Students walking on Penn campus
Social Action Lab





Dolores Albarracín


Dolores Albarracín, Ph.D.
Alexandra Heyman Nash University Professor 
Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor


More about Dr. Albarracín




Lab Researchers


CJ Calabrese Headshot

CJ Calabrese, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Martin Fishbein Postdoctoral Fellow

Christopher (CJ) Calabrese, PhD, MPH, is the Martin Fishbein Postdoctoral Fellow at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. He received his PhD in Communication at the University of California, Davis. CJ is primarily interested in health and science communication, focusing on developing online network and social media interventions. His research interests broadly center around new media, misinformation, social networks, and online technologies, with topics focusing on HIV prevention, public perceptions of gene editing, vaccination, harm reduction, and COVID-19. View Calabrese's CV.


Sally Chan Headshot

Sally Chan, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor

Sally will be a research associate at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania later this year.

Sally Chan has a background in information systems and received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Hong Kong in 2014. She was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship in the Cambridge Prosociality and Well-Being Lab in the UK. Sally has joined the Social Action Lab in the Psychology Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since late 2015. Her research seeks to enhance both mental and physical well-being for a better quality of life. She was involved in projects examining the self-regulatory processes on well-being in the online (computer-mediated) and offline (face-to-face) social milieu. Sally's current projects focus on incorporating the data science approach and machine learning algorithms to examine the influences of the person-in-context on well-being.

Bita Fayad Farkhad Headshot

Bita Fayaz Farkhad, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Researcher

Bita will be a research associate the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania later this year.

Bita Farkhad completed her Ph.D. in Economics from Lehigh University in 2019. She is an applied microeconomist with interests in health and public policy.  Her research studies how public programs and policies affect individuals’ health and behavior. At present, her research primarily focuses on examining the impact of the Affordable Care Act on early-stage HIV diagnosis and access to HIV preventive care and the role of harm reduction policies such as syringe exchange programs on substance use. View Farkhad’s CV.

Annie Jung Headshot

Annie Jung, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Associate

Annie will be a postdoctoral fellow at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania later this year.

Annie Jung's research primarily focuses on prosocial behavior. She studies how social factors (e.g., prosocial model, social norms) affect prosocial development and variation across societies. She also studies how cognitive factors (e.g., construal level) affect individual preference to engage in different forms of prosocial behavior. Recently, she has extended her work to health domains, to examine how prosocial motivation impacts various health outcomes, including vaccination. Prior to joining the Social Action Lab, she earned her bachelor's and master's degree in psychology from Yonsei University (South Korea), and her doctoral degree in social and personality psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. View Jung’s CV.

Zone Liu Headshot

Zone Liu, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Associate

Zone will be a research associate at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania later this year.

Zone’s research focuses on understanding human self-regulation in achieving multiple goals and how setting multiple goals influences long-term health behaviors and work performance. He is also interested in interventions that optimize athletic performance. He uses diverse methods such as EEG/ERPs, Bayesian modeling, and eye tracking.

Prior to joining the Social Action Lab, Zone was a postdoctoral associate in the Human Performance Optimization Lab at Duke University School of Medicine. Zone received his Ph.D. and a master’s degree in Sport & Exercise Psychology and a second master’s degree in Statistics from the Florida State University with the Presidential University Fellowship. He received his bachelor's degree in Psychology from the Beijing Normal University, Zhuhai.


Graduate Students

Wenhao Dai Headshot

Wenhao Dai
Graduate Student, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Dai is interested in how perspective-taking and self-reflection can bring cognitive and behavioral improvement. Currently, his research addresses the role of actionability of persuasive messages in long-term persuasion (sleeper effect). He is also collaborating on a project about sequential exposure bias which studies the order in which people process congenial and non-congenial information. Before coming to the social psychology department at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, he earned a bachelor's degree in Psychology and Communication from the University of California, Davis.

