Jiaying Zhao

Assistant Professor, IRES
Assistant Professor, Psychology
Canada Research Chair (t2, Behavioral Sustainability)


What is psychology good for? How can psychology contribute to sustainability? To answer these questions, Dr. Zhao aims to use psychological principles to design behavioral solutions to address sustainability challenges. This approach offers insights on how cognitive mechanisms govern human behavior, and how behavioral interventions can inform the design and the implementation of public policy. Dr. Zhao is currently examining the cognitive causes and consequences of scarcity, what behavioral interventions improve the performance in low-income individuals, how to promote recycling and composting behavior, water and energy conservation, what cognitive, motivational, and sociocultural factors shape the perception of climate change, and how to engage the public on biodiversity conservation.

Website: http://zhaolab.psych.ubc.ca
Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.ca/citations?user=w6d1YTgAAAAJ&hl=en


Toward sustainability: Cognitive and behavioral implications of resource scarcity
The paralysis of complexity in environmental action
Psychological consequences of poverty
Statistical cognition: Linking perception, learning and attention

Featured Publications

Hall, C. C.*, Zhao, J.*, & Shafir, E.* (in press). Self-affirmation among the poor: Cognitive and behavioral implications. Psychological Science. (*equal author contribution)

Zhao, J., & Osherson, D. (in press). Category-based updating. Thinking & Reasoning.

Mani, A.*, Mullainathan, S.*, Shafir, E.*, & Zhao, J.* (2013). Poverty impedes cognitive function. Science, 341, 976-980. (*equal author contribution)

Zhao, J., Al-Aidroos, N., & Turk-Browne, N. B. (2013). Attention is spontaneously biased toward regularities. Psychological Science, 24, 667-677.

Zhao, J., Crupi, V., Tentori, K., Fitelson, B., & Osherson, D. (2012). Updating: Learning versus supposing. Cognition, 124, 373-378.

Zhao, J., Ngo, N., McKendrick, R., & Turk-Browne, N. B. (2011). Mutual interference between statistical summary perception and statistical learning. Psychological Science, 22, 1212-1219.

Zhao, J., & Turk-Browne, N. B. (2011). Incidental encoding of numerosity in visual long-term memory. Visual Cognition, 19, 928-955.

Zhao, J., & Osherson, D. (2010). Updating beliefs in light of uncertain evidence: Descriptive assessment of Jeffrey’s rule. Thinking & Reasoning, 16, 288-307.

Zhao, J., Shah, A. K., & Osherson, D. (2009). On the provenance of judgments of conditional probability. Cognition, 113, 26-36.

Zhao, J., & Costello, F. J. (2008). Computational modelling of switching behaviour in repeated gambles. Artificial Intelligence Review, 27, 209-222.

Song, S., Zhou, H., Fu, X., & Zhao, J. (2005). Affective assessment on criminal suspects in preliminary hearing. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 38, 1-6.

Xia, F., Wang, H., Fu, X., & Zhao, J. (2005). An XML-based implementation of multimodal affective annotation. Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction, 3784, 535-541.

Current Students

Elizabeth Williams,
Tugce Conger,

Contact Details

AERL 437