About me

I am a research staff member in IBM Research AI at T.J Watson Research Center. I work on human-AI interactions and spend most of my time thinking about how people talk to conversational agents (e.g. chatbot, virtual agents). I am also co-chairing the Professional Interest Community of human computer interaction and data visualization at IBM Research.

I did PhD in human-computer interaction in the Dept. of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I worked in the CASCADE Lab, advised by Professor Wai-Tat Fu. My PhD dissertation looked at how to design systems that "nudge" people to hear diverse opinions and "de-bias" users with biased beliefs. I received Master in Human Factors from the same university, and Bachelor degree in Industrial Engineering from Tsinghua University. I also did some great internships at IBM Research, PARC, and GESIS.

I consider myself a mixed-methods researcher, leveraging statistical and machine learning techniques, and qualitative user research to generate behavioral insights and recommendations for technology design.

I grew up in a Yangtze River city called Yichang and spent years in Beijing, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. I travel whenever I can. In my spare time, I enjoy long hikes in the mountains and fiction books.

What I am up to

I attended CHI 2018 and presented a paper on how users talked to a QA chatbot in the wild. Here is a video of the talk.

I will join a panel on new interaction modalities of AI at HCIC 2018.

I joined the organizing committee of IUI 2019!

I will be serving as an associate chair again for the "Understanding People" sub-committee of CHI 2019

Serving as an distinguished reviewer for ACM Transactions on Interactive Intelligent Sysmtems (TiiS)

Serving as an associate chair (AC) for CSCW 2018.

I attended IUI 2018 in Tokyo, presented our paper on dialog strategy, and served as a mentor for the Student Consortium. Had a lot of fun!

I joined the Program Committee of IJCAI 2018

I was recognized as an Excellent Reviewer for CHI 2017

I joined the Program Committee of AAAI 2018.

June 2018: HCIC in California

Q. Vera Liao

IBM TJ Watson Research Center
1101 Kitchawan Rd
Yorktown Heights, NY 10598

Vera [dot] Liao [at] ibm [dot] com

Selected Publications


All Work and no Play? Conversations with a Question-and-Answer Chatbot in the Wild
Q. Vera Liao, Muhammed Mas-ud Hussain, Praveen Chandar, Matthew Davis, Marco Crasso, Dakuo Wang , Michael Muller, N. Sadat Shami, Werner Geyer
CHI 2018: ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
The talk is online!

Face Value? Exploring the Effects of Embodiment for a Group Facilitation Agent
Ameneh Shamekhi , Q. Vera Liao, Dakuo Wang, Rachel Bellamy, Thomas Erickson
CHI 2018: ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

Towards an Optimal Dialog Strategy for Information Retrieval Using both Open-ended and Close-ended Questions
Yunfeng Zhang, Q. Vera Liao, Biplav Srivastava
IUI 2018: ACM International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces

The Central Role of Cognitive Computations in Human-Information Interaction
Wai-Tat Fu, Jessin Chin, Q. Vera Liao
Computational Interaction (Oulasvirta et al., editor)

Lessons from Designing and Studying a Conversational Agent for Group Facilitation
Q. Vera Liao, Ameneh Shamekhi, Dakuo Wang
CHI 2018 Workshop on Voice-based Conversational UX Studies and Design


What’s in it for me? Self-serving versus Other-oriented Framing in Messages Advocating use of Prosocial Peer-to-peer Services
Rajan Vaish, Q. Vera Liao (co-first author), Victoria Bellotti
International Journal of Human-Computer Studies

Leveraging Conversational Agent to Assist New Hires during Onboarding
Praveen Chandar, Yasaman Khazaeni, Matthew Davis, Michael Muller, Marco Crasso, Q. Vera Liao, N. Sadat Shami, Werner Geyer
INTERACT 2017: International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction

Exploring AI Values and Ethics through Participatory Design Fictions
Michael Muller, Q. Vera Liao
HCIC 2017: Design Futures

Tailoring Conversational UX through the Lens of Dialogue Complexity
Q. Vera Liao, Biplav Srivastava, Pavan Kapanipathi
CHI 2017 Workshop on Conversational UX Design

