Kariyushi Rao
Department of Behavioral Science, Booth School of Business
The University of Chicago
5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637


The University of Chicago                                                                                         Chicago, IL
Doctor of Philosophy in Behavioral Science                                                 Expected June 2021

  • Research interests: Causal reasoning, responsibility attribution, risk and incentives
  • Dissertation area: Behavioral Science (support area: Organizations and Markets)
  • Advisors: Reid Hastie, Richard Thaler, Emir Kamenica, Michael Gibbs

Master of Science in Computer Science                                                               December 2016

  • Focus: Software engineering
  • Languages: Java, Python, Ruby, Rails, R, SQL, PHP, HTML, JavaScript, CSS

Master of Business Administration                                                                       December 2012

  • Concentrations: Organizational behavior, strategic management, economics, entrepreneurship
  • Honors & awards: Dean’s Award of Distinction (2012)

Stanford University – Center for Professional Development                         Palo Alto, CA
Stanford Certified Project Manager (SCPM)                                                      November 2009

Bowdoin College                                                                                                  Brunswick, ME
Bachelor of Arts                                                                                                                May 2007

  • Majors: Government, Romance Languages (French & Spanish)
  • Minor: Asian Studies (East Asia)


“The Surprise Effect: Attribution of Responsibility When Performance Violates Expectations,” with Tobias Gerstenberg and Reid Hastie.
Status: Manuscript in preparation.

Description: We investigate the way knowledge of past performance affects attribution of blame or credit for positive and negative outcomes in both individual and group contexts. Our results indicate a “surprise effect” drives attributions following negative, but not positive, outcomes. In the case of a loss, people assign more blame to high performers than to low performers.  In the case of a win, people assign the same amount of credit to both high and low performers.  We have confirmed this “surprise effect” persists when targets are judged individually, when they are compared to a counterpart against whom they are competing, and when they are compared to a teammate with whom they share a common goal.

“Predicting outcomes in a sequence of binary events: A rational belief-updating account of the hot hand belief and gambler’s fallacy,” with Reid Hastie and Emir Kamenica.
Status: Manuscript in preparation.
Description:  Previous investigations of the hot hand and the gambler’s fallacies conflated qualitative descriptions of an outcome-generating process with beliefs about the base rate at which that process produces different outcomes.  The present research distinguishes between beliefs about the causal generator versus beliefs about the base rate.  In six behavioral studies, we manipulate participants’ beliefs about the base rate of three processes: a random mechanical device, an intentional agent, and a market.  We find that hot hand patterns arise when the base rate is uncertain, while gambler’s fallacy patterns only appear when people hold strong prior beliefs about the base rate.

“Theory-of-Mind Reasoning in P-Beauty Contests: How Knowledge of Counterparts’ Experience and Expertise Matters.”
Status: Manuscript in preparation.
Description: I investigate how knowledge of counterparts’ experience, intelligence, and expertise affects players’ strategies in multiplayer p-beauty contests (Nagel, 1995) . Previous work has shown that players demonstrate higher levels of reasoning when led to believe counterparts in a p-beauty-style game have experience playing the game, and have expertise relevant to that game (Agranov et al. 2012; Alaoui & Penta 2015). Through a conceptual replication of Agranov and colleagues (2012) experimental procedure, I seek to disentangle the effects of beliefs about counterparts’ expertise and experience on players’ strategies.  Players led to believe counterparts’ were computers selecting random numbers used different in-game strategies than players given no information about their counterparts.  However, I do not find that players demonstrate higher levels of reasoning when led to believe their counterparts have special experience or expertise.  Generalizability from participants’ behaviors in offline p-beauty-style games to the participants’ behaviors in an online environment are discussed.

“Luck and Success: Tailwind Effects on Confidence and Judgment,” with Reid Hastie.
Status: Data collection and analysis in progress.
Description: Extending work by Hilary, et al. (2006, 2011; and inspired by Robert Frank’s, Success and Luck, 2016), we predict that the experience of non-contingent success increases the likelihood that people will rely on intuitive reasoning in subsequent tasks, exhibit a tendency to “over-infer” uncertain predictions with higher confidence, and report higher rates of faith in intuition (REI Scale, Pacini & Epstein, 1999). We are currently piloting an online study that involves an investment task as the training procedure (in which non-contingent success can be induced), followed by tests for apophenia, superstitious inferences, and faith in intuition.


Center for Decision Research Independent Research Grant, The University of Chicago
Booth School of Business.  Winter 2018.  “Theory-of-Mind Reasoning in P-Beauty Contests: How Knowledge of Counterparts’ Experience and Expertise Matters.”


“Women at Work: Challenges and Opportunities,” Power of Women Inaugural Meeting,
AllianceBernstein.  Chicago, IL.  June 2018.


The University of Chicago Booth School of Business                                          Chicago, IL
Graduate Research Assistant                                                                         May 2016 – Present

  • Reid Hastie, Ralph and Dorothy Keller Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science
  • Emir Kamenica, Richard O. Ryan Professor of Economics, Neubauer Family Faculty Fellow
  • Richard Thaler, Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics
  • Bernd Wittenbrink, Robert S. Hamada Professor of Behavioral Science


  • Teaching Assistant, The Booth School of Business, Full-Time, Part-Time, and Executive MBA Programs (Winter 2014 – Present): Strategies and Processes of Negotiation, Managerial Decision Making, Organizations & Incentives, Strategic Leadership, Managing the Workplace, New Venture Strategy, Effective Management of Groups and Teams
  • Incoming PhD Student Mentor, The Booth School of Business (June 2017 – Present)
  • Member, Dean’s Student Advisory Council, The University of Chicago Physical Sciences Division (October 2015 – September 2016)


  • Statistical analysis languages and software: R, HLM, MMWS, Stata, SPSS
  • Web-based experimental design languages, platforms, and software: oTree, psiTurk, HTML, JavaScript, CSS, Ruby on Rails, Qualtrics, Mechanical Turk, Heroku, AWS
  • Programming languages: Java, Python, SQL
  • Human languages: Intermediate French (conversation, reading), intermediate Spanish (conversation, reading), native English


Sole Inventor.  Methods, Systems and Media for Presenting Commerce Information Related to Video Content. October 15, 2015.  U.S. Patent Number 20150296250.  Europe Patent Number WO2015157714.


Google, Inc.                                   Mountain View, CA (2007-08) / Chicago, IL (2008-2015)
The ZOO, Global Creative Services Team                                                                   2011 – 2015

  • Account Director (January 2014 – April 2015): Developed and implemented large-scale, global advertising and marketing programs (min $2M investment) for Google’s top clients.
  • Interactive Project Manager / Producer (October 2011 – February 2014): Led development and launch of large-scale advertising programs and custom mobile/web platforms (min $1.5M client investment).

Global Learning and Development                                                                              2013 – 2015

  • (Volunteer) Global Program Manager: Managed global project management training program (100+ volunteer trainers, 120+ sessions a year), developed curriculum, and designed and delivered custom programs.

Affiliate Network                                                                                                           2008 – 2011

  • Business Strategist (May 2010 – October 2011): Managed team of 10 offshore contractors. Streamlined key business processes, and developed actionable business intelligence tools.
  • Publisher Support Associate (December 2008 – June 2010): Managed client-facing help center, authored technical articles, delivered reactive and proactive support to site-owners and merchants.

People Operations                                                                                                        2007 – 2008

  • HR Business Partner (May 2008 – December 2008): Led human resources analytics and staffing programs and projects. Led global overhaul of engineering job ladders.
  • People Programs Associate (July 2007 – May 2008): Managed hiring process and advised senior executives on hiring decisions.