ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R


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    Conceptual Framework
    Human-agent collaborative decision-making in intelligent organizations: A perspective of human-agent inner compatibility
    HE Guibing, CHEN Cheng, HE Zetong, CUI Lidan, LU Jiaqi, XUAN Hongzhou, LIN Lin
    2022, 30 (12):  2619-2627.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.02619
    Abstract ( 1809 )   HTML ( 69 )  
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    The era of artificial intelligence has already arrived. With the rapid development of intelligent technology, more and more companies are adopting this technology into their business processes to enhance their core competitiveness. Subsequently, human-agent collaborative work is becoming common, and human-agent collaborative decision-making (HACDM) is evolving as a new form of organizational decision-making. However, evidence shows that HACDM still faces challenges, such as low trust and controllability toward agents, low transparency of agents, and low collaboration between humans and agents. Therefore, how these challenges can be overcome to improve the decision quality, decision efficiency, and user experience of HACDM is crucial to the field of organizational decision-making.
    This project suggests that human-agent compatibility, especially human-agent inner compatibility (HAIC) which consists of cognitive, affective, and value compatibility, might be the fundamental factor affecting the performance of HACDM. Following the perspective of HAIC theory and using the multi-disciplinary methods from psychology, cognitive science, and organizational behavior, we intend to 1) reveal the existing problems within HACDM; 2) explore the impact of HAIC on the process and performance of HACDM; 3) propose methods to improve the performance of HACDM. Thus, this project consists of three studies. Study 1 aims to investigate real-world intelligent organizations to uncover the current usage of agents, the willingness of human employees and managers to collaborate with agents, and the possible problems within HACDM. Based on the findings of study 1, study 2 adopts HAIC theory as its framework and explores the influence of cognitive, affective, and value compatibilities on the process and performance of HACDM. Finally, study 3 tests the effectiveness of the several methods suggested by HAIC theory for improving HACDM, such as increasing the transparency of agents’ decisions and providing decision feedback to human employees.
    This project’s findings will contribute both theoretically and practically. Theoretically, this project examines the components of HAIC (i.e., cognitive, affective, and value compatibilities) and investigates their influence on HACDM. Thus, it will contribute to the further development of human-agent compatibility theory and human-agent collaboration theory. Practically, the project proposes several methods that can effectively improve the performance of HACDM. Therefore, it will improve the performance of intelligent organizations and promote the intelligentization progress of HACDM.

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    The influence of motivation conflict on mixed loss-gain intertemporal choice: An approach-avoidance motivation perspective
    SUN Hai-Long, AN Xin-Ru, LI Ai-Mei, LAI Hui-Yan, LI Ze-Hong
    2022, 30 (12):  2628-2638.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.02628
    Abstract ( 1343 )   HTML ( 54 )  
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    Many decisions that lead to neither pure gains nor losses require a trade-off between gains and losses over time. This kind of intertemporal choice featuring mixed gains and losses is increasingly common. Notably, such choices have important theoretical and practical value and have attracted increasing attention from researchers. Prior studies have usually employed a theoretical framework focused on intertemporal choice in the context of pure gains or losses, thereby failing to make use of any theoretical construction and exploration concerning the decision-making process that is suitable for mixed intertemporal choices.
    To answer the key question of "how does motivational conflict affect mixed intertemporal choice", this paper intends to explore the following specific research questions. (1) What kind of motivational conflict occurs in the context of mixed intertemporal choice? (2) How does motivational conflict affect individual decision preferences in the context of mixed intertemporal choice? (3) What is the mechanism underlying motivational conflict that affects individual decision-making preferences in the context of mixed intertemporal choice?
    For this purpose, we plan to explore the mechanism of motivation conflict underlying the decision-making process systematically by using both behavioural experiments and mouse-tracking techniques, and we expect to carry out three studies including six experiments in total. Specific details are as follows. (1) In Study 1, the relationship between the degree of motivation conflict and behavioural preferences in the context of such intertemporal choice is investigated. First, we initially propose using a within-subject experimental design to examine the relationship between decision-preference conflict and choice preference with respect to a mixed intertemporal choice step-preference paradigm. Simultaneously, a repeated measurement within-subject experimental design will be used to expand our research results pertaining to individual self-rated motivation conflict and to test the relationship between motivation conflict and mixed intertemporal choice in further detail. Study 1 will lay a paradigmatic foundation for decision-making research in subsequent Studies 2 and 3. (2) In Study 2, the degree of decision-making conflict will be manipulated by altering the relative differences in gains and losses with respect to endogenous factors as well as the resource limitations of exogenous factors. This approach is intended to verify the causal chain linking the degree of decision-making conflict to behavioural preference in further detail. (3) In Study 3, the decision-making process index and mouse tracking technology will be used to explore the process mechanism underlying the influence of mixed intertemporal choice conflict on behavioural preference. The degree of decision conflict will be measured by reference to the mouse trajectory index to reveal the process characteristics of decision conflict and the way in which this factor affects behavioural preference.
    In conclusion, this study will explore the dynamic decision-making process mechanism associated with a mixed intertemporal choice context of decision conflict from the perspective of motivation conflict and thereby contribute to research and theory construction concerning mixed intertemporal choice. On the one hand, a theoretical interpretation of the decision-making process mechanism that advances mixed intertemporal choice will be produced by exploring the impact of decision-making motivational conflicts on mixed intertemporal choice. On the other hand, we try to reveal the motivation underlying the choice preference rule in the context of mixed intertemporal choice based on the theoretical perspective of motivation conflict, including avoidance, which serves as a response to calls by previous researchers for the improvement of our understanding of mixed intertemporal choice. Moreover, this study will not only attempt to highlight the relationship between intermotivational conflict and choice preference in the context of mixed intertemporal choice but also to distinguish the factors that influence motivational conflict in the context of mixed intertemporal choice further by identifying them as either exogenous or endogenous factors. Specifically, this study will systematically manipulate exogenous factors and endogenous factors to enhance approach or avoidance motivation and subsequently change the degree of motivation conflict in an attempt to depict the causal chain associated with motivation conflict and mixed cross-period decision-making choice preference in full depth. By reference to the findings concerning the degree of decision conflict, the preference rule and the decision-making process in the context of mixed intertemporal choice, suggestions for the design of organizational management measures and the improvement of both individual and organizational welfare will be provided.

