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ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B
主办:中国心理学会
   中国科学院心理研究所
出版:科学出版社

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    25 August 2022, Volume 54 Issue 8 Previous Issue    Next Issue

    Reports of Empirical Studies
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    Reports of Empirical Studies
    Neural correlates of consciousness of emotional faces and the unconscious automatic processing: Evidence from event-related potentials (ERPs)
    SUN Bo, ZENG Xianqing, XU Kaiyu, XIE Yunting, FU Shimin
    2022, 54 (8):  867-880.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2022.00867
    Abstract ( 1614 )   HTML ( 70 )  
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    The neural correlates of consciousness are debatable due to the confounding effects of subjective reports. In addition, although previous studies have suggested that vMMN is relatively insensitive to the manipulation of visual attention, the relationship between vMMN and visual consciousness remains unclear. The inattentional blindness paradigm can not only effectively manipulate visual consciousness, but also explore the conscious process without relying on subjective reports. Therefore, we used this paradigm to manipulate visual consciousness. Moreover, we introduced emotional (happy and fearful) faces, which are biologically and socially significant visual stimuli, to explore the neural correlates of consciousness and the relationship between automatic detection of changes and visual consciousness.
    Fifty-six Chinese participants took part in the present study. We recorded electroencephalography (EEG) in three phases. In phase A, the participants needed to detect changes of the red dots. However, because they were not informed of the existence of emotional faces, some participants were unconscious of the task-irrelevant emotional faces. In phase B and C, all participants were informed about the emotional faces. Thus, they were conscious of the emotional faces. Specifically, in phase B, the participants still needed to detect changes of the red dots, and the emotional faces are task-irrelevant. However, in phase C, the participants were asked to detect changes of emotional faces, and thus they were task-relevant in phase C. To check the conscious state of emotional faces, subjects were required to fill out an awareness questionnaire after completing phases A and B. Then the participants were divided into unconscious group and conscious group according to their conscious state of emotional faces in phase A.
    Results can be summarized as following. (1) Two primary contrasts were made: conscious versus unconscious (equally task irrelevant) to reveal the neural correlates of consciousness and task-relevant versus task-irrelevant (equally aware) to reveal the effect of task relevance. In the early stage, the results showed that the standard emotional faces in phase B evoked significantly stronger negativity than in phase A for the unconscious group, suggesting that the conscious process of emotional faces evoked visual awareness negativity (VAN) (200~300 ms). By contrast, compared with the task-irrelevant condition (phase B), the standard emotional faces under the task-relevant condition (phase C) evoked significantly stronger negativity, suggesting that task relevance evoked selection negativity (SN) (180~250 ms). This provides evidence that VAN is a neural correlate of consciousness by separating the neural activity of visual awareness and selective attention of emotional faces. Moreover, in the late stage, the results showed that the standard emotional faces in phase B evoked significantly stronger positivity than in phase A for the unconscious group, suggesting that the conscious process of emotional faces evoked late positivity (LP) (300~400 ms) and late occipital positivity (LOP) (400~600 ms). By contrast, compared with the task-irrelevant condition (phase B), the standard emotional faces under the task-relevant condition (phase C) evoked significantly stronger positivity, suggesting that task relevance evoked LP (300~400 ms) and LOP (400~500 ms) that may reflect the post-perceptual processing of target stimuli. Therefore, this study also provides evidence that LP and LOP are neural correlates of consciousness without the confounding effects of task relevance. In short, VAN may reflect the early perceptual process of emotional faces, LP and LOP may reflect the further process of classifying and recognizing the stimulus representations of emotional faces, such as assessing the emotional valence of faces.
    (2) The ERP results showed that a vMMN effect was found in all three phases: compared to standard emotional faces, deviant evoked significantly stronger negativity at the 250~350 ms latency in three phases. Importantly, a vMMN effect was observed for the unconscious group in the phase A. Furthermore, no amplitude difference of vMMN was observed between the aware (phase B) and the unaware (phase A) conditions among unconscious group, suggesting that the deviance processing of emotional faces is independent of visual consciousness. Compared with Chen (2020), this study provides evidence that the deviance processing of emotional faces is independent of visual consciousness under the condition that the unconsciousness level is manipulated more effectively.
