Professor Zhao Xinshu holds his best article award. It was presented to him at the annual conference of the Association for Consumer Research in Chicago on 5 October.


Date: 16 Oct 2013 (Wednesday)


Communication scholar Professor Zhao Xinshu wins best article award for mediation analysis


Professor Zhao Xinshu, Chair Professor of School of Communication, recently won the 2013 best article award from the prestigious international academic publication Journal of Consumer Research for his academic paper focused on mediation analysis. 

The article, titled “Reconsidering Baron and Kenny: Myths and Truths about Mediation Analysis”, was authored by Professor Zhao and two others, Professor John Lynch, Ted Andersen Professor of Free Enterprise and the Director of the Center for Research on Consumer Financial Decision Making at the Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado at Boulder, and Professor Chen Qimei, Jean E. Rolles Distinguished Professor and Chair of Marketing, Shidler College of Business, University of Hawaii at Manoa. The article, published in 2010 as the lead article of the second issue of Journal of Consumer Research, has been cited more than 600 times according to Google Scholar. Among Journal of Consumer Research’s recent publications, this article was by far the most cited, which pushed Journal of Consumer Research to become the most cited journal in the field of marketing, according to an impact factor analysis of Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI).  

The article focuses on mediation analysis.  Mediation refers to a relationship in which an independent variable, e.g. diet or exercise, affects a mediator, e.g. body weight, blood pressure or cholesterol level, which in turn affects a dependent variable, e.g. quality of life or life expectancy.  Mediation is commonly seen in nature and in society, and is the focus of many social science studies across disciplines.   

US psychologists
Reuben Baron and David Kenny published an article in 1986, in which they laid out what later became the most authoritative theory and the standard procedure for testing and analyzing mediation. Professor Zhao, however,came to realise in 1999 that the Baron and Kenny procedure was based on an overly simplified view of mediation. The conceptual gap produced a mistaken procedure, Professor Zhao was convinced, which caused researchers to frequently reject or misclassify important mediations. Professor Zhao then began to develop a more comprehensive typology and a new procedure.  Professor Chen Qimei joined his effort in 2003, followed by Professor John Lynch in 2009. The three authors agreed that they contributed equally to the published paper.

Professor Zhao said he was pleased with the award as it could help to attract the attention of those mediation researchers in some disciplines who are not aware that the traditional approach is problematic and might hinder their research.

傳理學院講座教授趙心樹教授一篇探討「中介效應」的論文最近獲權威國際學術期刊《消費者研究》(Journal of Consumer Research)選為二零一三年度最佳論文。 

該篇題為〈Reconsidering Baron and Kenny: myths and truths about mediation analysis〉的論文由趙心樹教授和美國科羅拉多大學商學院講座教授John Lynch 教授與夏威夷大學商學院講座教授陳齊美教授合撰,是《消費者研究》二零一零年第二期特別推薦的重點論文。根據谷歌學術(Google Scholar)統計,該文已獲引用六百多次。據權威的「社會科學引文索引」(Social Sciences Citation IndexSSCI)統計,該文是《消費者研究》最近發表論文中獲引用最多的。該文並幫助《消費者研究》首次成為營銷學領域影響因數(impact factor)最高的學刊。

這篇論文專注於「中介效應」(mediation analysis)的檢測、分析和分類。「中介效應」指獨立變數(independent variable如飲食和鍛煉)通過中介變數(mediator如體重、血壓、膽固醇)影響因變數(dependent variable如壽命和生活品質),是自然界和社會中廣泛存在、廣受關注的因果關係。 

美國心理學家Reuben Baron David Kenny於一九八六年發表關於中介效應的理論與程式,迅即成為全世界社會科學各領域檢測和分析中介效應的最權威、最常用的程式。然而,趙心樹教授於一九九九年提出,這個程式是基於過度簡化的哲學假設,誤將一維的分類套用在兩維分佈的中介關係上,從而造成系統錯誤,導致研究者經常漏判和誤判中介效應。趙教授因而提出了自己的理論框架、分類方法和分析程式。其後,陳齊美教授和John Lynch 教授分別於二零零三和二零零九年加入研究團隊,三人同意大家對此項研究有均等的貢獻。