Publications by authors named "Senqing Qi"

28 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Affective and Semantic Valence Among Women.

Front Hum Neurosci 2021 13;15:602192. Epub 2021 Jul 13.

Key Laboratory of Modern Teaching Technology, Ministry of Education, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an, China.

As an important dimension of emotional assessment, valence can refer to affective valence reflecting an emotional response, or semantic valence reflecting knowledge about the nature of a stimulus. A previous study has used repeated exposure to separate these two similar cognitive processes. Here, for the first time, we compared the spatiotemporal dynamics of the affective and semantic modes of valence by combining event-related potentials with repeated exposure. Forty-seven female participants were assigned to the feeling-focused and semantic-focused groups and thereafter repeatedly viewed the pictures selected for the study. Self-report behavioral results showed that post-test scores were significantly lower than pre-test scores in the feeling-focused group, while the differences between the two tests were not significant in the semantic-focused group. At the neural level, N2 amplitudes decreased and early late positive potential amplitudes increased in both groups, suggesting that the participants perceived the repeated pictures more fluently and retrieved the traces of the stimulus spontaneously regardless of the valence they judged. However, the late positive potential amplitudes in anterior areas and the activity of the middle frontal gyrus were attenuated in the feeling-focused group; however, this component in posterior areas and the activity of the precentral gyrus were increased in the semantic-focused group. Therefore, the processes of affective and semantic valence are similar in the early stages of image perception and retrieval, while in the later stage of valence judgment, these processes show different brain activation patterns. The results provide electrophysiological evidence for the differences in psychological processes when judging the two modes of valence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2021.602192DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8315150PMC
July 2021

Trait anxiety modulates the temporal dynamics of Stroop task switching: An ERP study.

Biol Psychol 2021 07 7;163:108144. Epub 2021 Jul 7.

MOE Key Laboratory of Modern Teaching Technology, Shaanxi Normal University, China. Electronic address:

The current study aimed to find neural evidence that trait anxiety interferes with one's shifting function processing efficiency. Twenty-five high trait-anxiety (HTA) and twenty-five low trait-anxiety (LTA) participants were instructed to complete a cue-based Stroop task-switching assessment of shifting function. No group difference in behavioral performance was shown, though event-related potential (ERP) results in the cue-locked period showed that only the LTA group had a general switch benefit in contingent negative variation (CNV) amplitude, indicating the LTA group exerted less task preparation effort. In the subsequent target-locked period, compared to the LTA group, the local switch cost of target-P3 was higher in the HTA group in incompatible trials, suggesting inefficient attentional resource allocation in the HTA group in incompatible trials. These ERP findings indicated that the HTA group ultimately achieved comparable behavioral performance with the LTA group at the expense of using more compensatory strategies at the neural level.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2021.108144DOI Listing
July 2021

Social exclusion modulates dual mechanisms of cognitive control: Evidence from ERPs.

Hum Brain Mapp 2020 07 3;41(10):2669-2685. Epub 2020 Jun 3.

School of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing, China.

Many studies have investigated how social exclusion influences cognitive control but reported inconsistent findings. Based on the dual mechanisms of control framework, this study investigated how social exclusion influences proactive and reactive modes of control (Experiment 1) and the underlying mechanisms (Experiment 2). The Cyberball game was used to manipulate social exclusion. Eighty-six female participants (about 40 for each experiment) performed cognitive control tasks while event-related potentials were recorded. In Experiment 1, an AX Continuous Performance Task (AX-CPT) was adopted to differentiate between proactive and reactive control. Results showed that social exclusion weakened proactive control but enhanced reactive control, as reflected by the weaker proactive control indicators (i.e., P3b and CNV), but strengthened reactive control indicators (accuracy and N2) in excluded individuals. More importantly, in Experiment 2, through varying in whether task cues were available before or after target onset in a cued-flanker task, we further manipulated the possibility of engaging proactive control, and found the weakened proactive control could be attributed to both impaired cognitive ability and lowered motivation to engage proactive control in excluded individuals. Together, these results provide insight on how social exclusion influences cognitive control and suggest promising implications for designing effective interventions to relieve the negative impact of social exclusion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.24970DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7294065PMC
July 2020

Regulation of negative emotions through positive reappraisal and distancing in high-trait-anxious women.

J Affect Disord 2020 04 12;267:191-202. Epub 2020 Feb 12.

MOE Key Laboratory of Modern Teaching Technology, Shaanxi Normal University, China.

Background: Positive reappraisal and distancing are two distinct cognitive reappraisal strategies for emotion regulation. Critically however, research examining the impact of elevated trait anxiety on cognitive reappraisal has often conflated these strategies. Thus, the present study investigated whether high-trait-anxious (HTA) women can effectively utilize positive reappraisal and distancing to regulate emotional responses to negative stimuli.

