Jiaying Zhao's research while affiliated with University of British Columbia - Vancouver and other places

Publications (76)

Article
Full-text available
As a climate change mitigation strategy, environmentally certified ‘green’ buildings with low carbon footprints are becoming more prevalent in the world. An interesting psychological question is how people perceive the carbon footprint of these buildings given their spatial distributions in a given community. Here we examine whether regular distrib...
Article
Plastic pollution has become a major global conservation challenge. To reduce the generation of plastic waste, we designed and tested several behavioral interventions in a randomized control trial to reduce plastic waste in a high-rise office building. We randomly assigned eight floors in the building to four conditions: (1) simplified recycling si...
Preprint
O’Donnell et al. (“ODAL”) (1) claim to audit the “scarcity literature” through a series of replications. Although we applaud the audit’s goals, we found serious issues that invalidate its conclusions. Notably, the paper fails as an audit of the scarcity literature. (1) It includes studies that are not about resource scarcity and even studies that a...
Article
Full-text available
Two aspects of real-world visual search are typically studied in parallel: category knowledge (e.g., searching for food) and visual patterns (e.g., predicting an upcoming street sign from prior street signs). Previous visual search studies have shown that prior category knowledge hinders search when targets and distractors are from the same categor...
Article
Full-text available
Polarization is pervasive in the current sociopolitical discourse. Polarization tends to increase cognitive inflexibility where people become less capable of updating their beliefs upon new information or switching between different ways of thinking. Cognitive inflexibility can in turn increase polarization. We propose that this positive feedback l...
Article
Full-text available
To achieve a sustainable future, it is imperative to transform human actions collectively and underlying social structures. Decades of research in social sciences have offered complementary insights into how such transformations might occur. However, these insights largely remain disjunct and of limited scope, such that strategies for solving globa...
Article
Full-text available
As the world contends with the far-ranging impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing environmental crises have, to some extent, been neglected during the pandemic. One reason behind this shift in priorities is the scarcity mindset triggered by the pandemic. Scarcity is the feeling of having less than what is necessary, and it causes people to prior...
Article
Climate change is the most significant global challenge facing humanity. Despite the unequivocal scientific evidence and the overwhelming adverse impacts of climate change, there is a growing divide in the beliefs on the anthropogenic causes of climate change. To explore the underlying cognitive mechanisms of this divide, we review recent studies r...
Preprint
Plastic pollution has become a major global conservation challenge. To reduce the generation of plastic waste, we designed and tested several behavioral interventions in a randomized control trial to reduce plastic waste in a high-rise office building. We randomly assigned eight floors in the building to four conditions: (1) simplified recycling si...
Preprint
We propose a framework that outlines several predominant cognitive biases of climate change, identifies potential causes, and proposes debiasing tools, with the ultimate goal of depolarizing climate beliefs and promoting actions to mitigate climate change.
Article
We propose a framework that outlines several predominant cognitive biases of climate change, identifies potential causes, and proposes debiasing tools, with the ultimate goal of depolarizing climate beliefs and promoting actions to mitigate climate change.
Preprint
Public and private institutions worldwide have gained considerable traction in developing interventions to alter people’s behaviors in predictable ways without limiting the freedom of choice or significantly changing the incentive structure (Thaler & Sunstein, 2008). A nudge is defined as an intervention to facilitate actions by minimizing friction...
Article
As incidences of human–wildlife interaction escalate, it is useful to increase understanding of the perceptions that might underpin these interactions or explain human behavior so associated. This study sought to identify public perceptions of the animal mind across wildlife species and to examine how states or qualities such as conscious thinking...
Article
Research has demonstrated the cognitive and mental health benefits of learning new skills and content across the life span, enhancing knowledge as well as cognitive performance. We argue that the importance of this learning – which is not available equally to all – goes beyond the cognitive and mental health benefits. Learning is important for not...
