ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B


    25 April 2023, Volume 55 Issue 4 Previous Issue    Next Issue

    Reports of Empirical Studies
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    Reports of Empirical Studies
    The relationship between associative encoding and item encoding in the multiple-component character unitization and compound word unitization
    ZHAO Chunyu, GUO Chunyan
    2023, 55 (4):  513-528.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.00513
    Abstract ( 201 )   HTML ( 25 )  
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    Unitization refers to the manipulation that can integrate two or more items into a single entirety. Previous studies found that unitization facilitated associative memory, however, the effect of unitization on item memory was controversial. Some researchers argued that unitization promoted associative recognition at the cost of item recognition (the view of “benefits and cost”), others held that unitization could promote associative recognition without impairing item recognition (the view of “benefits-only”). These two views seemed to be arguing the impact of unitization on item memory, but in fact, they were discussing the relationship between associative encoding and item encoding during unitization.

    The present study intended to explore the relationship between associative encoding and item encoding in the process of unitization through two experiments, by examining the effects of words unitization and characters unitization on associative memory and item memory as well as the differences of neural mechanisms between the two unitization strategies. In experiment 1 (Figure 1), we used associative recognition paradigm to explore the unitization effects on associative memory. In the study phase, participants were asked to judge whether the character pairs could form to a multiple-component character (characters unitization) or a compound word (words unitization) or couldn’t (non-unitization). In the test phase, participants were asked to judge whether the character pairs were same or rearranged. In experiment 2, item recognition paradigm was used. Procedure of the study phase was the same as Experiment 1. In the test phase, characters instead of character pairs learned or not learned in the study phase were displayed on the screen. Participants were asked to judge whether the characters were old or new. In addition, EEG signals were recorded during the task to explore the neural mechanism during memory encoding.

    The behavioral results showed that: i) the encoding process of characters unitization was more difficult and had longer response time compared to words unitization; ii) the performances of associative recognition was significantly higher for the words and characters unitization conditions than the non-unitization condition (characters (M ± SD): 0.75 ± 0.15, non-characters: 0.26 ± 0.18, t = 14.50, p < 0.001; words: 0.67 ± 0.15, non-words: 0.40 ± 0.20, t = 8.51, p < 0.001), and their performances of item recognition was not decreased; iii) the performances of associative recognition (characters: 0.75 ± 0.15, words: 0.67 ± 0.15, t = 2.94, p = 0.006) and item recognition (characters: 0.50 ± 0.14, words: 0.41 ± 0.13, t = 5.23, p < 0.001) was significantly higher for the characters unitization condition than words unitization condition. The EEG results showed that: iv) the LNC during words unitization encoding was mainly distributed in the frontal area and occurred earlier than characters unitization encoding, while the LNC during characters unitization encoding was mainly located in the occipital area and occurs later than words unitization encoding (Figure 2); v) the desynchronization of neural oscillation within α/β band was stronger for characters unitization condition compared to words unitization condition (Figure 3), and the desynchronization of neural oscillation within α/β band during encoding was significantly correlated with the hit of item recognition during retrieval (Figure 4).

    These results indicate from the perspectives of memory encoding and retrieval that the manipulation of unitization does not damage the processing of items while strengthening the processing of associative information, supporting the view of “benefits-only”. This research has deepened our understanding that the brain processes multiple-component Chinese characters and compound words, and also provided a reference for the arrangement of Chinese learning materials from the perspective of empirical evidence.

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    Subliminal speech priming of Mandarin Chinese: Evidence from auditory masked priming paradigm
    JIANG Luyao, LI Bingbing
    2023, 55 (4):  529-541.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.00529
    Abstract ( 173 )   HTML ( 13 )  
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    Three experiments were conducted to investigate auditory subliminal priming effect of Mandarin Chinese Using Mandarin Chinese disyllabic words as experimental materials and auditory masking priming paradigm. The results showed that the auditory subliminal repetition priming effect of words was significant, and the auditory subliminal repetition priming effect was not affected by the congruency of the gender between prime and target. However, the subliminal phonological, morpheme and semantic priming effects of words and the subliminal repetition and initial character priming effects of nonwords were not significant. These results indicated that the lexical level information of subliminal two-character Mandarin Chinese words of auditory modality can be unconsciously processed. The auditory subliminal priming effect of two-character Mandarin Chinese words may be based on the unconscious activation of the whole-word representation of the prime words.