Methods: Twenty-six HTA women and twenty-seven low-trait-anxious (LTA) women were investigated in a self-generated reappraisal paradigm. Subjective measures of emotional regulation and event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded while participants were instructed to passively view neutral or negative pictures, or to reinterpret negative pictures in a positive way (positive reappraisal) or a detached and unemotional way (distancing).

Results: HTA women, as compared to LTA women, reported smaller reductions in negative affect after positive reappraisal and smaller reductions in emotional arousal after distancing. Though ERP data did not reveal corresponding differences in the centro-parietal late positive potential during emotion regulation, data did reveal HTA women exhibited enhanced recruitment of cognitive control during positive reappraisal and greater preparatory processing before engaging in distancing.

Limitations: Future research should examine the generalizability of the present results in clinical anxiety individuals, male sample and other reappraisal strategies.

Conclusions: Overall, HTA women appeared to recruit more cortical resources, suggestive of compensatory mechanisms, to achieve a similar performance as LTA women when engaging in positive reappraisal and distancing strategies to regulate negative emotions. Therefore, the findings demonstrate that HTA women are characterized by the inefficient implementation of positive reappraisal and distancing strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2020.02.027DOI Listing
April 2020

Psychometric Properties of the Effort-Reward Imbalance Questionnaire for Teachers (Teacher ERIQ).

Front Psychol 2019 12;10:2047. Epub 2019 Sep 12.

MOE Key Laboratory of Modern Teaching Technology, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an, China.

The effort-reward imbalance (ERI) model is a theoretical model of a psychosocial work environment with adverse effects on health and well-being that focuses on a mismatch between high efforts spent and low rewards received at work. This study aimed to develop and psychometrically test an effort-reward imbalance questionnaire for teachers (Teacher ERIQ) based on the ERI model. The structure validity, reliability, and criterion validity of the new questionnaire's scores were evaluated in a sample of 475 Chinese teachers. The results of exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) showed that a structure of four factors of effort (workload, emotional demands, student-related issues, and social responsibility) and two factors of reward (emotional reward and material reward) in accordance with the ERI model had significant factor loadings and acceptable model fit. The Cronbach's Alpha coefficients of all dimensions' scores showed that the questionnaire scores had good reliability. Criterion validity was indicated by significant correlation coefficients of scores of most dimensions along with teachers' self-reported job burnout and non-reciprocal social relations, as well as the ANOVA results showing that the differences of the scores of the two criterion scales in different ERI ratio levels were significant. The results also showed that teacher's ERI level varied with demographic variables such as age, gender and school type. The Teacher ERIQ is a valid and reliable new measurement for assessing teachers' psychosocial work characteristics. It can be an important tool to provide new explanations of stress-related health risks among teachers and to guide the development of preventive measurements.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02047DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6751258PMC
September 2019

The impact of effort-reward imbalance on loneliness of the elderly: the multiple mediation effect of social support and control belief in social domain.

J Elder Abuse Negl 2019 Aug-Dec;31(4-5):294-306. Epub 2019 Sep 11.

Faculty of Psychology, Southeast University, Chongqing, P. R. China.

: The empirical studies of loneliness have experienced unprecedented growth in the past decades. As such, there is now a growing body of research showing that loneliness is negatively related to physical and mental health. More recently, one of the most widely tested models of effort-reward imbalance (ERI) posits that the imbalance between high effort and low reward elicits strong negative emotions and sustained stress responses. Despite these developments, the mechanism between ERI and loneliness of the elderly remains unclear. In the current study, we explored how ERI influences loneliness via social support and control belief in social domain. : We selected a convenience sample aged 53-84 years old ( = 231) to complete a series of standard psychological assessments. : Multiple mediation analysis showed that (1) the positive effect of ERI on loneliness was partially mediated by social support (95% IC = -.001 to .078) and control belief in social domain (95% IC = .028 to .154), and (2) the chain mediating effect of both mediators was also significant (95% IC = .037 to .112). : The study suggests that ERI can influence loneliness through decreasing social support and subsequently reducing control belief in social domain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08946566.2019.1663332DOI Listing
June 2020

Common and distinct brain responses to detecting top-down and bottom-up conflicts underlying numerical inductive reasoning.

Psychophysiology 2019 12 2;56(12):e13455. Epub 2019 Aug 2.

Department of Psychology and Society, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen, China.

