ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R


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    ·Research Method·
    Interpreting nonsignificant results: A quantitative investigation based on 500 Chinese psychological research
    WANG Jun, SONG Qiongya, XU Yuepei, JIA Binbin, LU Chunlei, CHEN Xi, DAI Zixu, HUANG Zhiyue, LI Zhenjiang, LIN Jingxi, LUO Wanying, SHI Sainan, ZHANG Yingying, ZANG Yufeng, ZUO Xi-Nian, HU Chuanpeng
    2021, 29 (3):  381-393.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.00381
    Abstract ( 2853 )   HTML ( 156 )  
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    Background: P-value is the most widely used statistical index for inference in science. A p-value greater than 0.05, i.e., nonsignificant results, however, cannot distinguish the two following cases: the absence of evidence or the evidence of absence. Unfortunately, researchers in psychological science may not be able to interpret p-values correctly, resulting in wrong inference. For example, Aczel et al (2018), after surveying 412 empirical studies published in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, and Psychological Science, found that about 72% of nonsignificant results were misinterpreted as evidence in favor of the null hypothesis. Misinterpretations of nonsignificant results may lead to severe consequences. One such consequence is missing potentially meaningful effects. Also, in matched-group clinical trials, misinterpretations of nonsignificant results may lead to false “matched” groups, thus threatening the validity of interventions. So far, how nonsignificant results are interpreted in Chinese psychological literature is unknown. Here we surveyed 500 empirical papers published in five mainstream Chinese psychological journals, to address the following questions: (1) how often are nonsignificant results reported; (2) how do researchers interpret nonsignificant results in these published studies; (3) if researchers interpreted nonsignificant as “evidence for absence,” do empirical data provide enough evidence for null effects? 
    Method: Based on our pre-registration (https://osf.io/czx6f), we first randomly selected 500 empirical papers from all papers published in 2017 and 2018 in five mainstream Chinese psychological journals (Acta Psychologica Sinica, Psychological Science, Chinese Journal of Clinical Psychology, Psychological Development and Education, Psychological and Behavioral Studies). Second, we screened abstracts of these selected articles to check whether they contain negative statements. For those studies which contain negative statements in their abstracts, we searched nonsignificant statistics in their results and checked whether the corresponding interpretations were correct. More specifically, all those statements were classified into four categories (Correct-frequentist, Incorrect-frequentist: whole population, Incorrect-frequentist: current sample, Difficult to judge). Finally, we calculated Bayes factors based on available t values and sample sizes associated with those nonsignificant results. The Bayes factors can help us to estimate to what extent those results provided evidence for the absence of effects (i.e., the way researchers incorrectly interpreted nonsignificant results). 
    Results: Our survey revealed that: (1) out of 500 empirical papers, 36% of their abstracts (n = 180) contained negative statements; (2) there are 236 negative statements associated with nonsignificant statistics in those selected studies, and 41% of these 236 negative statements misinterpreted nonsignificant results, i.e., the authors inferred that the results provided evidence for the absence of effects; (3) Bayes factor analyses based on available t-values and sample sizes found that only 5.1% (n = 2) nonsignificant results could provide strong evidence for the absence of effects (BF01 > 10). Compared with the results from Aczel et al (2019), we found that empirical papers published in Chinese journals contain more negative statements (36% vs. 32%), and researchers made fewer misinterpretations of nonsignificant results (41% vs. 72%). It worth noting, however, that there exists a categorization of ambiguous interpretations of nonsignificant results in the Chinese context. More specifically, many statements corresponding to nonsignificant results were “there is no significant difference between condition A and condition B”. These statements can be understood either as “the difference is not statistically significant”, which is correct, or “there is no difference”, which is incorrect. The percentage of misinterpretations of nonsignificant results raised to 64% if we adopt the second way to understand these statements, in contrast to 41% if we used the first understanding.
    Conclusion: Our results suggest that Chinese researchers need to improve their understanding of nonsignificant results and use more appropriate statistical methods to extract information from nonsignificant results. Also, more precise wordings should be used in the Chinese context.

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    Game-based psychological assessment
    XU Junyi, LI Zhongquan
    2021, 29 (3):  394-403.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.00394
    Abstract ( 5043 )   HTML ( 404 )  
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        The advent of the big data era has made it possible to use data to predict behavior. Game is an important part of human social behavior. The issue of how to use the rich data obtained from games to predict players' knowledge, skills, and traits has attracted increasing attention, resulting in game-based psychological assessment. Game-based psychological assessment (GBPA) refers to evaluating a person's ability, personality, and other psychological characteristics through games or gamified activities. In the early days, it was mainly used to evaluate the effectiveness of education and training, and later it was extended to assessing psychological characteristics. As a new technology, game-based assessment creates a more realistic situation to get more accurate data, which has advantages in form, process, and outcome.

