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CN 11-1911/B

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    25 December 2023, Volume 55 Issue 12 Previous Issue    Next Issue

    Reports of Empirical Studies
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    Reports of Empirical Studies
    The role of stroke nodes in the recognition of handwritten Chinese characters
    ZHU Yiming, ZHAO Yang, TANG Ning, ZHOU Jifan, SHEN Mowei
    2023, 55 (12):  1903-1916.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.01903
    Abstract ( 138 )   HTML ( 22 )  
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    Generative theory holds that the recognition of visual graphics is the inverse reasoning of its generation process. Chinese characters are hieroglyphs formed by interlacing strokes according to orthographic rules. Chinese character recognition can be regarded as the reverse reasoning of the generation process of Chinese characters. Based on the typical generative model -- Bayesian program learning model, the recognition of Chinese characters starts from recognizing the strokes. Firstly, the nodes are extracted based on the intersection of lines, and then all the stroke combination modes that can generate the node are enumerated to obtain the generation mode of Chinese characters. According to the above prediction, the number of nodes and node complexity are important factors in the process of Chinese character recognition. This study investigated the role of nodes in Chinese character recognition through three experiments.

    If the nodes provide guidance information for stroke segmentation, the more nodes, the better the performance of Chinese character recognition. In Experiment 1, we tested whether characters with more nodes have recognition advantages by adopting a 2 × 2 within-subjects design and using 76 single characters as the materials (Figure 1). Characters were chosen from two groups (high node-count and low node-count) of true characters, and two groups (high node-count and low node-count) of fake characters. The characters were briefly presented (10 ms, 20 ms, 30 ms, 40 ms, 50 ms, 60 ms) and appeared once at each presentation time. The presentation order of stimuli was completely random. Each participant completed a total of 456 trials. Twenty-six participants joined in the experiment. After observing each character, the participants reported whether it was a true character or a fake one.

    If high complex nodes in a larger stroke space provide more information, covering high complex nodes will cause greater interference to character recognition. In Experiment 2, we tested whether characters covered the high complex nodes are harder to recognize by adopting a 2 × 2 × 4 within-subjects design and using 160 compound characters covering a node as the materials (Figure 2). Characters were chosen from four groups (covering the first node with high or low complexity and the fifth node with high or low complexity) of true characters, and four groups of fake characters with the same conditions. The process was the same as that of Experiment 1, except the presentation time (60 ms, 70 ms, 80 ms, 90 ms). Twenty-nine participants joined in the experiment. Each participant completed 640 trials. Experiment 3 adopted a task similar to Experiment 2, and added two variables: component type and node generation method. The presentation time was 60 ms. Characters were chosen from eight groups of true characters, and eight groups of fake characters with the same conditions (Figure 3). Each stimulus is presented once. Twenty-six participants joined in the experiment. The accuracy and reaction time (RT) of true characters were analyzed in all experiments.

    The results showed that the participants had a better recognition performance for the characters with more nodes (node number effect), and covering the high complex nodes significantly damaged their performance (node complexity effect). In Experiment 1, the overall mean of accuracy was 63%, and the standard deviation was 29%. The accuracy of recognizing characters with more nodes was higher (Figure 4). The repeated-measures ANOVA of accuracy found that the main effect of the number of nodes was significant, F1 (1, 25) = 9.65, p = 0.005, ηp2 = 0.28, 95% CI = [−5%, −1%]; F2 (1, 18) = 4.56, p = 0.047, ηp2 = 0.20, 95% CI = [−5%, −1%]. The interaction between the number of nodes and presentation time was significant, F1 (5, 125) = 1.998, p = 0.083, ηp2 = 0.07; F2 (5, 90) = 1.12, p = 0.355. When the stimulus presentation time were 40 ms and 50 ms, node number effect was more pronounced.

    In Experiment 2, the overall mean of accuracy was 79%, and the standard deviation was 21%. The accuracy of recognizing characters covering the high complex nodes was lower (Figure 5). The repeated-measures ANOVA of accuracy found that the main effect of the complexity of nodes was significant, F1 (1, 28) = 6.93, p = 0.014, ηp2 = 0.20, 95% CI = [−4%, −1%]; F2 (1, 19) = 0.73, p = 0.404. The interaction between node complexity and node order is significant, F1 (1, 28) = 11.56, p = 0.002, ηp2 = 0.29; F2 (1, 19) = 2.49, p = 0.131. Node complexity effect was more pronounced when covering the fifth nodes.