Complex reasoning problems are commonly influenced by a combination of top-down and bottom-up conflicts; however, the common and distinct brain responses to the two types of conflicts have remained unclear. Participants were required to identify the hidden rules in a number series completion task, which included identity condition (e.g., 13, 13, 13), perceptual mismatch condition (bottom-up conflict, e.g., 13 13 +≡), and relational mismatch condition (top-down conflict, e.g., 13 13 14). The ERP results showed that (a) both the perceptual and relational mismatch conditions triggered greater P200, N200, P300, and late positive component than the identity condition, reflecting attention reallocation, perceptual template deviations, feelings of uncertainty, and working memory updating, respectively, and (b) smaller N400 and decreased late negative component were found in the relational mismatch condition in contrast to other conditions, which suggested that changing number values violated rule expectancy as top-down conflict. Therefore, multiple strategies were utilized to detect the conflicts underlying complex reasoning problems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/psyp.13455DOI Listing
December 2019

The creative thinking cognitive process influenced by acute stress in humans: an electroencephalography study.

Stress 2019 07 26;22(4):472-481. Epub 2019 Apr 26.

a Key Laboratory of Modern Teaching Technology, Ministry of Education , Shaanxi Normal University , Xi'an , P. R. China.

This study examined the underlying neural mechanism of acute stress affecting creative thinking. Twenty-six male participants underwent the Alternative Uses Test before and after acute stress test (Montreal Imaging Stress Task). Compared to before stress, stressed participants responded with higher salivary cortisol and salivary alpha-amylase. The electroencephalogram results indicated a general decrease in upper-frequency alpha power after stress, compared with that of before stress. The decrease in upper-frequency alpha power observed in the first stage after exposure to stress was related to memory and attention. Additionally, stress also reduced the differences between individuals with different creative abilities. In summary, these findings indicated that acute stress impaired creative thinking and primarily affected the earlier phase of the process of creative cognition. This study provides some practical implications for educational practice and corporate innovation in that a more relaxed environment promotes creative output. Lay Summary Acute stress impaired creative thinking performance and mainly affects the earlier phase of the process of creative cognition. Additionally, stress seems to reduce the differences between individuals with different creative abilities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10253890.2019.1604665DOI Listing
July 2019

Well-being and Anticipation for Future Positive Events: Evidences from an fMRI Study.

Front Psychol 2017 9;8:2199. Epub 2018 Jan 9.

Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality of Ministry of Education, School of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing, China.

Anticipation for future confers great benefits to human well-being and mental health. However, previous work focus on how people's well-being correlate with brain activities during perception of emotional stimuli, rather than anticipation for the future events. Here, the current study investigated how well-being relates to neural circuitry underlying the anticipating process of future desired events. Using event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging, 40 participants were scanned while they were performing an emotion anticipation task, in which they were instructed to anticipate the positive or neutral events. The results showed that bilateral medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) were activated during anticipation for positive events relative to neutral events, and the enhanced brain activation in MPFC was associated with higher level of well-being. The findings suggest a neural mechanism by which the anticipation process to future desired events correlates to human well-being, which provide a future-oriented view on the neural sources of well-being.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.02199DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5767250PMC
January 2018

Social exclusion weakens storage capacity and attentional filtering ability in visual working memory.

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 2018 01;13(1):92-101

School of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China.

Social exclusion has been found to impair visual working memory (WM), while the underlying neural processes are currently unclear. Using two experiments, we tested whether the poor WM performance caused by exclusion was due to reduced storage capacity, impaired attentional filtering ability or both. The Cyberball game was used to manipulate social exclusion. Seventy-four female participants performed WM tasks while event-related potentials were recorded. In Experiment 1, participants were made to remember the orientations of red rectangles while ignoring salient green rectangles. Results showed that exclusion impaired the ability to filter out irrelevant items from WM, as reflected by the similar contralateral delay activity (CDA) amplitudes for one-target-one-distractor condition and two-targets condition, as well as the similar CDA amplitudes for two-targets-two-distractors condition and four-targets condition in excluded individuals. In Experiment 2, participants were asked to remember 1-5 colored squares. Results showed that exclusion reduced storage capacity, as the CDA amplitudes reached asymptote at loads of two items for exclusion group and at loads of three items for inclusion group. Together, these two experiments provided complementary evidence that WM deficits caused by social exclusion were due to reduced storage capacity and impaired attentional filtering ability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsx139DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5793715PMC
January 2018

Pleasure attainment or self-realization: the balance between two forms of well-beings are encoded in default mode network.