        A paradigm based on evidence-centered design has been developed in game-based assessment to design instruments and conduct empirical studies. It consists of three core components: competence model, task model, and evidence model. Establishing a competency model refers to defining the structure of the target characteristics under a theoretical framework. Establishing an evidence model refers to determining the indicators and scoring rules. Specifically, selecting the indicators associated with the competence model, setting the scoring rules, and further establishing the predictive model. Establishing a task model refers to designing tasks to obtain indicators from them. The game is the assessment task itself in a game-based assessment. Researchers can refine predictive indicators based on existing games for evaluation or design new games according to the purpose of the study. Utilizing evidence-centered design to establish assessment tools provides necessary conditions for further data collection, processing, and reliability and validity testing.

    This paradigm has been applied to assessing individual differences in cognitive and non-cognitive abilities. For example, predicting reasoning ability and mathematics performance through Sokoban games, evaluating elderly people with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease using “Kitchen and cooking” game, and assessing children's social emotional skills using a novel computer game called Zoo U. Non-cognitive ability reflecting social characteristics and personality traits is more difficult to measure than cognitive ability. Researchers have not reached a consensus about whether the game-based assessment is effective in predicting personality traits.

        However, this technique is still in its infancy. Future research can be further expanded in task design, data mining, and practical application. Non-linear game patterns and multi-player large-scale game designs expand the applicable scope. The attempts in corporate recruitment and clinical assessment and treatment also bring new value to this technique. Game-based assessment has great potential in the field of psychometrics.

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    Feedback-related negativity: A biomarker for depression
    QIN Haofang, HUANG Rong, JIA Shiwei
    2021, 29 (3):  404-413.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.00404
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    Feedback-related negativity (FRN) is an Electroencephalogram (EEG) component that reflects an individual’s reward sensitivity. Depression is usually characterized by decreased reward sensitivity. Several cross-sectional studies have found abnormal FRN in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and in those at risk of depression. Moreover, longitudinal studies have found that abnormal FRN can predict the onset of adolescent depression and the development of depressive symptoms; in this process, stress and sleep are two essential moderators. This suggests that FRN may have potential value in the diagnosis and classification of depression and the screening and intervention of high-risk groups of depression. Presently, some controversies regarding the psychological function of FRN still exist. In future research, the function and measurement of FRN should be further clarified, and the effects of heterogeneity and comorbidities of depression on FRN should be further examined. We should also focus on the relationship between FRN and depression in the elderly.

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    Regular Articles
    The neural mechanism of phonagnosia
    ZHOU Aibao, HU Yanbing, ZHOU Yingxin, LI Yu, LI Wenyi, ZHANG Haobo, GUO Yanlin, HU Guoqing
    2021, 29 (3):  414-424.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.00414
    Abstract ( 1211 )   HTML ( 76 )  
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    It seems that it is an innate ability for an individual to recognize identity from voice, but some individuals have lost this ability, which is named phonagnosia. Phonagnosia refers to the presence of specific processing impairment for voice identity, while the cognitive processing ability of other voice information (such as gender, age and emotion) and face information is largely preserved. At present, it can be classified from two perspectives. On the one hand, from the perspective of brain injury of with or without, it can be divided into acquired phonagnosia with brain injury and developmental phonagnosia without brain injury; On the other hand, from the perspective of different stages of voice identity processing, it can be divided into apperceptive and associative phonagnosia. Firstly, the brain mechanism of acquired phonagnosia is mainly related to the structural and functional damage of the right inferior parietal lobe, right temporal voice areas, right temporal lobe and frontal lobe; Secondly, acquired associative phonagnosia is associated with brain damage in right subcortical, lenticular, caudate nuclei, and right temporal pole; Thirdly, developmental apperceptive phonagnosia is related to the injury of brain regions such as the Heschl’s gyrus and planum temporale; Fourthly, developmental associative phonagnosia is associated with decreased connections between the voice core system of the right middle or inferior temporal gyrus and the extended system located in the lateral part of the amygdala. In research prospects, Firstly, in terms of phonagnosia and filter, besides considering the challenges brought by different language backgrounds, we should pay more attention to the essence of phonagnosia, that is, the individual has defects in multiple stages of voice identity processing, including voice perception ability, voice familiarity judgment ability and semantic association ability; Secondly, As far as the scope of phonagnosia is concerned, future research should combine a variety of cognitive disorders, and use brain imaging technology and design experimental paradigms to separate these cognitive processing disorders, so as to clearly define voice agnosia and other mental disorders; Thirdly, as far as phonagnosia and cultural differences are concerned, on the one hand, the filtering phonagnosia is mostly due to the obstacles in the identity of familiar voice. However, due to different cultural backgrounds, there are differences in self-construction; Therefore, individuals in eastern and Western cultures are likely to be separated in the process of being familiar with the voice; Fourthly, in terms of phonagnosia and hearing conditions, future research can increase the difficulty of hearing conditions, which will make the healthy individuals appear the phenomenon of phonagnosia. At the same time, the behavior performance and corresponding brain area of the patients with phonagnosia can be compared with healthy individuals.

