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Present at AGS Virtual Symposium 2021 and Receive the Audience Choice Award

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Today, I gave a short talk about my recent research on head direction signals in human navigation at the UCI Associated Graduate Students (AGS) Virtual Symposium. The questions I received gave me some clues on the knowledge gap between scientists who use fMRI and other biologists about my particular research. And I’d thus better polish my future talks to fill the gap. In addition, I’m glad to receive the Audience Choice Award, which is an acknowledgment for my research and presentation.

Attend ComSciCon-LA

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It was my honor to be selected as an attendee of the inaugural Communicating Science Conference for Graduate Students (ComSciCon) in the Los Angeles region. In the two-day conference, I gained many insights about science communication both in oral and writing formats, and connected with many STEM PhD students from nearby universities (UCLA, UCR, UCSB, and Caltech) who conduct really cool research.

Win Business Pitch Competition 2021

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I’m glad that our team, PawPaw Therapeutics, is the 1st place winner of the Business Pitch Competition 2021 organized by UCI Beall Applied Innovation and GPS-STEM! Our team is made up of me and other six biology PhD students and postdoc. We started with a medical research discovery, developed it into a business idea as a new type of cancer therapy, and pitched a business canvas to judges. This time, I gained industry insights as a STEM scientist and learned how research discoveries are turned into real-world applications. It’s my honor to work with such a pawsome team.

Host CNLM Panel ‘Sleep to Feel, to Think, and to Remember’

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I am excited that this year’s first outreach event “Sleep to feel, to think, and to remember” from the CNLM Adult Outreach Committee was hosted successfully tonight with over 160 attendees from the Irvine community. This time, three UCI sleep experts Dr. Bryce Mander, Dr. Ivy Chen, and Frida Corona shared their life stories of how they got into sleep research and provided us with their precious advice on how to improve and better understand our sleep (A news article generated from this post was published on the CNLM website here ).

Lead OCRUG Book Club Session on Topic Modeling

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This evening, I led the session on Topic Modeling in the book club of Orange County R Users Group (OCRUG). The session covered contents of chapter 5 (converting to and from non-tidy formats) and chapter 6 (topic modeling) of the book Text Mining with R. All of my teaching slides and exercise materials can be found here.

Book Chapter on Collective Navigation is Accepted

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I am glad that my co-authored book chapter “Central Coordination and Integration of Diverse Information to Form a Single Map” with Dr. Elizabeth R. Chrastil is finally accepted by the edited volume on Collective Spatial Cognition: A Research Agenda with Routledge (Taylor and Francis). The paper is currently under the final round of minor revision.

Present at INP Recruitment Session

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This morning, I presented my recent research on head direction signals in the human brain to prospective interdepartmental neuroscience program (INP) PhD students. It was a 5min short presentation with 3min Q&A. I received many interesting and diverse questions from prospective students and also learned about my colleagues’ cool research through their presentations. I hope many young and energetic ‘brains’ will join the UCI neuroscience community in the coming year!

Present at Sfn Global Connectome

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Today, I presented my latest research on head direction signals in the human brain at the Sfn Global Connectome. At the conference, I discussed with neuroscientists who study head direction signals in rodents, macaques, and drosophila. The clues I gained from the fascinating discoveries in other species really helped me consolidate my theories on how travel direction system works in the human brain.

Receive 2020 Sfn Trainee Professional Development Award (TPDA)

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I’m glad to receive this year’s Trainee Professional Development Award (TPDA) from Society for Neuroscience (Sfn). With this award, I receive complimentary registration to attend the upcoming Sfn Global Connectome virtual event. More importantly, I will also receive access to professional development opportunities on Neuronline in the following year and get to network with other receipients who conduct cool neuroscience research!

Attend NeurIPS 2020

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I was fortunate to attend this year’s virtual Conference on Neural Information Processing System (NeurIPS 2020) thanks to the registration support from the NeurIPS 3rd Robot Learning Workshop. Although this is not a conference I’m regularly involved in, attending this conference is quite an experience filled with serendipity. (Note: part of this post is published as an article “What a cognitive psychologist learned from robotics” on the Medium Platform)

Present at Neuromatch Conference 3.0

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Today, I talked about my research on studying travel direction using a motion adaptation paradigm at Neuromatch Conference 3.0 (nmc3). I am glad to share my research with the general neuroscience community and I appreciate the good suggestions from other neuroscientists on the next step of my research.

