This study investigated the crucial factor mediating a correlation between performance of reading span test (RST) and reading comprehension. In the research literature on this issue, one of the remaining controversial points is whether the similarity of sentence processing between RST and comprehension contributes to the correlation. In this study, four RST conditions were created by the combination of two factors: relatedness of stimulus sentences (related or unrelated with each other) and focus of target words (focus or non-focus with respect to sentence meaning). If the correlation is mediated by the similarity of sentence processing, RST performance of related and focus condition, which was most akin to comprehension, would have higher correlation with reading comprehension than other conditions. However, as a result of correlation analysis based on data from ninety-six participants, no such evidence was obtained. On the other hand, RST performance of unrelated conditions that were supposed to strongly require attention control showed significant correlation with reading comprehension. These findings are discussed in terms of the contribution of attention control and short-term memory to performing RST and reading comprehension.
The effect of fear on the retrieval of eyewitness' recognition memory was experimentally investigated. Participants were presented with a thematic series of slides of either neutral or ambiguous stimuli. The ambiguous stimulus consisted of a red liquid flowing on a girl's head. Participants who saw the ambiguous stimulus interpreted the liquid as either red paint, or the girl's blood. Differences in the interpretation of the ambiguous stimulus affected the participants' recognition memory. Participants who interpreted the stimulus as blood displayed inferior memory compared to those who interpreted the stimulus as red paint or those who were shown the neutral stimulus. Moreover, when the participant's interpretation was changed from blood to red paint by an experimenter, the memory for central details was enhanced. These results suggest that fear interferes with retrieval. Participants' memory could be improved by reducing fear during the retrieval stage.
This longitudinal study examines the situational specificity of coping strategies for 3943 male employees of the research and development division of an industrial company. The Job Stress Scale-Revised version (JSS-R) was administered twice to the same subjects 40 months apart to assess chronic job stressors (qualitative and quantitative) and coping strategies (problem-solving, support-seeking, and problem-leaving). Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to examine changes in coping strategies corresponding to changes in chronic job stressors. The results suggest a situational specificity of coping strategies. (a) With decreasing qualitative stressors, “problem-solving” coping increases and “problem-leaving” coping decreases. (b) With increasing qualitative stressors, “problem-leaving” coping increases and “problem-solving” coping decreases. (c) With increasing quantitative stressors, “support-seeking” coping increases. (d) With decreasing quantitative stressors, “problem-leaving” coping decreases. (e) There is no variance in “problem-leaving” coping attributable to the change in the quantitative stressors when the qualitative stressors decrease or increase. “Problem-leaving” coping is more strongly related to qualitative than quantitative stressors.
Yamagishi and colleague showed that behavior favoring the in-group and trust of in-group members are based on the expectation of generalized exchange. We successfully tested a related prediction that people show stronger trust of in-group members than of out-group members in the faith game but not in the trust game. We argued that the direct exchange aspect inherent in the trust game suppresses expectations of generalized exchange taking place in the group. We conducted an experiment with 79 Japanese and 83 Australian participants. In the trust game, 27 of the 82 participants trusted the in-group trustee, while 29 trusted the out-group trustee. In the faith game, in which the expectation of generalized exchange was intact, 47 of the 80 participants trusted the in-group trustee and 37 trusted the out-group trustee. These results support our argument that expectations of generalized exchange, not in-group stereotypes, are the source of in-group trust. No cultural differences were observed between Japanese and Australian participants.
In an experiment with 141 Japanese participants, we tested an alternative interpretation of Peng & Nisbett's (1999) study that examined Chinese participants' responses to contradictory statements. They found that differences in the plausibility judgments about two contradictory statements were smaller when the statements were presented simultaneously than when they were presented independently (i. e., middle-way judgment). This pattern was not found among Americans. In a partial replication of their experiment, we tested our hypothesis that the middle-way judgment responses among Asians are specific to the social domain. We compared participants' responses to contradictory statements in two conditions. In the social context condition, each statement was expressed as an opinion of a particular person. In the non-social context condition, the same statement was expressed as a general opinion without mentioning who made the statement. The results indicate that social context is required for the middle-way seeking responses to occur.
The Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) children's version has confirmed reliability and validity in the UK. In the current study, the children's AQ was administered in Japan to investigate whether the UK results are found in a very different culture. Two groups of children from primary and secondary schools were assessed: Group 1 (n=81) children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD, including Asperger Syndrome and high-functioning autism); Group 2 (n=372) randomly selected controls, age-matched with Group 1. The children with ASD had a mean AQ score of 31.9 (SD=6.69), which was significantly higher than controls (mean AQ=11.7, SD=5.94). Males scored significantly higher than females in the control group, but not in the ASD group. The pattern of difference between the Japanese clinical group and the control group was remarkably similar to the findings in the UK.
Participants (N=153) rated intentionality (with a confidence rating) of 10 behaviors from the observer's perspective. There were three conditions of behaviors: behavior-only, behavior with-reason, or behavior with-cause conditions. Significant differences between the means for all of the behavior conditions were found for both intentionality and confidence ratings, and interactions of Condition×Behavior also significant. When the intentionality values were transformed with a V-shaped function, the means of the transformed values significantly increased along with the mean confidence rating in the with-reason and with-cause conditions. In addition, the across-participant correlations between intentionality and confidence for each behavior were negative when the intentionality mean was near the minimum, and the correlations were positive when the intentionality mean was large; this trend was close to a linear function. These findings suggest that the intentionality rating was based on both a binary judgment and a confidence value.
The South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS) was originally developed to screen for pathological gamblers in clinical settings, and its use has been expanded to other settings such as prevalence studies of pathological gambling in general populations. There are few studies of pathological gambling in Japan, except for the two studies on the development of the modified Japanese version of the SOGS. The present study examines the reliability and validity of the modified Japanese version of the SOGS using two different groups: a university student group (N=96) and a gambler group (N=66). Analyses of the modified Japanese version of the SOGS showed that there was sufficient internal consistency (α=.898) and reliability. The modified Japanese version of the SOGS demonstrated satisfactory validity in differentiating the university student group from the gambler group.
Biological studies of human consciousness based on recent neuroimaging experiments, i.e., functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET), were reviewed from the viewpoint of different functions of consciousness. A biological hierarchy of consciousness structured in three levels, i.e., arousal, awareness and self-consciousness, was reviewed in connection with working memory. We found that the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (PFC), anterior cingulate cortex, medial PFC, and parieto-temporal junction area play a crucial role in social cognition involving estimation of the mental states of other people. The ventrolateral PFC plays a role in language-based rehearsal/imitation in connection with a mirror system. Frontal pole and orbitofrontal areas are also likely to contribute to generation of self function, reward expectancy and internal planning of goal-directed behavior. Interestingly, we found that these various PFC and related areas strongly contribute to active consciousness based on the working memory system. Furthermore, we have shown that a theory-of-mind approach could be closely related to higher cognitive functions involved in working memory, which has a meta-recognition processes during mentalization.