    (3) Compared with the task-irrelevant condition (phase B), the vMMN amplitude under the task-relevant condition (phase C) was larger, suggesting that task relevance modulates the amplitude of vMMN and the attentional effect of task relevance promotes the deviance processing of emotional faces.
    The conclusions of this study can be summarized as following. (1) VAN is the neural correlate of consciousness under the condition of avoiding confounding effects of visual attention, and LP and LOP are the neural correlates of consciousness under the condition of avoiding confounding effects of task relevance. (2) The visual awareness of emotional faces has different ERP indicators at different time stages. Specifically, VAN reflects the early perceptual experience, LP and LOP reflect the late conscious experience of non-perceptual information. (3) The deviance processing of emotional faces is independent of visual consciousness. (4) The attentional effect of task relevance modulates the deviance processing of emotional faces.

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    Semantic search during creative thinking: A quantitative analysis based on cumulative distribution and semantic similarity of responses
    CHEN Yanran, LIANG Zheng, ZHAO Qingbai, Huang Yu, LI Songqing, YU Quanlei, ZHOU Zhijin
    2022, 54 (8):  881-891.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2022.00881
    Abstract ( 537 )   HTML ( 17 )  
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    The semantic search during creative thinking refers to the activation process of semantic information in long-term memory involved in creative activities. Influential theory has posited that the semantic activation process in free recall shows spreading activation within semantic networks and is characterized by negative acceleration and clustering. Unlike the free recall, it is necessary to suppress the dominant response and to activate novel and distant information during creative thinking. Therefore, one might expect different semantic search processes during creative thinking, but such a hypothesis has not yet been directly tested. To explore the semantic search process during creative thinking, the present study described the quantitative dynamic characteristics of answer generation in a divergent thinking test using a series of parameters, such as cumulative response distribution and semantic similarity.
    The experiment employed a within-subject design with the task type (novel V.S. normal) as the independent variable. The experiment included two versions of alternative uses task (AUT): novel and normal AUT. In the novel AUT, participants were asked to report novel and valid uses for the daily-life items presented on the screen as many as possible, while in the normal AUT they were only asked to think of valid uses for objects as many as possible. During the experiment, participants completed two normal AUTs, followed by two novel AUTs. Each AUT lasted for three minutes. The novelty of responses and semantic similarity of responses were scored by participants themselves. The time function of the cumulative number of responses was fitted by the hyperbolic function, and clustering analysis was conducted based on the semantic similarity of responses.
    The results showed that: (1) The cumulative response distribution in the novel AUT condition were negatively accelerating similar to semantic search during free recall, but the search speed in the novel AUT condition was slower than that of the normal AUT condition. (2) In the novel AUT condition, the semantic similarity between participants’ responses and the questions (i.e., the items) was low and significantly lower than that in the normal AUT condition. (3) The responses in the novel AUT condition showed a significantly lower degree of clustering than that in the normal AUT condition. In the novel AUT condition, the semantic similarity between the clusterable and non-clusterable answers and the questions were low and not significantly different. Furthermore, there was no significant difference between the clusterable and non-clusterable answers in terms of novelty.
    These findings indicated that the semantic search during creative thinking was partly in line with spreading activation theory of semantic search in free call. But the search speed was relatively slower. Furthermore, the novelty requirement prompted the participants to break up the semantic restriction of the item at the initial search and avoid nearby search. The participants tended to generate few idea in each semantic field. However, when it is far away from the item in the semantic field, individuals might generate clustering ideas.