Won 2nd place in WaiDATATHON

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Over the past weekend, I participated in a Datathon “WaiDATATHON For Sustainable Future” hosted by WaiACCELERATE & Women in AI (WAI). As a member of the Foodwizer team, I worked on the challenge “Recommending dishes based on personal nutrient needs”. This time, I implemented association rule mining on a recipe ingredients dataset. Through this analysis, I discovered the probability of the co-occurrence of ingredients in a recipe. And our global team (with Betty from Netherland and Kirthy from India) won the 2nd place of the Datathon!

Present at iNAV 2020

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Today, I presented my talk “Travel Direction as a Fundamental Component of Human Navigation” at the data blitz session of the 2020 Interdisciplinary Navigation Symposium (iNAV). The study is to look at the role of travel direction in the internal representation system of human navigation using a traditional paradigm in vision neuroscience - motion adaptation. The data will be incorporated as part of the first chapter of my Ph.D. dissertation and a recording of the talk should be available on the iNAV website since next week.

news

publications

The processing course of conflicts in third‐party punishment: An event‐related potential study

Published in PsyCh Journal, 2014

In third-party punishment, people encountered more conflict when they did not change unfair offers. Furthermore, it was implied that altruistic punishment, rather than rational utilitarianism, might be the prepotent tendency for humans that is involved in the early stage of decision-making.

Recommended citation: Qu, L., Dou, W., Cheng, Y., & Qu, C. (2014). The processing course of conflicts in third‐party punishment: An event‐related potential study. PsyCh Journal, 3(3), 214-221.

The effect of altruistic tendency on fairness in third-party punishment

Published in Frontiers in Psychology, 2015

In third-party punishment, the altruistic tendency effect influences fairness consideration in the early stage of evaluation. Moreover, the results provide further neuroscience evidence for inequity aversion.

Recommended citation: Sun, L., Tan, P. *, Cheng, Y. *, Chen, J., & Qu, C. (2015). The effect of altruistic tendency on fairness in third-party punishment. Frontiers in psychology, 6, 820.

Telling right from right: the influence of handedness in the mental rotation of hands

Published in Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, 2020

Our findings demonstrate that embodied experience influences spatial thinking about right hands, which might account for the presence of world knowledge variability in MRT, while also suggesting that common external experience shapes performance in spatial thinking tasks. These findings demonstrate that investigations in spatial thinking tasks might overlook the nuances reflecting world knowledge versus embodied experience if researchers do not recruit left-handers.

Recommended citation: Cheng, Y., Hegarty, M., & Chrastil, E. R. (2020). Telling right from right: the influence of handedness in the mental rotation of hands. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, 5, 1-18.

Neuromatch Academy: a 3-week, online summer school in computational neuroscience

Published in OSF Preprint, 2021

Neuromatch Academy was designed as an online summer school to cover the basics of computational neuroscience in three weeks. The materials cover dominant and emerging computational neuroscience tools, how they complement one another, and specifically focus on how they can help us to better understand how the brain functions.

Recommended citation: 't Hart, B. M., Achakulvisut, T., Blohm, G., Kording, K., Peters, M. A. K., Akrami, A., … Hyafil, A. (2021, February 15). Neuromatch Academy: a 3-week, online summer school in computational neuroscience. https://doi.org/10.31219/osf.io/9fp4v

research

Neural Representation of Direction in Exploration and Navigation

We show different direction classification performance in neural networks during navigation in a complex environment. We also observed a relationship between individual differences in the classification strength in each brain region and navigation performance.

Handedness in the Mental Rotation of Hands

We show that embodied experience influences spatial thinking about right hands, which might account for the presence of world knowledge variability in the mental rotation task, while also suggesting that common external experience shapes performance in spatial thinking tasks.

talks

teaching

Mentor Experience

To high school students & undergraduates & graduates, UCI & UCSB & GSMI, 2020