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 2017 10;12(10):1678-1686

Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

What is a good life and how it can be achieved is one of the fundamental issues. When considering a good life, there is a division between hedonic (pleasure attainment) and eudaimonic well-being (meaning pursuing and self-realization). However, an integrated approach that can compare the brain functional and structural differences of these two forms of well-being is lacking. Here, we investigated how the individual tendency to eudaimonic well-being relative to hedonic well-being, measured using eudaimonic and hedonic balance (EHB) index, is reflected in the functional and structural features of a key network of well-being-the default mode network (DMN). We found that EHB was positively correlated with functional connectivity of bilateral ventral medial prefrontal cortex within anterior DMN and bilateral precuneus within posterior DMN. Brain morphometric analysis showed that EHB was also positively correlated with gray matter volume in left precuneus. These results demonstrated that the relative dominance of one form of well-being to the other is reflected in the morphometric characteristics and intrinsic functions of DMN.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsx078DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5647812PMC
October 2017

Electroencephalographic theta oscillatory dynamics reveal attentional bias to angry faces.

Neurosci Lett 2017 Aug 27;656:31-36. Epub 2017 Jun 27.

MOE (Ministry of Education) Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality, Southwest University, Chongqing, China; Center for Mental Health Research, Southwest University, Chongqing, China. Electronic address:

Although previous studies have reported the temporal neural dynamics (e.g., N2pc component) of threat-detection orientation for face-processing (e.g., the "anger superiority effect"), little is known about the neural oscillatory features of this phenomenon. Here, we extracted the event-related potentials and event-related oscillatory power dynamics from electroencephalographic data when participants performed a visual search task consisting of realistic angry, happy, and neutral facial expressions. We observed a shorter response time and a larger N2pc for angry faces than for happy faces, suggesting the existence of preferential processing for angry faces. Similarly, elevated theta synchronization was observed for angry faces compared to happy faces, while both angry and happy faces elicited heightened theta oscillatory activity on contralateral location of target face compared to ipsilateral location. Moreover, the theta oscillation difference negatively correlated with the amplitude of the N2pc difference. Our findings suggest that the occipital theta oscillation is engaged in the search advantage of angry facial expressions. Further, our results provide evidence that the theta oscillation may reflect the processing dynamics of threat-stimuli orientation in an ever-changing environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2017.06.047DOI Listing
August 2017

The temporal dynamics of detached versus positive reappraisal: An ERP study.

Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci 2017 06;17(3):516-527

MOE Key Laboratory of Modern Teaching Technology, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an, 710062, China.

Detached reappraisal and positive reappraisal are regarded as two distinct types of cognitive reappraisal strategy, and the former is considered more disengaging than the latter. The conceptual framework of emotion regulation choice posits that strategies involving disengagement operate earlier and more efficiently than engagement strategies. Here, we compare for the first time the temporal dynamics of detached and positive reappraisal during the regulation and re-exposure phases thereof by measuring event-related potentials. During the regulation phase, pictures were viewed or regulated using detached or positive reappraisal. During the re-exposure phase, the same pictures were viewed again. Results showed that during regulation, central-parietal late positive potentials (LPPs) were greatly attenuated under both strategy types, with the regulation effect of detached reappraisal occurring earlier than that of positive reappraisal and resulting in a stronger attenuation of LPP amplitudes. Upon re-exposure, detached reappraisal exerted enduring effects on self-reported arousal and the central-parietal LPP, whereas positive reappraisal had an enduring effect only on pleasantness. These findings demonstrate the differential effects of detached and positive reappraisal on valence, arousal, and neural responses, and underline the striking differences in the temporal dynamics of these reappraisal strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/s13415-016-0494-4DOI Listing
June 2017

The temporal dynamics underlying the comprehension of scientific metaphors and poetic metaphors.

Brain Res 2017 01 12;1655:33-40. Epub 2016 Nov 12.

Key Laboratory of Modern Teaching Technology, Ministry of Education, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an 710062, China. Electronic address:

The neural mechanisms underlying the processing of novel metaphors created from poetic contexts have been investigated in previous experiments. Considering the different attributes of metaphors, the current study compared the temporal dynamics for processing two kinds of novel metaphors with event-related potentials (ERPs): scientific metaphors and poetic metaphors. Amplitudes of the N400 (350-450ms) were similar for scientific metaphors and poetic metaphors. Within the LPC window (550-850ms), ERPs associated with these two kinds of novel metaphors were observed every 100ms in three successive subwindows. We found that due to a sustained late negativity overlapping in time and space with the LPC scientific metaphors seemingly elicited the least positive LPC throughout. More importantly, with the passage of time, the LPC waveforms for scientific metaphors diverged from those for poetic metaphors and conventional metaphors while LPC waveforms for poetic metaphors converged with those for conventional metaphors. The reported results indicate the possible different time courses for processing novel metaphors with different contextual structures and different functions. And the findings are compatible with recent brain imaging studies and complement them by adding such new dimensions as the temporal dynamics and the properties of novel metaphors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.2016.11.005DOI Listing
January 2017

Neural signature of reward-modulated unconscious inhibitory control.