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    The relationship between preschoolers’ understanding of considerate socially-mindful actions and theory of mind
    ZHAO Xin, LI Dandan, YANG Xiangdong
    2022, 54 (8):  892-904.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2022.00892
    Abstract ( 1489 )   HTML ( 44 )  
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    We live in a highly interdependent world. Even if we do not directly interact with others, our own behaviors can have an indirect impact on others. Such behaviors that indirectly bring benefits to others are defined as considerate, socially-mindful actions. In this study, we examined preschoolers’ evaluation of considerate socially-mindful actions; importantly, we also explored the underlying developmental mechanisms by examining its potential relationship to the development of theory-of-mind abilities. A total of 100 children aged 4~6 were recruited in this study. In the social mindfulness task, children were asked to compare two story characters, both of whom were to choose snack at snack time. One of the characters leaves a choice for the person waiting behind when she took a piece of fruit for herself (i.e., acts socially mindful), while the other character in a similar situation leaves no choice for the person waiting behind (i.e., does not act socially mindful). Children were then asked 1) which of these two characters was nicer and 2) who they would prefer to choose as a friend. In addition, children were also administered theory-of-mind tasks (including the content false belief task, location false belief task, and hidden emotion task). We also measured children’s prosocial orientation (by a sharing task) and executive functioning capacity (by a Day/Night Stroop task) as controlling variables. We found that, first, with age, children increasingly rated the socially-mindful character as nicer than the character who left no choice, and increasingly selected the socially-mindful character as a friend. Second, when controlling for age, children's evaluations and friend preference in the social mindfulness task was significantly positively correlated with their theory-of-mind, but was not correlated with their sharing behaviors or executive functioning. Such correlation remained significant when controlling for sharing and executive functioning. In summary, between the ages 4 and 6, children gradually develop an understanding and evaluation of social mindfulness, and such development is correlated with the development of theory-of-mind abilities. These findings provide insights for our understanding of children's social and moral evaluation and its underlying developmental mechanism.

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    The relationship among morphological awareness, character recognition and vocabulary knowledge in elementary school children: A cross-lagged model
    XIA Yue, XIE Ruibo, WANG Zhenliang, NGUYEN Thi Phuong, WU Xinchun
    2022, 54 (8):  905-916.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2022.00905
    Abstract ( 505 )   HTML ( 16 )  
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    The present study aims to examine the relationship among morphological awareness, Chinese character recognition and vocabulary knowledge of elementary school students. Numerous studies on the language development of Chinese children show that as language learning progresses, an individual’s language system gradually develops and matures. Morphological awareness, Chinese character recognition and vocabulary knowledge play an important role in children’s language development. There is a solid one-to-one correspondence between syllables, morphemes and characters in Chinese. It is necessary to consider morphological awareness, Chinese character recognition and vocabulary knowledge simultaneously in the language development among elementary school children.
    Three follow-up tests were administered to 146 first-grade elementary school children over a 2-year period to examine changes in the developmental relationships between morphological awareness, Chinese character recognition, and vocabulary knowledge in elementary school children in grades 1 through 3. In addition, phonological awareness, rapid automatized naming of digits, orthographic awareness and intelligence were all measured as control variables at Time 1 (spring semester of Grade 1). A cross-lagged model was conducted to explore the relationship among children’s morphological awareness, character recognition and vocabulary knowledge at different time points.
    The results showed that the relationship among morphological awareness, Chinese character recognition and vocabulary knowledge varied across developmental stages after controlling the aforementioned control variables. (1) Chinese character recognition at Time 1 significantly predicted the homophone and homograph awareness at Time 2; (2) Vocabulary knowledge at Time 1 significantly predicted compounding awareness and Chinese character recognition at Time 2; (3) Chinese character recognition and vocabulary knowledge at Time 2 significantly predicted homophone, homograph and compounding awareness at Time 3. (4) Homograph awareness at Time 2 significantly predicted vocabulary knowledge at Time 3.
    The results indicated that the relationship among different levels of morphological awareness, Chinese character recognition and vocabulary knowledge in Chinese elementary children has been changed over time. From Grade 1 to Grade 3, Chinese character recognition and vocabulary knowledge had stable predictive effects on morphological awareness, while the predictive effects of morphological awareness on Chinese character recognition and vocabulary knowledge changed with age.

