Prof ZHONG Bu 

Dean and Professor

Ph.D. University of Maryland – College Park, MD, U.S.A.
(852) 3411-8340
CVA Room 1018D

Bu Zhong is a professor and the founding Head of the Department of Interactive Media at the School of Communication, Hong Kong Baptist University. He holds a tenured full professorship at the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communication and serves as an affiliate professor at the College of Information Sciences and Technology at Pennsylvania State University.

Professor Zhong's research centers on the convergence of communication, technology, and human behavior. He aims to explore the significant impacts of technology on decision-making, the dynamics of social systems, and the intricate processes of information processing. His research covers diverse topics, including health communication, social media, mental health, information processing, and the transformative effects of technology on individuals and communities. Guided by decision-making theories, Professor Zhong's interdisciplinary approach sheds light on how individuals engage with digital technology and the consequences of these interactions on behavior, mental well-being, and society at large.

Professor Zhong has a rich record of leadership roles within and beyond academia. He previously served as the President of the Chinese Communication Association, illustrating his dedication to promoting international cooperation in the field of communication. He was the Head of the Mass Communication and Society Division within the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). Currently, he serves as the Senior Editor of Computers in Human Behavior, an SSCI journal dedicated to digital technology and cyberpsychology with an impact factor of 9.9. Outside of academia, he contributes as a U.N. expert member to the Information for Development Working Group at UNESCO. Over the past decade, he has actively engaged with various United Nations organizations, including the Internet Governance Forum and the World Summit on the Information Society Forum.

Professor Zhong's research areas encompass:

  1. Human-Technology Interactions: He extensively investigates the complexities of human-technology interactions, viewing them as intricate, adaptive systems.
  2. Complexity of Social Systems: He places particular emphasis on unraveling the intricate tapestry of social systems and their evolving relationship with digital technology.
  3. Behavior Change: His research delves into behavior change within the context of technology use.

Overall, Professor Zhong's research revolves around the application of decision-making theories to analyze information processing and its impact on various facets of human behavior, mental health, and social well-being. His dedication to interdisciplinary collaboration, unwavering pursuit of scholarly excellence, and commitment to addressing contemporary societal challenges firmly establish him as a prominent researcher in the field of communication, technology, and human behavior. His work not only enriches our comprehension of the intricate interplay between technology and society but also offers actionable insights for addressing pressing issues in today's world.

Research interests 

Artificial humans
Digitally mediated communication
Health behavior change
Healthcare outcomes
Interactive media
Information processing
Media effect research
Social media communication
Socially responsible AI
Symptom management of chronic diseases

Selected Publications

Zhong, B., Xie, W., Kempton, S. D., Zhi, M., & Zhao, J. (2023). Health information processing bolsters symptom management of chronic conditions in a cross-cultural setting. Health Communication, 1-10.

Zhong, B. (2023). Going beyond fact-checking to fight health misinformation: A multi-level analysis of the Twitter response to health news stories. International Journal of Information Management, 70, 1-11, Article 102626.

Zhong, B., & Xie, L. (2023). Making “Joy Pie” to stay joyful: Self-care interventions alleviate college students’ Mental Health Challenges. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 20(5), 1-19.

Li, L., Shi, J., & Zhong, B. (2023). Good at the arts, good at computers? Rural students’ computer skills are bolstered by arts and science literacies. Computers in Human Behavior, 1-10, Article 107573.

Zhou, Y., Sun, T., Zhong, B., & Yang, L. (2023). The power of media: The indirect impact of media use on ethnic Tibetans’ Chinese national identity. National Identities, 24, 1-16.

Zhong, B., Sun, T., & Hu, B. (2022). Information processing on mobile apps: A multilevel analysis of personality and behavioral traits that predict the credibility of smartphone content. China Media Research, 17(3), 60-79.

Zhong, B., Sun, T., Zhou, Y., & Xie, L. (2022). Privacy matters: Reexamining internet privacy concern among social media users in a cross-cultural setting. Atlantic Journal of Communication, 32, 1-18.

Zhong, B. (2022). Social media communication: Trends and theories. Wiley-Blackwell.

Zhong, B., Sun, T., Forde, S., & Payne, G. J. (2022). More than politics: How personality trait and media technology use affect vote likelihood during the 2020 U.S. presidential election. American Behavioral Scientist, 357-375.

Qin, X., Yang, F., Jiang, Z., & Zhong, B. (2022). Empathy not quarantined: Association between people’s empathy to others and the COVID-19 pandemic situations based on a national survey study. Social Media + Society, 8(1), 1-13.

Xie, L., Pinto, J., & Zhong, B. (2022). Building community resilience on social media to help recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Computers in Human Behavior, 133, 1-9, Article 107294.

Zhong, B., & Liu, Q. (2021). Medical insights from posts about irritable bowel syndrome by adolescent patients and parents: Topic modeling and social network analysis. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 23(6), 1-13, Article e26867.

Zhao, J., Han, H., Zhong, B., Xie, W., Chen, Y., & Zhi, M. (2021). Health information on social media helps mitigate Crohn’s disease symptoms and improves patients’ clinical course. Computers in Human Behavior, 115, 1-10, Article 106588.

Zhong, B., Jiang, Z., Xie, W., & Qin, X. (2020). Association of social media use with mental health conditions of nonpatients during the COVID-19 outbreak: Insights from a national survey study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(12), 1-15, Article e23696.

Zhong, B., Huang, Y., & Liu, Q. (2020). Mental health toll from the coronavirus: Social media usage reveals Wuhan residents’ depression and secondary trauma in the COVID-19 outbreak. Computers in Human Behavior, 114, 1-10.

Media interviews  

Zhong, B. (2022, April 26). Research about opioid use disorder offers valuable experience for undergraduates [Interview]. Penn State News.

Zhong, B. (2021, March 4). Health information from trusted sources can reduce depressive symptoms in teens [Interview]. Manchester, UK; News Medical.

Zhong, B. (2021, September 8). Experts weigh in on current job market trends [Interview]. Zippia.

Zhong, B. (2020). Interviewed by Ao, Bethany. “Excessive social media use linked to depression during pandemic, study suggests.” The Philadelphia Inquirer. September 30, 2020.

Zhong, B. (2020). Interviewed by the Associated Press. “Pandemic: Signs of depression linked to too much social media use: Study.” The Associated Press. October 5, 2020.

Zhong, B. (2014). Interview by Botelho, Greg. “From terror to Cold War upheaval to Hollywood hacks: What a week.” CNN, Atlanta, GA. December 20, 2014.