Ahra Ko

Social Psychologist

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I am interested in (a) how environments and cultures calibrate our goals and motivational priorities, (b) how our goals and motivational priorities calibrate the way we perceive opportunities and threats afforded by environments and cultures, and (c) how these, in turn, calibrate our social thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

My conceptual framework integrates an understanding of fundamental social motives with an affordance management approach to human psychology, in which people seek to identify and manage the opportunities and threats they encounter. Integrating these approaches provides a nuanced way of understanding a wide range of social phenomena, including the ways in which our motivations and environments interact to shape how we come to understand ourselves and others at cross-cultural, between-individual, and within-individual levels.


Employment

Research Project Manager | Behavior Change for Good initiative
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA | 2023 -

education

Ph.D. Social Psychology, Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ | 2017 - 2023
M.A. Social and Personality Psychology, Yonsei University
Seoul, South Korea | 2015 - 2017
B.A. Psychology & Cognitive Science, Yonsei University
Seoul, South Korea | 2011 - 2015

Honor & Award

Faculty Women’s Association Distinguished Graduate Student Award, ASU
2022
Outstanding Research Award, ASU Graduate and Professional Student Association
2022
Darwyn and Marie Linder Graduate Fellowship, Department of Psychology, ASU
2022
Graduate Outstanding Research Award, The Society for Personality and Social Psychology
2020
The College Graduate Excellence Award, ASU
2018, 2020, 2022
JumpStart Seed Research Grant, ASU Graduate and Professional Student Association
2018
Research Excellence Award, Department of Psychology, ASU
2017
Brain Korea 21+ Scholarship, Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning
2015-2017

paper published & invited revision

10. Ko, A., Neuberg, S. L., Pick, C. M., Varnum, M. E. W., & Becker, D. V. (in press). Responses to political partisans are shaped by a COVID-sensitive disease avoidance psychology: A longitudinal investigation of functional flexibility. American Psychologist. [Preprint] | [OSF]

09. Ko, A., Bock, J. E., Ko, J., & Krems, J. A. (2023). Contagious or prosocial? Perceptions of mask-wearers toward Whites and Asians: A cross-cultural comparison during the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 17(11), e12880. [Paper] | [OSF]

08. Ko, A., Suh, E. M., Shin, J., & Neuberg, S. L. (2023). Functionally calibrating life satisfaction: The case of mating motives and self-perceived mate value. Journal of Happiness Studies, 24(2), 651-675. [Paper]

07. Pick, C. M., Ko, A., Wormley, A. S., Wiezel, A., Kenrick, D. T., … & Varnum, M. E. W. (2022). Family still matters: Human social motivation during a global pandemic. Evolution and Human Behavior, 43(6), 527-535. [Paper] | [OSF]

06. Pick, C. M., Ko, A., Kenrick, D. T., … & Varnum, M. E. W. (2022). Fundamental social motives measured across forty-two cultures in two waves. Scientific Data, 9(1), 1-12. [Paper] | [OSF]

05. Barlev, M., Ko, A., Krems, J. A., & Neuberg, S. L. (2022). Weight location moderates weight-based self-devaluation and perceived social devaluation in women. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 19485506211060724. [Paper] | [OSF]

04. Krems, J. A., Ko, A., Moon, J. W., & Varnum, M. E. W. (2021). Sexually unrestricted women are perceived as having low self-esteem: First evidence for a pervasive, robust (but unfounded) stereotype. Psychological Science, 32(6), 871-889. [Paper] | [OSF]

03. Ko, A., Pick, C. M., Kwon, J. Y., Barlev, M., Krems, J. A., Varnum, M. E., ... & Kenrick, D. T. (2020). Family matters: Rethinking the psychology of human social motivation. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 15(1), 173-201. [Paper] | [OSF]

02. Becker, D. V., Rheem, H., Pick, C. M., Ko, A., & Lafko, S. R. (2019). Angry faces hold attention: Evidence of attentional adhesion in two paradigms. Progress in Brain Research, 247. [Paper]

01. Ko, A., & Suh, E. M. (2019). Does physical attractiveness buy happiness? Women’s mating motivation and happiness. Motivation and Emotion, 43(1), 1–11. [Paper]

paper SUBMITTED & IN PREPARATION

04. Kirsch, A., Kenrick, D. T., Ko, A. , Pick, C. M., & Varnum, M. E. W. (submitted) Sibling aggression is surprisingly common and sexually egalitarian.

