Karen Wu

College of Natural and Social Sciences
Department of Psychology
Office KH




My research focuses on culture and interpersonal relationships, including topics such as human mate selection, intergroup romantic relations, and relationship dynamics across cultures. Although my formal training is in social and personality psychology, I have a variety of research interests and enjoy multidisciplinary research. One of our lab's current projects is Inscripta.net, a site through which people who have previously purchased genotyping services (i.e., from 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or FamilyTreeDNA) can upload their genetic data and complete a survey in exchange for gene-based feedback on personal qualities, such as prosociality and relationship success. Please visit the Culture and Relationships Lab for an overview of our current projects. My publications can be accessed here

I also love to write in my free time and recently started blogging for Psychology Today. My blog, The Modern Heart, focuses on one of my favorite topics -- love.


Interpersonal relationships; intergroup relations; cross-cultural psychology; culture and ethnicity; stereotypes and prejudice; body image; attraction; human mate selection; behavioral genetics; personality and individual differences; cat-human relationships; social exclusion


Research Methods; Multicultural Psychology; Cross-cultural Psychology; Interpersonal Relationships; Social Psychology; Psychology of Gender; Human Sexuality


  • PSY 3040 – Research Methods
  • PSY 3220 – Social Psychology
  • PSY 4190 – Psychology of Gender
  • PSY 4650 – Multicultural Psychology
  • PSY 5020 - Introduction to Graduate Studies in Psychology
  • PSY 5650 - Graduate Seminar in Multicultural and Cross-cultural Psychology


Wu, K., & Bamishigbin, O. (In press). Ignorance is not always bliss: A qualitative study of young adults’ experiences with being ghosted. Personal Relationships.

Wu, K., & Bamishigbin, O. (2023). When silence speaks louder than words: Exploring the experiences and attitudes of ghosters. Personal Relationships. https://doi.org/10.1111/pere.12518

Wu, K., & Chen, C, & Yu, Z. (2022). Handsome or rugged? A speed-dating study of ovulatory shifts in women’s preferences for masculinity in men. Human Nature, 33, 380-399. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12110-022-09434-y

Wu, K. (2022). “I just think Asian men aren’t sexy!”: Race, class, gender,  sexuality and the devaluing of Asian Men. In S.M. McClure & C.A. Harris (Eds.), Getting Real About Inequality: Intersections IRL (In Real Life). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Wu, K., & Chen, C. (2021). A level playing field: No competitive advantage of conception risk in speed-dating. Ethology, 127, 1074-1083. https://doi.org/10.1111/eth.13231

Wu, K., Chen, C, Greenberger, E., Wang, Y., Xiu, D., Liu, B., Chen, C., Li, J., Chen, W., & Dong, Q. (2020). No need for pedestals: Idealization does not predict better relationships among Asians. Personal Relationships, 27, 336-365. https://doi.org/10.1111/pere.12317

Wu, K., Chen, C., & Greenberger, E. (2018). A rosier reality: Incongruency in stated and revealed ingroup preferences among young Asian American speed-daters. Social Psychology Quarterly, 81, 340-360. https://doi.org/10.1177/0190272518788860

Wu, K., Chen, C., & Greenberger, E. (2018). Nice guys and gals can finish first: Personality and speed-dating success among Asian Americans. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. 36, 2507-2527. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0265407518790103

Wu, K., Chen, C., Moyzis, R.K., Nuno, M., Yu, Z., & Greenberger, E. (2018). More than skin deep: Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC)-Based mate preferences among Asian American speed-daters. Evolution and Human Behavior, 39, 447-456. 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2018.04.001

Wu, K., Chen, C, & Greenberger, E. (2016). Depressive symptoms moderate the effect of partner-feedback on relationship quality among college couples. Personal Relationships, 23, 577-590. 10.1111/pere.12144

Wu, K., Chen, C., Moyzis, R.K., Greenberger, E, & Yu, Z. (2016). Gender interacts with the opioid receptor A118G polymorphism and the serotonin receptor -1438A/G polymorphism on speed-dating success. Human Nature, 27, 244-260. 10.1007/s12110-016-9257-8

Wu, K., Chen, C., & Greenberger, E. (2015).The sweetness of forbidden fruit: Interracial daters are more attractive than intraracial daters. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 32, 650-666. 10.1177/0265407514541074


Wu, K. (2023, September 4). 8 common experiences of ghosters. Psychology Today.                                                    

Wu, K. (2022, December 27). Do fertile women prefer more masculine men? Psychology Today. 

Wu, K. (2021, November 24). Are men really more attracted to fertile women? Psychology Today.                                                      

Wu, K. (2020, July 19). Idealization is unnecessary in romantic relationships. Psychology Today.                                               

Wu, K. (2019, March 26). Not everyone loves a narcissist. Psychology Today.

Wu, K. (2018, February 5). 4 Ways Our Brains Fool Us When It Comes to Love. Psychology Today.

Wu, K. (2018, February 10). A Rational Checklist is No Match for Emotions in Matters of the Heart. The Conversation.


University of California, Irvine

  • Ph.D., 2016, Psychology (Major Area: Social/Personality; Minor Area: Quantitative Methods)
  • M.A., 2012, Social Ecology

University of California, Berkeley

  • B.A., 2009, Psychology (Minor: Asian American Studies)