Doctoral Student

Ting Zhang

Ting Zhang is a doctoral student in the Organizational Behavior Program at Harvard Business School. Her dissertation focuses on the psychology of rediscovery, the process of revisiting experiences of the past. She explores the misperceptions surrounding rediscovery and the influence of rediscovery on individuals’ attitudes and performance at work through both lab and field experiments.

More broadly, her research investigates situations in which individuals overlook alternative actions, mindsets, and strategies that actually improve their well-being and productivity. For example, one project demonstrates that although individuals tend to approach ethical dilemmas with a “What should I do?” mindset, adopting a “What could I do” mindset better equips individuals to generate moral insight.

She graduated from Harvard College with an A.B. in Economics. 

Journal Articles

  1. A 'Present' for the Future: The Unexpected Value of Rediscovery

    Although documenting everyday activities may seem trivial, four studies reveal that creating records of the present generates unexpected benefits by allowing future rediscoveries. In Study 1, we use a "time capsule" paradigm to show that individuals underestimate the extent to which rediscovering experiences from the past will be curiosity-provoking and interesting in the future. In Studies 2 and 3, we find that people are particularly likely to underestimate the pleasure of rediscovering ordinary, mundane experiences compared to rediscovering extraordinary experiences. Finally, Study 4 demonstrates that underestimating the pleasure of rediscovery leads to time-inconsistent choices: individuals forgo opportunities to document the present but then prefer to rediscover those moments in the future. Underestimating the value of rediscovery is linked to people's erroneous faith in their memory of everyday events. By documenting the present, people provide themselves with the opportunity to rediscover mundane moments that may otherwise have been forgotten.

    Keywords: History; Information Management; Cognition and Thinking;


    Zhang, Ting, Tami Kim, Alison Wood Brooks, Francesca Gino, and Michael I. Norton. "A 'Present' for the Future: The Unexpected Value of Rediscovery."Psychological Science (in press). View Details

Book Chapters

  1. Managerial Decision Biases


    Zhang, Ting, and Max Bazerman. "Managerial Decision Biases." In Encyclopedia of Management Theory. Volume 1 edited by Eric H. Kessler, 470–474. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2013. View Details

Working Papers

  1. Does 'Could' Lead to Good? Toward a Theory of Moral Insight

    We introduce the construct of moral insight and study how it can be elicited when people face ethical dilemmas—challenging decisions that feature tradeoffs between competing and seemingly incompatible values. Moral insight consists of discovering solutions that move beyond selecting one conflicting ethical option over another. Moral insight encompasses both a cognitive process and a discernible output: it involves the realization that an ethical dilemma might be addressed other than by conceding one set of moral imperatives to meet another, and it involves the generation of solutions that allow competing objectives to be met. Across four studies, we find that moral insight is generated when individuals are prompted to consider the question "What could I do?" in place of their intuitive approach of considering "What should I do?" Together, these studies point toward a theory of moral insight and important practical implications.

    Keywords: Moral insight; Ethical dilemma; Could mindset; creativity; Divergent thinking; Moral Sensibility; Creativity; Decision Choices and Conditions;


    Zhang, Ting, Francesca Gino, and Joshua Margolis. "Does 'Could' Lead to Good? Toward a Theory of Moral Insight." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 14-118, June 2014. View Details
  2. Morality Rebooted: Exploring Simple Fixes to Our Moral Bugs

    Ethics research developed partly in response to calls from organizations to understand and solve unethical behavior. Departing from prior work that has mainly focused on examining the antecedents and consequences of dishonesty, we examine two approaches to mitigating unethical behavior: (1) values-oriented approaches that broadly appeal to individuals' preferences to be more moral, and (2) structure-oriented approaches that redesign specific incentives, tasks, and decisions to reduce temptations to cheat in the environment. This paper explores how these approaches can change behavior. We argue that integrating both approaches while avoiding incompatible strategies can reduce the risk of adverse effects that arise from taking a single approach.

    Keywords: corruption; dishonesty; Unethical Behavior; interventions; structure; values; Ethics;


    Zhang, Ting, Francesca Gino, and Max H. Bazerman. "Morality Rebooted: Exploring Simple Fixes to Our Moral Bugs." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 14-105, April 2014. View Details