03. Ko, A. & Neuberg, S. L. (paper fully drafted) Ecological affordances: What they are, and how people manage them, differs by life stage.

02. Ko, A., Becker, D. V., & Neuberg, S. L. (five datasets collected and being analyzed) How do people judge diversity and fairness?

01. Ko, A. & Neuberg, S. L. (six-wave longitudinal panel data collected and being analyzed) Intrapersonal calibration of motivations.

Conference

Symposium Organizing

“Human values: An integrative perspective” (October, 2023). Society of Experimental Social Psychology, Madison, Wisconsin.
Speakers: Ahra Ko, Daniel Sznycer, Joshua Jackson, Igor Grossmann.

Chair, "COVID, Disease Psychology, and Politics" (June, 2022). Human Behavior & Evolution Society Conference, Virtual.
Speakers: Ahra Ko, Michael Bang Peterson, Lene Aarøe, Lei Fan.

Co-chair, "The Invisible Hand of Family: Why and How Kin Matter" (February, 2020). Society for Personality and Social Psychology Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Speakers: Ahra Ko, Debra Lieberman, Oliver Sng, Jonathan Scultz.

Travel Award

Group Travel Grant, ASU Graduate and Professional Student Association
2022
The Graduate College Travel Award, ASU Graduate College
2022 Spring, Fall
Family Care Grant, The Society for Personality and Social Psychology
2022
Graduate Travel Award, The Society for Personality and Social Psychology
2019
Individual Travel Grant, ASU Graduate and Professional Student Association
2017, 18, 19, 20, 22

Paper Presentation & Talk

13. Ko, A., Duckworth, A. L., & Milkman, K. L. (February, 2024). A 140,000-teacher megastudy of email nudges to encourage math progress. Paper presentation at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference, San Diego, California.

12. Ko, A., Pick, C. M., Varnum, M. E. W., & Kenrick, D. T. (October, 2023). Valuing motives: A cross-cultural analysis of fundamental social motives in 42 countries before and during the pandemic. Paper presentation at the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, Madison, Wisconsin.

11. Ko, A., Pick, C. M., Varnum, M. E. W., Becker, D. V., & Neuberg, S. L. (June, 2022). Responses to partisans are calibrated by a COVID-sensitive behavioral immune system. Paper presentation at the Human Behavior & Evolution Society Conference, Virtual.

10. Kirsch, A., Kenrick, D. T., Ko, A., Pick, C. M., & Varnum, M. E. W. (June, 2022) Differences in aggression among kin and non-kin. Paper presentation at the Human Behavior & Evolution Society Conference, Virtual.

09. Cohen, A. B., Moon, J. W., & Ko, A. (May, 2022). Individual differences and ecological influences interact to predict anti-atheist prejudice. P aper presentation at APS Annual Conference, Chicago, Illinois.

08. Kirsch, A., Kenrick, D. T., Ko, A., Pick, C. M., & Varnum, M. E. W. (April, 2022) Differences in aggression among kin and non-kin. Paper presentation at the Northeastern Evolutionary Psychology Society.

07. Ko, A., Pick, C. M., Varnum, M. E. W., Becker, D. V., & Neuberg, S. L. (February, 2022). Threat-based antipathy toward Republicans is calibrated within individuals by a disease psychology sensitive to COVID cases. Data presentation at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference, San Francisco, California.

06. Bock, J., Ko, A., & Krems, J. A. (February, 2021). Explicit and implicit evaluations of mask-wearers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Paper presentation at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference.

05. Ko, A., Pick, C. M., Kwon, J., Barlev, M., Krems, J. A., Varnum, M. E. W., & Kenrick, D. T. (February, 2020). Family matters: Rethinking the psychology of human social motivation. Paper presentation at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference, New Orleans, Louisiana.

