Chuang, Yun-Shiuan ( Sean )

About Me

I love psychology, neuroscience, and computational modeling.

I am determined and look forward to study computational cognitive sciences and neuroscience in a PhD program. I have been interested in modeling mental and neural activity by computational approaches. I have investigated the neural representation of numerical cognition by computational modeling, the neural correlates of individual differences in risk-taking, and the clustering of political attitudes of Facebook users by data mining. I am also interested in advanced statistics and machine learning approaches for both behavioral and brain data analysis. I aspire to expand the scope of human knowledge via basic science research.


National Taiwan University

Bachelor of Science in Psychology (09/2013-06/2018)

  • GPA : 4.20 / 4.30 (Rank: 2 / 62)
  • Dean's Award of College of Science
  • Presidential Award (7 times)

Research Grant for Undergraduate Researcher
(Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan)

Delegate of the Joint Psychology Conference of NTU, PKU, and CUHK

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Visiting Student (1 year, fully-funded, 09/2017-06/2018)

  • GPA: 4.00 / 4.00
  • Exchange & Visiting International Student Academic Excellence Award

Funded by the Scholarship of Study Abroad Program for Future Scholars in Sciences (Ministry of Education, Taiwan)

Analytic / Programming Skills

    Programming Language

  • Analytic Programming Tools: R, MATLAB, SPSS, SAS
  • Brain Image Analysis Tools: SPM, MATLAB
  • Other Programming Languages: Java, Python, JavaScript

    Package Development

  • Author of the R package: label4MRI
  • Contributor of the MATLAB toolbox: rsatoolbox

Research experiences

Publication : Journal Article

1. Chuang, Y.S., Austerweil, J., Hubbard, E. (2018). Fraction neural representation in the human parietal cortex: mixed format and magnitude dependent representations. Manuscript in preparation.

1. Chuang, Y.S., Su, Y.S., & Goh, O.S. (2018). Personal values Modulate Risk-taking behaviors: Hedonism as an accelerator and security as a brake. Manuscript in preparation.

Publication : Conference Presentation

1. Binzak, J.V., Park, Y., Toomarian, E.Y., Kalra, P., Chuang, Y.S., Percival G.M., P.G., & Hubbard, E.M. (2018) Are Fractions Percepts? Neurocognitive Relationships between Nonsymbolic and Symbolic Ratio Processing in Children and Adults. Presented at Cognitive Neuroscience Society Annual Meeting, Boston, USA [Poster]

2. Chuang, Y.S., Su, Y.S., & Goh, O.S. (2017). Personal core values modulate risky choice evaluation and subsequent risk taking behavior: an fMRI study. Presented at the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, USA [Poster] [Abstract]

3. Chuang, Y.S. & Goh, O.S. (2017). Personal values modulate risk-taking behaviors: Hedonism as an Accelerator and Security as a Break. Presented at Joint Conference of National Taiwan University, Peking University, and Chinese University of Hong Kong Psychology Departments, Beijing, China [Poster] Received the Excellent Poster Award

Research Project

Fraction neural representation in the human parietal cortex

  • Waisman Center, UW-Madison, Wisconsin, USA
  • Visiting Researcher, worked under Prof. Edward Hubbard and Prof. Joe Austerweil (08/2017-06/2018)
  1. Investigated the neural representation of fraction number using Multi-Voxel Pattern Analysis - Representational Similarity Analysis (MVPA-RSA) on fMRI data
  2. Found that fraction magnitude was represented in the parietal region (IPS) in a way that encodes both format (i.e., symbolic or non-symbolic fractions) and magnitude information
  3. Identified that abstraction level of number in IPS is higher for adults than in children     See more details

Psychological and Neural Links between Risk-Taking Behaviors and Personal Values

  • Graduate Institute of Brain and Mind Sciences, NTU, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Research Assistant, worked under Prof. Joshua Goh (10/ 2014 - 08/ 2017)
  1. Evaluated the role of personal core values in risk-taking behaviors with both behavioral and fMRI data using GLM, functional connectivity, and graph theory measures
  2. Discovered that hedonism serves as an accelerator and security as a brake in risk-taking
  3. Identified the neural correlates: personal core values correlate with the neural sensitivity to winning probability in economic value evaluation brain circuity (e.g., striatum, ACC)
  4. Found that hedonism is linked to decreased information exchange between the hub of punishment signals (LHb) and the rest of the brain, as revealed by the degree centrality measure    See more details

Relations between Parental Disciplinary Methods and the Individual Differences of Theory of Mind

  • Department of Psychology, NTU, Taipei, Taiwan
  • NTU Undergraduate Researcher, supervised by Prof. Keng-Ling Lay and Prof. Zai-Ting Yeh (02/ 2016 - 03/2017)
  • Funded by College Student Research Scholarship of Ministry of Science and Technology
  1. Examined the impact of parental practices on early adolescence's cognitive and affective ToM
  2. Revealed that other-oriented induction practice facilitates the development of affective ToM even when cognitive ToM is controlled for    

Relevant Academic project

Identification and Examination of Facebook Filter Bubbles via Big Data Approach

  • Department of Computer Science, NTU, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Project Leader in the NTU CS+X competition (09/ 2016 - 01/2017)
  • Won the first place in the NTU Computer Science + X competition among more than thirty competing groups
  1. Led a team of 7 students to identify the political filter bulbbles post-liking data that existed in the Facebook user community using machine learning algorithm in R
  2. Performed web-crawling in Javascript and collected more than 19 million observations of post-liking from more than 2,000 Facebook public pages
  3. Demonstrated that filter bubbles are formed by users' stances on specific social issues rather than on their support for major political parties.
  4. Explored the commonalities of the users within each filter bubble, such as their consumption preference, media consumption, and religion    See more details

Research Projects

Fraction Neural Representation In The Human Parietal Cortex:
Format-dependent magnitude encoding

Research Question

Fraction Comparison Task

Fraction could take different formats: either symbolic or non-symbolic.