    In Experiment 3, the overall mean of accuracy was 72%, and the standard deviation was 18%. we also found that the main effect of the complexity of nodes was significant (Figure 6). The repeated-measures ANOVA of accuracy found that the main effect of the complexity of nodes was significant, F1 (1, 200) = 8.32, p = 0.004, ηp2 = 0.04; F2 (1, 112) = 5.69, p = 0.019, ηp2 = 0.05.The interaction between node complexity and node generation method is significant, F1 (1, 200) = 3.87, p = 0.050, ηp2 = 0.02; F2 (1, 112) = 1.96, p = 0.165, ηp2 = 0.02. Node complexity effect was more pronounced when covering the nodes generated by strokes connection, t (102) = −3.67, p < 0.001, Cohen’s d = 0.73, 95% CI = [−19%, −6%].

    These findings support the nodes provide bottom-up stroke separation guidance information. Stroke separation was performed in parallel, for the more nodes a character has, the more information provided for the stroke segmentation, and therefore the character would be easier to recognize. And stroke separating began with the extraction and analysis of nodes, for the more complex nodes are, the greater impact on recognize. This study deepens the understanding of the early visual process of Chinese character recognition and supports Chinese character recognition is a generative reverse reasoning process, which could contribute to develop a complete cognitive model of Chinese character recognition.

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    How the dimension of negative emotional motivation influences time perception: The mediating role of attention control and attention bias
    YIN Huazhan, ZHANG Li, LIU Pengyu, LI Dan
    2023, 55 (12):  1917-1931.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.01917
    Abstract ( 167 )   HTML ( 26 )  
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    The effects of the motivational direction of negative emotions and the motivational intensity of withdraw negative emotions on temporal perception and the mediating roles of attentional control and attentional bias were investigated on the basis of control value and arousal. The study used emotional pictures to elicit the corresponding emotional motivations; the dot-probe paradigm to measure attentional bias; the Flanker task to measure attentional control; and the temporal reproduction task to measure temporal perception. The results showed that: (1) In negative emotions, the approach motivation led to underestimation of duration, while the withdraw motivation led to overestimation of duration; the stronger the withdraw motivation, the higher the degree of overestimation. (2) Attentional control and attentional disengagement were chained to mediate the effects of motivational direction on the 700 ms, 1700 ms, and 2700 ms temporal perception; attentional vigilance mediated the effect of motivational intensity on the 700 ms perception in withdraw emotions. The study suggests that in negative emotions, the direction of motivation determines the direction of temporal perception bias and the strength of motivation determines the degree of temporal perception bias; the direction of motivation affects temporal perception through the effects of attentional control and attentional disengagement; and the strength of motivation in withdraw emotions affects 700 ms perception through the effects of attentional vigilance. These results shed light on the internal mechanism by which the motivational dimension of negative emotions affects temporal perception, and enrich the interpretative perspective of how the motivational dimension of emotions affects temporal perception through the processing of the attentional system.

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    The influence of voluntary action and social distance on sense of agency: Evidence from behavioral and ERPs study
    ZHONG Yiping, NIU Nana, FAN Wei, REN Mengmeng, LI Mei
    2023, 55 (12):  1932-1948.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.01932
    Abstract ( 100 )   HTML ( 11 )  
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    Sense of agency refers to the subjective experience of controlling one’s actions and, through them, external events, which is the core element that makes individuals responsible for their behavior to foster social cohesion. Recent studies have revealed that people potentially experience reduced sense of agency for harming others by claiming that they were obeying orders. However, little is known about the cognitive neural mechanism behind the reduced sense of agency when individuals are forced to inflict physical harm on others. This study adopted a temporal estimation task to investigate the internal mechanism of voluntary action on sense of agency and the moderating effect of social distance.

    In Experiment 1, participants were asked to trade monetary gains for themselves off against painful electric stimuli experienced by friends or strangers, subjectively estimated the perceptual temporal interval between keypress actions (i.e., free, or coercive actions) and consequent neutral outcomes, and rated the feeling of control and responsibility (see Figure 1).

