Our Research Team



Stella Christie

Research Chair
Tsinghua Laboratory of Brain and Intelligence 

Department of Psychology, Tsinghua University
Tsinghua University Child Cognition Center

A native of Indonesia, Stella received her B.A. from Harvard University in 2004, and Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 2010. Prior to moving to Tsinghua, she was a tenured associate professor at Swarthmore College.

Stella researches the Relational Mind: how cognitive systems learn relations and structures of the world. Using behavioral data from young human children and great apes, Stella’s work has discovered tantalizing similarities and differences between humans’ and other animals’ relational cognition. Eventually, her aim is to chart the precise learning algorithms that any mind uses to abstract relations. Having lived in six countries on all hemispheres, Stella holds a special interests in how relational reasoning is influenced by and influences language, culture, and social interactions.

In her spare time, Stella loves to scale mountains and languages—she currently speaks 5 languages



Zhen Wu

Prof. Zhen Wu is an Associate Professor at Tsinghua University, Department of Psychology. She received her B.A. from Peking University in 2009, and Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Iowa in 2015. She is now the director of the Social Cognitive Development Lab, and the research lead at Tsinghua University Lifelong Learning Lab. She is also the Tang Scholar at Tsinghua University.

Prof. Wu’s research investigates social cognitive development —including how children learn to interact with others, to understand other’s mind and behaviors, and to regulate their own emotions and actions. Her works are funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Tsinghua University Initiative Research Program, and are published in influential journals. She is currently supervising 2 doctoral students, 6 master students and 10 undergraduate research assistants.


Ying Wang

Ying Wang is an Assistant Professor at Tsinghua University, Department of Psychology. Dr. Wang received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2014. She has been working as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology at University of Michigan for two years.

Her main research interest lies in the field of developmental psychology, with an emphasis on development of children’s early language and cognitive skills. Specifically, her research focuses on children’s early literacy development and intervention, bilingual children’s language acquisition and young children’s executive function, as well as cognitive and language development of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Her works has been published in core peer-reviewed journals. She also does some consulting work for kindergarten curriculum design.


Honghong Bai

Dr. Honghong Bai is currently a post-doctoral researcher in collaboration with Prof. Stella Christie at Child Cognition Center, Tsinghua Lab of Brain and Intelligence. Dr. Bai received her bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Technology from Southern China Normal University in 2011. After working as a network manager and IT supporter for a year, Dr. Bai started her master’s study in Developmental and Educational Psychology at Shaanxi Normal University in 2012 and graduated from there in 2015. Afterwards, she started her  Ph.D. traject with a focus on creativity in young children at Utrecht University, the Netherlands, and obtained her doctoral degree in 2021. The research findings of her master’s and  Ph.D.’s projects have been published in national and international journals. During the  Ph.D. period, Dr. Bai has also worked as a part-time lecturer at Radboud University Nijmegen and University of Applied Sciences Utrecht.

Lab Manager


Wenjia Tan

Wenjia Tan graduated from the Department of Psychology at Wuhan University. She used to be a research intern in Lifelong Learning Lab of Tsinghua University. Her current interests are: 1.Will the social presence influence different age children's behavior in the same way? 2. How human use the symbols or drawings to illustrate their thoughts?.She also enjoys Suzhou Comments Bullet and Hiking.

Graduate Students


Yang Gao

How does parents learn to parent? How do this learning influence children’s cognitive development? The broad aim of my research program is to understand the learning of parents and its impact on children’s development. My master research topic is on parental language’s impact on children’s analogical reasoning.

Lyu jinyun 吕金云

Jinyun Lyu

Jinyun Lyu is a graduate student at the Department of Psychology, Tsinghua University. She has done some researches on children’s cross-modal correspondence, aesthetic preference, and children’s third-party punishment behavior. Currently, she is interested in children’s cognitive development, especially how play influences children’s cognitive development.

Qiuchen Ma

Qiuchen Ma earned her B.S. in Psychology from Tsinghua University in 2018. Now she is a graduate student majoring in Psychology. She would like to understand how children learn about social relationships.

Yijin Fang

Yijin Fang is a graduate student at the Department of Psychology, Tsinghua University. She is interested in the development of children’s learning and cognitive ability. Now she is doing research about children’s free play and exploration. 


Yuanyuan Xu

Yuanyuan Xu is a graduate student at the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Tsinghua University. She received a bachelor of Arts degree in Japanese language and a bachelor of Management in Administration from Tsinghua University in 2019. She is very interested in the relation between language and cognition. Her research interest lies in the field of cognitive linguistics, comparative linguistics, and the development of children’s language and cognition.

Yi Zhang

Hi! This is Yi from Tsinghua Child Cognition Center. I am interested in cognitive development of children. Specifically, I want to explore (1) how does parental language input predict children’s language and cognitive development. (2) how does language learning enhance children’s cognitive skills. Currently I am working on a project collaborating with researchers at Tsinghua about the effects of Bilingualism on children’s executive function. In my free time, I enjoy musical theatre, hiking, finding new coffee shops, and spending time with my cats and bunny! 