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    The relationship between school assets and early adolescents’ psychosocial adaptation: A latent transition analysis
    HOU Qingqing, GUO Mingyu, WANG Lingxiao, LV Hui, CHANG Shumin
    2022, 54 (8):  917-930.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2022.00917
    Abstract ( 1151 )   HTML ( 45 )  
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    Given a broad range of changes in cognitive, emotional, and social relationships, adolescence might mark the beginning of a period of significant fluctuations in psychosocial adaptation because it is a period of preparation for the future that requires special attention and protective measures. The developmental characteristics of different aspects of adolescents’ adaptation have been well studied. However, these previous studies, which have tended to explore various aspects of adolescents’ adaptation in isolation, have been unable to reflect the diversity of adolescents’ adaptation patterns and their variability over time. In addition, exploring and determining school situation-related predictors are essential for helping education professionals understand the relevant factors that affect various profiles and transition patterns of adolescents’ adaptation and, thus, formulate effective prevention and intervention programs to maintain and improve adolescents’ psychosocial adaptation. This study uses a person-centered approach to explore the profiles and transition patterns of early adolescents’ psychosocial adaptation and investigate gender differences and the protective role of school assets.
    A sample of 1012 junior middle school students was selected as participants and measured three times. The adolescents completed loneliness, depression, happiness, school assets scales, and peer nomination forms during the three measurements. The head teacher assessed the students’ prosocial and externalized problem behaviors. The descriptive statistics and multiple logistic regression were analyzed by SPSS 21.0. The profiles and transition patterns of adolescents’ psychosocial adaptation and the predictive effects of school assets and gender were further analyzed using Mplus 7.4.
    The results showed that adolescents’ psychosocial adaptation had two profiles at T1: a well-adapted profile and an internalizing problem profile. Adolescents at T2 and T3 were divided into four profiles: a well-adapted profile, an internalizing problem profile, an externalizing problem profile, and a peer rejection profile. From T2 to T3, adolescents in the well-adapted and internalizing problem profiles were more likely to remain in the original group, whereas the peer rejection and externalizing problem profiles showed a higher degree of transition. Adolescents in the peer rejection and externalizing problem profiles were more likely to transition to the well-adapted profile. In addition, school assets were a protective factor for adolescents’ psychosocial adaptation. As school assets increased, adolescents were more likely to be and remain in the well-adapted profile, whereas those in the externalizing problem and peer rejection profiles were more likely to transition to the well-adapted profile. The study also found gender differences in the profiles: at T2, girls were more likely to enter the internalizing problem profile.
    This study adds to the understanding of the diversity of the psychosocial adaptation development patterns of early adolescents and suggests the need for comprehensive screening and dynamic monitoring of adolescent adaptation and more complex intervention programs tailored to the specific characteristics of the relevant groups and boys and girls. In addition, identifying the protective role of school assets can help mental health professionals understand the supporting factors in the development of individual health, thereby promoting the positive development of adolescents. Moreover, this study provides a reference for school context-based assessment and intervention strategies.

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    The ancient behavioral immune system shapes the medical-seeking behavior in contemporary society
    WU Qi, WU Hao, ZHOU Qing, CHEN Dongfang, LU Shuai, LI Linrui
    2022, 54 (8):  931-950.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2022.00931
    Abstract ( 747 )   HTML ( 14 )  
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    Over the long course of evolution, in order to cope with the threat of pathogens, both animals and humans have evolved complex disease defense mechanisms, one of which is known as the behavioral immune system. The behavioral immune system is a complex suite of cognitive, affective, and behavioral mechanisms that ultimately help prevent pathogen transmission in the face of recurrent infectious disease threats. It functions by detecting threat-relevant cues in the environment and activating disgust-related responses aimed at diminishing those threats. However, in modern times, with advanced medical technology, the behavioral immune system may not always be beneficial to human disease control behaviors. Previous studies have found that, the social strategies that are designed to avoid infection in ancient times may lead to more serious health problems (e.g., the damage to the cardiovascular system) in modern society. These studies suggest that the behavioral immune system may be evolutionary mismatch in the modern and complex medical environment, which may have negative effects on our medical-seeking behavior. Therefore, we hypothesized that, in modern society, the activation of behavioral immune system will affect individuals' medical-seeking tendency, making individuals display more negative attitudes towards health-care and become more likely to delay their medical-seeking.
