This summer, we added three new members to our lab: Marissa Clark has joined us as our new lab manager, Leor Hackel as our new postdoctoral fellow who recently received his Ph.D from New York University, and Tyler Bonnen as our newest graduate student from Columbia University. 

Excited to have you here!

Deshawn Sambrano, a Psychology major at California State University, Fullerton, presented a poster on how our desires shape what we see as part of the Stanford Summer Research Early Identification Program!

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Congrats to Yuan Chang Leong for winning the Zimbardo Teaching Prize for inspiring teaching in the Introductory Psychology Course at Stanford. The Teaching Prize is given in honor of Professor Emeritus Phillip Zimbardo, who taught Introductory Psychology for over 35 years and is celebrated as one of Stanford's most innovative and exciting teachers. This prize is given to two Teaching Fellows from...

Congrats to our undergraduate thesis students for their thesis awards!  Christina Chwyl won the Firestone Medal, which recognizes the top ten percent of all honors theses in social science, science and engineering.  Brittany Torrez won the Zajonc Award for Excellence in Psychology Honors Research, which recognizes students who have exhibited exceptional performance in the conception, execution, and presentation of original research.  We are...

Can we leverage the power of immersive perspective taking to reduce bias against the elderly? In collaboration with Soo Youn Oh and Jeremy Bailenson of Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Erika Weisz and Jamil Zaki examined the efficacy of different perspective-taking modalities–including perspective taking in a virtual environment–to improve attitudes toward older adults. They found that perspective taking through virtual reality...

How might humans’ ability to accurately perceive others’ emotions—empathic accuracy—be affected in mood disorders? For example, people suffering from mania, a common symptom of bipolar disorder, often report feeling more positive emotions and having more positive experiences: do these symptoms affect how others are perceived? A recent study, done by Prof Jamil Zaki and PhD student Desmond Ong in collaboration with Hillary Devlin and...

People learn about the world not only through their own experiences, but also through the experiences of others.  Such vicarious learning helps people benefit not only from their own mistakes and successes, but also by watching what works (and does not work) for other people.  Which factors affect the extent to which much people learn vicariously from others?  Olsson and colleagues examined this question through a vicarious fear...

Humans effortlessly reason about others’ emotions all the time. However, scientists do not have formal, computational models to describe how humans actually do this reasoning. New work by Desmond Ong, Jamil Zaki and Noah Goodman proposes that humans might do such reasoning rationally. Across four studies, they show that a rational Bayesian model of emotional reasoning accurately describes human inferences. ...

Have you ever missed a plane by mere minute, or missed winning a game by several points? Emotionally, these "near-misses" hurt more than “far-misses” (when you miss by a large margin), and one potential explanation is because we feel regret that we could’ve “tried harder”. But what about when your lotto ticket misses the jackpot by 1? Intuition (and previous research) shows that you might still feel worse, even if you could not have “tried...

We help close others in many ways, from listening to each other’s problems, to making each other feel understood, to providing practical support.  Although these supportive actions often benefit the recipient, how does helping affect the person providing support (i.e., provider)?  A new paper by Sylvia Morelli, Ihno Lee, Molly Arrn, and Jamil Zaki reveals that empathizing with those we help directly relates to feeling happier, less lonely,...