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Toronto Metropolitan University Students

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 file) Click Here to View > (opens in new window) 


Dr. Yang received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2000. She then did her postdoctoral fellowship training at the Max‐Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin and the University of Toronto. In 2005, Dr. Yang joined the Department of Psychology at Toronto Metropolitan University.

Dr. Yang’s research addresses aging- and culture-related topics, such as cognitive plasticity of the aging brain; cultural differences in social engagement and cognition; as well as aging-related 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). Her recent research also addresses psychological wellbeing of minoritized immigrant populations in Canada, during the pandemic specifically. To date, Dr. Yang has 82 peer-reviewed publications (including 6 book chapters) and numerous invited talks and 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 research and supervision contributions, Dr. Yang received the 2021 Dean’s Scholarly, Research and Creative Activity Award  and 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. As a testimony for her community contribution, Dr. Yang also received a few community service awards, including the 2022 Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Award for Outstanding Community Contribution.

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, memory, executive functions, and emotion-cognition interaction. 

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

4. Psychosocial wellbeing of minoritized populations, such as immigrants.  

Recent Publications (*trainee)

1. Yang, L., *Kandasamy, K., Hasher, L. (2022). Inhibition and creativity in aging: Does distractibility enhance creativity? The Annual Review of Developmental Psychology, 4: 353-375. (external link) 

2. Yang, L., *Yu, L., *Kandasamy, K., *Wang, Y., Shi, F., Zhang, W., & Wang, P. P. (2022). Non-pathological psychological distress among Mainland Chinese in Canada and its sociodemographic risk factors amidst the pandemic. HealthCare, 10(11): 2326. (external link) 

3. Yang, L. & Skrotzki, C. (2022). Aging and goal-directed cognition: Cognitive control, inhibition, and motivated cognition. In K. D., Federmeier & B. R. Payne (Eds.), The Psychology of Learning and Motivation, Vol 77, 313-348. Academic Press. (external link) 

4. Yang, L., *Kandasamy, K., Na, L., Zhang, W., & Wang, P. P. (2022). Perceived and experienced anti-Chinese discrimination and its associated psychological impacts among Chinese Canadians during the Wave 2 of the COVID-19 pandemic. Psychology, Health & Medicine. DOI: 10.1080/13548506.2022.2142947

5. *Lecompte, M., Counsell, A., & Yang, L. (2022). Demographic and COVID experience predictors of COVID-19 risk perception among Chinese residents in Canada. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19, 14448. ijerph192114448

6. *Skrotzki, C., *Stone, C., *Kandasamy, K., & Yang, L. (2022, advance online). Event segmentation enhances older adults' reactive cognitive control bias. Aging, Neuropsychology and Cognition, 1–15.

7. *Su, C., Yang, L., Dong, L., & Zhang, W. (2022). The psychological well-being of older Chinese immigrants in Canada amidst COVID-19: The role of loneliness, social support, and acculturation. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19, 8612.

8. *Lee, A. D.Y., Wang, P. P., Zhang, W., & Yang, L. (2022). COVID-19 peritraumatic distress and loneliness in Chinese residents in North America: The role of contraction worry. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19, 7639. ijerph19137639 

9. Yang, L. (2022). Maintained and delayed benefits of executive function training and low-intensity aerobic exercise over a 3.5-year period in older adults. Frontiers in aging neuroscience14, 905886.

10. Yang, L., *Greenbaum, D., *Cupid, J., & Reed, M. (2022). Health appeal appraisal and memory in older adults: the effects of goal and valence framing. Neuropsychology, development, and cognition. Section B, Aging, neuropsychology and cognition, 1–16. Advance online publication.

11. Na, L., Yang, L., Mezo, P. G., & Liu, R. (2022). Age disparities in mental health during the COVID19 pandemic: The roles of resilience and coping. Social science & medicine (1982)305, 115031.

12. *Truong, L.; *Kandasamy, K.; Yang, L. (2022). Cognitive Control in Young and Older Adults: Does Mood Matter? Brain Sciences, 12 (1), 50. (external link) 

13. *Yu, L., *Lecompte, M., Zhang, W., Wang, P., & Yang, L. (2022). Sociodemographic and COVID-Related Predictors for Mental Health Condition of Mainland Chinese in Canada Amidst the Pandemic. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health19(1), 171; (external link) 

14. *Wong, B. I., *Lecompte, M., & Yang, L. (2021) The age-related associative deficit simulated by relational divided attention: encoding strategy and recollection, Memory, 29:3, 406-415, DOI: 10.1080/09658211.2021.1898645

15. Yang, L., *Truong, L., & *Li, L. (2021). Survival processing effect in memory under semantic divided attention. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 75(3), 299–306.

16. Yang, L., * Gallant, S. N., *Wilkins, L. K., & Dyson, B. (2020). Cognitive and psychosocial outcomes of self-guided executive function training and low-intensity aerobic exercise in healthy older adults. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. 12: 576744. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2020.576744

17. *Wilkinson, A., & Yang, L. (2020). Long-term maintenance of multiple task inhibition practice and transfer effects in older adults: A 3.5-year follow-up. Psychology and Aging, 35(5), 765–772. (external link) 

18. *Gallant, S. N., *Carvalho, M., *Hansi, J., & Yang, L. (2020). The effect of emotional distraction on hyper-binding in young and older adults. Cognition & emotion34(4), 839–847.

19. *Gallant, S. N., Spaniol, J., & Yang, L. (2019). Age differences in cue utilization during prospective and retrospective memory monitoring. Psychology and Aging, 34(4), 545-557. doi:10.1037/pag0000352 

20. Yang, L., *Wong, B., & *Li, L. (2019). Culture and memory. Clinical Cultural Neuroscience: Foundations and Assessment (Ed., O. Pedraza). Oxford University Press, New York, USA