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    The cognitive and brain mechanisms of how emotional experience affecting individuals’ utilization of estimation strategies
    ZHU Chuanlin, LIU Dianzhi, LUO Wenbo
    2022, 30 (12):  2639-2649.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.02639
    Abstract ( 1194 )   HTML ( 82 )  
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    Researchers have fully studied the influence of emotional experience on individuals’ performance of completing mathematical tasks by using questionnaires and behavioral experiments, and they focused on the relationship between anxiety (especially mathematical anxiety) and mathematical performance. Nevertheless, the underlying brain mechanism of this relationship remains unknown. Furthermore, we also experience a variety of emotions in addition to anxiety in our daily lives. To our knowledge, few studies have studied the relationship between emotional experiences other than anxiety and the estimation strategy utilization effectiveness, or the influence of emotion regulation on estimation strategy utilization.
    This study is comprised of a series of experiments, aiming to examine the cognitive mechanisms of emotion priming and emotion regulation affecting estimation strategy utilization. Specifically, in study 1, facial expression images (positive, neutral and negative) will be used as emotional stimuli, and participants will be asked to finish the emotion labeling task (experiment 1 and experiment 2) or the gender judging task (experiment 3 and experiment 4), which is aimed to achieve the purpose of explicit emotional priming and implicit emotional priming, respectively. In our study, we combine the event related potential (ERP) technology (experiment 1 and experiment 3) and the behavioral experiment (experiment 2 and experiment 4) as research methods. We plan to ask participants to complete the two-digit multiplication estimation tasks (e.g., 23 × 78), by using the specified estimation strategies (strategy execution, experiment 1 and experiment 3) or a freely chosen strategy (strategy choice, experiment 2 and experiment 4), aiming to reveal the influence of emotional valence (positive, neutral, and negative) and emotional priming style (explicit prime vs. implicit prime) on estimation strategy utilization. Under the strategy execution condition, the specified estimation strategies are down-up (DU) and up-down (UD) strategy. Under the DU condition, participants will be asked to round the first operand down to the nearest decade, and round the second operand up to the nearest decade (e.g., doing 20 × 80=1600 for 23 × 78). Under the UD condition, participants will be asked to round the first operand up to the nearest decade, and round the second operand down to the nearest decade (e.g., doing 30 × 70=2100 for 28 × 73). In study 2, we will utilize the high temporal resolution of ERP technology to examine the influence of reappraisal and suppression on estimation strategy execution, from the perspective of explicit and implicit emotion regulation, respectively. In study 2, we aim to reveal the potential temporal dynamic characteristics and the brain activation patterns of along with the emotion regulation effects during estimation strategy utilization. Under implicit emotion regulation condition, participants will be asked to complete the word matching task, during which they are required to select the synonym of the target word from the alternative words, while the target word contains the meaning of reappraisal or suppression.
    The innovations of this study are as follows: Firstly, by taking full advantage of the high temporal resolution of ERP technology, we can specifically identify that in which stage(s) (encoding stage, retrieval stage, and reaction stage) the influence of emotional experience (explicit and implicit) on estimation strategy utilization occurs. This study provides a new perspective for effectively overcoming the shortcomings of mathematics learning and learning strategies in other disciplines. Secondly, this study introduces emotion regulation into the field of estimation for the first time, which paves a new direction for research estimation strategies as well as extends studies about estimation strategy from “cold cognition” to “hot cognition”, by which may promote further studies on the intersection of emotion (emotion regulation) and estimation strategy. Thirdly, the natural science methods will be used to study the problem of learning strategies in the present study, which helps to better understand the cognitive and brain mechanisms underlying the effect of emotional experience on the utilization of estimation strategies, and provides an empirical basis for optimizing the estimation strategy utilization.

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    The relationship between socioeconomic status and depression: A systematic review and meta-analysis
    ZHANG Yali, ZHANG Jiangen, LI Hongxia, JIANG Yongzhi
    2022, 30 (12):  2650-2665.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.02650
    Abstract ( 3339 )   HTML ( 166 )  
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    Socioeconomic status is an important topic concerned by social class psychology. With the transformation of social development, its influence on individual psychological development has been paid increasing attention. In recent years, scholars in different fields have carried out a series of discussions on the relation between socioeconomic status and mental health, especially depression, but results remain mixed. Some have reported negative correlations between socio-economic status and depression, and others have found weak to nonsignificant correlations. In general, the reported correlation coefficients ranged from -0.45 to 0. At present, no studies have systematically generalized the scattered results on this topic, nor have they dissected the reasons for the inconsistent results. Therefore, it is necessary to gain better insight into the relation between socioeconomic status and depression, and the factors that affect this relation. At the same time, China is in the deep-water area of reform and development. The rapid economic development has made the gap between the rich and the poor increasingly intensified, and it has also made class mobility more difficult. Therefore, exploring the relation between socio-economic status and depression can provide a more detailed basis for the formulation of the current social mental health service system in China.
    In Chinese database (China National Knowledge Infrastructure database), the keywords “社会地位” or “经济地位” were respectively matched with “抑郁”, and the literatures with such keywords in the abstract were searched. In foreign databases (Web of Science Core Collection, Elsevier SD, PsycINFO, PsycArticles, and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses), the keywords “socioeconomic status”, “socio-economic status”, “social class”, and “social status” were matched with “depress*” respectively, and the literatures with such keywords in the abstract were searched. In addition, to avoid omissions, literature supplementation was performed through citations during literature reading and Google Scholar. Finally, a total of 11110 studies were obtained. After literature screening, a total of 58 studies (including 65 effect sizes and 76,715 participants) were finally included, with a time span from 1973 to 2022. The correlation coefficient r was used as the effect size, and the random effects model in software Comprehensive Meta-Analysis Version 3.0 was used to conduct the meta-analysis.
    The main effect analysis indicated a small significant negative correlation between socio-economic status and depression (r = -0.15). Further sensitivity analysis showed that the estimated effect size fluctuated between-0.158 and -0.147, indicating that the estimated result was stable. The moderating effect analysis showed that: (a) The moderating effect of the sampling year was significant (b=-0.008, 95%CI [-0.015, -0.001]), and the relationship between socioeconomic status and depression became stronger with the development of the times; (b) The moderating effect of SES measurement tool is significant, and the correlation measured by SSS is the strongest, while the correlation measured by FISS or principal component analysis was the weakest; (c) The moderating effect of SES measurement type was significant, and the correlation between subjective socioeconomic status and depression was higher than that of objective socioeconomic status;. (d) The moderating effect of SES measurement form was significant, and the correlation between family socioeconomic status and depression was lower than that of one's own socioeconomic status; (e) The moderating effect of depression measurement tool was marginally significant, the correlation measured by SCL was not significant, and the correlation measured by CDI or CESD was higher than other tools; (f) Gender, age, individualism index and design form (cross-sectional design vs longitudinal design) had no significant moderating effects on the relationship between socioeconomic status and depression.
    This is the first study to analyze the overall strength of the association between socioeconomic status and depression. The results showed that there was a significant negative correlation between them, indicating that relevant public policies should be formulated and supporting schemes should be provided to care for the socio-economic disadvantaged groups, especially to improve their education and income levels, so as to prevent the occurrence of group depression. In addition, the present study also found that the effect size was affected by many operational characteristics (i.e., socio-economic status measurement type and depression measurement), suggesting that future researchers should pay more attention to the choice of scales when conducting research. Specifically, for socioeconomic status, objective and subjective indicators should be combined as far as possible, and it is best to directly measure the socioeconomic status of the individual rather than the family. For depression, scales that measure too few depressive symptoms should be avoided as far as possible. This study also found that the effect size is affected by the development of the times, suggesting that China should vigorously promote the policy of common prosperity in the new era, promote class mobility, prevent class solidification and the further expansion of the gap between the rich and the poor, so as to reduce the occurrence of depression from the social level. Finally, although age and research design failed to moderate the relation between socioeconomic status and depression, both essentially reflect the long-term effect of socioeconomic status on individual's depression. This suggests that public services and public policies should pay attention to long-term effectiveness in the implementation.

