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Wang Liao


  • Ph.D., Communication, Cornell University, 2018
  • M.S., Communication, Cornell University, 2015
  • M.A., New Media Studies, Tsinghua University, China, 2012
  • B.A., Advertising, Xiamen University, China, 2009


I study human sociality and everyday communication practices, and how they jointly organize the social structures and orders in daily life. My current interests lay on two broad issues: solidarity and hierarchy in interpersonal and group processes. The modulation of communication technologies over these processes are also interesting to me. To tackle these issues, I rely on quantitively methods ranging from lab experiments to analyses of large-scale observational data in online and offline environments. 

Research Focus

My work addresses the roles that communication plays in the micro-macro links between human sociality and social structures. Currently, I am working on the following projects: 

  • Social influence and status organizing in collaborative interactions, with a focus on affective experience and attention to social versus task objects.
  • Formation and spread of arbitrary status beliefs (e.g., the heuristic that races differ in capacities) in artificially created online collectives.
  • Daily routines of "social media crowds" (e.g., football fans' tweeting behaviors), particularly the effects of intergroup competition and the social sharing of emotion on the building of solidarity through "interaction rituals."
  • Human interaction with non-human objects (e.g., chatbot) regarding the the perception and communication of agency (goal) and experience (empathy), as well as detecting other dimensions of such interactions.

I am also interested in broader questions such as: Do social exchange patterns among community members affects the cooperation for greater goods within and beyond communities? How can dynamics of interpersonal communication bridge our innate tendency for ranking ordering (e.g., dominance-submission, lead- follow) with the establishment of social hierarchy? Does individuals’ emotion expression self-organize in ways that facilitate or impede group processes and functioning? More fundamentally, is communication a causal agent in the social structures and dynamics revolving around our daily life?

Selected Publications

Liao, W., Bazarova, N. N., & Yuan, Y. C. (2018). Unpacking medium effects on social psychological processes in computer-mediated communication using the social relations model. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 23, 90-106. doi: 10.1093/jcmc/zmy002

Margolin, D. & Liao, W. (2018) The emotional antecedents of solidarity in social media crowds. New Media & Society. doi:10.1177/1461444818758702

Liao, W., McComas, K. A., & Yuan, Y. C. (2017). The influence of unrestricted information exchange on willingness to share information with outsiders. Human Communication Research, 43, 256–275. doi:10.1111/hcre.12104

Thoemmes, F., Liao, W., & Jin, Z. (2017). The analysis of the regression-discontinuity design in R. Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, 42, 341-360. doi:10. 3102/1076998616680587

Liao, W., Bazarova, N. N., & Yuan, Y. C. (2016). Expertise judgment and communica- tion accommodation in linguistic styles in computer-mediated and face-to-face groups. Communication Research. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/0093650215626974

Liao, W., Yuan, Y. C., & McComas, K. A. (2016). Communal risk information sharing: motivations behind voluntary information sharing for reducing interdependent risks in a community. Communication Research. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/ 0093650215626981 Teaching


I teach CMN130 (Group Communication) and CMN244 (Organizational Communication) in the 2018-2019 academic year.