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Yang Qu

Yang Qu

  • Assistant Professor, Human Development and Social Policy
  • Assistant Professor (by courtesy), Department of Psychology
  • Faculty Associate, Institute for Policy Research

Research Interests

Psychological and neural mechanisms underlying cultural differences in adolescents’ academic, social, and emotional development; role of parents in adolescents’ beliefs and brain development, with implications for learning and psychological adjustment.


Yang Qu is a developmental psychologist who takes an interdisciplinary approach that combines developmental psychology, cultural psychology, and neuroscience to examine how sociocultural contexts shape adolescent development. In this vein, he has two lines of research. First, Yang investigates the psychological and neural mechanisms underlying cultural differences in adolescents’ academic, social, and emotional development. Second, he examines how parents influence adolescents’ beliefs and brain, with attention to the implications for adolescents’ learning and psychological adjustment. In both these lines of inquiry, Yang studies children from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds using a variety of methodological approaches, including longitudinal and experimental designs along with survey, observational, and biological (e.g., neuroimaging with fMRI) assessments.


  • Postdoc, Psychology, Stanford University, 2018
  • PhD, Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2016
  • MS, Statistics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2013
  • MA, Psychology, New York University, 2010
  • BS, Psychology, Fudan University, 2008

Selected Publications

Zhou, Z., Chen, Y.-Y., Yang, B., Qu, Y., & Lee, T. (2023). Family cohesion moderates the relation between parent-child neural connectivity pattern similarity and youth’s emotional adjustment. Journal of Neuroscience, 43(33), 5936-5943. (Paper was selected as “Featured Research” and highlighted in “This Week in The Journal”) [PDF]

Yang, B., Anderson, Z., Zhou, Z., Liu, S., Haase, C. M., & Qu, Y. (2023). The longitudinal role of family conflict and neural reward sensitivity in youth’s internalizing symptoms. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 18(1), 1-11. [PDF]

Zhou, Z., Shi, Z., Li, X., & Qu, Y. (2023). Parents’ self-development socialization goals and Chinese adolescents’ academic motivation: The mediating role of parents’ autonomy support. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 52(9), 1887-1901. [PDF]

Qu, Y., Zhou, Z., & Lee, T. (2023). Parent-child neural similarity: Measurements, antecedents, and consequences. Frontiers in Cognition, 2, 1113082. Special Issue on Rising Stars in Cognition. [PDF]

Shi, Z., Yang, B., Chen, B.-B., Chen, X.-C., & Qu, Y. (2023). What motivates Chinese mothers’ involvement in adolescents’ learning? Longitudinal investigation on the role of mothers’ expectations of adolescents’ family obligations and adolescents’ academic performance. Behavioral Sciences, 13, 632. [PDF]

Qu, Y., Chen, B.-B., Yang, B., & Zhu, Y. (2022). The role of empathy in Chinese adolescents’ preventive health behavior during COVID-19. Journal of Adolescent Health. [PDF]

Chen, B.-B., Qu, Y., Yang, B., & Chen, X.-C. (2022). Chinese mothers’ parental burnout and adolescents’ internalizing and externalizing problems: The mediating role of maternal hostility. Developmental Psychology. [PDF]

Yang, B., Chen, B.-B., Qu, Y., & Zhu, Y. (2022). The positive role of parental attachment and communication in Chinese adolescents’ health behavior and mental health during COVID-19. Journal of Adolescence, 94(8), 1081-1095. [PDF]

Zhou, Z., Qu, Y., & Li, X. (2022). Parental collectivism goals and Chinese adolescents’ prosocial behaviors: The mediating role of authoritative parenting. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 51(4), 766-779. [PDF]