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    Nonlinear relationship between work hours and job performance: A meta-analysis
    SONG Haojie, GAO Renjing, ZHANG Qiang, CHENG Yanyuan
    2022, 30 (12):  2666-2680.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.02666
    Abstract ( 832 )   HTML ( 48 )  
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    Under the background of increasingly fierce market competition, employees are required to work longer hours under high-pressure management. However, there is little consistent evidence regarding the relations between work hours and job performance. To answer this question, based on the theory of limited self-control resources, we proposed a theoretical framework to explain the nonlinear relationship between work hours and job performance.
    In order to test theoretical hypotheses, we conducted a meta-analysis to examine the nonlinear relationship between work hours and job performance (task performance and contextual performance). A systematic review was conducted to synthesize empirical results about relationship between work hours and job performance. We collected articles relevant to work hours and job performance through CNKI, VIP, Web of Science, Wiley, ProQuest, EBSCO-Academic Search Premier and Science Direct (from inception to May 2022). Through literature retrieval and selection, in terms of the criteria for inclusion in the meta-analysis, 42 articles (64 effect sizes, 22843 subjects) were picked out as meta-analysis unit. After coding of data, meta-analysis was conducted with the metafor package in R (Version 4.2.0). The test for heterogeneity illustrated that there was significant heterogeneity, and also random effects model was an appropriate model for subsequent meta-analysis. Results of main effects showed that work hours had a significant inverted u-shaped correlation with task performance and contextual performance. Further, moderation analyses showed that the relationship between work hours and job performance were moderated by country context, industries types, age and gender. Specifically, compared with America and European countries, work hours had a stronger and significant inverted u-shaped relationship with task performance and contextual performance in China. Compared with labor-intensive and capital-intensive industries, in the knowledge-intensive industries, work hours had a stronger and significant inverted u-shaped relationship with task performance. Compared to older participants, work hours had a stronger and significant inverted u-shaped relationship with task performance in the younger participants. Compared to participants with a lower proportion of males, when the data came from participants with a higher proportion of males, work hours had a stronger and significant inverted u-shaped relationship with contextual performance.
    The research contributions are as follows. Firstly, existing studies have mainly conducted qualitative analysis to criticize the negative effect of long working hours system with regulative suggestions or used work hours as control variable to explore the linear correlation between work hours and job performance. Compared with existing studies, this study reveals and verifies the inverted U-shaped relationship between work hours and job performance (task performance and contextual performance) by meta-analysis. Secondly, previous studies have mainly explained the relationship and underlying mechanism from the perspective of physiological resources. Based on the theory of limited self-control resources, our study provides evidence that prolonged working hours, a specific aspect of work demands, which render individual psychological self-control resource loss and then make that work hours have a stronger and significant inverted u-shaped relationship with task performance and contextual performance. The findings broaden the theoretical mechanism underlie work hours and job performance. Thirdly, existing studies have rarely explored the moderating effect of the relationship between work hours and job performance, but this study explores the moderating effects of country context, industries types, age, gender and education level from macro, meso, and micro levels. Finally, this study finds that work hours have a significant inverted u-shaped correlation with task performance (the inverted U-shaped turning point was about 44.43 hours/week) and contextual performance (the inverted U-shaped turning point was about 47.88 hours), which can provid a scientific reference for standard hours stipulated by Labor Law in China (e.g. working hours should not exceed 44 hours/week) and warn that organizations should pay attention to the too-much-of-a-good-thing effect of work hours on job performance.

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    The effect of negative workplace gossip on the targets’ behaviors: A meta-analysis based on the cognitive-affective personality system theory
    LI Lifei, WEI Xuhua, CHENG Dejun
    2022, 30 (12):  2681-2695.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.02681
    Abstract ( 1192 )   HTML ( 35 )  
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    Negative workplace gossip (NWG) occurs when one organizational member (the gossiper) engages in informal and negative evaluative communication with another member(s) (the gossip recipient) about an absent third member(the target), and in recent years researchers have begun to focus on the effects of NWG on the behaviors of the targets. Despite the burgeoning number of studies that have explored the relationship between NWG and the targets' behaviors and its intermediate mechanisms, the explanatory perspectives of these intermediate mechanisms are fragmented and the relationships among them are not yet clear. At the same time, there are some inconsistencies in the findings on the relationship between NWG and the targets' behaviors, for example, some studies found that NWG led to a decrease in positive behaviors and an increase in negative behaviors among the targets, while others studies found that NWG increased positive behaviors and eliminated potential negative behaviors among them.
    To clarify the relationship between NWG and the targets' behaviors, this study constructs a cognitive-emotional explanatory mechanism for NWG affecting the targets' behaviors based on the cognitive-affective personality system theory, and explores the role of the attributes of NWG perception and cultural differences in reconciling the contradictory findings of the relationship between NWG and the targets' behaviors. We assume that NWG can influence the behaviors of the targets through their positive interpersonal perceptions and positive affective experiences, and the differences in the perceived attributes of NWG and cultural differences may moderate the relationship between NWG and the behaviors of the targets. Then, We searched for studies related to NWG and obtained 51 empirical articles(including 61 studies, 198 effect values, 21549 samples) that met the requirements after screening, and validated the above conjectures by a two-stage structural equation modeling meta-analysis approach.
    The results of the meta-analysis indicated that NWG was significantly and negatively related to the targets' positive behaviors (ρ = -0.18, p < 0.001). Positive interpersonal perceptions (indirect effect of -0.12, p < 0.001) and positive affective experiences (indirect effect of 0.01, p < 0.05) of the targets mediated the relationship between NWG and positive behaviors respectively. Specifically, NWG can reduce positive behaviors by undermining positive interpersonal perceptions of the targets, while increasing positive behaviors by damaging positive affective experiences of the targets (this is contrary to our previous hypothesis). Further analysis of the moderating effect showed that the attributes of NWG perception of the targets moderated the relationship between NWG and positive behaviors (QB = 59.15, p < 0.001), when targets perceived that they have been negatively gossiped, they will show fewer positive behaviors, but when they perceived that they are about to be negatively gossiped, they will show more positive behaviors; Cultural differences also moderated the relationship between NWG and positive behaviors (QB = 38.55, p < 0.001), in the context of Eastern culture, NWG has a stronger negative influence on the targets' positive behaviors than in the context of Western culture.
    The above findings suggest that NWG has both negative and positive effects on the targets' behaviors, which has certain implications for both research and management of NWG. From a theoretical perspective, this study examined the mediating mechanisms of NWG influencing the targets' behaviors through a structural equation modeling meta-analysis approach, which helps to open the black box of how NWG influences the targets' behaviors. In addition, this study also examines the moderating effects of the attributes of NWG perception and cultural differences on the relationship between NWG and the targets' behaviors, which helps to reconcile the contradictory findings on this relationship. From a practical point of view, by playing the role of a listener, managers can obtain information that is not available through formal channels, and intervene timely to prevent NWG that is dysfunctional and may lead to negative consequences from causing a bigger organizational crisis; At the same time, managers can also use NWG to discipline potential anomie behaviors and guide employees to behave more positively.

