Texas Tech University

Yi-Yuan Tang, Ph.D.

Experimental (Cognitive)

Presidential Endowed Chair in Neuroscience

Ph.D., Dalian University of Technology & Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging).

Phone: (806) 742-3711; (806) 834-8688
Fax: (806) 742-0818
Office: 302, Lab: Experimental. Sci. Bldg Rm 017
Email: yiyuan.tang@ttu.edu

Tang, Yi-Yuan

Awards and Honors

  • Fellow, the Association for Psychological Science (APS)
  • Fellow, the American Psychological Association (APA)
  • Associate Editor, Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience (SCAN)
  • Associate Editor in Chief, Progress in Modern Biomedicine
  • Cutting-Edge Basic Research Awards, NIH (with Ponser)
  • New Century Excellent Talents, Ministry of Education
  • Listed in: Who’s Who in the World
  • Research Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Oregon
  • Adjunct Professor, Dept. Internal Medicine, TTU Health Science Center
  • Adjunct Professor, Institute of Psychology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)
  • Adjunct Professor, Center for Social and Organizational Behavior, Graduate University of CAS



Using neuroimaging (fMRI/PET/EEG), psychosocial and physiological measures (heart rate variability, skin conductance, cortisol, etc.), as well as genetic analysis, my research covers the topics in cognitive, affective, social, cultural, educational and developmental neuroscience and psychology, psych-physiology, body-mind medicine, prevention science, computational neuroscience, neuroergonomics and neuroscience of leadership.

My Basic Research focuses on understanding and optimizing brain functioning and behavior over the lifespan. For instance, how brain processes information, makes decision and drives behavior associated with health and disease; how experiences (learning or training) affect brain processing and reshape brain networks that support paying attention, cognitive function (working memory, creativity, implicit learning), emotion regulation, executive control, decision making and successful aging. My Translational Research focuses on developing and applying new preventive intervention techniques for behavioral problems and mental disorders across the lifespan. I developed a novel mindfulness based preventive intervention - Integrative Body-Mind Training (IBMT) in 1990s and have examined its effects in a series of randomized clinical trials in healthy and patient populations. Research indicate that IBMT reduces stress, improves attention and performance, emotion regulation and immune function, social behavior and neuroplasticity over the life span, which has potential reducing or preventing various mental disorders. My translational work has been applied to stress reduction, learning difficulties, ADHD, MCI and cognitive decline, aging, mood disorders and addictions associated with self-control deficits. As we understand better the mechanisms underlying brain development and neuroplasticity, it is increasingly possible to develop effective training methods to improve and optimize brain functioning, cognitive, emotional and social capacities, and prevent behavioral problems and mental disorders over the lifespan.


NIH/NIDA, DoD/ONR, Templeton Foundation, Bower Foundation, NSFC, MOE and MOST, etc.


Dr. Tang has published 8 books and over 290 peer-reviewed articles in journals such as Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Trends in Cognitive Sciences (TiCS), Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Psychological Inquiry, Psychiatry Research, Stress and Health, Trends in Neuroscience and Education, Progress in Brain Research, Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, Neuroimage, Human Brain Mapping, Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience, Neural Network, Brain and Cognition, Behavioral Brain Research, Child Development Perspectives, etc., and these findings are reported in the scientific journals including Nature, Science, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Neuron, TICS, PNAS, etc., and popular media including TIME, New York Times, BBC, NPR, ScienceDaily, The Press Association, Reuters, NBC. Dr. Tang has supervised over 60 graduate students and post-docs in neuroscience, psychology, neuroimaging, BME, medicine, biology, education, neuroinformatics and computer science.

