New publication on help-seeking in Psychological Science!
Asking for help can trigger a moment of kindness and social connection, but why do we often struggle to ask? Excited to share my new paper, "Surprisingly Happy to Have Helped" with Nicholas Epley in Psychological Science! Across 6 experiments—including live interactions in the field & lab, recalling recent life events, and imagining everyday scenarios—we found those in need of help tend to underestimate how willing and motivated others are to help and how positive helpers feel afterwards. We hope this work can put a prosocial lens back to the experience of asking and offering help!
I'm very grateful that this work has also been featured in prominent media outlets such as New York Times and CNBC. Adam Grant (@AdamMGrant) also shared it on Twitter. And my personal favorite is a featured scholarship Q&A from our very own Stanford Report, which shares my inspirations and motivations behind this line of work!
A video interview on my research journey
It was a great pleasure discussing my research findings from my years at Brown and Chicago Booth on Anita Nowak's Purposeful Empathy YouTube channel. Anita is such a wonderful host and an empathic listener. Check out our 30-minute video interview here and consider subscribing to her awesome channel!
Job market paper finally accepted at JPSP!
Papers usually takes a really long time to write and an even longer time to get accepted, and this one is no exception. I'm so excited to share that my job market paper (back from the 2019 application cycle) has finally been accepted at JPSP! Find out more about this paper on my Research page! Click here for a BBC article discussing this work and here for an article I co-authored in Harvard Business Review.
New Life Chapter at Stanford University!
When I studied at Stanford as an exchange student in 2015, I had such a blast that I made a secret wish: one day I will come back. Five years later, that wish has come true, and I’m excited to announce that this fall I will be joining Stanford as a Research Scientist at SPARQ (Social Psychological Answers to Real-World Questions)! SPARQ’s mission and its excellent research team have inspired me ever since I first found out about the group in 2015. At SPARQ, I look forward to continuing my research on how people connect, identifying barriers that keep people from understanding and empathizing with each other, and creating practical tools to help people engage in better conversations across divides.
I also want to thank the Center for Decision Research (CDR) at Chicago Booth for a life-changing experience and some of the most fulfilling years of my career thus far! The time I've spent at CDR has been absolutely incredible. It is such a vibrant, supportive, inspiring, and resourceful community. Every morning I wake up wondering how on earth I got so lucky as to have landed my dream postdoc position. The CDR felt like home on my first visit, and this feeling has only grown stronger over the years. Knowing that there would always have to be an end point to this postdoc journey has only made each moment sweeter and more precious. Thankfully, with technology, we need not to say goodbye entirely!
Upcoming talks in 2020!
I will chair two conference symposiums and give a few talks in 2020. As always, come and say hi! I'd love to get connected:
SPSP (Society of Personality and Social Psychology; Feb 27-29; New Orleans, LA)
I’m chairing a symposium titled, “Talking Across Divides: Novel Interventions to Create Common Ground” and will give a talk on our “Thank You, Because” project with Heather Caruso and Jane Risen titled, “ ‘Thank You, Because…’: Discussing Disagreement while Finding Common Ground."
IACM (International Association for Conflict Management; Jul 12-15; Charleston, SC)
I’m presenting our “Thank You, Because” project at the symposium, “Reciprocity in Communication: Theoretical Advancements and Practical Insights for Handling Conflict and Enhancing Trust.”
AOM (Academy of Management Annual Meeting; August 7-11; Vancouver, BC)
I'm chairing a symposium titled, "The Art and Science of Disagreeing: How to Create more Effective Conversations about Opposing Views.." At this symposium, I will also give a talk on our “Thank You, Because” project.
In another symposium titled “Impact of Artificial Agents on Teamwork,” I will present out ABOT project in a talk titled, “Appearing Human: The Landscape of Humanlike Robots and Its Impact on Human Inferences of Machine Intelligence.”2020
I'm on Twitter!
I’m late to the party :) @drxuanzhao2019
Come to one of my talks and let's connect!