Human-Agent Collaborations in Meetings
Dakuo Wang, Q. Vera Liao, Rachel K.E. Bellamy, Thomas D. Erickson, Jason B. Ellis, Yunfeng Zhang, Bin Xu, Michael Muller
CSCW 2017 Workshop on Robots in Groups and Teams


#Snowden: Understanding Biases Introduced by Behavioral Differences of Opinion Groups on Social Media
Q. Vera Liao, Wai-Tat Fu, Markus Strohmaier
CHI 2016: ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

What Can You Do? Studying Social-Agent Orientation and Agent Proactive Interactions with an Agent for Employees
Q. Vera Liao, Matthew Davis, Werner Geyer, Michael Muller, N. Sadat Shami
DIS 2016: ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems

Improvising Harmony: Opportunities for Technologies to Support Crowd Orchestration
Q. Vera Liao, Victoria Bellotti, Michael Youngblood
GROUP 2016: ACM Conference on Supporting Group Work


Seeking Information Like Mr. Spock: Applying Persuasion Theories to the Design of Information Systems
Q. Vera Liao
"Boaster" for HCIC 2015 (work in progress, non-peer reviewed)

It Is All About Perspective: An Exploration of Mitigating Selective Exposure with Aspect Indicators
Q. Vera Liao, Wai-Tat Fu, Sri Shilpa Mamidi
CHI 2015: ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

Emerging Media to Promote Physical Activity: Understanding Exposure, Attention and Behavior Change from Psychological and Computational Perspectives
Dolores Albarracin, Vera Liao, Jessica Yi, Chengxiang Zhai
Sedentary Behavior and Health: Concepts, Assessment and Intervention (Weimo Zhu, editor)


Expert Voices in Echo Chambers: Effects of Source Expertise Indicators on Exposure to Diverse Opinions
Q. Vera Liao & Wai-Tat Fu
CHI 2014: ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
* Best Paper Award, Honorable Mention

Can You Hear Me Now? Mitigating the Echo Chamber Effect by Source Position Indicators
Q. Vera Liao & Wai-Tat Fu
CSCW 2014: ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing

Age Differences in Credibility Judgment of Online Health Information
Q. Vera Liao & Wai-Tat Fu
TOCHI journal: ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction


Beyond the Filter Bubble: Interactive Effects of Perceived Threat and Topic Involvement on Selective Exposure to Information
Q. Vera Liao & Wai-Tat Fu
CHI 2013: ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

Aggregating Personal Health Messages for Scalable Comparative Effectiveness Research
Jason Cho, Q. Vera Liao, Yunliang Jiang, Bruce Schatz
BCB HIS 2013: ACM Conference on Bioinformatics, Computational Biology and Biomedical Informatics


Understanding Experts’ and Novices’ Expertise Judgment of Twitter Users
Q. Vera Liao, Claudia Wagner, Peter Pirolli, Wai-Tat Fu
CHI 2012: ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

An ACT-R Model of Credibility Judgment of Micro-blogging Web Pages
Q. Vera Liao, Peter Pirolli, Wai-Tat Fu
ICCM 2012: International Conference on Cognitive Modeling

Designing and Evaluating a Clustering System for Organizing and Integrating Patient Drug Outcomes in Personal Health Messages
Yunliang Jiang, Q. Vera Liao, Qian Cheng, Richard Berlin, Bruce Schatz
AMIA 2012: Annual Symposium of the American Medical Informatics Association

It’s Not in Their Tweets: Modeling Topical Expertise of Twitter Users
Claudia Wagner, Q. Vera Liao, Peter Pirolli, Les Nelson, Markus Strohmaier
SocialCom 2012: ASE/IEEE International Conference on Social Computing

Information and Attitude Diffusion in Networks
Wai-Tat Fu & Q. Vera Liao
SBP 2012: International Conference on Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling and Prediction


Medtable™ An EMR-Based Tool to Support Collaborative Planning for Medication Use
Q. Vera Liao, Julian Chin, Stacey McKeever, Katie Kopren, Daniel Morrow, Katherine Davis, Elizabeth A.H. Wilson, Darren Kaiser, Michael Wolf, Thembi Conner-Garcia and James Graumlich
HFES 2011: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting 2011

Crowdsourcing Quality Control of Online Information: a Quality-based Cascade Model
Wai-Tat Fu & Q. Vera Liao
SBP 2011: International Conference on Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling and Prediction