    This hypothesis was systematically tested by three different studies. In these studies, we used a well-validated medical-seeking attitude questionnaire and a computerized patient delay task to measure the individuals' medical-seeking tendency. Specifically, in Study 1A (223 participants) and Study 2A (218 participants), we investigated the relationship between trait activation level of behavioral immune system and individuals' medical-seeking tendency by employing the scales of Disgust Scale-Revised Chinese and Perceived Vulnerability to Diseases. In Study 1B (198 participants) and Study 2B (174 participants), we situationally activated the behavioral immune system by asking the participants to watch disease-salient primes in order to investigate the effects of external disease cues on the medical-seeking tendency. In Study 3, we investigated that whether the effects of the activation of behavioral immune system on the medical-seeking attitude and tendency were mediated by the perception of the risk of hospital infection.
    The results showed that: 1) core disgust negatively predicted the attitude of participants toward medical- seeking; 2) core disgust positively predicted the tendency of participants to delay medical-seeking; 3) situationally activating the behavioral immune system significantly affected the attitude of participants toward medical- seeking and the tendency of participants to delay medical-seeking, participants were found to be more likely to have a negative attitude toward medical-seeking and delay their medical-seeking after watching the disease- salient primes; 4) the perception of the risk of hospital infection mediated the relationship between the activation of behavioral immune system and medical-seeking attitude and tendency, participants who had higher core disgust or received disease-salient primes were more likely to perceive the medical-seeking situations as infectious, which subsequently led the participants to adopt more negative attitudes toward medical-seeking and to display stronger patient-delay tendency.
    These results support our hypothesis, suggesting that the ancient behavioral immune system may have a negative effect on the medical-seeking behavior in contemporary society. These results are consistent with the evolutionary mismatch hypothesis and provide a new theoretical perspective for the further understanding of the medical-seeking behavior of modern humans.

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    The effect of negative aging stereotypes on the quality of medical decision-making and the mediating role of attribution bias
    ZHANG Baoshan, JIN Dou, MA Mengjia, XU Ran
    2022, 54 (8):  951-963.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2022.00951
    Abstract ( 709 )   HTML ( 26 )  
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    The quality of decision-making in older people decreases with age. In medical decision-making, poor medical decisions in older adults can have a range of adverse effects. Therefore, exploring the influencing factors of the quality of medical decision-making is necessary. Aging stereotypes are closely related to the quality of decision-making. Negative aging stereotypes will have a negative impact on the decision-making of older adults. However, the relationship between aging stereotypes and the quality of medical decision-making has not been fully studied, and the mechanism between the two remains unclear.
    As an important concept in social cognitive psychology, attribution bias is closely related to aging stereotypes and medical decision-making. When encountering behaviors or phenomena consistent with stereotypes, people are more inclined to attribute such behaviors internally to maintain the stereotypes. Furthermore, attribution bias is an important factor in decision-making, and the attribution bias of the older adults will have a significant impact on their subsequent treatment decisions. Nevertheless, the role of attribution bias in the relationship between aging stereotypes and medical decision-making in older adults remains unknown. Thus, this study attempts to clarify the relationship between aging stereotypes and medical decision-making and reveal the mediating role of attribution bias in the relationship between aging stereotypes and medical decision-making.
