As a behavioral scientist and social psychologist, I study why people come to do the things they do. My primary area of research is social psychology and the interplay of psychology and economics. My program of research is founded on the belief that psychology could contribute to long-lasting behavior change if we understand group-based dynamics in today’s world of interconnection and inequality. Specifically, I employ classic and emerging methods and theories to investigate: 1) group influence in long-lasting behavioral and attitudinal changes, and 2) decisions and perceptions in response to inequality and hierarchy.

Some of my current research questions ask: How do group dynamics influence individual behavior and attitudes? How do we use psychological tools to nudge people into adopting more desirable behavior? What’s the impact of resource scarcity and disparity on people’s decision processes and psychological outcomes?

I’m a broad thinker, and also an active promoter of interdisciplinary collaborations. In the meantime, I keenly follow the Lewinian tradition of being a practical theorist.


Group dynamics, Social influence, and Behavioral change

Wu, S. J., & Paluck, E. L. (working paper). Lewin at work: Increasing productivity through group influence.

Registration and data code files on OSF

Wu, S. J., & Paluck, E. L. (working paper). The effects of participatory meetings on general attitudes toward authority and justice.

Registration and data code files on OSF

Wu, S. J., & Paluck, E. L. (under reivew). Translating nudges: Golden coins and workplace behavior in China.

Registration on OSF

Project in progress (Data collection completed): Increasing productivity and morale at work: A proposal at Princeton (with Betsy Levy Paluck).  

Registration on OSF

Project in progress: Celebrity media influence and charitable giving (with Dave Rand, Betsy Levy Paluck, Robin Gomila, Zivvy Epstein).

Registration on OSF

Decision-making and Social Perceptions, in Response to Inequality

Project in progress: Scarcity and mind wandering (with Eldar Shafir, Shai Davidai, Nathan Cheek).


Wu., S. J., Bai, X., & Fiske, S. T. (2018). Admired rich or resented rich? How two cultures vary in envy. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 49(7), 1114-1143.

Data and study materials

Paluck, E. L., Shafir, E., & Wu, S. J. (2017). Ignoring alarming news brings indifference: Learning about the world and the self. Cognition, 167, 160-171.

Replication code: Study OneOne-aTwoThree.

Duan, J., Wu, S. J.*, & Sun, L. (2017). Do the powerful discount the future less? The effects of power on temporal discounting. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 1007. (*corresponding author)


Duan, J., Wu, S. J.*, & Xu, T. (under review). Differential effects of power and status on advice-taking behavior.


Wu., S. J., & Coman, A. (in prep). Using the past to understand the present: The case for case-based reasoning.



Gantman, A., Gomila, R., Martinez, J. E., Matias, J. N., Paluck, E. L., Starck, J., Wu, S. J.*, & Yaffe, N. (2018). A pragmatic philosophy of psychological science and its implications for replication: Commentary on Zwaan et al. Brain and Behavioral Sciences, 41. (*authorship in alphabetical order)