With the advancement of human microbiome research, it is inevitable that a growing number of biobanks will include a collection of microbiota specimens to characterize the microbial communities that inhabit the human body and explore the relationships between the microbiota and their human hosts. Biobanks of human microbiota and their associated genetic information may become a valuable health resource. But, this area of research also presents ethical and social problems, some of which are distinct from those faced by biobanks that (...) store human tissue samples. This paper examines four core issues which are considered highly relevant to microbiome biobanking: the nature of human microbiome samples and how different understandings have an impact on benefit/risk evaluation, privacy, informed consent, and returning the result to participants. We argue that these issues should be addressed early on in microbiome research projects and also call for adjusting or developing new governance mechanism to better accommodate these changes. (shrink)
The target article provides an intermediate account of culture and freedom that is conceived to be curvilinear by treating economic development not as an adaptive outcome in response to climate but as a cause of culture parallel to climate. We argue that the extent of environmental variability, including climatic variability, affects cultural adaptation.
We investigated the implicit learning of a linguistically relevant variable in a natural language context . Trial by trial subjective measures indicated that exposure to a form–animacy regularity led to unconscious knowledge of that regularity. Under the same conditions, people did not learn about another form–meaning regularity when a linguistically arbitrary variable was used instead of animacy . Implicit learning is constrained to acquire unconscious knowledge about features with high prior probabilities of being relevant in that domain.
An experiment explored the acquisition of conscious and unconscious knowledge of semantic prosody in a second language under incidental and intentional learning conditions. Semantic prosody is the conotational coloring of the semantics of a word, largely uncaptured by dictionary definitions. Contrary to some claims in the literature, we revealed that both conscious and unconscious knowledge were involved in the acquisition of semantic prosody. Intentional learning resulted in similar unconscious but more conscious knowledge than incidental learning. The results are discussed in (...) terms of second language learning and the nature of unconscious knowledge. (shrink)
Mandarin speakers, like most other language speakers around the world, use spatial terms to talk about time. However, the direction of their mental temporal representation along the front-back axis remains controversial because they use the spatial term “front” to refer to both earlier times and the future. Although the linguistic distinction between time- and ego-reference-point spatiotemporal metaphors in Mandarin suggests a promising clarification of the above controversy, there is little empirical evidence verifying this distinction. In this study, Mandarin speakers’ time- (...) and ego-reference-point temporal representations on three axes were separately examined through two tasks. In a time-reference-point task, Mandarin speakers judged whether the time point of the second picture was earlier or later than the time point of the first picture, while in an ego-reference-point task, they judged whether an event or phase had happened in the past or would happen in the future. The results indicate that Mandarin speakers construe an earlier-times-in-front-of-later-times temporal sequence and adopt the front-to-the-future orientation. (shrink)
While some studies suggest cultural differences in visual processing, others do not, possibly because the complexity of their tasks draws upon high-level factors that could obscure such effects. To control for this, we examined cultural differences in visual search for geometric figures, a relatively simple task for which the underlying mechanisms are reasonably well known. We replicated earlier results showing that North Americans had a reliable search asymmetry for line length: Search for long among short lines was faster than vice (...) versa. In contrast, Japanese participants showed no asymmetry. This difference did not appear to be affected by stimulus density. Other kinds of stimuli resulted in other patterns of asymmetry differences, suggesting that these are not due to factors such as analytic/holistic processing but are based instead on the target-detection process. In particular, our results indicate that at least some cultural differences reflect different ways of processing early-level features, possibly in response to environmental factors. (shrink)
Using data on shareholder-initiated class action lawsuits in the US, I investigate the corporate scandals of US-listed foreign firms. The shareholders of scandal firms suffer considerable loss in both the short term and the long term. I document that firms domiciled in countries with weak institutions are more likely to be embroiled in corporate scandals, but such a relation can be moderated by the presence of Big 4 auditors. Investors automatically adjust for undiscovered misconduct when valuing the stocks of non-scandal (...) firms. Investors rely on the audit quality to form their expectations about the severity of undiscovered misconduct, and thus impose less negative spillovers on firms with Big 4 auditors, especially when the firms are from countries with weak institutions. Taken together, my results suggest that listing on US exchanges does not fully compensate for weak local institutions; voluntarily bonding to a more stringent audit process has an incremental effect on protecting shareholder interests and enhances the confidence of investors in firms’ financial integrity. (shrink)
The present study examines how collectivism, an important cultural value, plays a moderating role in the association between job attitudes and actual turnover in a sample of 781 Chinese female workers. Results show that collectivism moderates the relationships between job attitude variables and turnover intention. Job satisfaction and organizational commitment are more powerful in predicting turnover intention when levels of collectivism are high rather than low. However, collectivism only moderates the mediation of turnover intention in the relationship between job satisfaction (...) and actual turnover. The study deepens the understanding of the moderating effect of cultural values in organizational behavioral outcomes as Taras et al. suggest. Also discussed are the practical implications on how to control the voluntary termination of female laborers who constitute an important part in Chinese manufacturing. (shrink)
The article tentatively explores the fuzzy expressions in advertising English to realize the ultimate goal of advertising from the perspective of pragmatics. This study is devoted to the pragmatic theories employed by the advertisers in order to make advertisements persuasive, impressive to the target audience. Equipped with the pragmatic knowledge, the target audience can understand advertising language clearly.