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    Prosodic boundaries in speech: A window to spoken language comprehension
    FANG Lan, ZHENG Yuanyi, JIN Han, LI Xiaoqing, YANG Yufang, WANG Ruiming
    2021, 29 (3):  425-437.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.00425
    Abstract ( 1385 )   HTML ( 77 )  
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    The perception of prosodic boundaries is critical to spoken language comprehension, and it has become a primary research topic among psychologists and psycholinguists in the past decade. Utterances are chunked into prosodic units of different strengths. The boundaries between prosodic units are mainly signaled by acoustic cues like pitch change, final lengthening, and pause. Previous cognitive, linguistic, developmental, and neuroimaging studies have significantly advanced our understanding of the processing of prosodic boundaries. We now know that listeners use a perceptual weighting strategy to process prosodic boundary cues, and there are specific brain mechanisms for prosodic boundary processing. The ability to processing prosodic boundaries steadily develops with age in young children and transfers to a second language, but it generally decreases with age in older adults. Future studies should expand the investigation of prosodic boundaries to more pragmatic genres and focus on revealing the cognitive mechanisms underlying prosodic boundary processing, the relationship between prosodic boundary and syntax processing, and the development of prosodic boundary perception in second language learners.

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    The processing mechanism of morphologically complex words for second language learners
    CONG Fengjiao, CHEN Baoguo
    2021, 29 (3):  438-439.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.00438
    Abstract ( 1031 )   HTML ( 66 )  
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    Most languages of the world have a high proportion of morphologically complex words that are composed of two or more morphemes. When processing morphologically complex words, readers can choose to access the whole word meaning directly from the mental lexicon or to use morphological rules to construct the word semantics. Therefore, the exploration of the morphologically complex word processing mode could help us to promote the understanding of the language processing mechanism. In the past 30 years, the masked priming paradigm and lexical decision task have been widely used to study the mechanism of morphological complex words both in the first language (L1) and second language (L2) research. There is a consensus that native speakers could access the whole word meaning by combing morphemes, however, despite an increasing amount of second language research regarding this issue, the morphologically complex word processing mechanism for the late bilinguals who acquire the second language after the critical period (5 years old) is still in debate and shows a different pattern from native speakers. This mainly lies in two aspects: First, the morphological priming effect in the second language studies is very unstable, indicating that the ability of late second language learners to use morphological rules may be affected by many factors and the application of morphological rules is not as efficient as native speakers. Second, compared with native speakers, the late second language learners are more inclined to rely on the orthographic information than the morphological structure information in early word recognition, which is reflected by when the prime and target share the similar in orthography, there is no semantic competition between them to offset the promotion effect brought by the similarity of the orthography. Based on the Complementary Learning Systems account and Episodic L2 Hypothesis, the possible processing mechanism of L2 morphologically complex words is proposed and the divergence of previous L2 research is explained under this theoretical framework. We propose that different from native speakers, the late bilinguals mainly acquire the second language knowledge in an explicit way (i.e., classroom introduction), which may lead to the abstract morphological information in the neocortex is not formed. Therefore, when late second language learners process complex morphological words, the abstract morphological rules through the neocortical mechanism could not be used to promote the morphologically complex words’ processing, but a temporary morphological rule through the hippocampal mechanism could be involved in this process. Since the extraction of morphological rules through the hippocampus mechanism needs to be reconstructed and then real-time reconstruction of morphological rules takes a certain amount of time, which leads to the instability of the morphological priming effect and the lower efficiency of the application of the morphological rules. In addition, according to the Episodic L2 Hypothesis, for late second language learners, words are stored in the episodic memory system where these representations are irrelevant. Therefore, there is no competition at the meaning level between the prime and target when they are similar in orthography, which also explains why there is a significant from priming effect for the late L2 learners at least in lexical decision task. The evidence from the cognitive neuroscience area is needed to test the rationality of our hypothesis in the future. Secondly, eye movement techniques could be adopted in future research to investigate the processing mechanism of morphologically complex words for second language learners under more natural reading conditions. Finally, future research also needs to explore the influences of morphological family size on the processing of L2 morphologically complex words, as well as reveal the neural mechanism underlying L2 morphologically complex words. 