Int J Psychophysiol 2016 09 23;107:1-8. Epub 2016 Jun 23.

Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality, Southwest University, Ministry of Education, Chongqing, China; Center for Mental Health Research, Southwest University, Chongqing, China. Electronic address:

Consciously initiated cognitive control is generally determined by motivational incentives (e.g., monetary reward). Recent studies have revealed that human cognitive control processes can nevertheless operate without awareness. However, whether monetary reward can impinge on unconscious cognitive control remains unclear. To clarify this issue, a task consisting of several runs was designed to combine a modified version of the reward-priming paradigm with an unconscious version of the Go/No-Go task. At the beginning of each run, participants were exposed to a high- or low-value coin, followed by the modified Go/No-Go task. Participants could earn the coin only if they responded correctly to each trial of the run. Event-related potential (ERP) results indicated that high-value rewards (vs. low-value rewards) induced a greater centro-parietal P3 component associated with conscious and unconscious inhibitory control. Moreover, the P3 amplitude correlated positively with the magnitude of reaction time slowing reflecting the intensity of activation of unconscious inhibitory control in the brain. These findings suggest that high-value reward may facilitate human higher-order inhibitory processes that are independent of conscious awareness, which provides insights into the brain processes that underpin motivational modulation of cognitive control.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2016.06.012DOI Listing
September 2016

Enhanced conflict-driven cognitive control by emotional arousal, not by valence.

Cogn Emot 2017 09 1;31(6):1083-1096. Epub 2016 Jun 1.

a Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality (Southwest University) , Ministry of Education , Chongqing , People's Republic of China.

Emotion is widely agreed to have two dimensions, valence and arousal. Few studies have explored the effect of emotion on conflict adaptation by considering both of these, which could have dissociate influence. The present study aimed to fill the gap as to whether emotional valence and arousal would exert dissociable influence on conflict adaptation. In the experiments, we included positive, neutral, and negative conditions, with comparable arousal between positive and negative conditions. Both positive and negative conditions have higher arousal than neutral ones. In Experiment 1, by using a two-colour-word Flanker task, we found that conflict adaptation was enhanced in both positive and negative contexts compared to a neutral context. Furthermore, this effect still existed when controlling stimulus-response repetitions in Experiment 2, which used a four-colour-word Flanker task. The findings suggest emotional arousal enhances conflict adaptation, regardless of emotional valence. Thus, future studies should consider emotional arousal when studying the effect of emotion on conflict adaptation. Moreover, the unique role of the emotional context in conflict-driven cognitive control is emphasised.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2016.1189882DOI Listing
September 2017

The temporal dynamics of directed reappraisal in high-trait-anxious individuals.

Emotion 2016 09 28;16(6):886-96. Epub 2016 Apr 28.

MOE Key Laboratory of Modern Teaching Technology, Shaanxi Normal University.

High-trait-anxious (HTA) individuals often experience high levels of negative emotions, signaling potential abnormalities in the down-regulation of negative emotions. In this study, we used event-related potentials to examine whether HTA individuals can effectively use directed reappraisal to down-regulate negative emotions. Participants completed a passive picture-viewing task in which pictures were preceded by audio descriptions of their content. For unpleasant pictures, descriptions were either neutral or negative, whereas for neutral pictures, only neutral descriptions were given. Self-report behavioral results indicated that HTA individuals reported greater unpleasantness for the pictures than did low-trait-anxious (LTA) individuals but revealed no abnormality in decreasing negative emotional experience. Such abnormality, however, did emerge neurally. Analyses focused on the central-parietal late positive potential (LPP), a neural marker of emotion regulation. LTA individuals showed an LPP reduction in response to unpleasant pictures with negative descriptions compared to neutral ones at 400-3000-ms post-picture-onset, indicating effective down-regulation of negative emotions. HTA individuals, however, showed no LPP reduction at 400- to 1,000-ms post picture onset. Instead, they showed an LPP increase in response to unpleasant pictures with negative descriptions compared to neutral ones at 1,000- to 2,000-ms post picture-onset. These abnormal central-parietal LPP patterns not only verify that HTA individuals exhibit ineffective use of directed reappraisal to down-regulate neural responses to unpleasant stimuli, but also reveal an abnormal time-course of directed reappraisal in such individuals. Our findings also suggest that the ineffective use of cognitive reappraisals may contribute to the generally elevated levels of negative emotionality in HTA individuals. (PsycINFO Database Record
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000186DOI Listing
September 2016

Resting-state functional connectivity of the default mode network associated with happiness.