Hanxiong Guan Headshot

Hanxiong Guan
Graduate Student, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Hanxiong Guan received his B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Statistics from the University of Florida in 2020. He worked as a Lab Manager at the Attitudes and Social Cognition Lab at the University of Florida (Dr. Kate A. Ratliff) and was a Research Assistant at the Threat Management Lab at the University of Florida (Dr. James Shepperd). Hanxiong's undergraduate thesis was titled: Are Sexist People Also Homophobic? A Correlational Study of Ambivalent Sexism and Anti-Gay Bias. He has joined the Social Action Lab in the Psychology Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign starting from fall 2020. Hanxiong's research seeks to understand persuasion and decision-making.

Angela Zhang Headshot

Angela Zhang
Graduate Student, University of Pennsylvania

Angela graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2018 with a B.S. in psychology and a second major in biology. As an undergraduate research assistant, she aided in studies of memory phenomena, such as the attentional boost effect and the testing effect. Following graduation, she joined the Developmental and Motivation Research Lab at the University of Pittsburgh, where she planned and coordinated a longitudinal project examining adolescents’ motivation and engagement in math and science classes. Her current research interests lie in studying motivation and self-regulation in the context of health behavior and translating this research into interventions that promote health behavior change.

Yubo Zhou Headshot

Yubo Zhou
Graduate Student, University of Pennsylvania

Yubo received his B.S. in Psychological & Brain Sciences and B.A. in Philosophy with minors in Applied Psychology, Educational Studies, and History at UC Santa Barbara. After graduation, he joined Dr. Hongbo Yu’s Emotion Science Lab as a lab coordinator. His previous research mainly focused on biculturals’ ingroup identification and cultural differences in risk perception and subsequent decision-making with Drs. Brenda Major and Heejung Kim. Yubo has joined the Social Action Lab and started his Ph.D. studies in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania in 2021 under the supervision of Dr. Dolores Albarracín. He is primarily interested in investigating the cognitive, motivational, and behavioral underpinnings of action and inaction.


Lab Staff

Elana Forman
Graduate Research Assistant

Elana Forman Headshot

Elana (Ellie) Forman (she/her) is a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania. Situated at the interdisciplinary cross section of psychology, anthropology, and public health, her current research interests include: the roles of storytelling and narrative in public health communications, cultural and religious barriers for behavior change in a health context, and new modes of media and their impact on community and behavioral health. Ellie is also certified as a Peer Recovery Specialist and works as a health educator, presenting interactive workshops to middle and high school students on substance use, comorbid disorders, and mental health promotion.



Christopher Quasti

Christopher Quasti
Research Coordinator/Lab Manager

Chris’ research interests focus on examining personal identity and its relationship to attitudes, morals, and behaviors. Chris is interested in extending this research to the level of public health policy: focusing on effective ways of improving adherence to prevention, testing, and treatment measures of infectious diseases by examining personal identity and behavior. This includes creating cost-effective and functional policies for at-risk populations. Before joining the Social Action Lab, Chris completed his master’s of science degree in Philosophy and Public Policy from The London School of Economics and his bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Philosophy from Temple University.


Undergraduate Research Assistants

Dylan Norton Headshot

Dylan Norton
Undergraduate Student, University of Pennsylvania

Norton, currently a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania, is planning on majoring in Health and Societies with a concentration in Public Health along with a minor in Psychology. He is interested in studying the overlap between these two fields. Specifically, he would like to research how social psychology can be utilized to help understand how different communities respond to health communication as well as how disparities in public health and access to medical care can be addressed.


Kevin Le Headshot

Kevin Le
Undergraduate Student, University of Pennsylvania

Kevin Le is in his senior year of undergraduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He plans to graduate in May with majors in Biology and Psychology, and a minor in Chemistry. Before joining the Social Action Lab, his previous research interests have included neuroscience, genomics, and organic chemistry. After graduation this Spring, he hopes to move on to medical school after a gap year.

