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Sonya Xinyue Xiao

Assistant Professor
Northern Arizona University


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Family and Human Development ( Arizona State University )

Discipline Area

Social & Behavioral Sciences

Societal Priority

Children, Youth, & Families

Social Category Focus

Gender, Sexuality, & Sexual Orientation;Race & Ethnicity;Social Class & Socioeconomic Status


Sonya Xinyue Xiao is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Northern Arizona University. She was a former school teacher in China, where she grew up. After coming to the U.S., she earned a M.S. in Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University and a Ph.D. in Family and Human Development at Arizona State University. She is a developmental scientist studying the development of prosocial behavior, positive intergroup attitudes, behaviors, and relations (with a focus on gender and race/ethnicity) during childhood and adolescence. Her goal goal is to understand and generate solutions to promote kindness, inclusion, and justice during development. She also has interests in measurement and statistics to answer these research questions more accurately.

Current Work

Dr. Xiao’s primary program of research is focuses on the role of parents, peers, individual characteristics, as well as the environment in relation to prosocial moral behavior and intergroup attitudes and relations among youths from diverse backgrounds. Currently, she is investigating how early adolescents’ multiple intersecting identities in gender and race/ethnicity are related their prosocial behavior toward diverse others over time, with youth from diverse ethnic racial backgrounds. She also plans to investigate the psycho, social, and academic benefits of intergroup prosocial behavior especially considering youth’s positionality and the context.

Research Area Keyword(s)

Prosocial moral development; Social identities and positions; Group-based peer relations; Group-based attitudes; Gender, race/ethnicity