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Dr. Lixia Yang profile

Dr. Lixia Yang

EducationPhD, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Phone416-979-5000 ext. 556522
Areas of Expertisecognition; aging; cognitive plasticity; memory; culture

  Curriculum Vitae / PDF fileClick Here to View >, opens in new window


Dr. Yang received her Ph.D in psychology from Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2000. She then worked as a postdoctoral research fellow first at the Max‐Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany, then at the University of Toronto. In 2005, Dr. Yang joined the Department of Psychology at Ryerson University.

Dr. Yang’s research covers three related areas: cognitive plasticity of the aging brain; cultural differences in social engagement and cognition; as well as age-associated differences in memory, executive functions, and more specifically processing emotional information. Her research has been funded through NSERC and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). To date, Dr. Yang has 54 peer-reviewed publications, a list of 35 invited talks and 80 conference presentations. Her research has been published in high-impact journals such as Brain and Cognition, Cognition and Emotion, Psychology and Aging, and Psychological Science. As a recognition of her contribution to student supervision, Dr. Yang received the Ryerson 2015 YSGS (Yeates School of Graduate Studies) Outstanding Contribution to Graduate Education Award. In professional service, Dr. Yang served as the associate editor for the Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Adulthood and Aging and as a reviewer for a list of journals and grant agents.

Dr. Yang has taught a variety of undergraduate (e.g., Child Development, Adult Development, Introduction to Psychology, and Advanced Seminars in Development or Cognition) and graduate courses (i.e., Advanced Seminar in Cognition, Cognitive Aging, and Psychology of Aging). She has been nominated by students as “A Prof Who Made A Mark” in 2014. Meanwhile, Dr. Yang has been actively involved in supervising undergraduate honours thesis, practicum students, undergraduate research assistants, and independent research projects in Psychology.

Dr. Yang's research interest covers three related areas:

1. Cognitive plasticity of the aging brain.

2. Age differences in attention and memory, as well as the moderation of emotion and stress.

3. Age differences and cultural effects on memory binding and social engagement.

Selected Publications

1.   *Gallant, S. N., *Carvalho, M., *Hansi, J., & Yang, L. (in press). The effect emotional distraction on hyper-binding in young and older adults. Cognition and Emotion., external link

2.  *Gallant, S. N., Spaniol, J., & Yang, L. (2019). Age differences in cue utilization during prospective and retrospective memory monitoring. Psychology and Aging.

3.   Yang, L., Li, J., *Wilkinson, A., Spaniol, J., & Hasher, L. (2018). East-West cultural differences in encoding objects in imagined social contexts. Plos One. 13(11): e0207515.

4.  *Gallant, S. N., Pun, C., & Yang, L. (2018). Age differences in the neural correlates underlying control of emotional memory: An event-related potential study. Brain Research, 1697, 83-92. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2018.06.019

5.   Girard, T., Wilkins, L., Lyons, K., Yang, L., & Christensen, B. (2018). Traditional Test Administration and Proactive Interference Undermine Visual-Spatial Working Memory Performance in Schizophrenia-Spectrum Disorders. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, 23(4): 242-253. doi: 10.1080/13546805.2018.1479248.

6.   *Wong, B., Yin, S., Yang, L. Li, J., Spaniol, J. (2017). Cultural differences in memory for objects and backgrounds in pictures. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 1-14. doi: 10.1177/0022022117748763.

7.    Mallya, S., Reed, M., & Yang, L. (2018). A theoretical framework for using humor to reduce the effects of chronic stress on cognitive function in older adults: An integration of findings and methods from diverse areas of psychology. HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research, p 1-23,

8.    Judges, R. A., *Gallnt, S. N., Yang, L., & Lee, K. (April 13, 2017). The role of cognition, personality, and trust in fraud victimization in older adults. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 588. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00588., external link

9.   *Gallant, S., Dyson, B. J., Yang, L. (2017). Local context effects during emotional item directed forgetting in younger and older adults. Memory, 25 (8),1129-1138. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2016.1274036.

10.  Tallon, K., Koerner, N., & Yang, L. (2016). Working memory in Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Effects of verbal and image-based worry and relation to cognitive and emotional processes. Journal of Experimental Psychopathology, 7(1), 72-94. doi: 10.5127/jep.045714

11.  *Wilkinson, A.J., & Yang, L. (2016). Long-term maintenance of inhibition training effects in older adults: 1- and 3-year follow-up. Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 71 (4), 622-629. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbu179.

12.  *Wilkinson, A. J., & Yang, L. (2016). Inhibition plasticity in older adults: Practice and transfer effects using a multiple task approach. Neural Plasticity, Volume 2016, Article ID 9696402, 12 pages. doi: 10.1155/2016/9696402