Texas Tech University

Yi-Yuan Tang, Ph.D.

Professor; Presidential Endowed Chair in Neuroscience
Experimental (Cognitive Neuroscience)

Email: yiyuan.tang@ttu.edu

Phone: (806) 742-3711; (806) 834-8688

Office: 313, Lab: English. Bldg Rm 105

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


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
  • NIH Cutting-Edge Basic Research Awards (with Ponser)
  • NIH Phased Innovation Award
  • Barnie E. Rushing Outstanding Researcher Award
  • 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



I'm a neuroscientist and psychologist, and interested in why and how our mind/brain and body construct experiences of self, others and the world; how to optimize mind/brain, body, behavior and habit over the lifespan. I use behavioral and physiological measures (e.g., heart rate variability, cortisol), neuroimaging (e.g., fMRI, PET, EEG, MEG), genetic analysis and prevention/interventions (e.g., exercise, mindfulness, neurofeedback, brain stimulation) in my basic and translational work.

My current research is supported by NIH and DoD, including how brain processes information, makes decision and drives behavior in a large-scale network; how experiences (learning or training) affect brain processing and reshape brain networks that support attention control, cognitive function (working memory, creativity, implicit learning), emotion regulation and intuitive decision making; training self-control and executive function to improve performance, compassion and wisdom; training self-control for preventing and ameliorating behavioral problems and mental disorders (e.g., addiction, mood disorders, ADHD, MCI and AD, PTSD); cultural influences on math, language, imagery and self-control; altered states of consciousness; conscious and unconscious regulation; changing behavior and habit; gene-experience interaction; individual differences in self-control and successful aging, see more on Current Research below.


NIH/NIDA, NIH/NCCIH, DoD/ONR, Templeton Foundation, Bower Foundation, etc.


Dr. Tang has published 9 books and over 300 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.

Selected Media Reports (more on imcenter.net):

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:

Representative Publications (more on imcenter.net):

Teaching and Student Projects

Teaching Interests:

My teaching covers topics in social, cognitive, affective, developmental, cultural, educational and interventional neuroscience and psychology, psychophysiology, neuroimaging and computational modeling. I integrate my teaching with research findings, and cover both basic and translational topics. To deepen the understanding of the course contents, students will be offered practicum in my lab using state of art strategies and measures.

Taught Courses:

Cognitive neuroscience; Health psychology; Drug, alcohol and behavior; Neuroscience of self-regulation and consciousness

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.