Human Nature and Potentials Lab

Fan Yang

Principal Investigator

Dr. Fan Yang is a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago. Fan is broadly interested in the psychological tendencies that enable us to grow and transcend ourselves. She completed her PhD in developmental psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Fan was a post-doctoral associate at Yale University and received a master’s degree from Harvard University.

Ishita Singhal

Lab Manager

Ishita graduated from the MAPSS program, and is working with Dr Fan Yang to study how the performance of obligatory and supererogatory moral behaviors relates with subjective life experiences such as meaning and happiness. She is interested in the factors that influence and motivate individuals to engage in prosocial and inequality reducing behaviours, and hopes to explore these further in graduate school. Outside the lab, she enjoys cooking, and listening to audiobooks or music while walking around the city.

Doctoral Student Collaborators

Kevin Wei

Mengdi Huang

PhD student in Social Psychology at Molden Lab, Northwestern University

Yena Kim

Yena Kim is a PhD Student of Behavioral Science at the Booth School of Business. She graduated with a BA in psychology (honors) from UChicago in 2021. She is also a recipient of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Using diverse research methods, both in-lab and out in the field, she studies aspirations to improve oneself across the lifespan and, in particular, whether exercising epistemic humility helps us craft better futures for ourselves and for others.

Laura Soter

Ph.D. Student at University of Michigan


Kate Yang

Ph.D. Student at Yale University

Isobel Heck

Ph.D. Student at the University of Chicago

Joseph Heffner

Ph.D. Student at Brown University

Stella Gerdemann

Ph.D. Student at Leipzig University

Masters Students

Jinrui Liu

Jinrui has graduated from the MAPSS program and been working with Dr. Yang in the lab since then. She is interested in children’s intergroup thinking and its implication on moral judgments such as fairness and punitive judgments. In her free time, she loves playing classical music, eating excessively sweet foods, and playing card games.

Janice Im

Janice is currently a graduate student at University of Chicago’s MA Program in the Social Sciences (MAPSS), with a concentration in psychology. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Adelphi University in May 2020. Her research interests lie broadly in the topic of how one’s wellbeing influences moral and social behaviors. For her masters thesis, she plans to study identification with all humanity and how it relates to children.

Yilin Liu

Yilin is a MAPSS’s graduate student in the Psychology concentration. She received her B.S. degree in Psychology from the University of Arizona. Yilin is interested in how early life social/familial factors influence children’s development. She is currently doing research with Dr. Fan Yang on children’s understanding of meaning. Her future plan is pursuing a Ph.D. in Development Psychology, keep doing research in this field, and conducting prevention programs for children and their parents/caregivers.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Gabriella Silva

Gabriella is an undergraduate student at the University of Chicago, majoring in Psychology. She is especially interested in moral psychology, the social world of children, and how children consider morality. Outside of the lab, she enjoys crocheting, being outdoors, and listening to music.

Jacob Zhang

Hi! I’m Jacob Zhang, a first-year undergraduate student at UChicago. My main academic interest is happiness and wellbeing studies. I am passionate about psychology, economics and philosophy.

Meriel Doyle

Meriel is a third-year undergraduate student at the University of Chicago, majoring in Psychology and Biology. She is very interested in moral psychology, evolutionary psychology, and philosophy. Outside of the lab, she enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and playing the violin.

Caroline Wang

Caroline is a third-year undergraduate student at the University of Chicago, majoring in Psychology. She is interested in social and developmental psychology, particularly regarding children’s learning. In her free time, she enjoys Korean entertainment, solitaire and going to the library.

Isabella Sun

Isabella is a second-year undergraduate at the University of Chicago who is majoring in psychology and economics. She is interested in how children and adults differ in their sense of morality and justice, as well as how language affects decision making. Outside of the lab, she enjoys cooking food from different cultures and playing badminton.

Shreya Dhar

Shreya is a third year Psychology major at the University of Chicago. She is very interested in studying developmental psychology and social psychology, and is specifically interested in the concepts of morality and empathy. Outside of the lab she loves singing, writing, listening to music, and exploring the city.

Lab Alumni

Artemisia Deluna

Artemisia Deluna

Former Ph.D. Student in Development Psychology at UChicago

Jacky Beck

Jacky Beck

Former Lab Manager, now PhD student at UC Irvine Cognitive Science

Jenny Chang

Jenny Chang

MAPSS graduate

Jessica Lee

Jessica Lee

Lab member, now PhD student in Developmental Psychology at the University of British Columbia

Margaret Wolfson

Margaret Wolfson

Former undergraduate thesis student

Mollie Davies

Mollie Davies

Former undergraduate thesis student

Sarah Jensen

Sarah Jensen

Lab member, Now PhD student at University of Utah Eccles School of Business

Yanwen Yu

Yanwen Yu

MAPSS graduate

Previous Undergrad RAs

Alice Tay
Audrey Sze
Cameron Najafi
Efe Dogruoz
Grace Wang
Lucy Li
Matthew Tineo
Nick Madgett
Laura Sandino
Tina Chen
Courtney Leung