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    Regular Articles
    Effects of emotional word types: behavioral and neural evidence for discrimination between emotion-label and emotion-laden words
    SHI Hanwen, LI Yutong, SUI Xue
    2022, 30 (12):  2696-2707.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.02696
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    Recently, emotional word type has gathered a growing amount of research and has become a hot topic in the neuroscience of affective language. According to their functions, emotional words can be classified into emotion-label ones and emotion-laden ones. Emotion-label words are direct references to specific emotional states (happy, angry) or processes (worry, angry), and they function as the media either for describing emotions (she is sad) or for expressing emotions (I feel sad). They describe or express specific, single emotional states. Emotionally-laden words do not directly refer to or describe emotional states, however, they can evoke emotional feelings or emotional reactions (e.g., wedding, grave). Such words can be associated with multiple types of emotional meanings. Although both emotion-label words and emotion-loaded words can activate emotions and trigger emotional effects, they do not produce emotional effects in the same way. Although both emotion-label words and emotion-laden words can activate emotions and induce emotional effects, the way they produce emotional effects is not entirely equivalent. Emotion-label words can directly label specific emotions and thus generate emotional effects, while emotion-laden words elicit emotional effects indirectly by connecting related emotion-label words. Our review of the studies on these two types of words observed contradictory ideas about which type is stronger in expressing emotions. Some studies believe that emotion-label words are more powerful in laying emotional effects, while others hold that emotion-laden are stronger. An inconsistency exists among studies of the bilingual perspective. Put it in more detail, while there have been studies detecting advantaged processing of emotion-label words in both languages, some other studies claim that they can only find superior effects of emotion-label words in the dominant language. The results are also different in terms of different tasks. We made a conjecture that these contradictory results are related to three factors: task demands, language types, and lexical features. Two theories help explain the effect of emotional words. Lexical representation acquisition hypothesizes that the differences between emotional word types are due to the different experiential information and emotional experiences that children are exposed to when learning emotion-label words and emotion-laden words. We use this theory to explain the embodied account of semantic representation. The density hypothesis explained concerning lexical properties implies that emotion-label words and emotion-laden words have different storage densities and those dense stimuli will be processed faster than discrete ones. Further research should be conducted in the following four paths. The first one is to examine the cause of the differences between emotion-label words and emotion-laden ones. Secondly, we should examine the processing differences between the two types of emotional words at the sentence and discourse levels. Thirdly, theoretical hypotheses that directly explain the differences in word types are needed. Fourthly, we need a comparison of Chinese and English bilinguals in their procession of Chinese and English emotion-label words and emotion-laden. Finally, we are to investigate the neural mechanisms of processing emotional and semantic information using neuroimaging techniques.

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    The development of concept and theoretical models of “chunking” in working memory
    CHEN Yutian, CHEN Rui, LI Peng
    2022, 30 (12):  2708-2717.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.02708
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    Working memory is an important system to store and deal with a mass of information in our daily life. On account of the limitation of working memory capacity, several memory strategies are usually adopted to promote the capacity to satisfy the needs of overloaded information processing. Chunking is one of the most common and effective memory strategies, which has an important impact on daily life and learning. It is a matter of great concern about working memory in psychology. Although previous researches have confirmed that chunking can increase the capacity of working memory, there are debates on the concept of chunking, the relationship between the structure of chunking and development of age, chunking capacity, and its works mechanism. In this case, it is still worth studying about these questions.
    Firstly, some previous researches proposed that the strategy of information restructuring is crucial to chunking; the others, however, agreed that the influence of common features among stimuli was more important than strategy. According to this debate of the understanding of chunking processing, the definition of chunking continues to evolve. At the same time, some researchers started to analyze the relationship between the structure of chunking and development of age. In details, there are three kinds of hierarchical organizations in this structure, which involved (1) the individual chunk formed by single and isolated item, (2) the grouping chunk based on the internal or external features' connections, and (3) the superchunk recoded or reconstructed from prior semantic knowledge and experience. Most infants before 14-month-old are in the stage of individual chunk due to their poor prior experience and immaturity of language ability. Until 14-22-month-olds, infants can use higher-order chunking to group items as their language development.
    Secondly, another research orientation paid more attention to the theories of chunking and its capacity. Chunking theory proposed a complete system which is responsible to retrieve and encode chunks, but it does not make distinction on whether the chunking works in short-term memory or working memory. This theory also cannot explain how an expert could storage, recall and process amount of information so rapidly. These shortcomings were compensated by template theory. The template theory, however, cannot explain how to group information under the condition of attentional resource limitation due to the lack of attentional system. Besides, embedded-processes model of working memory indicated the processing mechanism of chunking in working memory, which is embodied in the integration and extraction of attention focus in long-term memory. However, some researchers oppose to regard working memory as a part of long-term memory.
    In conclusion, the remarkable difference among these theories is the usage of strategies during chunking and whether it could influence on the number of chunks. According to previous researches, we found that the number of chunks in working memory is basically constant. Rehearsal strategy has influence on chunking, which leads to the dynamic change of overall chunks connection, and more flexible to respond to the memory needs of specific information in different situations.
    Finally, there are some issues worth concerning in the future, like (1) the role of long-term memory during chunking in working memory, (2) the influence of long-term memory on encoding and storage of chunks in working memory, (3) the features of chunks at the stages of childhood, adolescent and elderly, and (4) to abide the principle of "less is more", the way to improve the efficiency of working memory is to explore a capacity range that can maximize the function of chunking on the basis of the chunk quality, and not to expand chunk capacity in working memory.