    The results found that when obeying commands, compared to shocking strangers (427.11 ± 156.34), the estimated time interval for shocking friends (394.50 ± 139.89) was shorter, t (34) = 3.29, p = 0.002, Cohen’s d = 0.22, indicating a stronger implicit sense of agency. However, during free choice, the difference in estimated time intervals between shocking friends (413.48 ± 161.41) and shocking strangers (407.80 ± 155.74) was not significant, t (34) = 0.48, p = 0.638 (see Table 1).

    In terms of the feeling of control, the results showed a significant main effect of voluntary action, F(1, 34) = 25.56, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.43, with participants reporting lower ratings of feeling of control over electric shocks when obeying commands (4.01 ± 1.58) compared to when they had free choice (5.57 ± 1.22).

    In terms of the feeling of responsibility, the results also showed a significant main effect of voluntary action, F(1, 34) = 9.81, p = 0.004, η2p = 0.22, with participants reporting lower ratings of feeling of responsibility for the electric shocks when obeying commands (4.87 ± 1.30) compared to when they had free choice (5.53 ± 1.04).

    Experiment 2 further investigated the cognitive neural mechanism of the interaction between voluntary action and social distance on sense of agency using event-related potential (ERP) technology and attempted to examine the robustness of explicit sense of agency.

    Figure 2 illustrates the differences in the ERP components elicited by electric shock decisions across different experimental conditions, followed by a repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA). In the decision-induced N1 component (100~150 ms), the results showed that when obeying commands, shocking strangers (−0.61 ± 2.03 µV) elicited a more negative N1 amplitude compared to shocking friends (0.29 ± 2.65 µV), t (22) = 2.97, p = 0.007, Cohen’s d = 0.38. However, there was no significant difference between the two when participants had free choice, t (22) = 1.00, p = 0.326 (see Figure 3).

    In the decision-induced N2 component (250~350 ms), the results indicated that the main effect of voluntary action was significant, (Frontal: t (22) = 2.81, p = 0.010, Cohen's d = 0.36; Frontal-Central: t (22) = 3.45, p = 0.002, Cohen's d = 0.50; Central: t (22) = 3.91, p = 0.001, Cohen's d = 0.67), suggesting that the N2 component was more negative in the free condition compared to the coercive condition (see Figure 3).

    Regarding the decision-induced P3 component (350~450 ms), the results found that when obeying commands, shocking friends (5.12 ± 2.85 µV) elicited a larger P3 amplitude compared to shocking strangers (3.60 ± 3.81 µV), t (22) = 2.12, p = 0.045, Cohen's d = 0.45. However, there was no significant difference between shocking friends and shocking strangers when participants had free choice, t (22) = 1.23, p = 0.231 (see Figure 3).

    In the tone-induced N1 component (70~200 ms), it was only found that when obeying commands, shocking friends elicited a more negative N1 amplitude compared to shocking strangers (Parietal: t (22) = 2.77, p = 0.011, Cohen's d = 0.50; Parietal-Occipital: t (22) = 2.67, p = 0.014, Cohen's d = 0.49) (see Figure 4).

    Additionally, there was a significant correlation between the ratings of feeling of control and the decision-induced N2, r = −0.33, p = 0.025, whereas the implicit and explicit senses of agency were not correlated in both Experiment 1 and Experiment 2, ps > 0.05.

    These results indicate that social distance moderates the implicit sense of agency in the face of serious unethical outcomes, while participants’ feeling of control and responsibility were not affected by social distance due to self−serving bias. When obeying orders, individuals consciously exhibit moral disengagement. The present study has demonstrated that implicit and explicit sense of agency have different processing mechanisms, which broadens the previous insight into understanding the sense of agency. We discuss the implications of utilizing free choice and closing the social distance with others as significant strategies for those experiencing the abnormal sense of agency.

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    The effect of foreign language speaking anxiety on the quality of verbal interaction: A fNIRS-based hyperscanning study
    XU Chuyan, ZHU Lin, WANG Yunping, WANG Ruibing, LIU Conghui
    2023, 55 (12):  1949-1965.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.01949
    Abstract ( 157 )   HTML ( 18 )  
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    Foreign language speaking anxiety is one of the important factors affecting foreign language communication. Fear of negative evaluation is the key factor that induces foreign language speaking anxiety. Many studies have found that foreign language speaking anxiety can negatively affect the quality of verbal interaction through questionnaires and behavioral methods. Yet, few have investigated the brain mechanism of such influence. Therefore, we set up real English communication scene and used fNIRS (functional near-infrared spectroscopy) hyperscanning technique to further investigate relative brain mechanism.

