Students walking on Penn campus
Social Action Lab

People

 

Director

Dolores Albarracín

 

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

 


More about Dr. Albarracín

 

 

Lab Researchers

Sally Chan Headshot

Sally Chan, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor
sallycmp@upenn.edu

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.

Wenhao Dai

Wenhao Dai, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow
wenhao.dai@asc.upenn.edu

Wenhao Dai's research studies how people form and shift social action and inaction goals, and how these goals impact their feelings, attitudes, and health-related outcomes. The main research questions he studies include: How does social action impact our feeling of closeness and attitudes towards others? Do people feel closer to those with whom they interact when they interact with a few or a lot of people? Can loneliness be the result of too many instead of too few social interactions? Is it easier to shift from action to inaction or inaction to action goals? Do action norms or inaction norms lead to more accuracy motivation? View Dai's CV.

Bita Fayed Farkhad Headshot

Bita Fayaz Farkhad, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Researcher
bitaf@upenn.edu

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

Annie Jung, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Associate
ahsjung@upenn.edu

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@upenn.edu

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.

Xi Shen Headshot

Xi Shen, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow
xishen@upenn.edu

Xi Shen studies the social learning processes involved in forming and changing impressions, evaluations, and moral judgments, with an emphasis on the role of implicit cognition. Shen received her Ph.D. in social and personality psychology from Cornell University in 2021. Shen’s work has examined the role of intuitive social cues, such as facial appearances, group memberships, and emotional responses, in shaping people’s impressions of others. She also examines the possibility of changing people's minds by exploring the type of effective information. She has been especially interested in implicit cognitions involved in these social learning processes, their processing characteristics, and their role in influencing social behaviors. She also studies the social cognitive processes involved in goal pursuit. View Shen's CV.

Graduate Students

Janet Lopez Headshot

Janet Lopez
Graduate Student, University of Pennsylvania
janetlo@sas.upenn.edu

Janet graduated in 2021 with a B.S. in Psychology and a B.A. in English from Nova Southeastern University. After graduating, she became a research coordinator with Dr. Angela Duckworth at the University of Pennsylvania. In this role, she led the development and piloting of a course designed to equip high school students with metacognitive knowledge and structured experiences to apply psychological science to their lives. In 2022, Janet joined the Social Action Lab and began her doctoral studies in Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania under the supervision of Dr. Dolores Albarracín. She is interested in researching motivation, goal-setting, and how social and relational factors impact behavior change.

Angela Zhang Headshot

Angela Zhang
Graduate Student, University of Pennsylvania
angelalz@upenn.edu

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
yubozhou@sas.upenn.edu

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

Christopher Quasti

Christopher Quasti
Research Coordinator/Lab Manager
cquasti@upenn.edu

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.

Devlin O’Keefe

Devlin O’Keefe
Research Coordinator
devlinok@upenn.edu

Devlin (he/him) attended Oberlin College and received a bachelor's degree in psychology and environmental studies. Before beginning at the Social Action Lab, he studied demographic differences in climate change threat perception and the ecopsychology of exposure to the night sky. Devlin intends to earn his Ph.D. in social psychology and is interested in studying methods for communicating threat and their impacts on behavior.
 

Lidia Palmese
Research Coordinator
lidiapal@upenn.edu

Lidia graduated from the University of Delaware in 2021 with a B.S in Cognitive Science. After graduation she completed a service year through the Americorps VISTA program within Philadelphia’s Department Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services. Lidia has joined the Social Action Lab as a Research Coordinator. She intends to further her education by pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology, concentrating her research in the etiology of eating disorders and understanding why certain populations are at an increased risk.

Melody Leung
Research Coordinator
lmelody@upenn.edu

Melody received her B.S. in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2022. As an undergraduate research assistant, she participated in studies about higher-education in prison (Dr. Logan Middleton), mass messaging campaigns for sexual violence prevention (ARC Lab), and the role of action/inaction on various aspects of health (Social Action Lab). She’s excited to continue exploring her research interests on interdisciplinary approaches towards behavior change and applying it towards prevention/intervention programs for at-risk populations.

Elana Forman
Graduate Research Assistant
eforman@sas.upenn.edu

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.

Zoe (Shiyu) Zhang

Zoe (Shiyu) Zhang
Graduate Data Analyst
syzhang@upenn.edu
 
Zoe Zhang is a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania. She has a background in social policy, journalism and data analytics. Interested in leveraging data science for social good, Zoe is focusing her daily work on telling good stories with data and informing data-driven policy decisions. Before joining the Social Action Lab, Zoe was a research assistant with the School of Social Policy & Practice at Penn, and worked extensively with online publishing agencies and NGOs.

 

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

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.