Assistant Professor

Office phone: (773) 834-9532
Fax: (773) 702-0886
Office: Kelly Hall 304

Yuan Chang Leong is joining the Department of Psychology as an Assistant Professor in July 2021. He received his A.B. in Psychology from Princeton University and his Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University. He then completed his postdoctoral training at the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at the University of California, Berkeley before moving to the University of Chicago.

His research aims to understand the neural and computational mechanisms underlying motivational influences on human cognition. How do goals, desires and needs shape how people perceive and respond to the physical and social world? Are people inherently biased to see what they want to see? Why does the same news footage elicit strong yet opposing responses from people with different political beliefs? Research in his lab examines questions like these using a combination of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), computational modeling, psychophysics, physiological measures, eye-tracking, and naturalistic task paradigms.



  • Motivation and Reward
  • Attention and Perception
  • Learning and Decision-Making
  • Social Cognition
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Socio-affective Neuroscience
  • Political Neuroscience

See Yuan Chang Leong’s full list of publications on Google Scholar (link:

Visit the Motivation and Cognition Neuroscience Lab website.