    This study has two experiments. Experiment 1 attempted to explore the relationship between aging stereotypes, attribution bias, and quality of medical decision-making in older adults. Experiment 2 attempted to verify further the relationship between the three by training attribution bias. Seventy-eight older adults (26 males and 52 females) were recruited as participants in Experiment 1. All participants were randomly assigned to the stereotypes threat group or the control group. Attribution bias and the quality of medical decisions in both groups were then measured. Eighty participants (30 males and 50 females) were recruited in Experiment 2. All participants were randomly assigned to the stereotypes threat group or the attribution bias intervention group. First, the aging stereotypes of all participants were activated. Participants in the stereotype threat group completed the same measurement as Experiment 1. Participants in the attribution bias intervention group completed attribution bias measurement and medical decision-making tasks after attribution bias control training.
    SPSS 25.0 was used for the statistical analysis of the data. Experiment 1 found that the aging stereotypes negatively predicted the quality of medical decisions and increased the internal attribution bias. The internal attribution bias in the stereotype threat group was significantly higher than that in the control group, and the quality of medical decision-making was substantially lower than that in the control group. The study also found that internal attribution bias was mediating in the relationship between aging stereotypes and medical decision quality. Results of Experiment 2 show that the internal attribution bias of participants in the attribution bias intervention group was significantly lower than that in the stereotypes threat group, and the quality of medical decision-making was significantly higher than that in the stereotypes threat group. That is, aging stereotypes negatively affected the quality of medical decisions, and internal attribution played a mediating role between the two. Furthermore, the control training of attribution bias can effectively alleviate the adverse effects of stereotypes in old age.
    This study enriches the previous research on the influence of stereotypes on decision-making. It has certain practical value for alleviating the negative effect of stereotypes in older adults and improving the quality of individual medical decision-making.

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    A multipath model of leader after-hours electronic communication expectations and employee job performance
    LI Xin, LIU Pei, LI Aimei, WANG Xiaotian, ZHANG Junwei
    2022, 54 (8):  964-978.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2022.00964
    Abstract ( 698 )   HTML ( 17 )  
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    In the digital economy era, leaders exert influence during work hours as well as beyond work hours, expecting employees to be available after work hours and responsive to work-related matters immediately via electronic communication devices, henceforth named “after-hours electronic communication expectations” (AECE). Previous studies have shed light on the promoting and inhibiting effects of AECE on employees’ job performance, but no research has adopted a unified perspective to explain this observation. Resultantly, we know little about the influence of leaders’ AECE affecting job performance and why it occurs. Drawing upon conservation of resources theory, we propose that leader AECE may affect employees’ job performance through three resource paths. Specifically, in the resource gain path, leader AECE improves employees’ job performance through organization-based self-esteem. In the resource loss path, leader AECE reduces job performance through stress perception. In the resource threat path, leader AECE reduces job performance through reputation maintenance concerns. Furthermore, we consider employee self-leadership an important boundary condition and suggest that it can enhance the resource gain effect and weaken the resource loss and threat effect.
    To verify the theoretical framework, we carried out an experimental study (study 1) and a multi-wave, multi-source field study (study 2). In study 1, we recruited 224 full-time employees to participate in the experiment; 4 participants were dropped because they failed the attention test. Participants were randomly assigned to either the manipulation group (i.e., high leader AECE group, n = 111) or the control group (i.e., low leader AECE group, n = 109). Leader AECE was manipulated by presenting different WeChat screenshots. Specifically, we asked participants to imagine that they received a message from their immediate leader at 9 PM, and presented experimental materials in the WeChat screenshots. In the screenshot presented to the control group, the leader sent two messages including “Take your time, contact me when you are free”. In the screenshot presented to the manipulation group, leader sent three messages including “Please respond ASAP” as well as four unconnected voice calls. After reading different screenshots, participants were asked to complete questionnaires containing manipulation tests, organization-based self-esteem measurements, stress perception, reputation maintenance concerns, and demographic information. In Study 2, our sample comprised 418 full-time employees from state-owned enterprise in Guangdong Province and their immediate leaders. We collected data in three waves, each with a one-month interval in between. In Wave 1, the employees reported leaders’ AECE, self-leadership and demographic information. In Wave 2, the employees reported organization-based self-esteem, stress perception and reputation maintenance concerns. In Wave 3, we invited leaders to report subordinates’ job performance. Consequently, our final usable sample included 346 employees.