Media Reports:

NPR: Meditation For A Stronger Brain

Mind Over Matter - APS Keynote Address

The Meditative State - introduction
Video: http://www.helixcenter.org/videos/#/_es96clsC9U

IBMT on YouTube

Mindfulness Meditation May Help You Quit Smoking (Cell Press)

Trying to quit smoking? First strengthen self-control (CNN)

NIH Integrative Medicine Research Lecture Series

Current Research:

Understanding brain processing of attention, cognitive function (working memory, creativity, implicit learning, decision making), emotion regulation and executive control using multi-modal neuroimaging and neural modeling. We apply neuroimaging (fMRI, PET, EEG) and diverse models (functional and structural connectivity, ICA/PCA, dynamic causal modeling, Bayesian networks, machine learning, small world topology, multi-voxel pattern analysis and neuroinformatics) to understand the principles and dynamics of how the large-scale brain network supporting and regulating the cognitive, emotional and social functioning, information processing, learning, health behaviors and disorders.

Training induced neuroplasticity in healthy and patient populations. We use diverse training methods or learning strategies such as mindfulness meditation, cognitive training, physical exercise to explore the brain plasticity in healthy and patient populations including anxiety, depression, addiction, PTSD and traumatic brain injury.

Development of algorithm and models in information processing and disorders. We developed diverse ICA and PCA algorithms and combine with other models including Bayesian networks and machine learning to map brain processing and predict and detect early issues in MCI, AD and PD.

Development of neuro-feedback system and device for mental disorders. We apply the latest neuroscience techniques such as TMS, EEG feedback, tCDS and Vega that could combine with fMRI and other methods to study the brain mechanism and its application in ADHD, addiction, mood disorders and TBI.

Training self-control over the lifespan. We use IBMT to improve attention and self-control in young children, adolescents, adults and seniors, the goal is to 1) enhance performance and healthy behavior 2) ameliorate deficits in self-control that are associated with many behavior problems and mental disorders.

Prevention and intervention of behavior problems and mental disorders. Since 1990s, we have been conducting RCT studies using mindfulness preventive intervention - IBMT in the populations aged from 4 to 90 years old. Our series of results suggest that brief IBMT can significantly improves attention and cognitive performance, positive mood and immune function, and reduces stress hormone. Meanwhile, short-term IBMT can induce brain activity and structural change associated with self-control networks.

Representative Books:

See representative publications below:

Teaching and Student Projects

Teaching Interests:

Social, cognitive, affective, developmental and educational neuroscience and psychology; Neuroimaging; Health psychology; Intervention neuroscience; Drug, alcohol and behavior

Selected PhD Student Dissertations:

Chosen from over 40 dissertations:

  • Moral Dilemma Decision Making - Cognitive and Brain Processing
  • Relationship between Thyroid Function and Depression
  • Brain Mechanisms of Metaphor in Chinese and English Cultures
  • Cognitive Neuroscience of Language Processing in Chinese and English Bilinguals
  • Brain Mechanism of Creativity following Brief Body-mind Training
  • Structural and Functional Properties of Brain Changes after Integrative Body-Mind Training
  • Brain Mechanism and Intervention of Cognitive Processing in Depression among College Students
  • Neuroimmunological Research of Cognition--Emotion Interactions
  • Global and Local Imagery Generation using EEG
  • Bilinguals’ Mechanism of Numeral, Chinese Number Words Processing and Language Selection
  • Sex Differences and Functional Connectivity during Orthography and Imagery Tasks
  • Effects of Oxidative/psychological Stress on Cognition and AAβ Metabolism--associated Molecules
  • Algorithm Research and Application in Structure Learning of Bayesian Networks
Expectations of Students:

My research involves interdisciplinary research field, which requires teamwork from different background including psychology, neuroscience, engineering, education, math, physics, biology, medicine to join in. We invite persons with passion, enthusiasm, motivation and dedication to join our team.

There are new openings for undergraduates, graduates and post-docs! Please email me at yiyuan.tang@ttu.edu if interested.

Psychological Sciences

  • Address

    Texas Tech University, Department of Psychological Sciences, Box 42051 Lubbock, TX 79409-2051