    A total of 126 Chinese college students were recruited for two experiments, 64 for Experiment 1, and 58 for Experiment 2. Participants were randomly paired (participant 1 and participant 2) and were asked to finish two storytelling tasks (English vs. Chinese) in turn in both experiments, with fNIRS recording their brain activities simultaneously. Specifically, 24 sequentially numbered pictures formed a complete story, participant 1 received pictures with odd numbers, and participants 2 received pictures with even numbers. During the task, one participant would tell the story of the current round, while the other need to listen carefully, and then both of them would complete the foreign language speaking anxiety scale and continued the story. The turn-taking process went on till the end of the story. The interaction quality was evaluated by two experimenter assistants on a seven-point Likert scale. In Experiment 2, participants were informed in advance that they will be evaluated after the task. This is the only difference between the two experiments, which aimed to rise participants’ fear of negative evaluation. Through this process, we intended to explore the effect of external evaluation on the degree of foreign language anxiety on behavior and neural levels.

    Results of Experiment 1 showed that the participants had significant foreign language speaking anxiety in the English task comparing to Chinese task, t(32) = 23.58, p < 0.001, Cohen’s d = 5.81, their verbal interaction quality was also lower, t(32) = -13.37, p < 0.001, Cohen’s d = 3.29. The frequency band of interest in Experiment 1 was 0.02~0.04 Hz. In this frequency band, the Interpersonal Neural Synchronization (INS) of the left supramarginal gyrus (t(32) = -3.23, p = 0.003, Cohen’s d = 0.80) and the left middle temporal gyrus (t(32) = -3.48, p = 0.001, Cohen’s d = 0.86) was significantly weakened in each pair of participants in the English task. Weakened INS was also found in the left frontal pole (t(32) = -1.86, p = 0.07, Cohen’s d = 0.46) (see Figure 1). In the English task, the INS of the left supramarginal gyrus was significantly negatively correlated with foreign language speaking anxiety (r = -0.60, p = 0.001), and significantly positively correlated with the self-rated verbal interaction quality (r = 0.74, p <.001). Moreover, foreign language speaking anxiety affected the quality of verbal interaction through a partial mediating effect of the INS of the left supramarginal gyrus (see Figure 2).

    Experiment 2 demonstrated a similar result pattern to Experiment 1. Participants had significant foreign language speaking anxiety in the English task comparing to Chinese task, t(29) = 25.21, p < 0.001, Cohen’s d = 6.51, their verbal interaction quality was also lower, t(29) = -5.92, p < 0.001, Cohen’s d = 1.56. In Experiment 2, we found two frequency bands of interest: 0.02~0.04 Hz and 0.14~0.20 Hz. In the frequency band from 0.02 to 0.04 Hz, the Interpersonal Neural Synchronization (INS) of the left supramarginal gyrus (t(29) = -3.21, p = 0.003, Cohen’s d = 0.83) and the left middle temporal gyrus (t(29) = -2.09, p = 0.045, Cohen’s d = 0.54) was significantly weakened in each pair of participants in the English task (see Figure 3A). In the frequency band from 0.14 to 0.20 Hz, the Interpersonal Neural Synchronization (INS) of the left supramarginal gyrus (t(29) = -2.86, p = 0.008, Cohen’s d = 0.74) and the left middle temporal gyrus (t(29) = -2.06, p = 0.049, Cohen’s d = 0.53) was significantly weakened in each pair of participants in the English task. Weakened INS was also found in the left frontal pole (t(29) = -1.82, p = 0.08, Cohen’s d = 0.47) (see Figure 3B). In the English task, the INS of the left supramarginal gyrus was significantly negatively correlated with foreign language speaking anxiety in both 0.02~0.40 Hz frequency band (r = -0.48, p = 0.007) and 0.14~0.20 Hz frequency band (r = -0.44, p =.014), and significantly positively correlated with the self-rated verbal interaction quality in both 0.02~0.40 Hz frequency band (r = 0.57, p = 0.001) and 0.14~0.20 Hz frequency band (r = 0.56, p = 0.002). Moreover, foreign language speaking anxiety affected the quality of verbal interaction through a partial mediating effect of the INS of the left supramarginal gyrus (see Figure 4).