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    The effect of after-encoding rewards on agenda-based learning: The role of reward expectation and reward outcome
    JIANG Yingjie, MA Xiaoxiao, JIANG Yuantao, REN Jimei, LONG Yiting
    2023, 55 (4):  542-555.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.00542
    Abstract ( 138 )   HTML ( 21 )  
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    According to Agenda-Based Regulation Model (ABR), individuals will comprehensively analyze various factors such as task objectives, task constraints to construct the learning agenda, which is used to prioritize the study items and the amount of time needed to study. However, the main concern of the previous studies is the value presented as a reward outcome (reward obtained after successfully memory), leading to a lack of valid examination of whether reward expectation (prediction of reward outcome) affects the agenda construction and memory performance. The present study was to supplement the reward expectation into the ABR model by verifying whether a sufficiently high reward expectation can replace difficulty to become a dominant influence on JOLs and study time allocation when forming an agenda.

    Experiment 1

    60 participants joined this experiment. Added a control group on the basis of Soderstrom and McCabe's (2011), 2 (difficulty: easy, hard) × 2 (reward expectation: yes, no) and 2 (difficulty: easy, hard) × 2 (reward outcome: high, low) experiments were designed to examine the effect of reward expectation and difficulty on JOLs and memory rates. Participants have to give JOLs to the word pairs that they studied under a time limited condition, and finish a test in the end.

    The results showed that reward outcomes facilitated the memory performance (F(2, 46) = 9.25, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.29) and JOLs (F(2, 46) = 5.18, p = 0.009, η2p = 0.19) of both easy and hard word pairs (see Figure 1), and reward expectation only improved the memory performance of easy word pairs (F(1, 53) = 4.51, p = 0.038, η2p = 0.08) without significant effects on JOLs (F(1, 53) = 1.70, p = 0.198) (see Figure 2).

    Experiment 2

    60 participants in this experiment. Only shifted limited-time learning to self-paced learning to examine the effects of reward expectation and difficulty on the study time allocation.

    The results showed that reward outcome affected the JOLs (F(2, 46) = 5.18, p = 0.009, η2p = 0.18) rather than memory performance (F(2, 46) = 0.01, p = 0.986) (see Figure 3). But reward expectation promoted both JOLs (F(1, 50) = 4.90, p = 0.031, ηp2 = 0.09) and study time allocation(F(1, 51) = 4.76, p = 0.034, η2p = 0.09), thus improving the memory performance (F(1, 50) = 6.51, p = 0.014, η2p = 0.12) (see Figure 4). JOLs and study time allocation of hard word pairs in condition with reward expectation are higher than with no reward (see Figure 5).

    Experiment 3

    18 participants in this experiment. Two sequences of value outcomes (1, 6, 12 or 1, 3, 6) enabled participants to generate high gradient and low gradient reward expectations respectively to further investigate the impact of the magnitude of reward expectation.

    In self-paced learning in Experiment 3, the influence of difficulty on study time not significant any more (F(1, 14) = 3.87, p = 0.069), reward expectation beyond difficulty becomes the main factor affecting the study time allocation (F(1, 14) = 4.55, p = 0.050, η2p = 0.25) (see Figure 6).

    The above results proved that reward expectation is a contributing factor in ABR model. Individuals synthesize reward expectation, reward outcome and difficulty while constructing a learning agenda, and reward expectation overrides difficulty as the dominant factor in agenda construction when it is sufficiently large. However, the effects of reward expectation and reward outcome on memory performance, study time allocation, and JOLs were modulated by the learning conditions.

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    The function of mPFC-NAc circuit in decision impulsivity: A study based on an animal model
    ZHUO Linan, ZENG Xiangyu, WU Bing, NIU Rongrong, YU Ping, WANG Weiwen
    2023, 55 (4):  556-571.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.00556
    Abstract ( 96 )   HTML ( 6 )  
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    Insufficient behavior control in patients with attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is closely related to decision impulsivity, which is regulated by medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and nucleus accumbens (NAc). In ADHD patients, the mPFC and NAc show abnormality both structurally and functionally, indicating that these two brain regions are involved in regulation of decision-making, especially impulsivity. Although extensive anatomical connections between mPFC and NAc have been found, the role of mPFC-NAc circuit in decision impulsivity remains to be investigated.

