A large number of studies have demonstrated the sequential effect, in which the response in the current trial is assimilated towards that of the immediately preceding trial in a decision making task. However, most previous studies have only examined the effect in situations where the response was given after each stimulus presentation. In this study, we examined whether the sequential effect existed when observers responded after the presentation of two stimuli. After two pictures of male faces were presented successively, participants rated the attractiveness of each face on a 9-point scale. The results showed that the second response was assimilated towards the first (Experiment 1), but the first response contrasted with (shifted away from) the second (Experiment 2). These findings suggest that preceding and succeeding contexts may differentially modulate our decision making.
This study examined the influence of familiarity and novelty on the mere exposure effect while manipulating the presentation of background information. We selected presentation stimuli that integrated cars and backgrounds based on the results of pilot studies. During the exposure phase, we displayed the stimuli successively for 3 seconds, manipulating the background information (same or different backgrounds with each presentation) and exposure frequency (3, 6, and 9 times). In the judgment phase, 18 participants judged the cars in terms of preference, familiarity, and novelty on a 7-point scale. As the number of stimulus presentations increased, the preference for the cars increased during the different background condition and decreased during the same background condition. This increased preference may be due to the increase in familiarity caused by the higher exposure frequency and novelty resulting from the background changes per exposure session. The rise in preference judgments was not seen when cars and backgrounds were presented independently. Therefore, the addition of novel features to each exposure session facilitated the mere exposure effect.
Recent research demonstrates that social preferences for native language speakers emerge early in development, indicating that infants prefer speakers from their own society. Dialect may also be a reliable cue to group membership because it provides information about an individual’s social and ethnic identity. We investigated whether infants showed social preferences toward native-dialect speakers over those with unfamiliar dialects. Infants at 9 and 12 months of age were shown videos in which two adults (a native-dialect speaker and an unfamiliar-dialect speaker) each spoke to and then offered an identical toy to the participating infants. Next, two real versions of the toys were presented to the infants in person. The 12-month-old infants preferentially reached for the toy offered by the native-dialect speaker. The 9-month-old infants also showed a preference for native-dialect speakers but this finding was not statistically significant. Our results suggest that dialects may be a reliable cue to group membership, and that infants’ orientation toward members of their native community may guide their social and cultural learning.
Prior research has reported that dispositional optimists tend to take approach-type coping strategies in response to health threats, and as a result, experience positive health benefits. This study investigated whether dispositional optimism or pessimism interacted with the importance that a participant assigned to stressful events to predict their coping behavior. College students (N = 178) participated in the study. The results indicated that the importance participants assigned to stressful events moderated the relationship between dispositional optimism and positive interpretations, as well as the relationship between dispositional pessimism and positive interpretations, abandonment, and avoiding of responsibility. It was concluded that optimistic individuals used positive interpretations for highly important events but not for less- important events. Moreover, less pessimistic individuals also used positive interpretations for highly significant events, and did not use abandonment or avoidance of responsibility; there was no such relationship with less- important events. These findings suggest that individuals high in optimism and low in pessimism are flexible, which plays a valuable role in their self-regulatory behavior.
Prior studies have investigated whether the expectation that one will explain learned materials after learning (explanation expectancy) promotes text comprehension. Such researches, however, have had inconsistent results. In Study 1, we examined whether an elaborative explanation orientation, which refers to the belief that it is important to elaborate and organize a passage when explaining, moderated the effect of explanation expectancy. The results showed neither a moderation effect nor an effect of explanation expectancy. This suggests that the effect size of explanation expectancy was not large, so that a single experimental research with limited sample size could not reliably find a positive effect. In Study 2, a meta-analysis was conducted to infer more accurately the influence of explanation expectancy on text comprehension. Based on a sample of 7 reports (n = 289), the results showed that the effect size g for explanation expectancy was 0.51 (95%CI = (0.10, 0.91)). This finding demonstrates that the inconsistent results of previous research could be caused by small sample sizes, and explanation expectancy improves text comprehension.