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    Instability of the watching eyes effect and perceived norms: A new perspective
    SHI Huiying, TANG Jie, LIU Pingping
    2022, 30 (12):  2718-2734.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.02718
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    The watching eyes effect refers to a phenomenon that people change behavior while being exposed to images of watching eyes. However, the robustness of the watching eyes effect remains controversial. There are four main views related to the watching eyes effect: 1) promoting pro-social behavior; 2) promoting compliance with social norms; 3) reducing anti-social behavior; and 4) having no effect. Although each of the four main views has theoretical support, it should be noted that they all have limitations. From a viewpoint of perceived norms, the present review incorporates the diffusion of innovations theory with the normative misperception theory and integrates the existing four views into a synthesized one called "the watching eyes effect under different perceived norms".
    First, we review the evaluation and classification approaches of perceived norms. According to the normative misperception theory, we divided the magnitude of normative misperception into two categories (i.e., large vs. small). When normative misperception is small, taking participation of 50% and 16% as the dividing lines, the prevalence of prosocial norms can be categorized into three types (high, medium, and low). In contrast, when normative misperception is large, individuals’ behavior can be categorized into two types: with intervention and without intervention, and when there is no intervention, sensitivity is used to classify the magnitude of the watching eyes effect on different groups of individuals.
    Second, we analyze the association between the robustness of the watching eyes effect and the perceived norms. According to the diffusion of innovations theory, individuals with behavioral changes can be categorized into five groups, including innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. Taking into account the characteristics of potential adopters in different groups, we argue that: (1) When normative misperception is small with a high level of perceived pro-social norm, the potential adopters are late majority and laggards, who are influenced by social norms easily. In this case, the watching eyes effect can lead people to be more pro-social. (2) When normative misperception is small with a medium level of perceived pro-social norm, the potential adopters are early majority, late majority, and laggards. Since the level of prevalence is less than 50%, social norms may not affect behaviors effectively, and thus the watching eyes effect is unstable. (3) When normative misperception is small with a low level of perceived pro-social norm, the potential adopters are early adopters, who are more concerned about the injunctive norm. Therefore, the watching eyes effect can promote the pro-social behavior stably when the injunctive norm intervention is provided. (4) When normative misperception is large without intervention, it is difficult for individuals to catch clear perceived prosocial norms, which may be difficult for the watching eyes effect to take place in increasing pro-social behavior. (5) When normative misperception is large with intervention, the watching eyes effect will be stable because individuals have caught clear perceived prosocial norms. (6) Individuals who are sensitive to social norms may be more prone to the watching eyes effects, and thus they are more likely to follow the perceived prosocial norms.
    To summarize, we demonstrate that the robustness of the watching eyes effect depends on the strength of perceived norms. Specifically, when the prevalence of perceived prosocial norms is high, the watching eyes effect can not only “promote prosocial behavior” or “promote more compliance with social norms”, but also “reduce anti-social behavior”. However, when the prevalence of perceived prosocial norms is low, the watching eyes effect will not take place on some anti-social behaviors. When normative misperception is high without normative intervention, the watching eyes effect will also disappear on some anti-social behaviors. The present work sheds light on decoding the mechanism of the robustness of the watching eyes effect and provides theoretical supports for empirical research and practical application in the future.

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    Cues of eye region and their effects on face-personality perception
    TIAN Jiayuan, LONG Yanling, YANG Hong, WU Huifang, XUE Peng, JIANG Zhongqing
    2022, 30 (12):  2735-2745.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.02735
    Abstract ( 730 )   HTML ( 21 )  
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    People often make inferences about personality based on facial features. Among the facial features affecting face-personality perception, eye features are the most complex. According to the distributed human neural system for face perception, cues from eye region can be divided into two categories: changeable and invariant aspects. Changeable cues include gaze direction, eyelid-openness, eye expression and pupil size; invariant cues include eye size, sclera color, iris color, sclera size index, limbal ring, glasses and eye makeup.
    From the perspective of underlying mechanism, eye cues can be divided into three major categories, namely, cues affected by pathological factors, cues associated with specific groups, and cues regulated by subjective awareness or physiological factors. Cues affected by pathological factors are often studied from an evolutionary cognitive perspective, including eye size, sclera color, limbal ring, pupil size, eye makeup, eyelid-openness and glasses; cues associated with specific groups are those that indicate gender, age, race, ethnicity, nationality, social class, etc. Such cues are often studied in terms of stereotypes, including eye size, glasses and eye makeup; cues regulated by subjective awareness or physiological factors can be studied from the behavioral tendency conveyed by expressions and the emotional induction of expressions on perceivers, including eye expression, gaze direction and pupil size. For pupil size and gaze direction, it can be explained by the adaptive-gain theory and approach-avoidance motivational brain systems, respectively.
    Future research can be expanded from the following five aspects: (1) Starting from the behavioral cues of the eyes, to explore the accuracy of personality inference; (2) Explore the rules and functions of the different mechanisms of multi-cues in the eyes in integrating perception; (3) The similarities and differences of the effects exhibited by infectious eye cues and non-infectious eye cues remain to be revealed; (4) The adjustment of the perceiver's own personality traits to the effect of eye cues in face-personality perception; (5) From the perspective of evolutionary cognition, eye cues can be further divided into “self-interested cues” and “altruistic cues”. Self-interested cues are the cues of the perceived person's own adaptation to the environment (such as sclera color, limbal ring); altruistic cues are the cues that the perceived person helps the perceiver to adapt to the environment (such as sclera size index). Whether the perceiver can recognize “altruistic” cues and produce a stable effect, and what are the similarities and differences between the effects of "self-interested" cues and "altruistic" cues, remains to be explored.

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    Influence of normal aging on early stages of visual attention: Evidence from ERP studies
    YE Liqun, TAN Xin, YAO Kun, DING Yulong
    2022, 30 (12):  2746-2763.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.02746
    Abstract ( 579 )   HTML ( 18 )  
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    Selective attention modulates multiple stages of visual processing, and nearly all the attentional modulations are affected by normal aging. Studies about the influence of aging on early stages of attentional processing can greatly help to understand the mechanism of cognitive aging. However, the related studies are insufficient and sometimes exhibit inconsistent results. Till now, there is still lack of reviews focusing the aging mechanism of early visual attention from the perspective of time course.
    This paper systematically reviews the ERP (event-related potential) studies investigating the aging effect on both pre-stimulus anticipatory attention and sensory stages of attentional processing (less than 200ms post-stimulus). Current evidence shows that: (1) early attentional effects reflected by many ERP components (e.g., ADAN and EDAN reflecting anticipatory attention, N1 reflecting early spatial attention, SP and SN reflecting early feature attention) are delayed in older adults compared to young adults; (2) the amplitudes of early attentional effects showed diverse age-related patterns in different ERP components : while some components (e.g., ADAN, EDAN, and P1 reflecting early spatial attention) appear to be resistant to aging, some other components (e.g., alpha power lateralization reflecting anticipatory attention, N1 reflecting early spatial attention, and SN reflecting early feature attention) seem to be influenced easily by aging, albeit some inconsistent results (e.g., the age-related spatial attention effect on N1 amplitudes is found to be enhanced, preserved, or declined in different studies); (3) while target facilitation reflected by some ERP components (e.g., SP reflecting early feature attention, P1 and N1 reflecting early object attention) is retained in healthy older adults, there is an age-related decline in distractor suppression.
    Regarding to the diverse and inconsistent findings about how normal aging affects early attentional effects in ERP amplitudes, there might be multiple reasons. On one hand, it might be due to different task demands and/or different attentional processes (distractor suppression vs. target facilitation) engaged in different studies: (1) different task demands will confuse the observation of, even exert distinct influences on different stages of early attention in healthy older adults; (2) target facilitation and distractor suppression might be two distinguished age-related attentional processes, with distractor suppression more sensitive to normal aging. On the other hand, it might be ascribable to some confounding factors, such as signal-to-noise ratio and individual differences of the elderly across studies: (1) the low signal-to-noise ratio in s aging-related ERP studies might lead to unstable and unconvincing results; (2) the range of age and cognitive function of the elderly samples are different across studies, which might also leads to inconsistent results. Future research should control the confounding factors to obtain stable and comparable results, such as ensuring sufficient trials and/or matching the task demands between the elderly and young. To further understand the aging mechanism, future research can also manipulate these factors to explore their specific effects on early stages of attention, such as providing a neutral condition to separate target facilitation and distractor suppression processes.