Preprint
Climate change is the most significant global challenge facing humanity. Despite the unequivocal scientific evidence and the overwhelming adverse impacts of climate change, there is a growing divide in the beliefs on the anthropogenic causes of climate change. To explore the underlying cognitive mechanisms of this divide, we review recent studies r...
Preprint
To achieve a sustainable future, it is imperative to transform human action and underlying social structures. Decades of research in social sciences have variously offered insights into understanding how such bold transformations might occur. However, these insights remain disjunct and of limited scope, providing only partial explanations on the pr...
Article
Full-text available
The current biodiversity crisis involves major shifts in biological communities at local and regional scales. The consequences for Earth's life‐support systems are increasingly well‐studied, but knowledge of how community shifts affect cultural services associated with wildlife lags behind. We integrated bird census data (3 years across 150 point‐c...
Article
The current study examined how financial scarcity and natural resource scarcity independently and interactively influence sustainable choices and motivations. Participants performed a shopping task where they chose between sustainable and conventional products, and rated their motivations for their choice. We found that financial scarcity reduced s...
Article
Full-text available
The first Science Meets Parliament event in Canada was held in November 2018 in Ottawa, where twenty-eight Tier II Canada Research Chairs (a specific class of Canadian university professor acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field) from diverse disciplines met with forty-three Members of Canadian Parliament and Sena...
Article
Full-text available
The first Science Meets Parliament event in Canada was held in November 2018 in Ottawa, where twenty-eight Tier II Canada Research Chairs (a specific class of Canadian university professor acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field) from diverse disciplines met with forty-three Members of Canadian Parliament and Sena...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract The functional trait diversity of species assemblages can predict the provision of ecosystem services such as pollination and carbon sequestration, but it is unclear whether the same trait‐based framework can be applied to identify the factors that underpin cultural ecosystem services and disservices. To explore the relationship between tr...
Article
Despite the great cultural and economic benefits associated with birdwatching and other bird-related cultural ecosystem services (CES), little is known about the bird-related CES and disservices perceived by people, and how they differ across stakeholders and species. The goal of this study was to explore CES and disservices across three stakeholde...
Article
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Broader realization of both increasing biodiversity loss and pressures on ecosystems worldwide has highlighted the importance of public perceptions of species and the subsequent motivations towards improving the status of natural systems. Several new proposals have arisen in reference to environmental learning, including mimicking popular gaming me...
Article
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Despite the scientific consensus, some people still remain skeptical about climate change. In fact, there is a growing partisan divide over the last decade within the United States in the support for climate policies. Given the same climate evidence, why do some people become concerned while others remain unconvinced? Here we propose a motivated at...
Article
The volume of solid waste has increased significantly in the past century, directly contributing to global environmental problems. Public engagement with waste sorting is crucial to the diversion of solid waste from landfill and the reduction of contamination in waste streams. The current study aims to promote recycling and composting accuracy via...
Preprint
Full-text available
Despite the great cultural and economic benefits associated with birdwatching and other bird-related cultural ecosystem services (CES), little is known about the bird-related CES perceived by people, and how they differ across stakeholder groups and species. The goal of this study was to explore CES across three stakeholder groups in northwestern C...
Article
Creating behavior change to mobilize transitions toward sustainability is a significant challenge of our time. Inspired by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s Farmer Field School, we developed a novel community-based education program to engage people in local sustainability topics. In the Sustainable Communities Field School (Fi...
Article
The cognitive system can flexibly update the representations of objects upon changes in the physical properties of the objects. Can the changes ripple to the representations of other associated objects that are not directly observable? We propose that statistical learning allows changes in one object to be automatically transferred to related objec...
Article
A remarkable ability of the cognitive system is to make novel inferences on the basis of prior experiences. What mechanism supports such inferences? We propose that statistical learning is a process through which transitive inferences of new associations are made between objects that have never been directly associated. After viewing a continuous s...