It has been suggested that uniform connectedness is the most fundamental factor in forming units of attentional selection, while there are evidences that attention can select a perceptual group that consists of separate elements with similar features. The present study examined the effects of connectedness and a boundary-feature similarity on early spatial-selection processes using a sustained-focal-attention paradigm of event-related potentials (ERPs). Bilateral stimuli were manipulated to have an orthogonal combination of connectedness (C–, C+) and a similarity in boundary feature (S–, S+). ERPs were recorded from 15 participants who were instructed to pay attention to the left or the right visual field and to respond to a target shape that appeared infrequently in the attended field. The ERP attention effect in the N1 latency range (125–185 ms) was decreased for stimuli with connectedness and/or boundary-feature similarity, and the effects of the two grouping factors were independent of each other. The present result suggests that multiple grouping factors, including connectedness, operate in parallel in early processes of object-based attention-spreading.
The present study aimed to develop a short-form self-report measure to assess relaxation effects (S-MARE). Participants (N = 190) responded to a questionnaire comprised of 45 items assessing relaxation and non-relaxation based on the Relaxation Inventory (Crist et al., 1989). Exploratory factor analysis identified three factors: physiological tension, psychological relaxation, and anxiety. Each factor was related to 5 items and each had an acceptable Cronbach’s coefficient (α = .93, .94, and .85). S-MARE scores pre- and post- relaxation instruction were significantly correlated with the Emotional Relaxation Scale (Tokuda, 2011) (r = .446) and with State Anxiety (r = –.531) (N = 172). There was a significant correlation between the amplitude of the high frequency component of heart rate variability during relaxation instruction and physiological tension scores on the S-MARE (r = .456—.474, N = 24). These results confirmed the reliability and validity of the S-MARE in terms of physiological correlation with cardiac parasympathetic tone, suggesting that the S-MARE is a valid measure of relaxation effects.
The Implicit Positive and Negative Affect Test (IPANAT) is an instrument for the indirect assessment of positive and negative affect. A Japanese version of the IPANAT was developed and its reliability and validity were examined. In Study 1, factor analysis identified two independent factors that could be interpreted as implicit positive and negative affect, which corresponded to the original version. The Japanese IPANAT also had sufficient internal consistency and acceptable test–retest reliability. In Study 2, we demonstrated that the Japanese IPANAT was associated with explicit state affect (e.g., PANAS), extraversion, and neuroticism, which indicated its adequate construct validity. In Study 3, we examined the extent to which the Japanese IPANAT was sensitive to changes in affect by assessing a set of IPANAT items after the presentation of positive, negative, or neutral photographs. The results indicated that the Japanese IPANAT was sufficiently sensitive to changes in affect resulting from affective stimuli. Taken together, these studies suggest that the Japanese version of the IPANAT is a useful instrument for the indirect assessment of positive and negative affect.
We examined the psychometric properties of the Japanese version of the Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire (ASSQ) and developed a short-form. This study included 157 children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD, ages 7–18, 128 boys) and 4,101 healthy controls (ages 7–15, 3,344 boys) from a general population with a controlled male-female ratio. Four factors (Unusual Interests, Sociality, Peer Relations, and Repetitive Behaviors) were extracted by exploratory factor analysis of control group data. Confirmatory factor analysis revealed that the 4-factor model fit well with data for another sample of the control and ASD groups. Logistic analysis showed that the former 3 factors could significantly predict ASD diagnosis. Thus, a short form of the ASSQ was developed, consisting of 11 items for these 3 factors. This short form showed sufficient internal consistency and high discrimination power for ASD diagnosis that was comparable to that of the 22-item version. Receiver operating characteristic analysis indicated an optimal cut-off of 7 for the 22-item version (sensitivity .949, specificity .801) and 5 for the short-form (sensitivity .936, specificity .818).
The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of hikikomori, a Japanese term denoting “prolonged social withdrawal”, on quality of life (QOL). Individuals with hikikomori at present (n = 26) and in the past (n = 31), as well as mildly depressed individuals without hikikomori (n = 114) and highly depressed individuals without hikikomori (n = 27) were requested to complete the WHO Quality of Life 26 (QOL26).The results of MANOVA indicated that the present hikikomori group’s scores on the social relationships domains of the QOL26 were significantly lower than the scores of the highly depressed group.The results of this study suggest that it might be important to intervene to improve QOL in individuals with hikikomori.