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    The mechanism of representational alignment in spatial dialogue
    YU Meng, LI Jing
    2021, 29 (3):  450-459.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.00450
    Abstract ( 688 )   HTML ( 34 )  
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    How do people process and communicate spatial information with others in spatial dialogue is a widely studied issue in the domain of spatial cognition. People would think about spatial relationships and try to communicate with others to achieve goals together, such as plan to get from point A to point B. The scholars have found that there is a common phenomenon in spatial dialogue that people who communicate with their partners in spatial dialogue will achieve alignment at different representational levels, such as spatial terms, spatial frames of reference, and viewing perspectives. In particular, the listeners would repeat the spatial representation what their partners used in previous dialogue. Why the alignment of spatial representations can be achieved?According to the Interaction Alignment model and the Common Point Theory, It’s because that people want to achieve the lowest cost of collaboration. The physiological basis for realizing representational alignment is the consistency of the neural activities of the speakers and listeners.

    There are two factors that affect the alignment of representations in spatial dialogues, one is the physical characteristics of the spatial scene, and the other is the collaboration between people. In terms of the former, the spatial layout of objects will affect the degree of alignment of representations. A spatial layout with a certain internal structure will strengthen the alignment of representations and promote a other-centric representation. And speakers prefer to provide their partners clear direction information based on functional relationship to clarify the location and direction of the object in space. In terms of the latter, firstly, there is an obvious language initiation phenomenon in the alignment of spatial language representations. Secondly, the assessment of the relative spatial cognition of the partners affects how the interlocutors actually represent the spatial relationship. Finally, the relative body position of the partner also affects the way the spatial representation is selected.

    In the future, we can continue to explore the mechanism of representation alignment. For example, researchers can develop a more ecologically valid spatial collaboration paradigm, such as investigate the neural mechanisms of online spatial dialogue with fMRI, event-related potentials and other technologies. Furthermore, researchers can explore the relationship between representation alignment and individual spatial preferences. Moreover, scholars can also examine the how people encode and represent spatial relationships in spatial dialogue.

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    Behavioral oscillations in attentional processing
    ZHANG Xiaodan, ZHANG Lijin, DING Yulong, QU Zhe
    2021, 29 (3):  460-471.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.00460
    Abstract ( 1508 )   HTML ( 108 )  
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    Behavioral oscillations are periodic changes of behavioral performance which result from rhythmic mental processes. Through behavioral methods that have high temporal resolutions, prior studies have provided a unique perspective to investigate the temporal dynamics of visual attention. Phenomena of behavioral oscillations were observed in many types of attentional tasks. There was much evidence supporting that attentional sampling showed periodic changes mainly at two different rhythms: α (8~13 Hz) band which reflects attentional suppression and θ (4~8 Hz) band which reflects attentional shift. These results help revealing the temporal dynamics of attention and provide a new approach for the controversy between serial- and parallel-search theories of attention. Some potential factors, including task difficulty and cue validity, were found to be able to influence the rhythmic characteristics of behavioral oscillations. Behavioral oscillations showed consistent rhythms with neural oscillations in some attentional tasks, suggesting that they might involve similar mental processes. To systematically reveal the temporal dynamics of attention, future studies are needed to investigate the specific patterns of behavioral oscillations under various attentional control processes, as well as in multimodal attentional tasks.