    Wistar (WIS) rats and ADHD rats (SHR, spontaneously hypertensive rat) were used as subjects of this study. We recorded the local field potential (LFP) of mPFC and NAc using multi-channel electrophysiology during a delay discounting task (DDT). We further analyzed the coherence difference of Theta (4~12 Hz) oscillation in expectation period (0~3s) and compared this measure between the two groups.

    The results showed that: (1) In the DDT task, when the delay time was 10s, SHR rats had higher decision impulsivity level than WIS group (F(1, 14) = 25.08, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.64). Power spectral density between 6~12 Hz of LFP in mPFC and NAc increased in both groups. (2) When choosing large/delayed rewards, coherence of mPFC-NAc activity increased compared to small/immediate rewards in WIS group (F(1, 104) = 252.90, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.71). This indicates that the mPFC-NAc circuit mediates decision impulsivity. (3) When choosing large/delayed rewards, mPFC-NAc activity in SHR group showed lower coherence than WIS group (F(1, 104) = 119.57, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.53), indicating SHR rats have weaker mPFC-NAc functional connections (see Figure 1A, Figure 1B).

    Coherence of mPFC-NAc activity is higher during initial choice behavioral than continuous choice behavior. It indicated that stronger mPFC-NAc functional connections are required during controlled information processing (dominant in initial choice behavioral), rather than automatic information processing (dominant in continuous choice behavior). Coherence of mPFC-NAc activity is higher in WIS group than SHR group when choosing large/immediate rewards (initial trials: F(1, 108) = 105.86, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.50; continuous trials: F(1, 108) = 6.38, p = 0.013, η2p = 0.06, see Figure 2A, Figure 2B). It indicated that the decision impulsivity deficits in SHR rats results from mPFC-NAc weak functional connections.

    Coherence of mPFC-NAc activity is higher in shift trials than continuous trials. Plus, WIS group showed an overall higher coherence than SHR group (continuous trials: F(1, 110) = 45.67, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.29; shift trials: F(1, 110) = 154.07, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.58, see Figure 3A, Figure 3B). This indicated that mPFC-NAc circuit heavily involves in controlled information processing, and SHR group has deficiency of this process.

    Regression analysis showed that coherence difference of mPFC-NAc activity in prediction period has positive correlation with delayed large reward selection rate in WIS group (r = 0.65; F(1, 22) = 15.46, p < 0.001, R² = 0.42, see Figure 4A), that is, the more coherence of mPFC-NAc Theta activity increased during prediction period, the less decision impulsivity WIS rats behaved during choice period. However, the coherence difference cannot predict decision impulsivity in SHR group (r = 0.33; F(1, 27) = 3.12, p = 0.089, R² = 0.11, see Figure 4B).

    This study showed that mPFC-NAc heavily involves in decision impulsivity. Increase of coherence of mPFC-NAc theta oscillation in prediction period can predict impulsivity level. The study revealed that weak mPFC-NAc functional connections mediate decision impulsivity in ADHD and brought new perspectives in the treatment of ADHD.

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    The relationship between frontotemporal regions and early life stress in children aged 9 to 12: Evidence from multimodal fMRI
    LI Wei, BIAN Ziming, CHEN Ximei, WANG Junjie, LUO Yijun, LIU Yong, SONG Shiqing, GAO Xiao, CHEN Hong
    2023, 55 (4):  572-587.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.00572
    Abstract ( 112 )   HTML ( 12 )  
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    Early life stress (ELS) has been used to describe a broad spectrum of adverse and stressful events, including childhood trauma occurring during neonatal life, early and late childhood, and adolescence. Childhood is a vulnerable time point for stressful events due to an immature brain, which increases the risk of psychopathology in later life. However, to date, studies have focused almost exclusively on adolescents and adults, and little is known about the relationship between ELS and the structural and functional brain changes in children. Here, we adopted a multimodal approach combining voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and functional connectivity (FC) to examine the neural substrates of ELS in children aged 9~12 years.

    A total of 139 children were recruited for this study. For each participant, the ELS level was assessed and an 8-minute rs-fMRI scan was performed using a 3T Trio scanner. Participants with unqualified data were excluded, resulting in a final sample of 78 participants (39 females; mean age = 10.18) (see Table 1). For statistical analysis, we used the gray matter volume (GMV) and FC to explore the brain structural and functional correlates of children’s ELS and then used a machine learning method to investigate whether and how structural connectivity profiles in predefined brain networks can predict ELS levels. Additionally, exploratory analyses were performed to investigate potential sex differences and age characteristics in GMV and FC associated with children’s ELS.