    Study 1 revealed that compared to the control group, participants in the manipulation group reported higher levels of organization-based self-esteem, stress perception and reputation maintenance concerns. This finding confirmed the causal relationship between leader AECE and three mediators. Study 2 suggested that in the resource gain path, leaders’ AECE positively influenced subordinates’ organization-based self-esteem, which in turn enhanced job performance. Employees who received AECE from the leader were more likely to experience stress perception in the resource loss path. But stress perception did not have significant effects on job performance. In the resource threat path, reputation maintenance concerns played a mediating role between leaders’ AECE and job performance. Furthermore, self-leadership moderated the indirect effect of leaders’ AECE on employees’ job performance through organization-based self-esteem and reputation maintenance concerns, such that the effect was weaker when self-leadership was high compared to when self-leadership was low. Self-leadership did not moderate the relationship between leaders’ AECE and stress perception.
    This study makes several important contributions. First, drawing on conservation of resources theory, we integrate the promoting and inhibiting effects of leader AECE on employees’ job performance in a theoretical framework, which helps form a more comprehensive and dialectical understanding of the mixed effects. Second, we explore the mediating mechanisms underlying the relationship between leaders’ AECE and job performance, contributing to the AECE literature by revealing the “black box” of new leadership's influence on job performance. Third, we demonstrate the role of self-leadership in moderating resource threat effects, which provide guidance for mitigating the negative effects of leaders’ AECE.

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    Try something new together: Joint consumption fosters choice of unfamiliar products
    RAN Yaxuan, ZHANG Puyue, CHEN Siyun, XIANG Diandian
    2022, 54 (8):  979-995.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2022.00979
    Abstract ( 681 )   HTML ( 17 )  
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    Joint consumption is pervasive in daily life, such as watching movies with friends, eating out with family and shopping for communal kitchens with roommates. Comparing with individual consumption, decisions in joint consumption are distinct in a variety of aspects. The number of existing literatures on joint consumption is increasing year by year, but the research topics are too scattered to form a system. Previous researches can be divided into three categories: driving factors, decision results and their influencing factors and subsequent consequences. However, very few studies have examined whether consumers would behave differently in the context of individual and joint consumption. In the current research, we extend the extent literature by examining how consumer respond to exploration behavior when shopping either individually or with others.
    Choosing between familiar and unfamiliar products is one of the most common forms of exploratory behavior. Perceived risk is an important factor affecting this choice. According to risky-shift theory, an individual in a group has greater risk-taking tendencies than when alone because sharing the decision result could weaken the perceived risk of each group member. In addition, there are researches showing mere being accompanied by others also decreases risk perception. Therefore, we inference that comparing with individual consumption, consumers in joint consumption would perceive less risk so that they prefer unfamiliar options. Nonetheless, the main hypothesis is limited. In the light of product category risk and impression management, this effect appears only when individuals are with close companions and face with low-risk products.
    Five studies were conducted to examine our hypotheses. As a lab experiment, study 1a (N = 138) was a 2 (consumption situation: individual vs. joint) between-subjects design, which proved that participants in the joint condition were more likely to choose the unfamiliar product than those in the individual condition. Study 1b (N = 263) repeats the main effect with a 3 (consumption situation: individual vs. joint with friends vs. joint with families) between-subjects design and also excluded the potential influence of relationship type on this effect. And by changing the manipulation and measurement method, study 2 (N = 150) verified the mediating effect of perceived risk with a 2 (consumption situation: individual vs. joint) between-subjects design. And it also ruled out the alternative explanation of emotional arousal. Study 3 (N = 213) was 3 (consumption context: individual vs. joint with a close friend vs. joint with a distant friend) between-subjects design. It identified two important moderating variables. On the one hand, we can only investigate the effect of joint consumption among low-risk products. On the other hand, participants were more interested in unfamiliar products only when they were with close friends. Additionally, it examined the mediating role of perceived risk and excluded the alternative explanation of diffusion of responsibility. Study 4 (N = 148) extended the scope of application of this main effect with a 2 (consumption situation: individual vs. joint) between-subjects design. The results show that even when faced with daily choices in non-consumption situations, participants under joint consumption showed exploratory behavior.