    Combining the results of the two experiments, we found that although the presence of external evaluation increased participants’ foreign language speaking anxiety (t(61) = -2.91, p = 0.005, Cohen’s d = 0.75), it did not significantly affect the quality of their verbal interactions quality in terms of self-rated score (t(61) = -0.77, p = 0.444) and other-rated score (t(61) = 0.16, p = 0.875). The consistent results also show that even with the addition of an evaluation component, the effects of foreign language speaking anxiety on verbal interaction quality on behavioral indicators and INS remain unchanged.

    The results of this study suggests that foreign language speaking anxiety negatively affected the INS of brain regions involved in language and theory of mind. Our findings provide evidence of neural synchronization for understanding foreign language anxiety and verbal interaction and provide a theoretical basis for relieving foreign language speaking anxiety and improving foreign language communication quality.

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    Pain avoidance and effective connectivity between dlPFC and insula in suicide attempters with major depressive disorder
    HAO Ziyu, LI Huanhuan, LIN Yixuan
    2023, 55 (12):  1966-1978.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.01966
    Abstract ( 95 )   HTML ( 16 )  
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    Previous research has established pain avoidance as a critical and stable variable for identifying suicide attempts across samples. However, the neural mechanisms underlying pain avoidance and its relationship to suicide attempts remain unclear. Additionally, most previous research on the brain mechanisms of suicide has focused on single brain regions or circuits, neglecting the principle that the brain is organized into networks. Psychological pain is a complex, negative emotional experience that involves cognitive appraisal, psychosomatic responses, and motivational tendencies. Therefore, the brain mechanisms underlying psychological pain mainly involve impairments in pain processing, motivation, and decision-making circuits. Therefore, a more comprehensive approach is necessary to explore the neural mechanisms underlying psychological pain and its relationship with suicide attempts.

    The “pain matrix” is a functional brain network that plays an important role in pain processing. The medial pathway of the pain matrix is responsible for processing affective pain information and is considered the neural basis of psychological pain. The three-dimensional psychological pain model divides psychological pain into cognitive, affective, and motivational components. The medial pathway of the pain matrix is responsible for processing the affective components of psychological pain. Pain arousal, as a cognitive component, represents an individual's cognitive appraisal of painful past situations based on the recollection of past negative events and is closely related to the function of the hippocampus. Pain avoidance, as a motivational component, is closely related to the functions of brain regions involved in cognitive control, with the dlPFC being the core node for top-down cognitive control. Therefore, a combination of the medial pathway, dlPFC, and the hippocampus, defined as a “pain processing network”, can be used to explore the neural mechanisms of psychological pain and its relation to suicide attempts.

    Previous studies have linked neural mechanisms to the pathophysiology of suicide, based on brain region-specific functional and structural alterations. However, owing to the lack of directional analyses of multiregional connectivity, little is known about the top-down or bottom-up interaction patterns of the crucial brain regions mentioned above during pain processing in suicide. Therefore, this study aims to explore directional interaction patterns of multiple brain regions in the “pain processing network” and their relationships to pain avoidance, painful feelings, and suicide attempts. This may shed new light on the suicidal brain from a psychological pain-processing perspective.

    A total of 35 healthy controls (HC), 25 MDD patients with a history of suicide attempts (MDD-SA), and 48 MDD patients without such a history (MDD-NSA) participated voluntarily in this study. All participants completed measures of interested questionnaires and underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Granger causal analysis (GCA) was used to explore the effective connectivity patterns of brain regions in the pain-processing network.

    Behavioral results showed that the total TDPPS scores [F(2, 101) = 78.80, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.76], pain arousal [F(2, 101) = 57.81, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.70], painful feelings [F(2, 101) = 61.10, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.71], pain avoidance subscale[F(2, 101) = 53.65, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.60], BDI [F(2, 101) = 136.51, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.85], BSI-C [F(2, 101) = 29.11, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.54] and BSI-W [F(2, 101) = 53.65, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.68] were significantly higher in the MDD-SA group than in the MDD-NSA and HC groups.