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    A possible mechanism for the audiovisual temporal integration deficits in developmental dyslexia: Impaired ability in audiovisual temporal recalibration
    WANG Runzhou, BI Hongyan
    2022, 30 (12):  2764-2776.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.02764
    Abstract ( 531 )   HTML ( 14 )  
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    Developmental dyslexia is a neurological disorder characterized by a specific deficit in reading, despite adequate intelligence and socioeconomic opportunity. The nature of deficits of developmental dyslexia has been under debate for a long time. A large number of studies have revealed that dyslexics suffer from impaired audiovisual temporal integration. Behavioral studies have found that developmental dyslexics have an abnormally wide audiovisual temporal binding window, making it difficult for them to separate temporally asynchronous stimuli. At the neural level, dyslexics showed no significant difference between mismatched negative (MMN) waves evoked by audiovisual asynchronous stimuli and those evoked by audio-visual synchronous or unimodal stimuli. Such audiovisual temporal integration deficits in developmental dyslexia are consistent across language, age and stimulus types. However, previous studies generally used the mean of all test results under different experimental conditions as the dependent variable, which only reflected the overall (i.e., average level) performance of audiovisual temporal integration processing and neglected to explore its dynamic process over time. Therefore, the audiovisual temporal integration deficits in developmental dyslexia are not fully exposed. The study of audiovisual temporal recalibration may make up for this deficiency. Temporal recalibration reflects the dynamic process of individuals adapting to different asynchronous times, that is, to re-establish stable prior knowledge of temporal relationships, which affects subsequent multisensory integration. Previous studies have shown that difficulties in recalibrating differences between internal temporal representations and sensory inputs can lead to impaired multisensory integration. Bayesian-based priori attenuation theory suggests that attenuated prior knowledge makes individuals without sufficient sensory reference to compare current inputs, thus increasing the difficult to recalibrate differences between internal representations and sensory inputs, resulting in impaired multisensory integration processing. Behavioral studies have found that developmental dyslexics have phonological recalibration deficits and they are unable to integrate audiovisual temporal information across sensory modals in accordance with optimal Bayesian statistical principles. At the neural level, developmental dyslexics have weaker neural adaptations than normal readers. The ability to adapt to temporal asynchrony requires temporal recalibrations. Furthermore, behind the normal overall performance of audiovisual temporal integration, there will also be rapid audiovisual temporal recalibration deficits that represent an abnormal integration process. Thus, impaired audiovisual temporal recalibration may underlie audiovisual temporal integration deficits in developmental dyslexia.
    At present, to the best of our knowledge, no studies have directly explored the audiovisual temporal recalibration ability in developmental dyslexics. Future research can be carried out in the following areas: 1) The performance of audiovisual temporal recalibration ability of developmental dyslexia at different time scales; 2) The changes of audiovisual temporal integration window and audiovisual temporal recalibration effect over time in individuals with developmental dyslexia; 3) The neural basis of the audiovisual temporal recalibration deficits in developmental dyslexia; and 4) The correlations between audiovisual temporal recalibration ability and reading in developmental dyslexia; 5) The causal relationship between developmental dyslexia and audiovisual temporal recalibration deficits.

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    The theoretical accounts and developmental predictors of operational momentum effect
    ZHANG Wen, DONG Qiyiru, GONG Lijuan, SHANG Qi, CHENG Chen, DING Xuechen
    2022, 30 (12):  2777-2788.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.02777
    Abstract ( 461 )   HTML ( 12 )  
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    As a fundamental mathematical skill, approximate arithmetic is one of the critical abilities in daily life to represent and operate on the numerosity of objects approximately. Investigating how arithmetic bias is formed and developed is important to understand the underlying mechanism of arithmetic operation. When performing arithmetic operations, individuals tend to overestimate outcomes in addition and underestimate outcomes in subtraction, such estimation bias is called the Operational Momentum (OM) effect. Currently there were three mainstream theoretical accounts (i.e., attentional shift account, heuristic account, compression account). The main differences among these three accounts are whether the spatial-numerical association is invoked and how deeply the numerical elements are processed. The attentional shift account, as the most recognized explanation mechanism, argues that the OM effect is due to spatial shifts of attention along the mental number line. When calculating and estimating numerosities, individuals first map the first operand onto the mental number line, then, according to the kind of the operation sign, the attentional focus was shifted to a new location on the mental number line with the distance of the representation of second operand on the mental number line. When performing mental arithmetic, the mental representation usually shifts positively on the mental number line along the direction of operation sign, therefore, the outcome is represented larger in addition and multiplication and smaller in subtraction and division (Katz & Knops, 2014; McCrink et al., 2007). The heuristic account is firstly used to explain the findings of the OM effect in infants, which assumes that individuals use intuitive operational logic and adopt a simple heuristic to solve the mathematical problems: addition indicates larger outcomes and subtraction indicates smaller outcomes. The compression account assumes that the OM effect is the result of the necessary compression and decompression process on the logarithmic compression of the mental number line. This account is still in the theoretical stage and needs more empirical work to verify. Furthermore, the three accounts are not mutually exclusive - some findings suggested the OM effect can be explained by multiple accounts.
    Early arithmetic is fundamental to the acquisition of complex mathematical concepts and advanced arithmetic operations. By reviewing recent findings of the OM effect in early development, we found many studies have demonstrated the OM effect in infants (Cassia et al., 2016, 2017; McCrink & Wynn, 2009), but it remained puzzled in later development as work in children have shown inconsistent findings. As age increases, research work with 6- to 7-year-old children observed an inverse OM effect (Knops et al., 2013), however, adult-consistent OM effect has been found in 7- to 12-year-old children and the OM effect monotonically increased with age (Jang & Cho, 2022; Pinheiro-Chagas et al., 2018). Together these show a U-shaped developmental trend in OM effect between preschoolers and school-age children. This trend may be related to the improvement of the mathematical ability and the maturation of the spatial attention. Specially, with the acquisition of the mathematical knowledge, preschool children’s mathematical ability would improve, the knowledge of the counting principle and other related mathematical concepts appear to influence the performance of the arithmetic computations. Meanwhile, the maturation of the spatial attention may influence the mapping of numerical representations onto the mental number line therefore influences the OM effect.
    Given the importance of the underlying mechanism of the OM effect on understanding the arithmetic operation in development, future research in developmental field should investigate: 1) the developmental trajectory of the OM effect with multiple paradigms and techniques; 2) the role of the Approximate Number System in the origin and development of the OM effect; 3) generalizability of the OM effect in complex arithmetic or even algebraic operations; 4) the joint effect of various factors (e.g., mathematical abilities and spatial attention) on the OM effect; and 5) the intervention for arithmetic bias.

