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Yun-Chen Chan

Doctoral Student
B.S. Psychology, in Honors & Biology with Neurobiology option, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2013

Interests: Cognitive development, executive function, language development, early childhood

General Developmental Psychology Track


I am a fifth year doctoral student working with Dr. Michele Mazzocco and Dr. Maria Sera. My research interests focus primarily on the development of mathematical thinking and learning. I work with Dr. Mazzocco on studies that examine whether and how contexts (e.g., play activities, competing visual features, examiner’s actions, and ambiguity in sentences) affect children’s attention to number and interpretation of number words. With guidance from Drs. Mazzocco and Sera, my dissertation tests the influences of non-numerical skills (e.g., language and executive function skills) on mathematical thinking and learning. In addition to the basic research, I am involved in applied work where I contribute to the Development and Research in Early Math Education (DREME) Network projects, and collaborate with Dr. von Baeyer to examine the relevance of cognitive developmental factors on children’s ability to use numerical and faces scales when reporting pain intensity. Through my research, I hope to better understand developmental pathways to mathematical thinking and learning, and inform efforts in developing high quality education and practices.

Selected Publications

  1. Mazzocco, M. M., Chan, J. Y. C., & Prager, E. O. (in press). Working memory & specific learning disability: Math. To appear in T. Alloway (Ed), Working Memory and Clinical Developmental Disorders: Theories, Debates and Interventions. Taylor and Francis

    Chan, J. Y. C. & Mazzocco, M. M. (2017). Competing features influence children’s attention to number. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 156, 62-81.

    Mazzocco, M. M., Chan, J. Y. C., & Bock, A. M. (2017). Early executive function and mathematics relations: Correlation does not ensure concordance. In C. Day-Hess, J. Sarama, D. Clements, and C. Germeroth (Eds), Advances in Child Development and Behavior: The Development of Early Childhood Mathematics Education (pp. 290 – 307). UK: Elsevier Academic Press

    Chan, J. Y. C. & von Baeyer, C. L. (2016). Cognitive developmental influences on the ability of preschool-age children to self-report their pain intensity. PAIN, 157(5), 997-1001.

    Mazzocco, M. M., Chan, J. Y. C., & Sera, M. D. (2016). Contextual sensitivity and the large number word bias: When is bigger really more? In A. Henik (Ed), Continuous Issues in Numerical Cognition: How Many or How Much (pp. 81 – 103). London, United Kingdom: Elsevier Academic Press

    Chan, J. Y. & Mazzocco, M. M. (2015, August). The effect of task features on tendency to attend to numbers: Is SFON Spontaneous? Paper presented at the Third Annual Midwest Meeting on Mathematical Thinking. Minneapolis, MN

    Mazzocco, M. M., Chan, J. Y. & Praus, T. L. (2015, March). Children’s judgments of numbers in context reveal emerging number concepts. Poster presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development. Philadelphia, PA

    Sidney, P., Chan, Y. & Alibali, M. W. (2013, April). Developing operation sense:  Children’s and adults’ arithmetic with countable and uncountable amounts. Poster presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development. Seattle, WA.