    Additionally, as shown in Figure 1, the MDD-SA group showed weaker top-down effective connectivity from the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) to the right insula [F(2, 101) = 3.13, p = 0.018, η2p = 0.11] and stronger effective connectivity from the right lateral orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) to the left hippocampus [F(2, 101) = 3.27, p = 0.014, η2p = 0.12], and the right hippocampus to the right thalamus[F(2, 101) = 3.68, p = 0.008, η2p = 0.13], than the other two groups. Interestingly, the MDD-SA group showed stronger parallel effective connectivity from the left amygdala to the right amygdala [F(2, 101) = 2.08, p = 0.088, η2p = 0.08] than the MDD-NSA and HC groups. The MDD-NSA group showed weaker bottom-up effective connectivity from the left insula to the right dlPFC [F(2, 101) = 2.47, p = 0.050, η2p = 0.09], the left OFC to the left dlPFC [F(2, 101) = 2.65, p = 0.038, η2p = 0.10] and from the left amygdala to the left dlPFC [F(2, 101) = 3.02, p = 0.021, η2p = 0.11] than did the other two groups. The MDD-NSA group showed stronger effective connectivity from the left dlPFC to the left lateral OFC [F(2, 101) = 3.51, p = 0.010, η2p = 0.12], and left medial OFC to the right medial OFC [F(2, 101) = 3.60, p = 0.009, η2p = 0.13] than the MDD-SA and HC groups. Notably, blunted effective connectivity from the right dlPFC to the right insula was negatively correlated with pain avoidance scores, suicidal ideation at the worst time point, and the number of suicide attempts (see Figure 2).

    As a pilot study focused on the directionally interactive patterns of the pain-processing network in suicide attempters, the results suggest that reduced top-down connectivity from the dlPFC to the insula plays a crucial role in the shared neural mechanisms underlying pain avoidance and suicide attempts. This blunting of top-down effective connectivity reflects the difficulty of suicide attempters in achieving effective cognitive control and adaptive behaviors in response to intense negative emotions. Consequently, the individual chooses to commit suicide, a non-adaptive behavior driven by powerful pain avoidance motivations. In contrast, the MDD-NSA group exhibited blunted bottom-up connectivity, which is distinguished from the connectivity pattern of the pain-processing network in the MDD-SA group. Therefore, this study provided neuroimaging evidence for the superiority of pain avoidance over depression in identifying suicide attempts.

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    The relationship between social exclusion and saggression: A meta-analysis
    JIN Juanjuan, SHAO Lei, HUANG Xiaoxiao, ZHANG Yali, YU Guoliang
    2023, 55 (12):  1979-1996.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.01979
    Abstract ( 124 )   HTML ( 5 )  
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    Numerous studies have discussed the inducing factors of aggression, among which social exclusion has been widely concerned as a strong predictor. However, the studies about the association between social exclusion and aggression have shown mixed results. Theoretically, there are two main arguments about the relationship between social exclusion and aggression. The general aggression model suggests that social exclusion triggers negative emotions, hostile cognition, or a high level of physiological arousal, which leads to aggression. While the emotional numbness hypothesis argued that social exclusion causes individuals to be a state of physiological or emotional numbness, which may buffer the aggressive impulses. Empirically, the effect sizes of this relationship reported in the existing literature were far from consistent, with r values ranging from −0.02 to 0.74. Therefore, this meta-analysis was conducted to clarify the strength of the relationship between social exclusion and aggression and reveal possible moderators.

    A systematic literature review was conducted using Web of Science, Elsevier SD, Medline, EBSCO-ERIC, SAGE Online Journals, PsycINFO, PsycArticles, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, CNKI (China National Knowledge Infrastructure), WFD (Wan Fang Data) and CQVIP Journal Database.The literature screening process is shown in Figure 1. A total of 92 studies (99 independent effect sizes, 65564 participants) met the inclusion criteria were selected. A random-effects model was selected to conduct the meta-analysis in Comprehensive Meta-Analysis 3.3 software, aiming at testing our hypotheses. The results of heterogeneity test illustrated that there was significant heterogeneity among 99 independent effects. Based on the funnel chart and Egger’s regression test of intercept, no significant publication bias was found.

