Hi, welcome to my page! My name is Yiyun (E-uwing) and I am a second-year PhD student in Biopsychology at the University of Michigan. I graduated from University of Rochester with a B.S in Brain & Cognitive Sciences and a B.A in Mathematics in 2018. I am a cognitive scientist interested broadly in the evolution of behavior and cognition. Over the past six years, I have conducted research with many pet dogs in the greater New Haven area and a variety of non-human primates in lab, zoo, and field settings.
For my graduate work, I conduct fieldwork research with free-ranging rhesus macaques at the Cayo Santiago Field Station in Puerto Rico. For my first project, I am interested in how rhesus macaques might seek out information about reward locations in order to remedy uncertainties. My second project investigates how surprise might serve as a learning signal and prompt selective exploration of objects that defy expectations about the physical world. In both of my current projects, I am interested in examining cognitive development by studying monkeys of all ages and especially juvenile monkeys. By studying cognitive development in young monkeys, I can better understand not only how these specific cognitive abilities develop in monkeys but also understand the role of the juvenile period in learning and complex cognition.
Before graduate school, my research investigated two lines of questions: 1) Are non-linguistic minds capable of logical reasoning mechanisms, and 2) what kinds of social-cognitive biases and tools are unique to humans? For the former line of question, I conducted my senior honors thesis research with olive baboons at the Seneca Park Zoo and investigated whether they can reason through the disjunctive syllogism (the logic of "A or B, not A, therefore B"). For the latter line of research, I conducted cognitive studies with pet dogs on topics ranging from biases in social learning to the formation of social categories and social decision-making.
Outside of research, I have been an amateur photographer since 2016. I love capturing beautiful, joyous, and special moments and have had the pleasure of doing so for many wonderful people. Please take a look at some of my photos in the subpages. I also serve as an alumni admissions interviewer for the University of Rochester and have interviewed over 100 prospective students over the past 5 years. I occasionally serve as a study-abroad consultant for younger Chinese students who are in the process of applying to schools in the US. I love eating good food, traveling, all animals but especially my two rescue dogs, reading, and hiking. I am excited by science communication and STEM accessibility.