I am an assistant professor in applied consumer analytics and strategic communication in the Department of Financial Planning, Housing and Consumer Economics at the University of Georgia. I received my Ph.D. from the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania.
My scholarship is at the intersection of computational social science, visual communication, science communication, and social media analytics. My research combines computer vision methods, surveys, and experiments to investigate the production and effects of visual messages across different communication contexts. Some examples include visual portrayals of politicians, visuals in social movements, images of climate change, and fitspiration images. My recent research, funded by the National Science Foundation, examines how attributes of misinformation claims in visual formats (e.g., photographs, memes, visualizations, and synthetic media) influence viewers’ credibility perceptions.
I also study science communication, with a focus on public perceptions of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, such as facial recognition and self-driving cars. I am particularly interested in how emerging AI technologies are connected to debates about inequality and social justice and how these factors affect public opinion. In the wake of the pandemic, I have also developed a line of research on the political polarization of science, which demonstrates the importance of ideologies and worldviews in shaping our responses to issues such as Covid-19, vaccination, and AI applications.
My works have been published (or are forthcoming) in leading venues in multiple social science disciplines, including the Journal of Communication, Communication Research, New Media & Society, Political Communication, the International Journal of Press/Politics, Sociological Methods & Research, Public Understanding of Science, Risk Analysis, Personality and Individual Differences, and the Proceedings of ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. I have received multiple top paper awards from the International Communication Association and the National Communication Association.
I received my M.A. degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and B.S. degree from Peking University. In my spare time, I enjoy photography, hiking, biking, museums, movies, and open-world video games.
P.S. I am on the lookout for research assistants throughout the year. If you are a motivated student and have an interest in the field of computational social science, please feel free to drop me an email.
- Our paper “Metrics in action: How social media metrics shape news production on Facebook” (coauthored with Subhayan Mukerjee and Tian Yang) is online at the Journal of Communication!
- Two papers accepted by IC2S2 2023! We will be discussing the impact of social media metrics on news coverage as well as the prevalence and effects of toxicity in social media discourses.
- Our paper “How visual aesthetics and calorie density predict food image popularity on Instagram: A computer vision analysis” (coauthored with Muna Sharma) was featured by various news outlets including UGA Today, Atlanta News First, and the Washington Post.
- Two papers/abstracts accepted to APSA23 in L.A.! My collaborators and I will talk about how visual messages mobilize participation in online activism as well as how we can investigate misinformation perceptions using computer vision methods.
- Our forum article “An agenda for studying credibility perceptions of visual misinformation” (coauthored with Yingdan Lu and Cindy Shen) is online at Political Communication. Check this thread.
- Our paper “How visual aesthetics and calorie density predict food image popularity on Instagram: A computer vision analysis” (coauthored with Muna Sharma) is online at Health Communication. For a quick overview, check out this Twitter thread.
- Our book chapter “Computational visual analysis in political communication” (coauthored with Yingdan Lu), included in the Research Handbook on Visual Politics, is out now!
- Seven papers/abstracts accepted to ICA23 in Toronto! My collaborators and I will present works on many exciting topics such as social media metrics, visual misinformation, morality in pandemics, and political memes. Also, stay tuned with our panel (co-organized with Subhayan Mukerjee and Tian Yang) titled “Modeling time: Computational approaches for the analysis of longitudinal, temporal, and time-dynamic data.” I will also serve as the discussant for panel “Video-as-data in computational communication: Toward a mixed-method pathway.”