Kelly Asao

Assistant Professor

Phone: 801.832.2123


Office Location: Foster Hall 410

Office Hours: TTh 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.


Ph.D. University of Texas At Austin
B.A. University of Pennsylvania


My goal as a professor is to inspire the personal, intellectual, and professional development of my students. I design my classes around three key goals: to spark curiosity, to promote deep learning, and to encourage development of practical skills. At the start of each semester, I invite students to ask big questions: What makes us human? Why do we experience love? How do we distinguish right from wrong? By exploring these philosophical questions, we can begin to uncover our psychology and how that psychology interacts with the world around us. Originally from California, I have lived all over the country and the world. I completed my undergraduate degree in Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania. I then moved to Texas to earn my doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin. Upon graduating, I moved to Melbourne, Australia for a job as assistant professor and honors research coordinator at a small, private university. I love working in close-knit environments with a genuine passion for student engagement and learning.


My research interests lie at the intersection of two of the most fundamental aspects of human psychology: mating and morality. My research uses evolutionary theory to uncover the design of the human mind. In my lab, we use social psychological methods to understand areas of cooperation and conflict between individuals. Active lines of inquiry include sexual morality, sexual regret, intimate partner violence, and prejudice toward LGBTQIA individuals. I enjoy mentoring young researchers and introducing them to the exciting world of science. In my free time, I enjoy hiking with my rescue pup Zooey, experiencing different cultures (33+ countries), and scuba-diving.

Kelly Asao