive correlations between self-construal scores (interdependence minus independence scores) and P3 amplitudes induced by ingroup or outgroup pain empathy (painful minus non-painful conditions), but their correlation coefficients were similar. This finding suggests that trait self-construal is closely related to the late cognitive appraisal process in pain empathy, and the degree of correlation was similar between internal and external group conditions.

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    Processing priority for avatar reference in online games: Evidence from behavioral and ERPs studies
    CAO Min, XIE Heping, SUN Lijun, ZHANG Dongjing, KONG Fanchang, ZHOU Zongkui
    2021, 53 (6):  639-650.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00639
    Abstract ( 192 )   HTML ( 17 )  
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    The R/K paradigm and the ERPs were used to investigate the processing advantage of avatar reference in online games. In Experiment 1, R/K paradigm was used to compare the memory performance of 40 players under different reference conditions. The results showed that the total recognition accuracy, R response recognition accuracy and discrimination of avatar reference were significantly better than those of other references. In Experiment 2, ERPs was used to investigate 20 players’ neural mechanism of avatar reference. The results showed that processing avatar names induced larger P2 (160~260 ms) and P3 (370~600 ms) amplitudes than familiar names, and shorter P3 latency than foreign familiar names. The results showed that players not only noticed avatar-related information more quickly than other information, but also processed avatar-related information more precisely and deeply. To sum up, whether it is memory results or processing time process, there are online game avatar reference processing advantage.

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    Influence of an individual’s own gains and losses on the evaluation of friends’ gambling results: Evidence from ERPs
    YUE Tong, HUANG Xiting, YUE Caizhen, XUE Liming, FU Anguo
    2021, 53 (6):  651-666.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00651
    Abstract ( 267 )   HTML ( 28 )  
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    In this study, FRN and P300 were used as response indicators to explore the effects of self-gains or losses on friends’ outcomes and how this mode of influence was regulated by the individual’s self-construction. The results showed that the FRN and P300 differences between watching friends’ gains and losses no longer existed under the condition of self-gains, and the FRN differences were significant even though the P300 differences between watching friends’ losses and gains disappeared under the condition of self-losses. Furthermore, no significant FRN differences were observed in the self-constructed group regardless of self-gains or losses. However, watching friends’ losses after self-gains elicited stronger P300 amplitude. The results of this study showed that: (1) the result evaluation model of friends was not fixed but varied with the individual’s own situation of gains and losses; (2) compared to the interdependent self-construction priming group, the independent self-construction priming group was more indifferent and more competitive in the face of friends’ gains and losses.

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    Outwardly strong but inwardly weak, pretensions to wealth? Exploring the impact of heterogeneous high self-esteem on materialism in a self-threat situation
    YANG Baoyan, CHEN Shasha, SU Shaoqing, CHEN Fangli
    2021, 53 (6):  667-680.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00667
    Abstract ( 331 )   HTML ( 19 )  
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    Three studies were conducted to explore the relationship between heterogeneous high self-esteem and materialism, and whether the relationship between heterogeneous high self-esteem and materialism would change under the self-threatening situation. In Study 1, the relationship between heterogeneous high self-esteem and materialism was investigated by questionnaires. The results showed that the secure high self-esteem participants had significantly lower materialism than the fragile high self-esteem participants. Study 2 manipulated self-threat by asking participants with different levels of high self-esteem to compare themselves to those with high/low attractiveness, and then measured explicit materialism, finding that the explicit materialism of the secure high self-esteem participants was significantly lower than that of the fragile high self-esteem participants. Study 3 manipulated self-threat with the virtual rank feedback on intelligence tests and then measured implicit materialism. The results showed that the implicit materialism of the secure high self-esteem group was significantly lower than that of the fragile high self-esteem group. It can be concluded that heterogeneous high self-esteem is not only the breakthrough point to resolve the contradiction between high self-esteem and materialism, but also the breakthrough to break the positive relationship between self-threat and materialism.

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