    The results of main effect analysis indicated a significant positive correlation between social exclusion and aggression (r = 0.38, 95% CI [0.34,0.41]). Table 1 showed the results of moderator analysis, which revealed that the association between social exclusion and aggression was moderated by age, research methods, aggression types (reactive aggression vs. proactive aggression), social exclusion and aggression measurement tools, and research design (cross-sectional study vs. longitudinal study), but not by individualism index (b = −0.0012, 95% CI [−0.0026, 0.0002]) and gender (b = 0.10, 95% CI [−0.20, 0.40]).

    The results of this meta-analysis can clarify the controversy of the correlation between social exclusion and aggression, indicating that excluded individuals are often accompanied by the increase of aggression level. Future research are encouraged to strengthen the prevention and intervention of aggressive behavior caused by social exclusion among low-age groups, especially preschool children and primary school students.

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    Opportunity (in)equity affects outcome evaluation at an early cognitive stage
    YOU Tingting, ZHANG Liping, QI Guomei, LONG Changquan
    2023, 55 (12):  1997-2012.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.01997
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    Opportunity equity is highly desired in human society. Previous studies have shown that opportunity (in)equity influences the evaluation of subsequent outcomes. However, it is unclear whether this influence occurs only at an early cognitive stage or extends to a late cognitive stage as well. Based on the notion that “people seem to be more committed to outcome equity than opportunity equity”, we hypothesized that opportunity (in)equity would affect outcome evaluation at an early stage in the cognitive process, but not at a late stage. Additionally, we indicate how limitations in the experimental design and data analysis of previous studies may have affected their conclusions.

    To examine the cognitive stage at which opportunity (in)equity influences outcome evaluations in a competitive social context, we recruited 31 college students (19 females, 19.52 ± 1.46 years) to participate in a competitive two-person choice game with their opponents. To account for the difference between subjective and objective predictions and the effect of varied choice numbers, we designed the game so that the participants had four cards in all trials. In contrast, their opponents randomly received two, four, or six cards in each trial, creating three opportunity conditions: advantageous opportunity inequity (AI), opportunity equity (OE), and disadvantageous opportunity inequity (DI). Both players selected only one card from the available options to compare their outcomes, which could result in a win, draw, or loss. Similar to previous studies, we recorded and analyzed event-related potential responses to actual outcomes, focusing on feedback-related negativity (FRN) and P300. We performed principal component analysis (PCA) to disentangle the overlap of FRN and P300.

    The analysis of behavioral results of our study demonstrated a significant interaction between opportunities and outcomes in relation to subjective pleasantness rating scores, indicating that opportunity (in)equity indeed influenced outcome evaluation. Furthermore, we found a significant interaction between opportunities and outcomes for both the original and PCA-FRN amplitudes, indicating that opportunity (in)equity affected outcome evaluation at an early cognitive stage. Specifically, when participants experienced a win, there was no significant difference in the original and PCA-FRN amplitudes among the three opportunity conditions. In contrast, when participants lost, AI and DI elicited more negative original and PCA-FRN amplitudes than OE, suggesting that participants were sensitive to opportunity equity in the context of loss. Moreover, we did not find a significant interaction between opportunities and outcomes, nor a main effect of opportunities, for either the original or PCA-P300 amplitudes. These results suggest that opportunity (in)equity did not have a significant influence on outcome evaluation at a late cognitive stage. Notably, draws elicited larger PCA-P300 amplitudes compared to wins and losses, indicating that participants were sensitive to outcome equity.

    In conclusion, our study demonstrates that opportunity (in)equity influences outcome evaluation at an early cognitive stage but not at a late stage. These findings provide valuable insights into the intricate temporal dynamics of the interaction between opportunity equity and actual outcomes, and contribute to fostering a more equitable society.

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    The double-edged sword effect of employee personal initiative behavior on coworker relationships: The moderating role of the employee warmth trait
    SONG Qi, REN Qiqi, CHEN Yang, REN Yingwei
    2023, 55 (12):  2013-2034.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.02013
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    Personal initiative behavior contributes to organizational success and helps employees navigate workplace uncertainty, and is therefore an essential research topic. However, most studies have focused on the influence of personal initiative behavior on leaders rather than coworkers. Moreover, the findings regarding the interpersonal effects of such behavior on coworkers are inconsistent. To address these issues, we take a contingency perspective that shifts the focus from a binary “good or bad for coworkers” logic to an understanding of the interpersonal benefits and risks of personal initiative behavior. Drawing on research stereotype traits, in this study we examine the moderating effect of employee warmth trait and explore the differential emotional and behavioral responses of coworkers toward employees with high or low warmth traits. We apply the approach-avoidance systems theory and hypothesize that warm and initiative-taking employees generate relational energy, leading to active facilitation behavior, whereas initiative-taking but non-warm employees may experience interpersonal disliking and subsequent ostracism behavior from coworkers.