    VBM analysis showed that greater ELS was associated with a larger GMV in the left medial orbitofrontal cortex, right insular cortex, left superior temporal gyrus, and left supplementary motor area. Subsequently, we used these clusters as seed regions to analyze the correlation between FC and stress in children. We found that greater ELS was associated with lower insular-inferior parietal lobule (IPL) connectivity. The results were not influenced by sex, age, total intracranial volume, or head motion (see Table 2, Figure 1). Furthermore, the predictive analysis of machine learning reported that the sensorimotor, frontoparietal, salience, visual, and cerebellar networks could marginally predict ELS scores (see Figure 2). Finally, exploratory analyses showed that there were no significant sex differences in the GMV or FC associated with ELS and that significant correlations of ELS with the GMV of the inferior occipital gyrus were mainly manifested in 9-year-old children (coordinates: x = −53, y = −66, z = −11; cluster size = 249; t = −4.08) (see Figure 3).

    Using VBM and FC analyses, we detected structural and functional brain alterations associated with ELS in children aged 9~12 years. Specifically, the VBM analysis mainly reflected that children with high ELS may have abnormal emotional and cognitive functions, such as hypersensitivity to emotional stimuli and over-monitoring of their own behavior. In addition, FC analysis indicated that aberrant interaction of internal and external information may contribute to high ELS in childhood. This study not only provides unique insights into the neural substrates of ELS but may also help identify children who are susceptible to ELS within the general population, which may be advantageous for early prevention strategies and interventions for children.

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    The U-shaped relationship between dopaminergic genes and adolescent aggressive behavior: The moderating role of maternal negative parenting
    LIN Xiaonan, CAO Yanmiao, ZHANG Wenxin, JI Linqin
    2023, 55 (4):  588-599.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.00588
    Abstract ( 122 )   HTML ( 24 )  
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    Dopaminergic genes have been frequently found to be associated with aggressive behavior, but the results are inconsistent. One reason for the inconsistencies is there might be the U-shaped relationship between dopaminergic genetic variants and aggressive behavior. More specifically, evidence has suggested an inverted U-shaped relationship between dopamine activity and prefrontal cortex (PFC) function (a critical region related to aggression), with both dopaminergic hypofunction and hyperfunction, were related to poor PFC function. It is possible that the relationship between dopaminergic genes and aggression approximates a U-shaped function. However, such U-shaped relationship is rarely investigated in previous studies. Moreover, several concerns have been raised about the ignoring the polygenic traits of aggressive behavior when conducting gene by environment interaction (G×E) research using single loci. Therefore, the present study aimed to examine the interaction between dopaminergic genetic variants and maternal negative parenting on adolescent aggressive behavior by adopting the approach of multilocus genetic profile score (MGPS).

    Participants were 1044 adolescents (mean age 13.32 ± 0.49 years old at Time 1, 50.2% females) recruited from the community. The adolescents completed two assessments with an interval of one year. Saliva samples, mother-reported parenting data and data on peer-nominated aggressive behavior were collected. All measures showed good reliability. The MGPS was created by COMT rs4680 polymorphisms, DRD2 rs1799978 polymorphisms and DAT1 rs27072 polymorphisms. Genotyping in three dopaminergic genes were performed for each participant in real time with MassARRAY RT software version and analyzed using the MassARRAY Typer software version 3.4 (Sequenom). To examine whether negative parenting moderates the effects of MGPS on adolescent aggressive behavior, hierarchical regression analyses were conducted.

    As shown in Table 1 and Table2, after controlling for gender, maternal negative parenting was a significant risk factor for adolescent aggressive behavior at Time 1 (β = 0.10, p = 0.002) and Time 2 (β = 0.10, p = 0.003), with higher negative parenting related to more aggressive behavior. The main effect of the quadratic term of MGPS on adolescent aggressive behavior was significant at Time 2 (β = 0.06, p = 0.048), indicating a U-shaped relationship between MGPS and adolescent aggressive behavior (See Figure 2.), while the main effect of the quadratic term of MGPS on adolescent aggressive behavior was not significant at Time 1 (β = 0.04, p = 0.22).