    Our investigation suggests that joint consumption (vs. individual consumption) encourages consumers to try new and unfamiliar products/services through a decreased perception of consumption risk. This effect would be attenuated when consumers are shopping with distant companions or when consumers face the choice of high-risk products/services. Our findings supplement the literature on joint consumption, exploration behavior and risk-shift theory, while practically suggesting that managers can integrate the joint consumption context into the new product promotion process by defining product positioning.

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    A simple and effective new method of Q-matrix validation
    LI Jia, MAO Xiuzhen, WEI Jia
    2022, 54 (8):  996-1008.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2022.00996
    Abstract ( 261 )   HTML ( 8 )  
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    Cognitive diagnostic theory (CDT) can provide fine-grained and multidimensional process assessment results, which has important research and practical values. The Q-matrix that represents the relationship between items and attributes, is the basis of CDT. The accuracy of the Q-matrix is an important factor that affects the accuracy of items parameter estimation and participants’ diagnosis. Therefore, it is of great significance to check the correctness of the Q-matrix or to validate it. A lot of studies have been carried out on the estimation or validation of Q-matrix, and a variety of methods have been proposed from different perspectives, each having their advantages and disadvantages. The methods based on model-data fit can provide rich test information without the need of complex parameter estimation and time-consuming and tedious calculation. Following this line of thinking, this study used Gini coefficient to express the purity of expected numbers proportion distribution, and constructed a simple and efficient Q-matrix validation method, called the optimization of response distribution purity (ORDP) method, which is suitable for both simplified model and saturated model.
    Residual index (R), root mean square error approximate (RMSEA) and hamming distance (HD) were compared to evaluate the performances with varied influencing factors, under the conditions of two different distribution of knowledge states (KS) (uniform distribution, multidimensional normal distribution), two different sample sizes (300, 1000), two different test lengths (20, 30), Q-matrix error rates (20%, 40%), item qualities ([0.05, 0.25], [0.05, 0.24]) and attribute hierarchical structures (independent structure, linear structure, convergent structure, and branched structure). The specific algorithm of Q-matrix validation is as follows. Firstly, the initial Q-matrix is represented by Q0. When validating the first item j, the initial q-vector of item j in Q0 is replaced with one of all possible q-vectors, leaving the rest of the items intact. Then, the EM algorithm is used to estimate the item parameters and the knowledge states of the participants. Lastly, the q-vector that minimizes ORDP, R, RMSEA, or HD for the q-vector of the item is selected.
    Simulation results demonstrate that: (1) The distribution of KS affects the performance of each method. Specifically, when the KS is uniformly distributed, ORDP method is superior to other methods, HD method is the next, followed by RMSEA and R methods; When the KS follows multivariate normal distribution, there is no significant difference between RMSEA and ORDP. RMSEA method is slightly better than ORDP method except independent structure, followed by HD and R method; (2) The validation effect of these methods under multivariate normal distribution is not as good as that under uniform distribution; (3) The validation rates of the four methods all affected by sample sizes, test lengths, Q-matrix error rates, item qualities and attribute hierarchical structures. If the smaller the number of respondents, the shorter the test length, the higher the Q-matrix error rates, or the lower the item quality, the worse the performance of each method will be, and vice versa; (4) The validation results based on the fractional subtraction data of Tatsuoka (1984) show that the Q-matrix modified by ORDP method has the best model-data fit.
    In this study, the ORDP index representing the purity of the expected numbers proportion distribution was constructed based on the Gini coefficient. Simulation and empirical studies show that this method has a high validation rate for Q-matrices under different conditions. On the whole, the new method proposed in this study validates the Q-matrix through data analysis, which can reduce the workload of experts and thus improve the correctness of the Q-matrix.

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