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    The cognitive characteristics of and the brain mechanisms underlying social interaction processing from a third-person perspective
    CHENG Yuhui, YUAN Xiangyong, JIANG Yi
    2021, 29 (3):  472-480.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.00472
    Abstract ( 1370 )   HTML ( 112 )  
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    Social interaction can be defined as a process that one individual delivers his communicative intention through body or spoken languages, and the other individual makes a reaction according to his understanding of the intention. As inherently social beings, humans are equipped with a remarkable ability to rapidly recognize and decipher the communicative intentions embedded in others’ social interaction. This ability is not only fundamental to the development and survival of humans, but also to our daily interpersonal interaction. Recently, researchers have attached great importance to the cognitive characteristics and neural mechanisms underlying the social interaction processing from the third-person perspective. In their experiments, social interaction can be displayed through pictures, videos, the movements of point-light figures, and even simple geometric shapes that depicting biological motions. There are some prerequisites for ones’ activities being perceived as engaging in social interaction. Specifically, two agents should be spatially close and face-to-face, and their actions should be temporally contingent on each other and have definite meanings. Overall, there are two main cognitive characteristics manifested by the perception of social interaction: configuration integrity and action contingency. On the one hand, facing dyads engaging in social interaction would be represented as a single, holistic unit rather than as two independent individuals. By virtual of the global configuration processing, social interactive agents would gain preferential attention and be efficiently stored in memory. On the other hand, the interactive activities are temporally contingent and semantically related, which suggests that they may be processed in a contingent and predictive manner. Such action contingency processing allows observers to predict the upcoming interactive action, which thereby promotes the discrimination of social interaction in noisy environments. The social interaction processing activates three neural networks. The person-perception network is responsible for face and body perception, the action observation network engages in action recognition, and the mentalizing network is implicated in intention understanding. Among them, the person perception network is probably linked to representations of the global configuration of the interactive agents while the action observation network and the mentalizing network collectively support representations of the contingent actions of the interactive agents. It is also worth noting that the posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) plays a key role and may serve as a specialized node in the perception of social interaction. From the perspective of hierarchical processing, recent researchers highlighted the importance of the effective connectivity between relevant brain areas in different stages of the social interaction processing. Future studies are encouraged to explore the heritability and neural mechanism of the social interaction processing by combining various technological methods, and to elucidate the cognitive characteristics of the social interaction processing in patients with social-cognitive disorders, which may provide new insights into the diagnosis and intervention for social deficits.

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    Homeostasis and transition of well-being: A new integrative perspective
    SUN Junfang, XIN Ziqiang, BAO Hugejiletu, LIU Min, YUE Heng
    2021, 29 (3):  481-491.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.00481
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    Previous empirical and theoretical studies hold different views on the stability and variability of well-being (or subjective well-being). Set-point theory holds that people can psychologically adapt to the ups and downs of objective environment, and the influence of objective environment on well-being can be neglected. The individual well-being usually maintains at a certain set-point level determined by genes or personality. Dynamic equilibrium theory (and its variant— subjective well-being homeostasis theory) further emphasizes that well-being usually keeps in equilibrium level based on stable personality traits or genes, and external stimulus such as life events will cause well-being to deviate from the equilibrium level for a short time. After a period of time, well-being will return to the set-point (range) and be in dynamic equilibrium. On the basis of dynamic equilibrium theory, hedonic adaptation theory considers from the perspective of emotional adaptation that the individual well-being usually keeps at a certain equilibrium level, and external stimulus or events may cause strong positive or negative emotions, but individuals will gradually adapt to this stimulus and their emotional response will gradually weaken, so that well-being will return to the initial equilibrium level. All three theories emphasize that well-being should be maintained at a certain equilibrium level. In contrast, sustainable well-being theory holds that the factors affecting well-being include genetic factors, environmental factors and intentional activities. It emphasizes that intentional activities can cause continuous changes in well-being, which can significantly improve well-being and maintain long-term effects. The essence of the difference between these theoretical perspectives lies in how the stability and variability of well-being are viewed. On the basis of the concepts of homeostasis and allostasis in biology and the concept of transition in physics, we firstly analyze the influencing factors, processes and mechanisms of the stability and variability of well-being from the perspective of homeostasis and transition. All four theories hold that genetic factors or emotional adaptation which are inherent in individuals, can explain the stability of well-being, environmental factors can cause short-term changes in well-being, and intentional activities can cause long-term changes in well-being. Set-point theory, dynamic equilibrium theory and hedonic adaptation theory hold that well-being usually maintains at a certain equilibrium level, the process of its stability and variability is similar to homeostasis, and the adjustment mechanism is negative feedback. Sustainable well-being theory emphasizes that intentional activities can make well-being form a new equilibrium state, and its process of stability and variability is similar to allostasis. Homeostasis occurs transition, causing well-being homeostasis to adjust. Its adjustment mechanism is positive feedback. Therefore, from the perspective of homeostasis, allostasis and transition, we believe that well-being is usually within a certain set-point range, and the external stimulus may make well-being temporary deviation from the equilibrium state, after a period of time, well-being will return to the original dynamic equilibrium state, but if it is affected by strong or continuous stimulation, well-being may deviate from the set-point range for a long time and form a new homeostasis. This integrated perspective provides a new explanation framework for well-being research and has enlightening implications for the continuous improvement of well-being.