    Moreover, as shown in Table 1 and Table 2, after controlling for gender, the quadratic term of MGPS significantly interacted with maternal negative parenting in predicting aggressive behavior at Time 1 (β = 0.11, p = 0.006) and Time 2 (β = 0.11, p = 0.01), respectively. Specifically, there was a U-shaped relationship between MGPS and adolescent aggressive behavior (See Figure 1. and Figure 3.). Simple slope analyses showed that adolescents with higher and lower MGPS exhibited higher levels of aggressive behavior when experiencing higher levels of maternal negative parenting (Time 1: bquadratic term = 0.05, tquadratic term = 2.75, pquadratic term = 0.006, bprimary term = ?0.06, tprimary term = ?1.92, pprimary term = 0.055; Time 2: bquadratic term = 0.07, tquadratic term = 3.20, pquadratic term = 0.001, bprimary term = ?0.04, tprimary term = ?1.33, pprimary term = 0.18). No significant effect of MGPS on adolescent aggressive behavior when experiencing lower levels of maternal negative parenting existed (Time 1: bquadratic term = ?0.03, tquadratic term = ?1.33, pquadratic term = 0.18, bprimary term = 0.01, tprimary term = 0.17, pprimary term = 0.86; Time 2: bquadratic term = ?0.02, tquadratic term = ?0.70, pquadratic term = 0.49, bprimary term = ?0.002, tprimary term = ?0.06, pprimary term = 0.95).

    This study provides evidence for the molecular mechanisms of multilocus genetic profile scores and gene-environment interactions in adolescent aggressive behavior.

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    The relationship between internal working models of attachment and marital satisfaction among older adults: an analysis based on couple data
    QIANG Yuanyan, CAO Xiancai, WANG Dahua
    2023, 55 (4):  600-611.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.00600
    Abstract ( 150 )   HTML ( 14 )  
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    Individuals form internal working models (IWMs) based on their early attachment experiences. IWMs consist of individuals’ views of themselves (i.e., IWM of the self) and others (i.e., IWM of others) within relationships. IWMs guide individuals’ interpretations and anticipations in interpersonal situations, which could influence their interactions with others and the quality of their relationships. As social networks shrink with age, older adults tend to focus more on relationships with close others. Due to the importance of marital relationships in late adulthood, the study examined whether and how older adults’ IWMs affect their marital satisfaction. In addition, the study also examined whether the differences in family roles between husbands and wives impact the relationship between IWMs and marital satisfaction.

    The main purpose of this study is threefold: 1) To examine whether IWM of the self and IWM of others show different relationships with marital satisfaction; 2) To investigate whether the relationships between older adults’ IWMs and their marital satisfaction are mediated by marital attachment (i.e., the anxiety and the avoidance dimensions of marital attachment); 3) To explore the actor and the partner effects of IWMs on marital satisfaction by modeling couple data with the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model (APIM). In order to gain a better understanding of whether traditional family roles have an impact on the relationship between IWMs and marital satisfaction, we also examined whether the effects mentioned above differed between husbands and wives.

    A total of 112 older couples (mean age = 69.3, SD = 5.02) from communities in Beijing were recruited to participate in this study. Participants completed the demographic information questionnaire, the Elderly Marital Attachment Questionnaire, the Relationship Questionnaire, and the Marriage Satisfaction Questionnaire. SPSS 23.0 and Dyad R were used to perform data analyses, including correlation analysis, mediation modeling, APIM, and analysis of variance (ANOVA).

    The study yielded several major results. 1) Correlation analysis showed that husbands’ IWM of the self (but not IWM of others) was positively associated with marital satisfaction (r = 0.25, p = 0.008), while wives’ IWM of others (but not IWM of the self) was positively associated with marital satisfaction (r = 0.19. p = 0.041).

    2) Mediation modeling showed that the association between husbands’ IWM of the self (but not IWM of others) and marital satisfaction was mediated by attachment anxiety and avoidance (95% CI = [0.454]; 95% CI = [0.340]). In contrast, neither attachment anxiety nor attachment avoidance significantly mediated the relationships between wives’ IWMs and marital satisfaction.

    3) APIM showed that husbands’ IWM of the self was positively associated with their own marital satisfaction (B = 0.436, p = 0.010), while wives’ IWM of others was positively associated with their own (B = 0.471, p = 0.014) and spouses’ marital satisfaction (B = 0.384, p = 0.052). All other unidirectional paths in the APIM were non-significant.