Ning Meng

Meng Ning is a graduate student at the Department of Psychology, Tsinghua University. She graduated from Beijing Institute of Technology, majoring in Measurement Technology and Instrumentation. After that, she went to the United States to pursue a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering. With the backgrounds of interdisciplinary knowledge, she hopes to make great achievements in the academic field of applied psychology. Her main research interest lies in the field of children’s cognitive development, brain and artificial intelligence. Hopefully, based on scientific empirical research, a kind of effective method to cultivate and improve children’s optimism and resilience could be developed. Her goal is to help children not only have a healthy body, but also have the courage to overcome difficulties, the ability to make themselves happy, achieve their greatest potential, and finally have a flourishing life.


Xingyu Zhou

Xingyu Zhou is a graduate student at the Department of Psychology, Tsinghua University. Social cognitive, children’s language acquisition and the relationship between language and thought are among his research interests. He is also into how the mind works and believes one of the great unsolved mysteries will be solved by human cognition one day.

Huiying Yang

Huiying is a graduate student at Department of Psychology, Tsinghua University. She received her bachelor degree of science in psychology from Brown University and worked as a child educational content creator. She’s interested in studying children’s learning mechanism through play.


Weiwei Fan

Fan Weiwei is a postgraduate of Department of Psychology, Tsinghua University. She is interested in how experience shapes children’s cognitive development and  learning processes. As a member of the Children’s Cognitive Research Center of Tsinghua University, she is involved in the study of children’s play.

Yufei Ren

Currently, she is a  Ph.D. student in the Department of Foreign Languages at Tsinghua University. Her interest lies in the psychological and neural mechanisms of language and cognition. She would like to explore the mystery of human emotion, cognition and language through experiments.

Qiang Zhou

Phsicolgical graduate student. He is interested in Child Sportage and cognitive development. Now, he focuses on developing an exercising model during Master Programme.


Junhao Zhang

Junhao Zhang is a graduate student at the Department of Psychology, Tsinghua Univerisity. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Tsinghua University in 2021. His main interest is analogy and relational thinking, and how this affects human learning. Currently, he is working on a project about the cross-cultural differences in analogy reasoning, which tried to uncover the myth that Chinese/Easterners are better in thinking about relations. 


Jianing Yin

Graduate from School of Architecture at Tsinghua University, second degree in psychology. I am very interested in the intersection between psychology and architecture and hope to use psychology knowledge as the basic support of design to improve the affordance of architectural space. Currently, I get involved in the related research of constructing child-friendly cities.


Chanhee Koo

Chanhee is a graduate student studying Applied Psychology at Tsinghua University. She received her bachelor’s degree in cognitive science at Johns Hopkins University. Her research interests lie in how how learning can be fostered through play, and the interaction between design and cognitive development. In her free time, she enjoys golfing, street photography, and hanging out with her two poodles.


Caroline Zhang

Caroline is a graduate student studying Applied Psychology at Tsinghua University. She received her bachelor’s degree in education at the University of Sydney. With her experience of children’s education, she found that children play with partners of different ages every day. Is it better to play with partners of the same age or mixed age? Her research interest is the age effects on children’s play behavior and cognitive development, and she hopes to provide meaningful enlightenment for early childhood education through scientific evidence


Hina Gul

I am an international graduate student in the Department of Psychology at Tsinghua University. After completing my psychology bachelor’s degree in Pakistan, I spent a year working as a clinical assistant psychologist. The aim of my research is to understand parents’ explanations of their children’s questions in different cultures. For me, stepping into developmental psychology has been an interesting step. It helped me understand the broader aspects of psychological research. 

Thank you, Tsinghua, for giving me this opportunity!

Undergraduate Students


Joy Lee

Joy is majoring in psychology under school of social sciences, Tsinghua university as a class of 2024 undergraduate. She is generally interested in language cognition and social cognition. Besides the project about effects of bilingualism on children’s executive function that she is currently co-working on, she is also expected to explore her own research projects in THBI in her undergraduate years. 

Researchers and Research Assistants


Kexin Que

Kexin Que was graduated from the University of Bath in England. She was a former research assistant at the Lab for Developmental Studies at Harvard University. She’s fascinated by the experiments in developmental studies and their results showing children are smarter than we thought. She wants to explore how infants and children interact with others and learning about the world. Currently, she’s working on research that studies intuitive theories, analogy use in parental explanations, and children’s understanding of numbers and math.

You Yilin 游一林

Yilin You

Yilin graduated from Beijing Institute of Technology with a B.A. in English. She is now a first-year graduate student at Beijing Foreign Studies University, majoring in linguistics. She is concerned with how people learn. Her academic interests include social cognition, language acquisition, and growth mindset. In her spare time, she likes to learn languages and watch musicals. 


Shao Shuai 邵率

Shuai Shao

PhD. candidate UCSD
贾思诺 - 副本

Sinuo Jia

Staff, Tsinghua University

Yue Geng

Master. UCSD

Qisen Yang

PhD. candidate Tsinghua University

Siqi Zhang

PhD. candidate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences

Yuwei Xu

Undergraduate, NYU

Yuanqing Wu

Undergraduate, Loughborough University

Weining Deng

Graduate, Tsinghua Unviersity

Tian Qiu

Master, Harvard
Shiyu Dong

Shiyu Dong

Master, HKU

Jingyu Xi

PhD Konstanz

Zijin Tan

PhD. candidate UCSD

Shang Li

Master, UCLA

Hetao Zhang

Undergraduate, Northeast University

Lvshu Chen

Master, HKU

Haibo Sun

PhD. candidate Brandeis University

Haowen Xue

Master, UCL
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