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Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • Insufficiently Complimentary?: Underestimating the Positive Impact of Compliments Creates a Barrier to Expressing Them JOURNAL OF PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Zhao, X., Epley, N. 2021; 121 (2): 239-256


    Compliments increase the well-being of both expressers and recipients, yet in a series of surveys people report giving fewer compliments than they should give, or would like to give. Nine experiments suggest that a reluctance to express genuine compliments partly stems from underestimating the positive impact that compliments will have on recipients. Participants wrote genuine compliments and then predicted how happy and awkward those compliments would make recipients feel. Expressers consistently underestimated how positive recipients would feel but overestimated how awkward recipients would feel (Experiments 1-3, S4). These miscalibrated expectations are driven partly by perspective gaps in which expressers underestimate how competent-and to a lesser extent how warm-their compliments will be perceived by recipients (Experiments 1-3). Because people's interest in expressing compliments is partly driven by their expectations of the recipient's reaction, undervaluing compliments creates a barrier to expressing them (Supplemental Experiments S2, S3, S4). As a result, directing people to focus on the warmth conveyed by their compliments (Experiment 4) increased interest in expressing them. We believe these findings may reflect a more general tendency for people to underestimate the positive impact of prosocial actions on others, leading people to be less prosocial than would be optimal for both their own and others' well-being. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

    View details for DOI 10.1037/pspa0000277

    View details for Web of Science ID 000706471700002

    View details for PubMedID 34636586

  • Leaving a Choice for Others: Children's Evaluations of Considerate, Socially-Mindful Actions. Child development Zhao, X., Zhao, X., Gweon, H., Kushnir, T. 2021


    People value those who act with others in mind even as they pursue their own goals. Across three studies (N=566; 4- to 6-year-olds), we investigated children's developing understanding of such considerate, socially-mindful actions. By age 6, both U.S. and Chinese children positively evaluate a character who takes a snack for herself in a way that leaves a snack choice for others over a character who leaves no choice (Study 1), but only when the actors had alternative possible actions (Study 2) and when a clear beneficiary was present (Study 3). These results suggest an emerging ability to infer underlying social intentions from self-oriented actions, providing insights into the role of social-cognitive capacities versus culture-specific norms in children's moral evaluations.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/cdev.13480

    View details for PubMedID 33458830

  • A Primer for Conducting Experiments in Human-Robot Interaction ACM TRANSACTIONS ON HUMAN-ROBOT INTERACTION Hoffman, G., Zhao, X. 2020; 10 (1)

    View details for DOI 10.1145/3412374

    View details for Web of Science ID 000595295800006

  • Kind words do not become tired words: Undervaluing the positive impact of frequent compliments SELF AND IDENTITY Zhao, X., Epley, N. 2021; 20 (1): 25-46
  • What is Human-like?: Decomposing Robots' Human-like Appearance Using the Anthropomorphic roBOT (ABOT) Database Phillips, E., Zhao, X., Ullman, D., Malle, B. F., Assoc Comp Machinery ASSOC COMPUTING MACHINERY. 2018: 105-113
  • Do People Spontaneously Take a Robot's Visual Perspective? Zhao, X., Cusimano, C., Malle, B. F., ACM ASSOC COMPUTING MACHINERY. 2016: 335-342