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The Division of Cognitive and Developmental Psychology
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1、Mission and vision

Built upon a comprehensive platform of behavioral and cognitive neurosciences, the Division of Cognitive and Developmental Psychology aims to investigate a variety of behavioral and neural mechanisms, ranging from essential perceptual processes to complex mental computations of decision making, from the perspectives of lifelong progression of these mental capacities. We are poised to produce high-caliber research of great scientific significance, and to provide solid theoretical bases for translational research that promotes interests of general public as well as serves national strategic decisions.

2、Research interests and directions

1)Basic cognitive processes and their origins: Research interests in this direction span across visual perception, olfactory perception, visual motion perception, face recognition with or without conscious awareness, attention and attentional control, reward, as well as applications of these processes in everyday life. We approach these issues at multiple levels, including neuronal and physiological basis, brain mechanisms, basic sensational and perceptual processing, and applied research. The findings can provide scientific bases for national strategic decision-making in the areas of mental and physical health of the public.

2) Cognitive processing of Chinese language: This line of study focuses on the processes in language comprehension, language production and language acquisition, across the levels of speech voice, words and sentences. We aim to investigate behavioral and neural mechanisms of language processing (especially Chinese) so as to provide a better understanding of human language from the perspective of psychology, sociology and neurobiology. We also examine how language interacts with other cognitive processes and how human acquire different types of language in order to elucidate the universality and specificity of language processing. We further construct new computational algorithms and models for language processing, providing psychological basis for improving the natural speech recognition by computers. Research findings from this line of study will provide guidance for the diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of various language disorders, offer insight from the psychological perspective for the reform of the Chinese character system and intelligent computational processing of Chinese language, and advance the information science and technology.

3) Cognitive development: Research in this direction mainly focuses on the creativity development in children, the mental development of gifted and talented children, concept development in children, cognitive and neural mechanisms of developmental dyslexia in Chinese speakers, and the relationship between cognitive development and social behaviors. We aim to explore cognitive development in children, so as to provide theoretical bases for science education, moral education in children, as well as tailored education for gifted and talented children.

3 、Research team

The Division of Cognitive and Developmental Psychology employs 34 full-time faculty and staffs, including 10 professors (5 belong to the “Hundred Talents” Program of CAS), 10 associate professors, 12 assistant professors, and 2 technicians. There are a total of 9 post doctorate and 69 graduates in the division.

4 、Research platforms and facilities

1)One set of Neuroscan ERP equipment (128 channels) and one set of portable ERP equipment (64 channels)

2)Binocular rivalry and stereoscopic vision research platform, consisting of a graphic workstation, three experimental computers, stereoscopic mirrors, red-green anaglyph glasses and 3D vision glasses.

3)The first human olfaction research platform in China, including one wet lab and two olfactory testing rooms. The wet lab is used to prepare olfactory stimuli, and is equipped with a fume hood, a double distillation apparatus, an analytical balance, and a high-pressure sterilization pot for the sanitization of nosepieces. The olfactory testing rooms are temperature- and humidity- controlled, with an air circulation rate > 15 times/hr. There is a computer-controlled olfactometer that independently delivers smells to the two nostrils, a rhinospirometer (GM instruments, Scotland, UK) that measures nasal airflows, and sets of olfactory threshold, discrimination (Burghart Medical Technology, Wedel, Germany), naming, and memory (Sensonics, NJ, USA) tests. We also have easy access to other standard devices in cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience research, including stereoscope glasses, eye tracker, electroencephalogram, and MRI scanner, etc.

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