Yinqi's Photo
Yinqi Huang
PhD Student in Cognitive Neuroscience
Spatial Navigation, Decision Making, Computation

My overarching goal is to investigate human cognition in a naturalistic environment using computational models. I use naturalistic stimuli in my studies because they contain rich and dynamic information, similar to what we receive in the real world. I hope that my research findings can be generalized to real world situations. Read more about naturalistic stimuli in my presentation on the difference between reductionist vs. naturalistic stimuli.

Currently, I am studying the decision making in spatial navigation in virtual reality, co-advised by Dr. Arne Ekstrom and Dr. Robert Wilson. My current project involves modeling how humans integrate multi-sensory inputs during VR navigation, using mobile EEG and motion data. Read more about why VR is naturalistic in my paper in Nature Reviews Psychology and my notes on Spatial Cognitive Map.

My undergraduate project on investigating the impact of time and event segmentation on episodic memory using movie stimuli, advised by Dr. Morgan Barense, was presented at Context and Episodic Memory Symposium and Lake Ontario Visionary Establishment.

Outside the lab, I enjoy working on projects at the intersection between cognitive neuroscience and machine learning. I am the EEG Machine Learning lead at the Neurotech University of Toronto for the 2022 summer project on the Brain–Computer Interface speller app that spells desired letters on a virtual keyboard using EEG signal.

If you are interested in my work, or want to collaborate on a project, please feel free to contact me by email.

Research Interests
Human Brain Cartoon Spatial cognition
Virtual Reality Cartoon Naturalistic stimuli
Machine Learning Cartoon Computational models
Education & Work
University of Arizona Logo PhD in Psychology; Concentration: Cognition and Neural Systems
University of Arizona | 2022 - Present
iblum Logo Research Assistant: Recurrent Neural Networks and Bayesian Knowledge Tracing
iBlüm Learning Company | 2020 - 2022
University of Toronto Logo Honours BSc in Psychology; Minor: Biology and Anthropology
University of Toronto | 2016 - 2020
Grants and Awards
University of Arizona Cognitive Science Logo

Outstanding Research Award

Dec 2023

Awarding Body: University of Arizona

SfN Icon

Trainee Professional Development Award

Nov 2023

Awarding Body: Society for Neuroscience

University of Arizona Health Sciences Logo

SensorLab Seed Grant

Jul 2023 - Jun 2024

Funder: University of Arizona

University of Arizona Psychology Logo

Best Presentation Award, Years 1-2

Dec 2022

Awarding Body: University of Arizona

University of Arizona Logo

Research and Project (ReaP) Grant

Nov 2022 - Nov 2023

Funder: University of Arizona

Featured Research Projects
Girl Scientist Icon
Virtual Reality Icon

Modeling Path Integration and Landmark Navigation in Virtual Reality

Aug 2022 - Present

Funders: National Institutes of Health (NIH), University of Arizona SensorLab Seed Grant, University of Arizona Research and Project (ReaP) Grant

Advisors: Dr. Arne Ekstrom and Dr. Robert Wilson

Children Icon

Tracking Developmental Milestones Over Time with Bayesian and Recurrent Neural Networks

Jun 2020 - Jul 2022

Funders: National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP), Scientific Research and Experimental Development Federal Program (SR&ED)

Company: iBlüm Learning Company

Protein Icon

Designing Plastic-Degrading Enzymes using Multilayer Perceptron and Transfer Learning (AWARD-WINNING DESIGN)

Nov 2018 - May 2022

Funders: University of Toronto, Cell & Systems Biology Department, Faculty of Medicine, Human Biology, Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology

Group: iGEM Toronto

Clock Icon

Temporal Distance & Event Boundaries Affect Recall Richness

Sep 2019 - Dec 2020

Funder: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

Advisors: Dr. Morgan Barense and Dr. Bryan Hong

Virtual Reality Icon Leveraging Virtual Reality to Understand Human Spatial Navigation.
Nature Reviews Psychology
Huang, Y. (2023).
Face Recognition Icon Dynamic Face Perception: The Role of Expertise in Dual Processing of Features and Configuration.
Journal of Undergraduate Life Sciences
Huang, Y. (2023).
Social Interaction Icon Replicability of Two Classic Experiments in Social Psychology: Implicit Association Test and Imagined Contact.
Inkblot: Undergraduate Journal of Psychology, 9 , 38-46.
Huang, Y. (2020).
EEG Icon Neural Correlates of Mismatch Detection and Integration of Visual and Body-based Cues in Virtual Reality.
Society for Neuroscience Conference, Washington, DC, USA
Huang, Y., Du, Y. K., Wilson, R., & Ekstrom, A. (2023).
Clock Icon How do temporal context and event boundaries affect recall richness for Forrest Gump?
Context and Episodic Memory Symposium, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Hong, B., Tran, M.A., Cheng, H., Huang, Y., & Barense, M.D. (2020).
Clock Icon Testing retrieved-context models and event boundaries in naturalistic events​.
Lake Ontario Visionary Establishment, Ontario, Canada
Huang, Y., Cheng, H., Tran, M., Hong, B., & Barense, M.D. (2020).
Phone Icon To cope with stressors at the workplace and at home: ​phone use and its consequences​.
Smarti Gras, Ontario, Canada
Huang, Y., Zhao, X., & Toh, S. M. (2019).
Walking Icon Course: Vestibular System [20 students]
Guest Lecturer
2023 Spring
Flask Icon Course: Drugs and the Brain [200 students]
Teaching Assistant and Guest Lecturer on Psychedelics
2023 Spring
Stats Icon Course: Psychological Measurement and Statistics [200 students]
Teaching Assistant and Guest Lecturer on ANOVA
2022 Fall
Service and Outreach
Face Recognition Icon Graduate Representative
Psychology, University of Arizona
2022 - 2024
SfN Icon Society for Neuroscience