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    Controversies in terror management theory research and its implications for research on the psychology of death
    MENG Xianghan, LI Qiang, ZHOU Yanbang, WANG Jin
    2021, 29 (3):  492-504.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.00492
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    Psychology of death remains a complex psychological state of cognition, emotion, and behavioral intention in the face of death and death-related events. Currently, the most comprehensive and scientific theory that investigates death psychology is the Terror Management Theory (TMT). However, TMT has the following controversies: (1) In terms of three basic cognitive aspects of death, the theory presents inconsistent research results on whether death is independent of uncertainty, whether death causes fear, and whether individual survival is a central issue for human beings; (2) On the socio-cultural level, the cultural background of the inventor of TMT generally denies death. However, cross-cultural studies demonstrate that other cultures treat death with attitudes such as acceptance and contempt; (3) Finally, there exist a lot of contradictions in the research results of TMT. This indicates that there are important regulatory factors that were not involved in the present study. 
    On this basis, the possible research directions of death psychology can be summarized from the aspects of cognition, behavior, and society. Studies at the cognitive level have found that people often have a sense of uncertainty when facing death. Enhancing the sense of belonging can effectively alleviate death anxiety; meanwhile, gaining a greater sense of the significance of life can make accepting death easier. Behavioral level studies have revealed that death anxiety has the property of embodiment cognition. Perhaps researchers need to reevaluate studies on the psychology of death from an embodied cognition perspective. In addition, death-related rituals perform both practical and symbolic functions, and the study of these functions and underlying mechanisms can be carried out from two aspects: the bottom-up and the top-down. Investigations of the social level have discovered that the psychological content and process of death in different cultures can be abstracted into a series of core dimensions which can be used as a prototype to predict and intervene the reality. In the present society, people are less psychologically prepared to face death. Therefore, it is urgent to carry out scientific research on content and process of Chinese people's psychology of death. 
        In the future, the death psychology research should regard science and culture with equal attention. On one hand, the basic research on the psychology of death can use more objective measures such as heart rate, electrodermal activity, cortisol, and brain imaging techniques. On the other hand, traditional but underappreciated methods should be used to supplement laboratory research, such as qualitative research, case study, longitudinal study, etc. Secondly, the study of death psychology should be combined with the cognitive construction of death ontology, as well as procedures and coping behaviors for death. Thirdly, death is an individual event, a social event, and, sometimes, a political event. Therefore, researchers need to pay attention to the psychological patterns of the group in the face of death in order to understand questions such as how to construct the psychological defense system of death in modern society and how the death narrative evolves. Lastly, death events tend to cause fear and anxiety among the exposed individuals or groups. In severe cases, mental disorders such as PTSD may occur along with chronic physical diseases, though the clinical mechanism of this process is unclear. Therefore, it is necessary to carry out research on mental and physical health intervention under the influence of the psychology of death to assist individuals to develop a healthy lifestyle.

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    Reconsideration of Schadenfreude and a proposal of an interactive process model
    ZHANG Yan, WANG Junxiu, XI Juzhe
    2021, 29 (3):  505-519.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.00505
    Abstract ( 1586 )   HTML ( 233 )  
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    Schadenfreude is a social emotion involving feelings of satisfaction or joy arising from learning about other people’s misfortunes. Although it is regarded as universally prevalent there has been very little research about it. While it used to be posited immoral, recent scholars have considered it to be meaningful and have undertaken research about it. In this essay, Chinese and international studies were reviewed, concepts and measurements of Schadenfreude were summarized, and an interactive process model (IPM) was proposed. The strength of the model lies in that it integrated factors of both parties in interaction (the self and the others) based on an interactive perspective and it clarified the process of and the changes after the occurrence of Schadenfreude based on a process perspective. According to the model, researchers should pay attention to the contexts and interactions before and after the occurrence of Schadenfreude. The model may also assist our understanding of studies on other social emotions.

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    The psychological model and cognitive neural mechanism of awe
    ZHAO Xiaohong, TONG Wei, CHEN Taolin, WU Dongmei, ZHANG Lei, CHEN Zhengju, FANG Xiaoyi, GONG Qiyong, TANG Xiaorong
    2021, 29 (3):  520-530.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.00520
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    The awe is though as a complex awe experience, even a self-transcendent emotion, caused by something mysterious, vast and beyond the current cognitive schema. The psychological research of awe has recently received great attention, but the nature of awe or the psychological mechanism is still unclear. To address the scientific question of “what is the psychological process of awe”, the existing awe-related literature is reviewed and a Psychological Model of Awe is proposed to explain the psychological process of awe and its cognitive neural mechanism on the basis of clarifying the evolution of the concept of aw, related theoretical development and empirical research of awe. It has been discovered that the generation of awe involves the psychological processes including expectation estimate, outcome evaluation and self-transcendent. Vastness and the need for accommodation are the two core factors of awe which also has two dimensions including internal and external vastness, and positive and negative affection. Future research should focus on the development of awe-related assessment, verification of awe theory and comparative analysis of awe behavior in different cultural people by carrying out multi-disciplinary basic and clinical research.