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 2016 Mar 24;11(3):516-24. Epub 2015 Oct 24.

Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality of Ministry of Education, School of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China

Happiness refers to people's cognitive and affective evaluation of their life. Why are some people happier than others? One reason might be that unhappy people are prone to ruminate more than happy people. The default mode network (DMN) is normally active during rest and is implicated in rumination. We hypothesized that unhappiness may be associated with increased default-mode functional connectivity during rest, including the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC), posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) and inferior parietal lobule (IPL). The hyperconnectivity of these areas may be associated with higher levels of rumination. One hundred forty-eight healthy participants underwent a resting-state fMRI scan. A group-independent component analysis identified the DMNs. Results indicated increased functional connectivity in the DMN was associated with lower levels of happiness. Specifically, relative to happy people, unhappy people exhibited greater functional connectivity in the anterior medial cortex (bilateral MPFC), posterior medial cortex regions (bilateral PCC) and posterior parietal cortex (left IPL). Moreover, the increased functional connectivity of the MPFC, PCC and IPL, correlated positively with the inclination to ruminate. These results highlight the important role of the DMN in the neural correlates of happiness, and suggest that rumination may play an important role in people's perceived happiness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsv132DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4769634PMC
March 2016

Impact of working memory load on cognitive control in trait anxiety: an ERP study.

PLoS One 2014 4;9(11):e111791. Epub 2014 Nov 4.

Research Centre for Brain Function and Psychological Science, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen, China.

Whether trait anxiety is associated with a general impairment of cognitive control is a matter of debate. This study investigated whether and how experimentally manipulated working memory (WM) load modulates the relation between trait anxiety and cognitive control. This question was investigated using a dual-task design in combination with event-related potentials. Participants were required to remember either one (low WM load) or six letters (high WM load) while performing a flanker task. Our results showed that a high WM load disrupted participants' ability to overcome distractor interference and this effect was exacerbated for the high trait-anxious (HTA) group. This exacerbation was reflected by larger interference effects (i.e., incongruent minus congruent) on reaction times (RTs) and N2 amplitudes for the HTA group than for the low trait-anxious group under high WM load. The two groups, however, did not differ in their ability to inhibit task-irrelevant distractors under low WM load, as indicated by both RTs and N2 amplitudes. These findings underscore the significance of WM-related cognitive demand in contributing to the presence (or absence) of a general cognitive control deficit in trait anxiety. Furthermore, our findings show that when limited WM resources are depleted by high WM load, HTA individuals exhibit less efficient recruitments of cognitive control required for the inhibition of distractors, therefore resulting in a greater degree of response conflict.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111791PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4219777PMC
June 2015

Influence of supraliminal reward information on unconsciously triggered response inhibition.

PLoS One 2014 30;9(9):e108530. Epub 2014 Sep 30.

Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality (Southwest University), Ministry of Education, Chongqing, China; Center for Mental Health Research, Southwest University, Chongqing, China.

Although executive functions (e.g., response inhibition) are often thought to interact consciously with reward, recent studies have demonstrated that they can also be triggered by unconscious stimuli. Further research has suggested a close relationship between consciously and unconsciously triggered response inhibition. To date, however, the effect of reward on unconsciously triggered response inhibition has not been explored. To address this issue, participants in this study performed runs of a modified Go/No-Go task during which they were exposed to both high and low value monetary rewards presented both supraliminally and subliminally. Participants were informed that they would earn the reward displayed if they responded correctly to each trial of the run. According to the results, when rewards were presented supraliminally, a greater unconsciously triggered response inhibition was observed for high-value rewards than for low-value rewards. In contrast, when rewards were presented subliminally, no enhanced unconsciously triggered response inhibition was observed. Results revealed that supraliminal and subliminal rewards have distinct effects on unconsciously triggered response inhibition. These findings have important implications for extending our understanding of the relationship between reward and response inhibition.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0108530PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4182473PMC
June 2015

Reduced representations capacity in visual working memory in trait anxiety.

Biol Psychol 2014 Dec 23;103:92-9. Epub 2014 Aug 23.

MOE Key Laboratory of Modern Teaching Technology, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an 710062, China. Electronic address:

Neural processes that support individual differences in trait anxiety and the amount of representations in visual-spatial working memory (WM) are currently unclear. We measured the contralateral delay activity (CDA) in a lateralized change detection task to explore this question. Different levels of memory load were varied within each block. Despite their unimpaired behavioral performance, individuals with high traitanxious(HTA) displayed several changes in the neuronal markers of the memory processes. The CDA amplitudes reached asymptote at loads of three and four items for HTA and low traitanxious(LTA) individuals, respectively. This result indicates that HTA individuals reach the upper limit of representation capacity with a smaller memory load than LTA individuals. Furthermore, the smaller CDA amplitudes in HTA individuals under high memory loads could be attributed to less contralateral cortical activity, which further indicates that HTA individuals are associated with reduced representations of taskrelevantitems in WM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2014.08.010DOI Listing
December 2014

Neural correlates of inefficient filtering of emotionally neutral distractors from working memory in trait anxiety.

Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci 2014 Mar;14(1):253-65

Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality, Ministry of Education, Southwest University, Chongqing, 400715, China.

Research has indicated that highly trait-anxious (HTA) individuals exhibit a specific deficit in filtering threat-related distractors from visual-spatial working memory (WM). Prior demonstrations of impaired inhibition control in HTA individuals have mainly focused on tasks that required the inhibition of prepotent response tendencies. Studies on the suppression of emotionally neutral distractors from WM in trait anxiety have also been minimal. In this article, we present a study on the manifestation of general inefficient filtering of neutral distractors during visual-spatial WM maintenance stages in HTA individuals. Female participants performed a visual-spatial WM task while event-related potentials were recorded. They were made to remember the orientations of red rectangles within half of the screen and to ignore all salient green rectangles. As predicted, no significant main effect of group and no interaction between group and condition were found in the N2pc component, suggesting that group differences did not manifest in the initial process of object individuation. During the subsequent WM maintenance phase, HTA individuals were highly inefficient at filtering the irrelevant items from WM, as reflected not only by parallel late contralateral delay activity (CDA; 450 to 900 ms) amplitudes for the distractor condition and the four red items, but also by a smaller filtering efficiency score in the HTA group than in the low-trait-anxiety group. Extending previous studies, our findings verify a general filtering impairment in HTA individuals for task-irrelevant salient distractors during a WM maintenance phase.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/s13415-013-0203-5DOI Listing
March 2014

Neural correlates of reward-driven attentional capture in visual search.

Brain Res 2013 Sep 2;1532:32-43. Epub 2013 Aug 2.

Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality, Ministry of Education, Department of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China; Research Center for Psychological Development and Education, Liaoning Normal University, Liaoning 116029, China.

Event-related potentials (ERPs) were used to investigate whether a physically non-salient and task-irrelevant stimulus feature previously associated with reward can capture attention. In the training phase, participants implicitly associated a certain color with reward. In the subsequent test phase, participants searched for a uniquely shaped singleton among non-target shapes, with color completely irrelevant to the current task demand. Response time was delayed on trials wherein the target was simultaneously presented with an associated distracter, compared with trials without one. In ERPs, a lateralized reward-associated distracter elicited an N2pc component when a concurrent target was presented on the vertical meridian. The control experiment discounted the possibility that this N2pc was caused by familiarity of the reward-associated distracter. Presenting both the target and reward-associated distracter on the opposite side elicited N2pc, with the reward-associated distracter-elicited N2pc preceding the target-elicited N2pc, albeit only in trials with slow responses. These results show that the participants shifted their attention to the target only after noticing the task-irrelevant reward-associated distracter in slow trials. Therefore, task-irrelevant reward-driven salience can capture attention. Distracter positivity was observed in fast distracter-present trials presenting both a lateral distracter and a midline target. Thus, the reward-associated distracter should be actively suppressed to efficiently select the task-relevant target. Lastly, the distracter-elicited N2pc was negatively correlated with individual differences in reward drive score. This correlation may provide insight into reward sensitivity problems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.2013.07.044DOI Listing
September 2013

The "anger superiority effect" in the discrimination task is independent of temporal task demands.

Neurosci Lett 2013 Aug 14;548:275-9. Epub 2013 Jun 14.

Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality, Southwest University, Ministry of Education, Chongqing 400715, China.

Extensive studies have showed that threatening faces are preferentially processed. This preferential processing may be due to more and earlier attentional allocation to threat-related stimuli, which is required for organisms to adopt appropriate reactions. In the present study, two different display durations were introduced and the N2pc was measured to investigate whether the preferential processing of threatening faces was impacted by temporal task demands. The "anger superiority effect" existed with both display durations, indicating that the "anger superiority effect" per se may be independent of temporal task demands. However, the behavioral "anger superiority effect" was modulated by different temporal task demands, which may be due to the execution of external responses rather than attentional processing. At electrophysiological level, the N2pc patterns were not impacted by different display durations, which suggested that the preferential processing of threatening faces, in terms of attentional processing, was independent of different temporal task demands.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2013.06.006DOI Listing
August 2013

Value associations of emotional faces can modify the anger superiority effect: behavioral and electrophysiological evidence.

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 2014 Jun 14;9(6):849-56. Epub 2013 Apr 14.

Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality, Southwest University, Ministry of Education, Chongqing, China, Center for Metal Health Research, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China, and University of Missouri-St Louis, St Louis, MO 63121, USAKey Laboratory of Cognition and Personality, Southwest University, Ministry of Education, Chongqing, China, Center for Metal Health Research, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China, and University of Missouri-St Louis, St Louis, MO 63121, USA

Although several paradigms have shown that threatening faces are processed preferentially, no study to date has investigated whether this preferential processing can be manipulated by value associations. Using schematic faces, this study was divided into three phases in order to investigate the effects of associating high values with happy faces and low values with angry faces. The baseline phase, in which elicited a shorter RT and a larger N2pc for angry faces than for happy faces, demonstrated that the preferential processing of angry faces could be obtained in the discrimination task. After the training phase, which established associations between different face targets and their respective values, the anger superiority effect remained absent in a subsequent test phase despite the fact that participants clearly understood that no reward (gain) or punishment (loss) would be provided. Our investigation shows that the 'anger superiority effect' can be modified by value associations and that the value effect, rather than the impact of endogenous attention, played a more crucial role in manipulating the preferential processing of angry faces.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/scan/nst056DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4040100PMC
June 2014

Electrophysiological evidence for inhibition of return effect in exogenous orienting.

Exp Brain Res 2012 Sep 13;221(3):279-85. Epub 2012 Jul 13.

Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality, Southwest University, Ministry of Education, Chongqing, China.

Although the inhibition of return (IOR) effect in exogenous orienting has been investigated extensively with the Posnerian cuing paradigm, there has been little evidence for the role of attentional processes in the IOR effect. The N2pc component was used as a marker of the deployment of spatial attention to isolate attentional processes in the IOR effect. Participants responded to task-relevant target displays that were preceded by cue displays in a non-predictive, exogenous cuing paradigm. A 1,000 ms of stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) was designed to investigate the IOR effect. Behavioral results indicate that the SOA was sufficiently long to cause an IOR effect in the discrimination task. As for ERP patterns elicited by targets, the N2pc amplitudes were similar across cue types, but the N2pc latency was delayed when targets appeared at the cued location rather than at the uncued location. N2pc patterns demonstrated that the spatial attentional process is indeed an important mechanism underlying the IOR effect. The delayed N2pc for targets in the valid cue type suggested that IOR effect may reflect a delayed deployment of spatial attention to targets appearing at recently cued locations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00221-012-3170-0DOI Listing
September 2012

An ERP study on the time course of facial trustworthiness appraisal.

Neurosci Lett 2011 Jun 30;496(3):147-51. Epub 2011 Mar 30.

Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality (Southwest University), Ministry of Education, Chongqing, China.

The importance of facial trustworthiness for human interaction and communication is difficult to exaggerate. Reflections on daily experience indicate that the presence of a human face elicits rapid appraisals of its trustworthiness. Relatively little is known, however, about the exact brain processes related to this response. In the present study, event-related brain potentials were recorded during trustworthiness appraisals of various emotionally neutral faces. On the one hand, trustworthy faces elicited a more positive C1 than untrustworthy faces; a finding that might be related to initial stages of perceptual processing that categorizes faces on the basis of structural properties. On the other hand, untrustworthy faces elicited a more positive late positive component (LPC) than trustworthy faces, indicating that greater amounts of motivated attention are allocated to faces appearing to be untrustworthy. The LPC effect in this study was consistent with the prediction of the emotion overgeneralization hypothesis of trustworthy face evaluation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2011.03.066DOI Listing
June 2011

Neural correlates of near-misses effect in gambling.

Neurosci Lett 2011 Apr 17;493(3):80-5. Epub 2011 Feb 17.

Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality (Southwest University), Ministry of Education, Chongqing, China.

The present study investigated the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying the gambling near-miss effect by measuring event-related-potentials. Using a simple gambling task, we measured behavioral response and electrophysiological activity of gambling outcomes. Self-rating results showed that when compared to full-miss outcome, near-miss outcome were rated as less pleasant, but yielded higher motivation to play. Whereas the feedback-related negativity (FRN) amplitude did not reflect the motivation rating differences between near-miss and full-miss, the P300 amplitude mirrored the motivation rating differences between near-miss and full-miss, with larger amplitudes for near-miss outcomes. Dipole source analysis of the difference wave (near-miss minus full-miss) indicated that two generators of the P300, localized in the putamen and orbitofrontal cortex, might be involved in motivational evaluation and regret, respectively. Our findings indicated that the near-miss effect stems from sources: higher levels of motivation and the presence of regret, caused by counterfactual thinking.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2011.01.059DOI Listing
April 2011
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