Photograph of Yuan Chang Leong

Yuan Chang Leong

Assistant Professor and Lab Director 

Yuan Chang (YC) Leong is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Chicago. Before coming to Chicago, he received his Ph.D. from Stanford University and postdoctoral training at the UC Berkeley. He received his AB in Psychology from Princeton University. Yuan Chang’s research examines how our goals, desires, and needs shape how we perceive and respond to the physical and social world.

Curriculum vitae

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Hannah Kim

Postdoctoral Researcher

Hannah Kim is a postdoc in the Motivation and Cognition Neuroscience Lab. Her research focuses on how past experience influences cognitive processes like attention, decision making and response selection, with a particular focus on aversive learning.

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Ren Calabro

Lab Manager

Ren is the lab manager for the MCN Lab. Previously, they obtained a BS in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science from the University of Arizona with an emphasis in Philosophy of Mind. Ren is interested in intuitive physics in mental simulation and its implications in determining exactly how accurate (or inaccurate) our real-world perceptions are.

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Jin Ke

Research Assistant

Jin is a research assistant in the lab. He is interested in the neural dynamics of sustained attention and emotion, and their influence on memory. Jin received his B.S. from Peking University, and his M.A. from the MA Program in the Social Sciences (MAPSS) at the University of Chicago with a certificate in computational social sciences. Outside the lab, you can find him playing basketball or having fun with his cat.

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Jadyn Park

PhD Student

Jadyn is a doctoral student in the Computational Cognitive Neuroscience program. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a B.A. in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology in 2020. Following graduation, she worked as a full-time research assistant at Northwestern University, where she studied executive functioning in individuals with psychosis-risk and internalizing disorders. Jadyn is broadly interested in the neural mechanisms of cognitive control and decision-making, and how they interact with affect and motivation.

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Zishan Su

MAPSS Student

Zishan is a MAPSS-Psychology student. She obtained her B.S. in Brain and Cognitive Science and B.A. in Psychology from the University of Rochester. Zishan is interested in studying cognition using neuroimaging. Outside the lab, Zishan enjoys reading and swimming.

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Zihan Bai

MAPSS Student

Zihan is a MAPSS psychology student. He received his B.S in Psychology from The Ohio State University and has a passion for cognitive neuroscience. He is interested in the neural dynamics of affective experiences, and its implications in guiding our decisions. Outside the lab, he enjoys playing the violin and cyber cat petting his two cats in his faraway home.

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Shan Gao

MACSS Student

Shan is an MA student in the Computational Social Science – Psychology program. She received her B.Phil. in Philosophy from Fudan University in Shanghai, China, where she found her passion in the empirical inquiry of cognitive science. Before UChicago, she studied the interactions between language, culture, and cognition mainly through behavioral measures as a Post-Bacc student and research assistant at Berkeley. Shan is broadly interested in the universals and variations of cognition across contexts, such as affect, language, and culture. 

Photograph of Yizhou Lyu (Louisa)

Yizhou Lyu (Louisa)

Undergraduate Student

Louisa is a third year in the college majoring in Math & Psych. She is very interested in how perception is influenced by many factors like motivations and mental states, making it more subjective than objective. She is also interested in learning to use statistical tools to analyze the mind. In her free time, Louisa enjoys traveling and playing games like Genshin and Arknights.

Grace Vencat

Undergraduate Student

Grace is an undergraduate in the College, expecting to graduate in Spring of 2023. She is majoring in Psychology and has a passion for Classical Studies. As a prospective therapist, she is particularly interested in emotional regulation and how we can support others and ourselves. In her free time, Grace is a beekeeper and loves watching movies with her friends.

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Meriel Doyle

Undergraduate Student

Meriel is a fourth year in the College, majoring in Psychology and Neuroscience. She is very interested in moral psychology, evolutionary psychology, and philosophy. Outside of the lab, she enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and playing the violin.

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Su Karaca

Undergraduate Student

Su is a third-year undergraduate student at the University of Chicago, majoring in Data Science and Psychology. Her interests lie in communication and human-media interaction. She is interested in using computational tools to analyze the human behavior. Outside of the lab, Su enjoys discovering new places– often by getting lost– trying new foods, and watching animations– often struggling to not to binge.

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Kannon Bhattacharyya

Undergraduate Student

Kannon is currently a second-year undergraduate at the University of Chicago double majoring in Cognitive Science and Music. He is interested in the effect that music has on the brain, as well as cognitive psychology and psycholinguistics. Outside of the lab, he enjoys music composition and transcription, skiing, walking, collecting pumpkins and playing a variety of pixel art games. 

Zhimei Niu

MAPSS Student ’22

Lab Manager at UT Austin


Emily Russell

MAPSS Student ’22

Lab Manager at Boston University


Cassidy Wilson

NESSTP Student ’22