Instructor: Xun Zhu
Dr. Xun Zhu is a communication scientist who studies the role of persuasive communication in creating, perpetuating, and transforming socially shared beliefs such as collective norms and public stigma. He is particularly interested in the means by which persuasive messages propagate within a social system through peer-to-peer sharing. Three questions are central to his research program: Why do some persuasive messages spread widely in a social system, while others do not? How do the structural characteristics of a social network and people's positions in it facilitate or inhibit the peer-to-peer sharing of persuasive messages? What can be done to promote the sharing of messages that lead to positive outcomes or to constrain the spread of messages that cause noxious ones? Dr. Zhu uses quantitative methods to test theories on communication and social influence.
Dr. Zhu is currently leading two research projects. The first project examines what social dynamics generate public perceptions of unmanned aerial systems (aka. drones). The second project explores the communicative processes in which people re-evaluate message validity. He is interested in working with enthusiastic graduate and undergraduate students who are curious about quantitative communication research.