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.

Photograph of Zhimei Niu

Jin Ke

Research Assistant

Jin is a research assistant in the lab. He is interested in the neural and cognitive dynamics during narrative perception and recall. 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. Outside the lab, Jin likes playing with his cat Nap, playing basketball, and listening to Mayday songs.

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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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Ren Calabro

 PhD Student

Ren is a doctoral student in the Computational Cognitive Neuroscience program. They obtained a BS in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science from the University of Arizona in 2021. Following graduation, they worked as the lab manager for the MCN Lab. Ren is broadly interested in how people perceive, reason about, and interact with their environments, including how their judgments about physical events or scenes might be influenced by uncertainty, risk, or reward.

Personal website

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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. 

Personal website

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.

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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. 

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Alicia Liu

Undergraduate Student

Alicia is a fourth-year in the College majoring in Computer Science and Philosophy. She’s interested in how biases and motivation affect perception and decision-making, especially in online social interactions. She’s also broadly interested in applying machine learning and computational methods to model cognition. In her free time, Alicia enjoys reading, exploring the city, and spending time with her cat, Dale.


MA Students

Zishan Su Current position: Full-time Research Associate at Dartmouth College

Zihan Bai Current position: Lab Manager at Yale University

Zhimei Niu Current position: Customer Success Associate at MoeGo
Formerly Lab Manager at UT Austin

Emily Russell Current position: Lab Manager at Boston University

Undergraduate Students

Meriel Doyle Current position: Lab Manager at Brown University

Grace Gautier Current position: MA Student at Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice

Cassidy Wilson Current position: Staff at Media Arts Data & Design Center