Format-dependent or
Format-Independent Representations?

Question: IPS encodes the numeric value of fraction of all formats, but are they encoded in the same way?


Representational Disimmilarity Matrices (RDMs)

RDMs represent the interrelationship between fractions with different formats and values based on research hypotheses (conceptual RDMs) or empirical fMRI data (neural RDMs).

*Note that the log-abosolute magnitude model (log-A) resembles the neural data in IPSs.

Construct Format-dependent representation models:
Mixing Magnitude Models with Format RDMs

Mixing a magnitude RDM with a format RDM to produce a format-dependent magnitude RDM.

*Note that the hybrid model (e.g., GxA-6) resembles the neural data in IPSs better than the pure magnitude model log-A above.

Multidimensional Scaling (MDS) dipicts the distances between RDMs.

Click the buttons to see each group's MDS. (*Note that the hybrid models are closer to IPS neural RDMs)

Research Results support
the Format-dependent Representation of fraction numeric value

Relatedness Test Result

Relatedness test result shows that the format-dependent models could better explain the neural IPS RDMs than format-independent models.

Developmental Trend

Adults’s IPSs are more sensitive to the abstract magnitude information and is less format-dependent.

Personal Core Values Modulate Risk-taking behaviors:
Hedonism as an accelerator and security as a brake

Research Model

  • Personal core value (i.e., the values you appreciate in life) modulates the assignment of subjective economic value and further exerts its effect on behavior.

  • Personal core value effect is modulated by the strength of situation factor, with amplified effect under weak situation and weaken effect under strong situation.

Brief Results

Click the button to see personal core value effect on risk-taking tendency

Security accelerates rejectiona and impedes risk-taking

Hehonism enhances risk-taking with weaker magnitude

Both core values show magnitude-modulated effect in right DLPFC region

Identification and Examination Of Facebook Filter Bubbles
Via Big Data Approach

3D Visualization

Scroll your mouse wheel (or slide two fingers up or down on your trackpad) to zoom in and out.
Drag to points to see persons' cluster label. Drag while clicking to rotate the plot.

Research Question

  • On social media platforms, do people discuss politics mostly with those within the same filter bubble, i.e., who share the same political stances?

    Brief Methods

  1. We obtained Taiwanese users' political liking data on political posts, an indicator for political attitude towards major controversial social issues, by web-crawling in Javascipt.
  2. Ultimately, more than 19 millions of users' post-liking data were crawled (with 342,796 unique users).
  3. We performed unsupervised learning algorithm to cluster users in R program. Nine filter bubbles were found, as shown above. 3D Interactive visualization was built by the plotly library in the R environment.

    Main Results

  1. The boundary of Facebook users filter bubble is formed by users' stances on their support for major political parties. specific social issues , consistent with young voters' political attitude.
  2. Generally, users within each filter bubble were highly isolated to one another, i.e., they predominantly only care about the issues they concern.
  3. One noteworthy exception is that the the three following filter bubbles overlap, i.e., Pro-Same-Sex Marriage, Anti-Death-Penealty, and Pro-Independence. That is, these social attitudes usually tie together.

  4. The links to the presentation slides and github repository

Teaching experiences

Math Instructor

  • Experimental Math Education Center, Taipei, Taiwan (05/ 2015 - 07/2017)
  1. With passion in education, I have designed and instructed elementary and high school experimental math courses.
  2. I guided students to strengthen their conceptual understanding of mathematical formulas and to develop interests in math. My observation on children's math learning motivated my research on math cognition development.

Camp Leader

  • Humanistic Education Foundation, Taipei, Taiwan
    (02/ 2015 - 07/2017)
  1. Managed all classes and activities at 8 weeklong summer and winter camps, and supervised more than 10 teachers and 60 children between age 6 and 13 at each camp.
  2. Implemented other-oriented induction method intensively to resolve conflicts among students, which inspired my research on the effects of parental disciplinary pratices.

Volunteer Math Instructor

  • After School Alternative Program , Ministry of Education, Keelung, Taiwan (02/ 2015 - 07/ 2015)
  1. Volunteered to design and instruct math courses to help students regain interest and confidence.
  2. Substantially improved the academic performance of underprivileged elementary school students such that most of the them no longer needed remedial instructions

Volunteer Tutor

  • Sanchong Center for Disadvantaged Teenagers, Taipei, Taiwan (09/ 2013 - 01/ 2015)
  1. Assisted underprivileged teenagers with their assignments afterschool
  2. Designed and tutored instructional materials of all subjects