Siwei Liu



Liu, an assistant professor in the Department of Human Ecology, specializes in quantitative methods in the study of human development. Liu completed her Ph.D. in human development and family studies at the Pennsylvania State University before joining the UC Davis faculty in 2012. She also has a master’s degree in applied statistics from the Pennsylvania State University.

Research interests:

Families, children, analysis of social interactions, statistical modeling, longitudinal data analysis, family research methods, intensive behavioral and physiological data.

Brief overview:

I am interested in developing new ways to gather and analyze data on social interactions among family members and other connected individuals. Human beings develop through interacting with family members, peers, friends, and others. The characteristics of these social interactions have important implications on various aspects of individual well-being. My research involves using new technologies (e.g., smartphones, wearable devices) to collect real-time data on the physiological and emotional responses of individuals who are interacting with others. New technology allows us to do this in a non-intrusive manner.

With this data, we develop innovative statistical methods to model human social interactions. Some examples include examining synchrony in stress hormones in married couples on a day-to-day basis, and investigating physiological interactions between therapists and autistic children during psychotherapy.

Current projects:

  • Physiological interactions between therapists and children with autism during psychotherapy
  • Physiological and emotional interactions in couples
  • Mother-child interactions


Updated August 2014

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