I will be giving a few conference talks this fall. If you happen to be attending one of them, please don't be a stranger! Come and say hi (or send an email to set up a chat later)! I'd love to get connected! Here are the conferences and talks:
AOM (Academy of Management Annual Meeting; August 9-13; Boston, MA)
I will give a talk titled “Why don’t people give enough compliments? Underestimating the positive impact of compliments” and serve as a panelist at a session on “Exploring dehumanization and humanization in organizational contexts.”
TMS (Technology, Mind, and Society; Oct 3-5; Washington, DC)
I'm chairing a symposium titled, "Rethinking anthropomorphism: The antecedents, unexpected consequences, and potential remedy for perceiving machines as humanlike." At this symposium, I will also give a talk on our ABOT Database and how people infer a humanlike mind from a robot's physical appearance.
SODI (Science of Diversity Initiative; Oct 15-16; Chicago, IL)
I’ll be giving a talk titled, “Thank You Because…”: Can Gratitude Pave the Way to Inclusive Dialogue?” This work stems from my collaboration with The Second City, where we explore experiential learning methods (that is, improv!) to design diversity & inclusion workshops for students and executives.
ACR (Association for Consumer Research Annual Meeting; Oct 17-19; Atlanta, GA)
I’m chairing a special session on anthropomorphism and will give the same talk on robot mind inference as the TMS one. I'll also present another paper of mine, “ ‘Hello! How May I Helo You?’ How Written Errors Can Humanize a Communicator,” on behalf of my co-author, Shirly Bluvstein. It’s about how people tell humans from online bots. Come and check it out!
SESP (Society of Experimental Social Psychologist; Oct 17-19; Toronto, Ontario)
I will have to miss this one due to time conflict. Bertram Malle, my collaborator and PhD advisor, will present our work in a symposium on robots! The very first symposium on robots at SESP. Robots are coming ;)
Psychology of Technology (Nov 8-9; Washington, DC)
I’ll be giving a data blitz talk titled, “From Human-Looking to Human-Minded.” My fourth time presenting at this conference—my favorite small conference in the world!2019
I'm on the job market!
It's been surprisingly fun! And a great learning experience! Already feeling super grateful to everyone who has offered help and inspirations. :)2019
Research talks at Center for Decision Research, Booth School of Business
I gave two talks at Booth this spring quarter, one titled "Why hold back that compliment? People underestimate the positive impact of compliments on recipients" at our well-known Behavioral Science Workshop, and another one titled "Under-asking: Underestimating others’ happiness to help as a barrier to help-seeking" at the Behavioral Science Brownbag. The take-away from both projects? People underestimate the positive impact of their own kind words on other people, and they underestimate the willingness of other people to engage in kind actions to help them out! We are very (pro-)social animals, but people can lose sight of the strength of our human prosociality quite often.2019
How to disagree productively and find common ground? Research workshop at the Second City
As part of my ongoing research on communication and perspective taking, I will be co-facilitating a series of experiential learning workshops with improv teachers from Chicago’s legendary Second City! Open to the general public, these workshops will guide participants through a behavioral science-based improvisational exercise designed to cultivate skill in navigating the challenges of disagreement. Beginning February 1, 2019. RSVP here!2019
Research talk at the Inaugural Conference on the Intelligence of Things
I will give a talk titled, "From Human-Looking to Human-Minded" at the 2019 GW Inaugural Conference on the Intelligence of Things at George Washington University School of Business! (04/05/2019)2019
Research talk at SPSP "Happiness & Well-being" Preconference
It's going to be a data blitz talk titled, "Why don’t people give enough compliments? Cause and consequence of underestimating compliments’ positive impact on their recipients" in Portland! (02/07/2019)2018
Research talk at SJDM Annual Meeting
I will give a talk titled, "Why don’t people give enough compliments? Cause and consequence of underestimating compliments’ positive impact on their recipients" at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Judgment and Decision Making in New Orleans! (11/21/2018)2018