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    Impact and application of affective touch on mental health
    YANG Xue, ZHU Xu
    2022, 30 (12):  2789-2798.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.02789
    Abstract ( 2050 )   HTML ( 116 )  
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    Daily human touch varies in its forms, frequencies, and experiences. While some types of touch are pleasurable, others can be undesirable. The pleasure of affective touch relies on C-tactile afferents, a class of low-threshold mechanosensitive neurons that innervate the hairy skin. The affective aspect of touch is encoded by C-tactile afferents, and an interpersonal gentle touch is within the sensitive stimulus range of C-tactile, which is commonly applied to express or believed to transmit positive emotions such as love, care, and appreciation. Affective touch refers to these types of touching behaviors, and has positive impacts on individual mental health. Affective touch has the physiological capacity to monitor psychological stress by regulating the level of endogenous hormones such as oxytocin, β-endorphin, dopamine, and serotonin. Affective touch can also be seen psychologically as an adaptive social function that fosters relationships, brings about positive feelings, and enhances subjective well-being.
    Human has the inherent ability to experience the pleasure of touch, but the acquired environment also plays a critical role. Touch is a type of sensory experience that is closely tied to psychology and culture, and our perceptions of touch are influenced by our subjective cognitive processes. Early experiences of touch and sociocultural factors work together to shape an individual's internal pattern of touch processing. Individuals may interpret touch behaviors in a more prosocial way when they have a positive internal pattern of touch processing, and they can actively engage in affective touch to foster closeness and strengthen social bonds. On the contrary, individuals' subjective aversion and avoidance of touch behaviors are related to negative internal pattern of touch processing, which is shaped by adverse early experiences such as tactile deprivation and childhood abuse. A lack of pleasant touch experiences is related to insecure attachment and various mental disorders especially personality disorders and autism spectrum disorders. Individuals with inadequate functioning of affective touch or a negative internal pattern of touch processing may likely feel disgusted by and thus avoid touch activities, which can compromise the social benefits that come with touch, lead to chronic social withdrawal, and result in aberrant social development.
    Touch can aid the treatment of people with mental disorders in addition to safeguarding the mental health of the general population. It is likely that people's lifestyles lack affective touch, and the value of affective touch as an embodied social relationship may be underestimated in daily life. However, affective touch is barred from playing an appropriate significant role in treatment because of the ethical concerns with touching behaviors. Distinct from traditional types of touch, mediated touch and virtual touch elicit touch-like sensations through either other sensory information or other devices as the medium. They can be applied as a transitional or alternative intervention to help people avoidant to real touch correct their negative internal pattern of touch processing so that they can gradually adapt to and accept affective touch, and eventually use affective touch as an effective way to improve their interpersonal functioning and mental health.

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    A theoretical study on the application of expressive writing to psychological rescue in social disasters
    QIU Xiaoyan, GE Yanying, HU Chao
    2022, 30 (12):  2799-2808.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.02799
    Abstract ( 1062 )   HTML ( 60 )  
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    In the 1980s, an effort was made to improve college students' physical and mental health after traumatic experiences. The process of traumatic exposure via expressive writing was explored and developed by Pennebaker. This paradigm has the following advantages:
    1. Maximum privacy protection
    2. Stronger self-control by the writer as they control the depth and extent of the disclosure
    3. Group guidance through telephone, internet, etc., resulting in reduced costs and intervention by therapists
    4. Greater convenience for the therapist to track and study the therapeutic mechanism by examining the contents and characteristics of the written piece
    Many empirical studies have shown that expressive writing contributes to the improvement of physical and mental health, enhancing the individual's well-being. In China, there is a long history of writing therapy. The rapid economic development and social progress in China over the last few decades have provided an excellent opportunity for in-depth empirical research on writing therapy in China. Social disasters, such as epidemics, bring a rapidly increasing number of trauma survivors. Coupled with traffic interruption, it can be challenging for traditional psychological rescue to quickly respond to a wide range of victims of psychological crises. Expressive writing (EW) can be quickly adopted by psychological workers on a large scale via phones, networks and other telecommunication tools, aiming to treat psychological traumas, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), thereby improving physical and psychological health.
    Research conducted following various disasters has reported mixed results. Expressive writing has been shown to positively benefit posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and posttraumatic growth, but its effects on physical health and depressive symptoms are unclear. These effects are highly relevant to the complex mechanics of expressive writing in social disasters, involving exposure desensitization, meaning reconstruction, self-extraction-self-regulation, working memory optimization and normalization of cognitive neural mechanisms. Besides, some factors can potentially affect its curative effects, such as participants' personality traits, time of intervention, and manners of writing. There are deficiencies in research on expressive writing following disasters. These include: (1) few studies of online writing, (2) insufficient exploration of cognitive neural mechanisms, and (3)discrepancy in effects on different physical and psychological health aspects. Therefore, more attention should be paid to local social and cultural factors, and more online intervention studies should be conducted. In addition, the cognitive and neural mechanisms related to expressive writing should be investigated, and its curative effect should be assessed by employing different physical and psychological indicators.

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    Prosociality increases under stress: Evidence from different types of prosocial preferences
    YANG Qun, ZHU Bing, YU Yiming, ZHANG Jingmin, XUE Mengmeng
    2022, 30 (12):  2809-2824.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.02809
    Abstract ( 1101 )   HTML ( 53 )  
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    It is very common to experience stressful events for people in their daily lives. Especially during the ongoing global crisis of the COVID-19, most of us have to learn to live in a stressful environment. Stress can influence both our thoughts and our and behavior. Traditionally, people focused on negative effects of stress and ignored its positive effects. Whether in an acute or chronic states of stress, people may show prosocial preferences, such as helping others or maintaining social orders. Here, we used the theoretical framework proposed by Bockler et al. (2016) on human’s prosociality and systematically reviewed research evidence on the effects of stress on altruistically-motivated, norm-motivated, strategically- motivated, and self-reported prosocial preferences, to analyze stress-induced prosociality.
    Altruistically-motivated prosocial preferences are regarded as a form of true altruism as people are motivated to benefit others even at a personal cost. Evidence shows that stress can increase altruistically-motivated prosocial behavior in both male and female subjects in economic paradigms such as dictator games, donation tasks, and social discounting tasks. Moreover, this phenomenon appears to emerge in childhood. Norm-motivated prosocial preferences reflect the prosociality of complying with and enforcing norms out of respect for social order. Previous research has consistently shown stress increases third-party punishment and reciprocal behavior. Yet, the effect of stress on second-party punishment remains controversial. Strategically-motivated prosocial preferences involve strategic giving and helping based on deliberate calculations of potential cost and benefit. By using trust game tasks, research has shown that the effect of stress on trust levels may depend on the way that the trust levels are measured, the initial amount staked to the investor and the trustee, and the amount of time between the stress and the decisions. In a single public-goods game, time pressure has been proved to enhance individuals’ propensity to cooperate. Self-reported prosocial preferences reflect prosocial attitudes and tendencies and are usually measured by everyday moral decision tasks or self-reported prosocial scales. Cross-cultural evidence has been obtained on the positive correlations between stress and an inclination for prosocial behavior among adults and adolescents.
    Enhanced levels of prosocial preferences in stressful environments may be related to three psychological mechanisms. First, cooperative and altruistic behavior is an intuitive response to stressful events for many individuals. Stress can promote intuitive thinking, which in turn, can increase prosocial responses. Second, stress can promote empathy which is necessary for people to perceive accurately the intentions and emotions of others during social interactions. An enhanced level of empathy under stress serves to promote positive interpersonal interactions, and therefore produces more prosocial behaviors. Finally, people adopting prosocial behaviors in social interactions can effectively reduce negative emotions when confronted with stress; therefore, prosocial preferences under stress are likely to be a result of individuals engaging in emotional regulation.
    It should be noted that stress does not necessarily enhance prosocial preferences. The relationship between stress and prosocial preferences is moderated by many factors, such as the type of stress, how it is induced, how subjects cope with it, age, gender, as well as individual differences in personality, in prosocial tendencies and in the ability to regulate emotion. Future research should focus on examining the conditions under which stress enhances prosocial preferences and the developmental trajectory of the prosocial preferences under stress. Such research would not only deepen our understanding of people’s psychological and behavioral responses to stressful environments, it could even foster methods to improve resilience during stress and help to guide people to respond to stressful events in a positive and prosocial way.