    4) ANOVA showed that husbands (but not wives) reported higher marital satisfaction when both husbands and wives had highly positive IWM of the self (F(3, 108) = 4.177, p = 0.008, η² = 0.104). In other words, husbands reported higher marital satisfaction when their own IWM of the self was positive and matched with their wives’ IWM of the self.

    The study supports the importance of IWMs of attachment in older adults’ marital satisfaction. Our findings suggest that positive IWMs benefit marital satisfaction in general. The significant mediation effects of attachment anxiety/avoidance (particularly in the relationship between husbands’ IWM of the self and marital satisfaction) suggest that IWMs may influence marital satisfaction by affecting anxiety-/avoidance-related thoughts and behaviors during spousal interaction. The study also reveals intriguing differences between husbands and wives with regards to the IWMs − marital satisfaction relationship. Specifically, marital satisfaction seems to be more strongly associated with IWM of the self among husbands, but more strongly associated with IWM of others among wives. These differences may be related to the traditional patriarchal values of Chinese families.

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    Preference of dimension-based difference in intertemporal choice: Eye-tracking evidence
    LIU Hong-Zhi, YANG Xing-Lan, LI Qiu-Yue, WEI Zi-Han
    2023, 55 (4):  612-625.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.00612
    Abstract ( 121 )   HTML ( 15 )  
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    In the field of intertemporal choice, considerable empirical evidence from behavioral and process data supports the use of dimension-based models. The existing dimension-based models provide qualitative explanations for an individual’s intertemporal choice and focus on “which dimension is the greater difference dimension”, but ignore the preference of dimension-based difference (i.e., “how much different of the difference between the two dimensions”). In the present study, we used eye-tracking technology to examine the relationship between the preference of dimension-based difference and the information searching process. The results in the two experiments consistently revealed that response time, gaze transition entropy (a measure of visual scanning efficiency), and stationary gaze entropy (a measure of the level of even distribution across different areas of interest) could negatively predict the preference of dimension-based difference. Our findings highlighted the correlation between the preference of dimension-based difference and the information searching process, providing further process evidence for dimension-based intertemporal models.

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    Do not think any virtue trivial, and thus neglect it: Mindfulness and wisdom − Serial mediating role of social mindfulness and perspective taking
    WANG Yimeng, ZHANG Jingmin, WANG Fengyan, XU Wentao, LIU Weiting
    2023, 55 (4):  626-641.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.00626
    Abstract ( 154 )   HTML ( 19 )  
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    Mindfulness has roots in Eastern Buddhism and is generally defined as focusing one’s complete attention to experiences occurring in the present moment in a nonjudgmental or accepting way. The objective of mindfulness intervention is to first understand current experiences then gradually develop self-awareness and wisdom. Moreover, following Buddhist ethics, mindfulness predicts wisdom, which is linked with emphasis on individualized moral foundations of care, empathy, benevolence, and so on. Social mindfulness, as a positive quality and state behavior of mindful attention to others, may potentially affect the influence of mindfulness on wisdom by providing an indirect way to promote the common good (see Figure 1). Moreover, social mindfulness involves minding the needs and interests of others in a way that honors the idea that most people prefer choosing for themselves. Based on this statement, the skill of processing the perspectives of others may lay the foundation for social mindfulness. Therefore, based on the above propositions, the hypothesis that mindfulness positively affects wisdom, mediated by perspective taking and social mindfulness, is proposed in this study (see Figure 2).

    Through three studies, the above hypothesis is examined. For Study 1 (n = 417), a self-rated wisdom, mindfulness, and social mindfulness questionnaire is adopted to investigate the link between trait mindfulness, wisdom, and social mindfulness (see Table 1 and Figure 3). For Study 2 (n = 80), data on state mindfulness, social mindfulness, and wisdom are collected at three points using a switching replication experimental design (see Table 2), which further examines the influence of social mindfulness on the link between mindfulness and wisdom at the state level(see Table 3 and Figure 4). For Study 3 (n = 412), social mindfulness is manipulated using the scenario simulation method, and the role of perspective taking is considered, which demonstrates the influence of mindfulness on wisdom through perspective taking and social mindfulness(see Table 4 and Figure 5,6).