04. Krems, J. A., Ko, A., Moon, J. W., & Varnum, M. E. W. (October, 2019). Sexually unrestricted women are perceived as having low self-esteem: First evidence for a pervasive persistent, robust (but unfounded) stereotype. Paper presentation at the annual meeting of the Society for Experimental Social Psychology, Toronto, Canada.

03. Ko, A., Suh, E. M., Shin, J., & Neuberg, S. L. (May, 2019). Functionally calibrating life satisfaction: The case of mating motives and self-perceived mate value. Paper presentation at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society, Boston, Massachusetts.

02. Ko, A., & Suh, E. M. (August, 2016). Self-perceived mate value and happiness. Paper presentation at the International Society for Quality of Life Research conference, Seoul, South Korea.

01. Shin, J., Suh., E. M., Kim, J., & Ko, A. (May, 2015). Romantic motives make the relative aspects of happiness salient. Paper presentation at Korea Social and Personality Psychological Association conference, Seoul, South Korea.

Poster Presentation

13. Palo A., Ko, A., & Neuberg, S. N. (April, 2023) Punishing good outcomes & punishing good intentions: Contrasting punishment decisions made by direct recipients vs. third-party observers. Poster presented at Arizona Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference (AZPURC).
[Third Best Poster Award]

12. Sabree, K., Ko, A., Neuberg, S. N., & Kenrick, D. T. (April, 2021) Are you my father? Paternal uncertainty and genetic testing. Poster presented at Arizona Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference (AZPURC), Virtual.

11. Ko, A., Becker, D.V., & Neuberg, S.L. (February, 2021). Is AAAB more diverse than ABBB? On judging diversity. Poster presentation at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference.

10. Rheem, H., Ko, A., & Becker, D. V. (November, 2019). Conflict evoked by counter-stereotypical implicit associations is processed by the conflict monitoring mechanism like Stroop stimuli. Poster presentation at the Psychonomic Society conference, Montréal, Québec, CA.

09. Defelipe, R. P., Crispim, A. C., Ferreira, J. H. B. P., Varella, M. A. C., Valentova, J. V., Varnum, M. E W., Pick, C. M., Ko, A., & Kenrick, D. T. (September, 2019). Reproductive effort as the best predictor of life satisfaction: Evidence from a Brazilian sample. Poster presented at the meeting of the International Society for Human Ethology, Zadar, Croatia.

08. Ko, A., Suh, E. M., & Neuberg, S. L. (January, 2019) Is life satisfaction calibrated by self-perceived mate value? Poster presentation at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference, Portland, Oregon.

07. Ko, A., Suh, E.M., & Neuberg, S.L. (July, 2018) Is life satisfaction calibrated by self-perceived mate value? Poster presentation at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society conference, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

06. Ko, A., Suh, E.M., & Neuberg, S.L. (March, 2018) Q: Is happiness predicted by self-perceived mate value? A: Am I a man or a woman? Poster presentation at Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference, Atlanta, GA.

05. Ko, A., Kim, E., & Suh, E.M. (January, 2017). Sex differences in self-perceived mate value and happiness. Poster presentation at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference, San Antonio, TX.

04. Kim, E., Song, Y., Ko, A., & Suh, E.M. (January, 2017). The relationship between fetal testosterone (digit ratio) and happiness. Poster presentation at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference, San Antonio, TX.

03. Ko, A., Kim, E., & Suh, E.M. (January, 2016). Women’s hormonal fluctuation and happiness judgment: physical attractiveness matters more during high fertility phase. Poster presentation at Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference, San Diego, CA.

02. Kim, E., Ko, A., & Suh, E.M. (January, 2016). Incremental theory of physical attractiveness and happiness among Koreans. Poster presentation at Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference, San Diego, CA.

01. Shin, J., Suh., E.M., Kim, J., & Ko, A. (January, 2016). Romantic motives make the relative aspects of happiness salient. Poster presentation at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference, San Diego, CA.