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    Applications of cognitive appraisal theory of stress in managerial psychology research: Scenes, methods, and myths
    JIANG Fubin, WANG Zhen
    2022, 30 (12):  2825-2845.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.02825
    Abstract ( 2475 )   HTML ( 99 )  
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    Stressors are everywhere in the workplace. How do individuals respond to stressors? The cognitive appraisal theory of stress provides an integrated framework for explaining this question from the perspective of cognitive appraisal and coping. This theory has become the mainstream framework for describing individuals’ reactions to stressors during the past 40 years. However, because the theory did not provide the precise relationship among theoretical elements, empirical research applied the theory quite differently, resulting in various and even inadequate applications.
    We conduct this study to present the application and development of the cognitive appraisal theory of stress. 125 empirical studies in the field of managerial psychology were systematically reviewed to identify the scenarios, methods, and myths in applying the theory. The results showed that, (1) The cognitive appraisal theory of stress explains “what is cognitive appraisal?” “what factors influence cognitive appraisal?” “how individuals cope with stressors?” and “what are the consequences of stressors?”. Questionnaires are often used to collect data of theoretical elements. (2) The cognitive appraisal theory of stress can explain the impacts of six categories of stressors (physical stressors, task-related stressors, role stressors, social stressors, career-related stressors, and traumatic events) on employees’ work attitude, behavior, health, and work-family relationship. (3) The application of this theory can be considered from aspects of primary appraisal, secondary appraisal, and coping. There are two perspectives to analyze the application of primary appraisal - outcome-perspective and process-perspective. Both individual and situational factors can affect individuals’ primary appraisals of stressors. Secondary appraisal involves individuals’ appraisal of their own coping potential, and its influencing factors can be divided into individual and situational aspects, too. Coping refers to individuals’ cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage internal or external demands exceed their own resources, which contains problem-focused and emotion-focused forms of coping. (4) There are myths in using this theory among existing empirical research. For example, some studies hold the views that stressors always lead to negative consequences, certain stressors lead to certain cognitive appraisals, certain cognitive appraisals lead to certain coping styles, and problem-focused forms of coping are more effective than emotion-focused forms of coping.
    This study has several significant implications. First, we present the core ideas of the cognitive appraisal theory of stress and the measurements of theoretical elements. More importantly, we clarify some controversies about this theory, which contributes to the correct application and future development of the theory. Second, we integrate the application scenes and methods of the theory in managerial psychology research. By doing so, we broaden current understandings of this theory and then, shed light on theoretical application. Third, the myths about theoretical application are clarified. Based on this, we provide some suggestions for future research in applying this theory, which are beneficial to theoretical development and further applications. Moreover, it is important for future research to optimize the measurement of the core theoretical construct, expand the application scenarios of the theory, and enrich the influencing factors of the cognitive evaluation process.

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    Double-edged-sword effect of performance pressure in organizational contexts
    JIA Suosuo, GUO Li, CAI Zijun, MAO Jih-Yu
    2022, 30 (12):  2846-2856.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.02846
    Abstract ( 1101 )   HTML ( 36 )  
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    The complexity of the market economy has brought about many challenges to organizational survival and development. As organizations often demand high performance from employees, experiencing workplace performance pressure has become a prevalent phenomenon. Performance pressure is a sense of urgency for employees to improve their performance levels demanded by the organization. Existing literature has differentiated performance pressure from other stressors. For example, workload stresses the requirement for employees to take on larger amounts of work, and time pressure emphasizes the time urgency of completing tasks. However, performance pressure is a unique and dynamic stressor. It is closely related to employee self-interests, as fulfilling performance demands often lead to the satisfaction of specific employee career needs (e.g., pay raise and promotion), and failing to fulfill performance demands often puts employees in unfavorable situations (e.g., pay cuts and demotion). As performance pressure is universal and paradoxical, this study adopts a “double-edged-sword” perspective on performance pressure and summarizes the positive, negative, and curvilinear influences of performance pressure and the theoretical explanatory mechanisms underlying these effects, such as cognitive appraisal theory of stress, conservation of resources theory, self-regulation theory, self-control theory, and the job demand-control model. For instance, based on the cognitive appraisal theory of stress and self-regulation theory, performance pressure would be appraised as a challenge or a threat, which then exerts positive or negative influences on employees. In contrast, according to the conservation of resources theory, performance pressure may lead to employees’ loss of resources and subsequently bring a negative impact on employees. By summarizing relevant literature on performance pressure through searching the keyword of “performance pressure” in databases, such as CNKI and Web of Science, this study suggests that existing research on the double-edged-sword effect of performance pressure is insufficient, for example, researchers mainly focused on the negative effect of performance pressure, but pays little attention to its positive effect. To facilitate a more comprehensive understanding of performance pressure, future research can examine the double-edged-sword effect of performance pressure in organizational contexts based on the different theoretical lenses and boundary conditions in which performance pressure’s positive and negative influences are strengthened and weakened, respectively. Three directions are specified. First, regarding theoretical applications, future research can enrich existing theoretical perspectives on the influences of performance pressure, such as the trickle-down effect of high-level managers on frontline employees through middle-level managers, resulting in excessive performance pressure on frontline employees, yet higher recovery level for leaders due to pressure transfer, and integrate conservation of resources with self-regulation theories to investigate the effects of performance pressure on employee resource depletion and work withdrawal and whether performance pressure stimulates employees to enhance performance, such as encouraging employees to engage in reflection on their performance or workplace learning. Second, future research can enrich the boundary conditions for the influences of performance pressure by exploring contextual influences that strengthen and weaken performance pressure’s positive and negative effects, respectively. For instance, servant leadership may ameliorate the negative influences of performance pressure. Supervisor bottom-line mentality may strengthen such negative influences. Of course, organizational climate factors also can be used as boundary conditions. For example, instrumental climate may aggravate the relationship between performance pressure and negative outcomes, while error tolerance culture mitigates such a relationship. Last, regarding empirical analyses, future research should consider controlling for a few influences, such as negative affect, personality traits, health, and well-being, in order to establish the uniqueness of the focal influence mechanisms of performance pressure. The above research paradigm not only facilitates the theoretical development of performance pressure but also provides management practice with theoretical guidance by helping organizations build on their strengths and avoid weaknesses when dealing with performance pressure.

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