    Results show multidimensional mindfulness, with awareness and acceptance, is positively correlated with increased social mindfulness and wisdom, thereby verifying the mediating role of social mindfulness. Mindfulness intervention can effectively initiate state mindfulness and simultaneously improve social mindfulness and wisdom within a short period. Manipulated social mindfulness can enhance the positive predicted effect of mindfulness on wisdom and verify the mediating role of social mindfulness. Evidence on the mediating effect of perspective taking and social mindfulness is provided in this study. Specifically, mindful individuals are likely to demonstrate benign attention in interpersonal interactions by perspective taking, thereby constructing a practical path to wisdom.

    The theoretical model aims to complement and enrich the burgeoning mindfulness, wisdom, and morality literature. In studies 1 and 2, the main finding (trait and state levels) that mindfulness triggers wisdom is replicated, and the correlation between mindfulness, social mindfulness, and wisdom is explored. A new perspective for improving wisdom is also provided. In summary, mindfulness positively influences wisdom through perspective taking and social mindfulness, thereby suggesting an indirect path from mindfulness to wisdom.

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    Learn from others or put them down? The double-edged effect of upward social comparison in the workplace
    SONG Qi, ZHANG Lu, GAO Lifang, CHENG Bao, CHEN Yang
    2023, 55 (4):  658-670.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.00658
    Abstract ( 135 )   HTML ( 12 )  
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    Upward social comparison is common in workplaces, and many studies have identified its downsides, such as negative emotions and dysfunctional behaviors. However, a few studies have revealed positive effects, such as learning from comparison targets. These conflicting results suggest that the mechanism underlying the effect of upward social comparison in workplaces remains unclear. Furthermore, most research is based on social comparison theory, whereas few studies have explored upward social comparison through a cognitive lens. To fill these research gaps, we drew on the cognitive appraisal theory of stress to investigate upward social comparison in the workplace and determine how and when it yields (mal)adaptive behavioral outcomes.

    We used a multi-wave, round-robin design to collect data. 270 employees from 65 teams agreed to participate. At Time 1, 270 employees were invited to assess their workplace upward social comparison, performance-prove goal orientation, social comparison orientation, learning goal orientation, and demographics. 251 employees provided valid responses (response rate = 93%). Two weeks after Time 1, 251 employees were invited to evaluate their challenge and threat appraisals, and 240 employees provided valid responses (response rate = 95.6%). Two weeks after Time 2, 240 employees were invited to report their learning behaviors towards their coworkers, and meanwhile, employees were invited their received social undermining from coworkers. 240 valid responses were received (response rate = 100%). Finally, 720 dyads from 240 employees from 60 teams were used to test our proposed model.

    We adopted measures established and applied in previous studies to ensure the validity of the survey. Consistent with Reh et al. (2018), we invited employees to rate their workplace upward social comparison with other coworkers using the 8-item scale developed by Brown et al. (2007). Performance-proving goal orientation was rated using the 4-item scale developed by VandeWalle (1997). Employees of the same team assessed their threat and challenge appraisals toward all other coworkers in the team using the 6-item scale from LePine et al. (2016). Finally, employees assessed their learning behavior from and social undermining toward other coworkers in the team using the 5-item and 4-item scales from Lee and Duffy (2019).

    Given that the dyads nested in employees and then employees nested within teams, we tested our hypothesis by multilevel social relations model. To test the conditional indirect effects, a Monte Carlo simulation with 20, 000 replications was used to generate the 95% Monte Carlo confidence intervals in R 3.5. The means, standard deviations, and zero-order correlations among all variables are reported in Table 1. Table 2 shows how much outcome variable variance is explained by the characteristics of the actor, the target, the dyad, and the team. Tables 3 and 4 demonstrate the social relations model results for hypotheses testing. The results showed that employees with low levels of performance-prove goal orientation tended to appraise upward social comparison as a challenge, which prompts learning from the comparison targets. However, employees with high levels of performance-prove goal orientation tended to appraise upward social comparison as a threat, motivating them to socially undermine the comparison targets.

    Our study provides theoretical and practical implications. We reveal the double-edged effects of workplace upward social comparison on subsequent learning behaviors and social undermining through a cognitive rather than emotional lens. Our findings demonstrate how and why workplace upward social comparison drives employees to develop two distinct behavioral responses, from a novel theoretical perspective—the cognitive appraisal theory of stress. Finally, the performance-prove goal orientation determines the effects of workplace upward social comparison. Furthermore, our findings offer important practical implications to managers and policymakers.

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