Article
Public festivals and events generate a tremendous amount of waste, especially when they involve food and drink. To reduce contamination across waste streams, we evaluated three types of interventions at a public event. In a randomized control trial, we examined the impact of volunteer staff assistance, bin tops, and sample 3D items with bin tops, o...
Article
The visual system is remarkably efficient at extracting regularities from the environment through statistical learning. While such extraction has extensive consequences on cognition, it is unclear how statistical learning shapes the representations of the individual objects that comprise the regularities. Here we examine how statistical learning al...
Chapter
Full-text available
Scarcity is the condition of having insufficient resources to cope with demands. This condition presents significant challenges to the human cognitive system. For example, having limited financial resources requires the meticulous calculation of expenses with respect to a budget. Likewise, having limited time requires the stringent management of sc...
Article
Recent research has studied how resource scarcity draws attention and creates cognitive load. As a result, scarcity improves some dimensions of cognitive function, while worsening others. Still, there remains a fundamental question: how does scarcity influence the content of cognition? In this article, we find that poor individuals (i.e., those fac...
Article
Binary information is prevalent in the environment and contains 2 distinct outcomes. Binary sequences consist of a mixture of alternation and repetition. Understanding how people perceive such sequences would contribute to a general theory of information processing. In this study, we examined how people process alternation and repetition in binary...
Conference Paper
Resource scarcity poses challenging demands on the cognitive system. Budgeting with limited resources induces an attentional focus on the problem at hand, but it also comes with a cost. Specifically, scarcity causes a failure to notice beneficial information in the environment, or remember to execute actions in the future, that help alleviate the c...
Article
We challenge the central idea proposed in Hulleman & Olivers (H&O) by arguing that the “item” is still useful for understanding visual search and for developing new theoretical frameworks. The “item” is a flexible unit that represents not only an individual object, but also a bundle of objects that are grouped based on prior knowledge. Uncovering h...
Article
Full-text available
Studies on attentional selection typically use unpredictable and meaningless stimuli, such as simple shapes and oriented lines. The assumption is that using these stimuli minimizes effects due to learning or prior knowledge, such that the task performance indexes a “pure” measure of the underlying cognitive ability. However, prior knowledge of the...
Article
Full-text available
A pervasive bias in the subjective concept of randomness is that people often expect random sequences to exhibit more alternations than produced by genuine random processes. What is less known is the stability of this bias. Here we examine two important aspects of the over-alternation bias: first, whether this bias is present in stimuli that vary a...
Data
Instruction page for the MC-IAT for Study 1 and 2. (PDF)
Data
Creative commons licenses for the pictures used in the MC-IAT of species and biomes in studies 1, 2 and 3. (PDF)
Article
Full-text available
Conservation of biodiversity is determined in part by human preferences. Preferences relevant to conservation have been examined largely via explicit measures (e.g., a self-reported degree of liking), with implicit measures (e.g., preconscious, automatic evaluations) receiving relatively less attention. This is the case despite psychological eviden...
Article
To address the drivers of biodiversity loss, conservation efforts must attend to public attitudes toward endangered species. Using sea otters as a species at risk, we examined how messaging shapes people’s attitudes toward this species. Participants viewed a message about sea otters that was either positive (sea otters as keystone species), negativ...
Article
Visual scenes contain information on both a local scale (e.g., a tree) and a global scale (e.g., a forest). The question of whether the visual system prioritizes local or global elements has been debated for over a century. Given that visual scenes often contain distinct individual objects, here we examine how regularities between individual object...
Article
The environment contains many different forms of regularities, such as repetitions (e.g., AAAA) and alternations (e.g., ABAB). While these simple forms of regularities have been studied heavily in the context of randomness perception, another type has received relatively less attention, which involves order (e.g., 12345). How does the visual system...
Article
Most natural systems are dynamic, involving a set of relationships among measurable quantities, where mathematical models describe how the quantities evolve over time. For example, water flow in the river and the number of fish in a lake both follow fixed mathematical rules. Thus, the challenge for the visual system is to integrate multiple sources...
