Assistant Professor of Psychology
Ph.D., B.S., Nankai University, China
Office hours: By appointment
Office: Administration Building, Room 420-A
I joined the Psychology Department of Emmanuel College in the fall of 2010. Before joining Emmanuel, I served as a visiting assistant professor of psychology at Colgate University (2009-2010), and as a visiting lecturer of psychology at the University of Richmond (2008-2009). I hold a B.S. as well as a Ph.D. in physics from Nankai University in China and completed post doctorate training in cognitive psychology and psycholinguistics at the University of Richmond.
The primary and most important goal in my teaching is to create a positive learning environment for students. As a teacher, it is my job to foster and inspire the student's thirst for knowledge. In my class, I use a variety of teaching methods, including class exercises, mini psychology experiments, videos and group activities to keep topics interesting. I also try to incorporate a sense of humor in my class. I have discovered that there is no more effective way than a hearty laugh to keep a student's mind in a fresh state, and my students often appreciate my efforts very much.
Although I am sympathetic to the difficulties of individual students, I am also a serious teacher. I expect my students to understand not only the fundamental theories and methodologies in the discipline of psychology, but also the inner logic of the knowledge contained in the discipline and how to apply textbook knowledge to substantive research and real life. Besides providing high‐quality lectures in class, I always make myself available outside of the classroom through office hours, appointments, phone contact and emails. I try my best not to leave any student behind and not to let anyone feel left out. I encourage students to talk to me inside and outside the classroom. It is my belief that one‐on‐one talk and tutoring are the most effective ways to improve a student's academic performance.
I taught and have been teaching a variety of courses covering wide range of psychology, including courses at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level. These courses include Introduction to Psychology, Human Cognition, Quantitative Methods in Psychology, Research Methods in Psychology, Psycholinguistics, Advanced Statistics and Research Design, and Multivariate Statistics. In the future, I look forward to applying my skills to an expanded array of advanced topics that are intimately related to my research such as Experimental Psychology, Cognitive neuroscience, Learning and Memory, and Computational Modeling of Cognition.
As a cognitive psychologist, I have primary research interests in cognitive development (particularly language development), knowledge representation, and bilingualism. Specifically, I am interested in many intriguing phenomena in the language learning of children, such as vocabulary spurts and individual developmental differences. I also concentrate my research on language acquisition and lexical development of bilinguals. I am particularly interested in how the two lexicons are developed in the bilingual's mind, and how they interact with each other.
Most recently, I have a strong interest in the large scale network structure of semantic representations. I pursue these research goals from an interdisciplinary approach, including experimental, theoretical and computational methods. I have conducted a series of studies related to these core interests and I have several publications on these topics in a number of prestigious journals and conference proceedings.
I am also a "computer guy," I always have enormous interests in using computer techniques in psychological studies. Neural network model has been an important research tool for me. I am also interested in developing computer tools or online databases to help researchers conducting their studies more effectively. Some of these tools are accessible through my website .
- PSYC2207 Quantitative Methods in Psychology
- PSYC3701 Research Methods in Psychology
- PSYC3111 Cognition
Computational Modeling Prize (1st Place, Language),
29th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society
Recent Publications and Presentations
Book Chapter (Invited and Peer-reviewed):
Li, P., & Zhao, X. (2011a). Connectionism. In C.A. Chapelle (ed.), The encyclopedia of applied linguistics (in press). Malden, MA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Li, P., & Zhao, X. (2011b). Connectionism. In M. Aronoff (ed.), Oxford Bibliographies Online: Linguistics (under review). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Li, P., & Zhao, X. (2009). Computational modeling of the expression of time. In The expression of time (pp. 241-271) . Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Peer-Reviewed Articles in Journals and Conference Proceedings:
Zhao, X., Li, P., Liu, Y., Fang, X., & Shu, H. (2011). Cross-Language Priming in Chinese-English Bilinguals with Different Second Language Proficiency Levels. In L. Carlson, C. Hölscher, & T. Shipley (Eds.), Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
Zhao, X., Li, P., & Kohonen, T. (2011). Contextual self-organizing map: Software for constructing semantic representation. Behavior Research Methods, 43, 77-88.
Zhao, X., & Li, P. (2010). Bilingual lexical interactions in an unsupervised neural network model. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 13. 505-524
Zhao, X., & Li, P. (2009a). Acquisition of aspect in self-organizing connectionist models. Linguistics: An Interdisciplinary Journal of the Language Sciences, 47. 1075-1112.
Zhao, X., & Li, P. (2009b). An online database of phnological representation for Mandarin Chinese. Behavioral Research Methods, 41. 575-583.
Zhao, X. & Li, P. (2008). Vocabulary development in English and Chinese: A comparative study with self-organizing neural networks. In B. C. Love, K. McRae, & V. M. Sloutsky (Eds.), Proceedings of the 30th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1900-1905). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
Liu, S., Zhao, X. & Li, P. (2008). Early lexical development: A corpus-based study of three languages. In B. C. Love, K. McRae, & V. M. Sloutsky (Eds.), Proceedings of the 30th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1343-1348). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
Zhao, X., & Li, P. (2007). Bilingual lexical representation in a self-organizing neural network. In D. S. McNamara & J. G. Trafton (Eds.), Proceedings of the 29th Annual Cognitive Science Society (pp. 759-760). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. (Computational Modeling Prize, 1st Place, Language)
Li, P., Zhao, X., & MacWhinney, B. (2007). Dynamic Self-Organization and children's word learning. Cognitive Science, 31. 581-612.
Li, P., Sepanski, S., & Zhao, X. (2006). Language history questionnaires: A web-based interface for bilingual research. Behavioral Research Methods. 38, 202-210.
Zhao, X., & Li, P. (2005). A self-organizing connectionist model of early word production. In Proceedings of the twenty-seventh annual conference of the cognitive science society, (pp. 2434-2439). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Zhao, X., Zhou, L., & Chen, T. (2004). Spatial and temporal behaviors in a modified evolution model based on small world networks. Commun. Theor. Phys., 42, 242-246.
Lin, M., Zhao, X., & Chen, T. (2004). A modified earthquake model of self-organized criticality on small world networks. Commun. Theor. Phys., 41, 557-560.
Zhao, X., Zhou, L., & Chen, T. (2003). Effects of different interactive function forms in a self-organized criticality model based on neural networks, Commun. Theor. Phys., 40, 607-613.
Zhao, X., & Chen, T. (2003). Different power law behaviors in different specific areas of a system based on neural networks, Commun. Theor. Phys., 40, 363-368.
Zhao, X., & Chen, T. (2002). Type of self-organized criticality model based on neural networks, Phys. Rev. E, 65, 026114.
Zhao, X., & Chen, T. (2001a). Self-organized criticality in a model based on neural networks, Commun. Theor. Phys., 36, 351-356.
Zhao, X., & Chen, T. (2001b). Self-organized criticality in Artificial Neural Network, in Proceeding of CCAST Workshop, 'complexity problems', 137, 111-122.