cognitive neuroscience PhD student


Cognitive track PhD student in the Psychology Department at Penn State. Research interests include bilingualism, language comprehension, and individual differences in learning. Other interests include bias formation, and neuro-aesthetics. Main tools of investigation so far include psycho-behavioral experiments and fMRI, EEG, and eye-tracking.

Personal interests include reading, traveling, cooking, with some light gaming here and there. 



CV (April, 2019)

Journal Publication: 

Li, P., Zhang, F., Yu, A., Zhao, S., (2019). Language History Questionnaire (LHQ3): An enhanced tool for assessing multilingual experience. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition.

Yu, A., Chen, M., Cherodath, S., Hung, D., Tzeng, O., Wu, D., (2018). Neuroimaging evidence for sensitivity to orthography-to-phonology conversion in native readers and foreign language learners of Chinese. Journal of Neurolinguistics,

Conference Poster Presentation:

  • Yu, A., Schloss, B., Hsu, C., Ma, L., Chang, C., Scotto, M., Seyfried, F., & Li, P. (March, 2019). The Reading Brain Project: An open science data-sharing initiative. Cognitive Neuroscience Society (San Francisco, CA).

  • Yu, A., Schloss, B., Hsu, C., Li, P. (August, 2018). Individual differences in text comprehension: a resting-state functional connectivity study. Society for the Neurobiology of Language (Quebec City, Canada). 

  • Yu, A., Frost, R., Brice., H., Wu., D. (April, 2016). Sensitivity to regularity of combinatorial visual stimuli correlates with Chinese character recognition. Cognitive Neuroscience Society. (New York, NY).

  • Yu, A., Hsuan, E.-Y., Wu, D. (October, 2015). Characteristics of different visual statistical learning tasks: Evidence from native Taiwanese participants. Taiwan Psychology Association. (Taipei, Taiwan).

  • Yu, A., Wu, D. (June, 2015). Role of statistical learning and continued learning in determining L2 acquisition: Evidence from non-native Chinese learners. International Conference on Interdisciplinary Advances in Statistical. (San Sebastian, Spain)

  • Yu, A., Wu, D. (November, 2015). Bilingual advantage in inhibition control: Evidence from late Chinese-English bilinguals. The Psychonomic Society. (Long Beach, CA).


Conference Symposium Presentation:

  • Yu, A., Wu, D. (January 2016). Feature combination of visual stimuli: Unveiling different aspects of statistical learning. Taiwan Society of Cognitive Neuroscience. (Taipei, Taiwan).


Updated April 2019



The Reading Brain

The Reading Brain Project, an NSF-funded study that aims to understand the neurocognitive processes underlying scientific text comprehension by adult native speakers (N=50) , non-native second language readers (N=56) , and middle-school students (N=52). The study consists of multimodal neuroimaging data from resting-state fMRI, task-based fixation-related fMRI, and DTI. Participants also completed a battery of cognitive tests including standardized measures of executive functions (inhibition, planning, and working memory), language performance (expository and narrative reading comprehension and vocabulary), and language and reading background surveys recording self-reported language proficiency and reading habits.


Results have shown that reading performance correlates with connectivity in semantic integration regions. Additionally, readers’ e-device usage negatively correlates with activity in the right dlPFC and cerebellum for texts with higher centrality, suggesting that electronic habits may affect skills in integrating conceptual representation. Finally, Representation Similarity Analysis shows that semantic models predicted brain activity better than visual models for L1 but not L2 readers, suggesting that L2 proficiency influences conceptual representation quality. 

For more details, the project data has been made available on OpenNeuro as an open-science data sharing initiative! See for more information. 

Have fun with the data, and happy researching! 



The Brain, Language and Computation Lab

Interested in the neural and computational bases of language representation and learning, our research specifically addresses issues of neuroplasticity, individual differences, and knowledge representation in the human brain. For more information please refer to our lab website by clicking on the icon.

Social, Life, and Engineering Sciences Imagine Center

SLEIC provides the Penn State research community with instrumentation, technological substantive expertise, and educational opportunities for MRI and EEG experiments.

Center for Language Science

The Center for Language Science (CLS), located in the Moore Building, is an interdisciplinary group of linguists, psycholinguists, applied linguists, speech-language pathologists, speech scientists, and cognitive neuroscientists who share an interest in language acquisition and bilingualism.




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