Logan Bennett Headshot

Logan Bennett
Undergraduate Student, Temple University

Logan Bennett is a junior at Temple University studying neuroscience and computer science. He was an undergraduate research assistant for both the Center for Applied Research in Decision Making (CARD) Lab and the Hybrid Intelligence Lab at Temple University, and the Addiction, Health, & Adolescence (AHA!) Lab at the University of Pennsylvania. Logan’s research interests include studying how goal-directed behavior and health recommendations shape people cognitively, socially, and behaviorally, and eventually lead to improved health outcomes. His previous research examined how individuals pursue emotional goals through social interactions by using goals for (1) conveying their emotions and understanding others’ emotions, and (2) managing their own and others’ emotions.

Madison Goodwin Headshot

Madison Goodwin
Undergraduate Student, University of Pennsylvania

Madison is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania and is currently studying Health and Societies. She is interested in research that explores how social media can be used as a tool to disseminate health information and help create positive health interventions. Additionally, she would like to explore how COVID-19 has exacerbated accessibility to health care and harm reduction services within minority communities.

Matthew Hogenauer Headshot

Matthew Hogenauer
Undergraduate Student, Haverford College

Matt Hogenauer is a Junior at Haverford College studying Biology with a minor in Health Studies. Matt is particularly interested in how societal perceptions of disease and treatment effect healthcare outcomes, as well as the ethical complexities associated with public health measures and mandates.



Michael Goerlitz Headshot

Michael Goerlitz
Undergraduate Student, University of Pennsylvania

Currently a junior at the University of Pennsylvania, Michael is studying history with a minor in computer science. He is interested in health communication and social media interventions, specifically in medically underserved communities. Michael is also interested in learning more about social attitudes towards vaccination, HIV prevention, and substance abuse as caused by misinformation and media campaigns.

Michelle Verlinsky Headshot

Michelle Verlinsky
Undergraduate Student, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Michelle Verlinsky is a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign studying social psychology and environmental sustainability. She is passionate about behavioral economics as a mechanism to understand consumer decision making and beneficial public policy. Michelle is interested in researching influence, motivation, and misinformation as it relates to pro-environmental and pro-social behavior change.



Valerie Hanna Headshot

Valerie Hanna
Undergraduate Student, University of Pennsylvania

Valerie Hanna is in her third year at the University of Pennsylvania, double-majoring in Communication –with a concentration in Audiences & Persuasion— and Psychology. She is developing a mentored research project focused on behavior change, health communication, and the underpinnings or action vs. inaction as a research assistant in the lab. Hanna is also enrolled in a research-based course taught by Diana Mutz called Media, Public Opinion, and Globalization where students employ quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate American attitudes toward globalization.

Violette Frangos Headshot

Violette Frangos
Undergraduate Student, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Violette is a junior at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign studying psychology with a concentration in behavioral neuroscience and a minor in communication. She is interested in mental health and psychopathology, more specifically the implications of COVID-19 and social media on the rates of anxiety, depression, and SUDs in young adults. Additionally, Violette is interested in exploring the impact of social media algorithms on learning and behavior patterns in the brain.


Yun Zhang Headshot

Yun Zhang
Undergraduate Student, University of California, Santa Barbara

Yun is currently a first-year student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, majoring in Psychology and Brain Science. Yun is interested in industrial and business psychology. Yun wants to utilize psychological methods to improve people’s work efficiency and enhance their communication skills with their colleagues. Yun has had many relevant background activities in high school, like giving a webinar online to talk about public and mental health and inventing a technical sandbag to help people relieve their pressure. Yun hopes to use what she has learned and her passion to better solve issues between social media and public health.

Nisha Shiroor

Nisha Shiroor
Undergraduate Student, University of Illinois
Currently, a junior majoring in Community Health at the University of Illinois, with a concentration in Health Administration & Planning and a minor in Public Health. Prior to joining the Social Action Lab, I worked closely with community organizations and the health center on campus to create programs and host events that address health problems amongst those marginalized and under-served populations within the student population and local area. I hope to further my interests in the importance of health education and promotion through the use of social media platforms in different local communities.


Woman on a public bus looking at her phone, and various social media "reaction" icons floating out of her phone to imply that she is engaging with social media

Health, Social Media & Technology Group

This interdisciplinary group studies social and online media influences on health behavior and epidemiological patterns and how to leverage social media and technology to improve human health.