    We conducted two studies to test our hypotheses. Study 1 involved a multi-source round-robin survey to test the proposed model. Each survey wave was separated by a three-week interval. At Time 1, team leaders assessed each team member’s personal initiative behavior and demographics. The team members then rated their own warmth trait and demographics. Three weeks later at Time 2, the team members evaluated relational energy and interpersonal disliking through a round-robin design. Finally, three weeks later at Time 3, they rated their active facilitation behavior and interpersonal ostracism behavior using a round-robin design. The dataset comprised 1,164 dyads of 305 members in 65 teams. In Study 2, to enhance causal inference, a scenario-based experiment with a 2 (employee personal initiative behavior: high vs. low) × 2 (employee warmth trait: high vs. low) factorial design was conducted. The participants (280 full-time workers) were recruited from an online survey platform (Credamo) and randomly assigned to one of four scenarios. They reported their demographics, read the scenario, and provided responses to manipulation checks and questions regarding relational energy, interpersonal disliking, active facilitation behavior, and interpersonal ostracism behavior.

    In terms of data analysis, we considered the complex nested structure of the round-robin data in Study 1 and utilized a multilevel social relations modeling approach to test the research model. The means, standard deviations, and correlations among variables are reported in Table 1. Tables 2-4 demonstrate the social relations model results for hypotheses testing. In Study 2, we used ANOVA and regression analyses to examine the causal relationships in our theoretical model. The means, standard deviations, and correlations among studied variables are presented in Table 5. Tables 6-7 show the ANOVA and regression analyses results. The empirical results supported our hypotheses, indicating that initiative-taking and warm employees were more likely to stimulate coworkers’ relational energy and increase their active facilitation behavior. Conversely, initiative-taking but non-warm employees were more likely to trigger interpersonal disliking among coworkers, subsequently leading to increased interpersonal ostracism behavior.

    This study has several theoretical implications. First, unlike studies that focus on singular effects, we explored the dual nature of the effects of personal initiative behavior on coworkers, thus providing a deeper understanding and a more comprehensive perspective. Second, by building on the literature on stereotype traits, we identified the employee warmth trait as a critical boundary that distinguishes the interpersonal benefits and risks of personal initiative behavior toward coworkers, thus reconciling other contradictory findings. Finally, by drawing on approach-avoidance systems theory, we revealed that relational energy and interpersonal disliking explain how and why coworkers have differential behavioral responses toward the personal initiative behavior exhibited by employees with high or low warmth traits.

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    Identity embarrassment and identity defense: The development of organizational identity of dispatched employees
    LI Luyun, JIA Liangding, ZHANG Yijie, WEI Liangyu
    2023, 55 (12):  2035-2058.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.02035
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    The dual organizational identity of dispatched employees has complementary and dynamic characteristics. Existing literature mainly discusses the management of multiple identities in a single organization, and little is known about how employees manage their dual organizational identity with complementarity and dynamic. Based on the qualitative analysis of the interview data of 34 dispatched employees from different industries, this article constructs a model of the dynamic development of dual organizational identity of dispatched employees: (1) There are three possible outcomes in the comparison of expectations and experiences of dual organizational identity: the “Match-Match” promotes the realization of dual organizational identity, the “Mismatch-Mismatch” causes the rupture of dual organizational identity, and “Match-Mismatch” is the main factor that triggers the dynamic management of dual organizational identity. (2) “Match-mismatch” poses a psychological dilemma called identity embarrassment for dispatched employees; they do not know where they belong. They will adopt different identity defense strategies according to the relative importance of the dispatching unit and the employing unit in their identities. Three of these strategies - identity isolation, identity comparison, and identity creation will alleviate the identity embarrassment and promote dual organization identity realization, and the strategy of identity rumination will cause further deterioration of identity embarrassment and lead to the rupture of dual organizational identity. The article enriches identity theory and organizational socialization theory and is of great significance to the management of dispatched employees.

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