Poster
Operating with limited resources induces an attentional focus on the task at hand, allowing efficient performance, but at the same time such focus may come with a cost. Specifically, scarcity may cause a failure to notice useful information in the environment, even if the information can alleviate the condition of scarcity. This neglect may arise a...
Article
The visual system can readily extract statistical relationships between objects over space and time. What is more remarkable is the ability to form new associations between objects that have never co-occurred before. What cognitive mechanisms support the formation of these new associations? Here we propose that statistical learning not only produce...
Article
Numerical information can be perceived at multiple levels (e.g., one bird, or a flock of birds). The level of input has typically been defined by explicit grouping cues, such as contours or connecting lines. Here we examine how regularities of object co-occurrences shape numerosity perception in the absence of explicit grouping cues. Participants e...
Article
The visual system is efficient at extracting a range of ensemble statistics. Most research has independently focused on the estimation of the number, the average, or the sum. Since these processes have been studied separately, their relationship is not well understood. Here we explore the interaction among numerosity, mean, and sum perception in on...
Article
Regularities are prevalent in many aspects of the environment. How does the visual system extract structured information from multiple sources? One possibility is that the visual system selectively focuses on one source. Alternatively, it may incorporate all sources to form a weighted representation of the regularities. To address this question, we...
Article
A hallmark of visual intelligence is the ability to extract relationships among objects. One form of extraction produces stimulus-specific knowledge (statistical learning). Another form produces stimulus-general principles (inductive learning). These two learning processes seem incompatible on the surface, but may be related on a deeper level. Here...
Article
Full-text available
The environment often is stable, but some aspects may change over time. The challenge for the visual system is to discover and flexibly adapt to the changes. We examined how attention is shifted in the presence of changes in the underlying structure of the environment. In six experiments, observers viewed four simultaneous streams of objects while...
Article
Full-text available
The cognition of randomness consists of perceptual and conceptual components. One might be able to discriminate random from nonrandom stimuli, yet be unable to identify which is which. In a series of experiments, we compare the ability to distinguish random from nonrandom stimuli to the accuracy with which given stimuli are identified as "random."...
Article
The poor are universally stigmatized. The stigma of poverty includes being perceived as incompetent and feeling shunned and disrespected. It can lead to cognitive distancing, diminish cognitive performance, and cause the poor to forego beneficial programs. In the present research, we examined how self-affirmation can mitigate the stigma of poverty...
Article
Wicherts and Scholten criticized our study on statistical and psychometric grounds. We show that (i) using a continuous income variable, the interaction between income, and experimental manipulation remains reliable across our experiments; (ii) our results in the cognitive control task do not appear driven by ceiling effects; and (iii) our observed...
Article
The poor often behave in less capable ways, which can further perpetuate poverty. We hypothesize that poverty directly impedes cognitive function and present two studies that test this hypothesis. First, we experimentally induced thoughts about finances and found that this reduces cognitive performance among poor but not in well-off participants. S...
Article
Given a prior distribution over a finite outcome space, how is the distribution updated when one outcome is excluded (i.e., assigned probability 0)? We describe two experiments in which estimated probabilities seem to stick to salient events. The probabilities of such events remain relatively invariant through updating. Our results suggest that the...

Citations

... It is a well appreciated fact that smaller fragments are much more difficult to remediate in mitigation efforts which, on that account, eventually become financially burdensome. The more obvious larger pieces entangle and entrap wildlife while ingestion by living organisms eventually sickens and kills them [23][24]. ...
... For instance, needs for relatedness and competence can be leveraged to shift behavior incrementally towards social norms (161). Recent work has also explored how such individual actions might scale up to produce transformative change (162). Furthermore, relatedness and pleasure promotion can be harnessed to develop transformative environmental movement leaders (76). ...