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    The effect of conformity tendency on prosocial behaviors
    WEI Zhenyu, DENG Xiangshu, ZHAO Zhiying
    2021, 29 (3):  531-539.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.00531
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    Prosocial behaviors have a significant impact on social cohesion. Previous behavioral studies and fMRI studies found that prosocial behaviors can be influenced by conformity tendency, including altruistic behavior, trusting behavior, fairness, generosity and charity. People tend to be more prosocial when they observe the group members’ prosocial behaviors. This phenomenon can be defined as prosocial conformity effect. In the prosocial conformity experiments, participants need to cope with the conflict between social preference and conformity pressure. From this perspective, relative to the classical conformity experiments, participants would have stronger psychological conflict in the prosocial conformity context.

    People tend to imitate others’ behaviors and adopt the deeper goals and motives of group in social context. There are two motivations underlying prosocial conformity behaviors. From a narrow perspective, prosocial conformity could represent the imitation of other behaviors. On a broad account, prosocial conformity could be a consequence of adopting the group’s prosocial attitude. It is hard to distinguish these two motivations in the current studies. Both of them is motivated by the desire for maintain a positive self-concept. Previous neuroimaging studies found that prosocial conformity is related to brain regions involved in reward processing, such as ventromedial prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex. People have a strong reward participation in the prosocial conformity context because prosocial behaviors are rewarded in the social group. Brain areas that were related to error processing also play a critical role in prosocial conformity. The error processing network is served as an error monitor system in the brain. Before changing, people need to be conscious of the difference in attitude and behaviors between group members and themselves. Previous studies also found that social conformity can be modulated by individuals’ preferences in interpersonal relationships. Prosocial conformity can be modulated by social value orientation, interpersonal trust and interpersonal sensitivity. Compared with pro-selfs, prosocial individuals have stronger tendency to conform with prosocial behaviors. People with high interpersonal trust were more likely to conform to group in an informational decision context, whereas individuals with low interpersonal trust were more likely to be involved in normative conformity pressure. In addition, interpersonal sensitivity can influence prosocial conformity behaviors. Individuals with high interpersonal sensitivity were more likely to follow with others’ prosocial behaviors.
    The direction for future research can focus on the following points. Firstly, researchers can study the stability of prosocial conformity. It can extend our knowledge of the mechanisms underlying prosocial conformity. Secondly, future study can explore the individual differences in prosocial conformity. For instance, we know nothing about whether the individual difference in personality can modulate the effect of conformity on prosocial behavior. Thirdly, in order to understand the law of development in prosocial conformity, we can study the prosocial conformity behaviors in children and adolescents. Fourthly, it is necessary to investigate how mental patients with impaired social function cope with prosocial conformity pressure. For example, we can examine that whether people with major depression disorder is insensitive to the prosocial conformity pressure. Lastly, we can focus on the effect of culture diversity on prosocial conformity. It would be necessary to investigate the difference between collectivism and individualism in prosocial conformity.

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    Why do people “sacrifice life for righteousness”? An explanation from the cognitive neural mechanism of protected values
    YUE Tong, HUANG Xiting, FU Anguo
    2021, 29 (3):  540-548.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.00540
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    It seems a unique psychological and behavioral pattern of human beings to give up realistic interests or even risk death for a belief about values, which reflects the transcendence of the human spirit. In psychological research, the discussion of the above phenomenon is often carried out in the context of “protected values”, that is, values that an individual refuses to trade for any other values, especially for economic value. In recent years, with the rise of cognitive neuroscience and the development of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology, the research on the cognitive neural mechanism for protected values has provided evidence at the neurophysiological level for the psychological processing process behind “sacrifice life for righteousness”. 
    According to the existing research results from cognitive neuroscience, the reason why people can fight against material temptation or even sacrifice life for a particular belief lies in the fact that protected values are characterized and constructed according to absolute rules of deontology. This largely ensures that protected values can bypass the process of weighing the advantages and disadvantages when facing material temptation. It is the first choice for people to observe and judge the rules directly from their semantic memory network, even when facing the possibility of sacrificing for faith, without weighing the advantages and disadvantages. On the other hand, because the protected values are closely related to the process of self and moral identification, they are significantly increased in value importance and can mobilize emotional resources to resist the impact of external information. Therefore, when an individual is required to make a choice between value belief and monetary benefits, he may regard it as a threat to self and moral identity, stimulating negative emotional reactions such as anger and disgust to resist, and then consolidating his original beliefs. That is to say, the balance between the advantages and disadvantages of protected values may be the result of an interaction between the “cold” cognitive rule system and the “hot” subjective assignment and emotional stimulation system: the former provides the most direct value choice for individuals, while the latter helps individuals ignore the considerations of real interests through self-identity and moral feelings.
    The current investigation of the cognitive neural mechanism of protected values is still in its infancy, and empirical research in this field is particularly lacking in China. The following aspects may need to be further explored in the future. First, we can learn from the research paradigm and ideas of protected values to carry out empirical research on the core values of Chinese individuals. Second, we should be fully aware of cultural differences when we learn from research on protected values conducted on foreign subjects. Finally, we need to carry out scientific research on the intervention and correct guidance of protected values or core values of Chinese people.