"Inclusion in Practice" workshop released at UChicago
After 12 months of hard work and countless reiterations, our Second Science Project (SSP) workshop, "Inclusion in Practice: Appreciating Our Differences," is finally released to the UChicago community as a facilitator training package! By guiding participants through four behavioral science-based improvisational exercises, this two-hour workshop aims to help participants cultivate skills and awareness in navigating a central challenge of today’s world—conflicting viewpoints. (10/18/2018)2018
New ABOT Website
Our new ABOT Database website is launched! In addition to the major functionalities from the previous version (e.g., robot list with human-likeness scores, a preview of 200 robots, and a feature-based human-likeness predictor), the new website also features advanced search and filter capacities, integrated robot information in preview windows, and radar graphs visually representing each robot's human-likeness profile! We have also improved our image collection (dated 05/20/2018) and streamlined the human-likeness predictor. (08/07/2018)2018
Best Paper Award Runner-Up, HRI'18
Our HRI paper, "What is human-like?: Decomposing robot human-like appearance using the Anthropomorphic roBOT (ABOT) Database," is nominated for Best Paper Award in Theory and Methods in HRI at the 13th Annual International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction! (03/08/2018)2018
Research talk at SPSP "Inside the Grant Panel" competition
In a talk titled "The Science and Story behind Feeling Another Human's Heartbeat" at this year's SPSP "Inside the Grant Panel" competition, I shared some research findings and personal experiences with the audience based on my award-winning proposal in last year's Grant Competition. (03/02/2018)2018
Research talk on human-like robots at SPSP
I gave a talk at the "Merging Psychology and Robotics" Symposium in the 2018 SPSP Convention. The talk is titled, "The Appeal of Human-Likeness: Spontaneous Visual Perspective Taking Triggered by Mere Human Resemblance" and is featured in the SPSP newsletter! (03/01/2018)2017
New adventure at Chicago Booth!
I moved! I'm joining the University of Chicago Booth School of Business as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow this fall! In addition to conducting research independently and collaborating with world-class researchers, I will also collaborate with improvisational theater experts at the Second City to explore new ways to bridge behavioral research with acting/improv! (2017.09.05)2017
"Leading with Empathy" course website launched (2017.08.30)
After teaching "Leading with Empathy" for three years, I create a public website to share many of my favorite empathy-related readings, videos, exercises, and other resources I have curated over years for this course.2017
First-prize award at SPSP Live Grant Competition (2017.01.20)
I won the first prize of the Q&pAy event, a live grant competition at the 2017 Annual Convention of SPSP! Many thanks to the five judges and the audience for a very fun time at the competition! Here you can read the ideas and inspirations behind this project in an interview with SPSP on my research proposal, "Bonding in a Heartbeat: Can Feeling Others' Heartbeat Increase Empathy and Prosocial Behavior."2016
Grand travel award at the inaugural Psychology of Technology Preconference (2016.12.9)
I am honored to receive the grand travel award at the inaugural Psychology of Technology preconference at the 2017 Annual Convention of SPSP. I deeply appreciate the dedication and hard work of the organizers, Kostadin Kushlev, Juliana Schroder, and Nate Fast—because of their initiative, researchers on technology & psychology now have a platform to share their new findings at SPSP!2016
Research talk to the Brown community at "Research Matters!"(2016.11.5)
At Brown Graduate School's "Research Matters!" talk event, I explained why and how social cognitive psychologists like myself are beginning to study robots. This 6-minute talk titled, “Through the Eyes of a Robot,” is now available on Youtube!
Here is one of my all-time favorite quotes by Sir Carl Popper: "Every intellectual has a very special responsibility. He has the privilege and the opportunity of studying. In return, he owes it to his fellow men (or 'to society') to represent the results of his study as simply, clearly and modestly as he can."more
If you feel like celebrating all my baby steps in grad school and college, here you go :)