... Como lo demuestran diversas investigaciones (Sachdeva et al., 2021;Daryanto et al., 2022;Alla et al., 2020), la pandemia por COVID-19 ha expuesto una serie de efectos colaterales que requieren de intervenciones inmediatas que involucren cambios activos en los estilos de vida y actitudes a favor de la conservación del ambiente como medio para promover la resiliencia de las ciudades ante diversas crisis de salud tanto pública como ecológica (Ramkissoon, 2020). Con la presente investigación se reafirma que las investigaciones sobre ambiente y comportamiento humano ofrecen un potencial teórico, empírico y metodológico útil para promover evaluaciones e intervenciones de bajo costo y con impacto a favor de la promoción de una cultura de la sustentabilidad (Martínez-Soto, 2017). ...
... Presenting scientific findings in a discipline-specific, complex matter can trigger feelings of reactance in the audience, and make them feel overwhelmed, unmotivated and helpless [103]. Drawing on evidence from psychology and environmental communication research, tailoring communication can counteract the influence of cognitive biases (for an overview, see [104] or Zhao & Luo [105]). We recommend adapting the communication technique to local preferences and using methods to enhance understanding such as visualizations or maps [106]. ...
... Nudges improve consumer welfare via encouragements rather than mandates, and have been suggested as ways of promoting safer gambling by academics [3][4][5][6], and several gambling nudge field trials have now been run in the United Kingdom (UK) by the Behavioural Insights Team [7,8]. Behavioural scientists have also recently highlighted the risk of 'sludge': attempts to profit by encouraging consumers to act against their own best interests [9][10][11][12]; a term synonymous with what has previously been called a 'dark nudge' [13]. ...
... Research has also shown that the perceived communicative and empathic ability of a given animal is positively correlated with the phylogenetic relatedness to humans [59]. Similarly, in a large sample of participants in the United States, Callahan et al. [60] revealed that mammals were ranked highest among traits characterized as cognitive and emotive, followed by birds, reptiles, amphibians, and then fish. Based on this literature, and the proposed connections between yawn contagion and empathy or emotional contagion [61,62], we predicted that interspecific contagious yawning in humans would be higher in response to species that were more closely related (apes > non-primate mammals > reptiles and birds > amphibians > fish). ...
... A new lifespan perspective recently has been proposed that highlights the cognitive, motivational, and environmental resource considerations for novel skill learning across the lifespan (Wu et al., 2017;Wu et al., 2021;Wu & Strickland-Hughes, 2019). This perspective seeks to highlight the conditions that facilitate novel skill learning earlier in the lifespan and contrast them with the conditions that hinder novel skill learning later in the lifespan. ...
... For example, when participants were primed with backstories before seeing a visualization, the features mentioned in the backstories were perceived as more visually salient [87]. People can also be biased by their beliefs when looking at visualizations [50,51]. Those who do not believe in climate change tend to look more at the flat sections, confirming their thoughts on climate change. ...
... But often these efforts are still focussed on the behaviours, or even attitudes, of individuals, and neglect the dynamic social cues that are essential for behaviour change to occur throughout a population (Prentice & Paluck, 2020;Ernstson, 2011). Another body of literature examining the collective, group-level, or relational, processes through which societies change (Prentice & Paluck, 2020) has been largely absent from conservation science (Carignano Torres et al., 2021;Naito, Zhao & Chan, 2021). This perspective emphasises the ways in which individuals interact and communicate with one another to arrive at shared understandings, or social norms, which shape their behaviour (Schultz et al., 2016;Prentice & Paluck, 2020;Miller & Prentice, 2016). ...
... Human activity results in the spatial aggregation of ecological communities throughout the urban environment (Cox et al., 2018;G amez & Harris, 2021). Similarly, in non-urban areas, birds with desirable traits are often spatially associated with certain environmental features of the landscape (Echeverri et al., 2021). As a result, human-wildlife interactions in cities are influenced by spatially and environmentally structured differences that determine which bird species are found where (Schell et al., 2020), and by extension, who interacts with particular groups of wildlife species or traits (Lopez et al., 2020). ...