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    Individuals vs groups: Advice-taking in decision making
    REN Xiaoyun, DUAN Jinyun, FENG Chengzhi
    2021, 29 (3):  549-559.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.00549
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    Individuals often receive others’ advice while making their decisions, and it is an effective way to improve the quality of decision outcomes by integrating outside information into their judgments. In the literature of decision behavior, decision making can be divided into two categories in terms of the number of participants, including individual decision and group decision. The core difference lying between individual decision and group decision is that group decision is made by two or more individuals via information sharing, exchanging, and discussing among group members. Accordingly, previous studies found a significant difference in advice-taking performance between individuals and groups. Based on the multi-stage of the decision process, the main factors causing the above issue include the presence or absence of initial opinion, the confidence for the initial decision, the subjective evaluation towards advice, and the objective feedback of advice. However, although group decision costs more labor, money, and time, joint decision making does not always be able to utilize advice more accurately than individual decision making does. In other words, the jury is still out on whether an individual or group can make better use of external advice.
    We propose that group dynamics theory could provide an insightful perspective for understanding the group decision and its difference from an individual decision. Specifically, group dynamics theory suggests that group members are independent and mutually related to each other, and their interactions constitute a group dynamics system involving cohesive force, driving force, and dissipative force. First, cohesive force binds members as a whole, such that groups which appear to be coherent and unified are more likely to display prejudice toward external opinions and advice because of the high confidence and the desire of maintaining group stability; Second, driving force serves as a motivative factor that directs members to be more involved and endorsed in the decision process, which is beneficial to the sustainable development of the group. That is, group members motivated by driving force tend to express and exchange more information about decision tasks as well as adopt a systemic approach instead of a heuristic approach to process external advice, thereby, a group with high driving force may result in greater performance by taking advice; Third, negative factors within groups would undermine members proactivity and group effectiveness, manifesting as dissipative force, which may cause biased cognition and negative emotion of members, as a consequence, hindering group performance in decision behavior. Taken together, these three forces interact, complement, and restrict each other during the group decision making process, in turn, influencing group advice-taking. We argue that the significant distinction in advice-taking behavior between individuals and groups can be partly derived from this kind of dynamics system. Therefore, understanding the changes among cohesive force, driving force, and dissipative force within a group could help us explain and predict group behavior in decision making. 
    To date, advice-taking at the individual level has been caught a lot of attention, whereas research on group advice-taking is still in its early stages and needs to be further investigated, meanwhile, there is also an urgent call for developing the corresponding theory, method, and measurement for the group decision. According to the group dynamics theory, future research can explore the effect of the nature of groups on advice-taking, including both objective construct (e.g. the optimal number of participants in decision making) and subjective construct (e.g. social status or power between participants). In addition, it is also worth noted that whether the way of interaction would impact the group dynamics system and its subsequent advice-taking behavior, such as interactive mediums and rules, communicative atmosphere. Moreover, despite advice-taking behavior, there are a lot of other issues in the decision process that could be addressed from the perspective of group dynamics theory, such as group thinking, shared information bias, and self-other decision. 

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    An investigation of the reciprocal effect between workplace incivility and workplace ostracism
    ZHAN Siqun, YAN Yu
    2021, 29 (3):  560-570.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.00560
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    The spiral effect model between uncivilized behavior in the workplace and workplace ostracism can be explained by moral exclusion theory and emotional event theory. According to the theory of moral exclusion, suffering from workplace incivility will lead to the increase of psychological distance between the victim and the perpetrator, which will lead to the workplace ostracism of the perpetrator; From the perspective of bystanders, witnessing workplace incivility will affect the moral sense of justice and interactional justice of the bystanders, which in turn will lead to workplace ostracism of the perpetrator. In addition, the above mediating effect will be moderated by the level of altruism. Based on the emotional events theory, suffering from workplace ostracism will affect the emotional level of the victims of workplace ostracism and will push them to be the perpetrators of workplace incivility.

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