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

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 Fayed Farkhad Headshot

Bita Fayaz Farkhad, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor

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.

Xi Lui

Xi (Cici) Liu, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Associate

Cici joined the lab in Spring 2023 and is currently working on two lines of research under the supervision of Dr. Albaraccin. The first line of research involves using survey methods to examine drug abuse issues and community coherence in US Appalachian rural communities. The second line of research focuses on the generation, dissemination, and consumption of misinformation online. Cici utilizes a combination of conventional statistical methods and machine learning algorithms to uncover effective interventions for misinformation and improve trust within communities. Cici holds a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where her research centered on the influence of culture on psychological processes. Specifically, she investigated how linguistic features that may lack concrete meaning influence speakers' mental representation and evaluation of described objects.

Xi Shen Headshot

Xi Shen, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow

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

Vishwanath E.V.S.

Vishwanath E.V.S.
Graduate Student, University of Pennsylvania

Vishwanath graduated with a Master in Public Policy from the Harris School at the University of Chicago. After his masters, he worked as a research assistant at Harris for Professor Oeindrila Dube, where his work mainly focused on big data processing and quasi-experimental econometric methods for studying religiosity in South Asia. Vishwanath is currently a first year PhD student at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, where he hopes to study the role of social media and online platforms in spreading misinformation and affecting beliefs.

Janet Lopez Headshot

Janet Lopez
Graduate Student, University of Pennsylvania

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

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

Christopher Quasti

Christopher Quasti
Lab Manager/Senior Research Coordinator

Chris joined The Social Action Lab in 2021 and is interested in developing interventions to promote mental and physical health for those impacted by the opioid epidemic. Before joining the Social Action Lab, Chris completed his Master 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. Chris is currently a Master of Bioethics candidate in the Perelman School of Medicine where he focuses his research on neuroethics and the philosophy of psychiatry.

Devlin O'Keefe

Devlin O’Keefe
Research Coordinator

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

Lidia Palmese
Research Coordinator

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

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.

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.

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.

Mari Miyahara headshot.


Mari Miyahara
Undergraduate Student, University of Pennsylvania

Mari is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania studying Philosophy and Computer Science. Mari is interested in the decision-making process and how social norms are created. More specifically, how public health can be  improved by analyzing people’s behavior. Currently, she is working on a project examining the effect of implementation of policies in preventing HIV. 

Kristine Tan headshot.

Kristine Tan
Undergraduate Student, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Kristine is a sophomore at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign studying psychology with a minor in business and leadership studies. She is interested in social psych and IO psych. Her previous field research includes public mental health services for socially disadvantaged groups in China. She wants to study how to address resource disparity and limitations to help more people. Additionally, Kristine would like to explore work incentives and motivations to boost work efficiency and job satisfaction. 

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.