Alex Van Zant


Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Wharton Risk Center

Contact information


Address: 3730 Walnut Street, Suite 500,  Philadelphia, PA 19104

Alex Van Zant is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His research considers both how individuals engage in strategic behaviors to manage the impressions they form on others and how those behaviors influence others’ decisions under uncertainty. Alex has examined how individuals convey certainty through verbal and nonverbal channels to manage the impressions they form on others, along with how they make decisions about whether to deceive others for economic gain. He has also explored how people are influenced by strategic nonverbal behaviors, their responses to trust violations, and the impact of leaders’ justifications for policies on individuals’ support for those policies.

At the Risk Center, Alex will work on research about how risk and uncertainty can provide a motive for expert advisors to convey a high degree of certainty in the accuracy of their judgment—even to the point where they engage in deliberate exaggerations. He will also conduct a separate stream of research on how public leaders’ use of moral appeals can increase public support for policies and increase individuals’ willingness to take action to promote those policies.

Alex received a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, where he double-majored in Economics and Psychology. He also holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, where he specialized in Organizational Behavior.


Van Zant, A. B., & Moore, D. A. (2015). Leaders’ use of moral justifications increases policy support. Psychological Science, 26(6), 934-943. [pdf]

Haselhuhn, M. P., Kennedy, J. A., Kray, L. J., Van Zant, A. B. , & Schweitzer, M. E. (2015). Gender differences in trust dynamics: Women trust more than men following a trust violation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 56(1), 104-109. [pdf]

Kray, L. J., Kennedy, J. A., & Van Zant, A. B. (2014). Not competent enough to know the difference? Gender stereotypes about women’s ease of being misled predict negotiator deception. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 125(2), 61-72. [pdf]

Van Zant, A. B., & Kray, L. J. (2014). “I can’t lie to your face”: Minimal face-to-face interaction promotes honesty. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 55(1), 234-238. [pdf]

Van Zant, A. B., & Moore, D. A. (2013). Avoiding the pitfalls of overconfidence while benefiting from the advantages of confidence. California Management Review, 55(2), 5-23. [pdf]

Kray, L. J., Locke, C. C., & Van Zant, A. B. (2012). Feminine charm: An experimental analysis of its costs and benefits in negotiations. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38(10), 1343-1357. [pdf]


Van Zant, A. B., & Kray, L. J. (in press). Negotiation and conflict resolution: A behavioral decision research perspective. In G. Wu & G. Keren (Eds.), Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Judgment and Decision Making. [pdf]