Maya (Zhe) Wang

Entering Class - 2018

E-MAIL:  wang8200@umn.edu

Undergraduate Institution and Major:

South China Normal University, BA, Education, 2013
Kansas State University - Manhattan, BS, Psychology, 2014

Graduate Advisor:

Ben Hayden, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience

Description of Graduate Research:

I study the relationship between ensemble neural responses in decision making. I am examining single units from the macaque orbitofrontal cortex as they perform a choice task. I have three main projects.

  • We use large-scale electrophysiological recordings (single/multi-unit & LFP) to understand various prefrontal (OFC, vmPFC) and posteromedial (RSC, PCC) regions’ fundamental neural-computational property and their role in learning, decision-making, and future planning, with virtual reality foraging tasks and choice tasks in macaques.
  • In collaboration with Dr. Sarah Heilbronner, we use AAV and Lenti viruses to conduct viral track tracing and DREADDs (Designer Drugs Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs) experiments in macaques to study the anatomical and neural-computational properties of prefrontal-posteromedial (OFC-RSC) circuit.
  • We use information-theoretic, game-theoretic, computational, and behavioral approaches to study information-seeking behavior, curiosity, social learning, social inference, etc.

Graduate Level Publications:

  • Wang MZ, Hayden BY. Monkeys are curious about counterfactual outcomes. Cognition. 2019;189:1-10.
  • Wang MZ, Hayden BY. Beyond incentive hope: Information sampling and learning under reward uncertainty. Invited commentary. Behav Brain Sci. 2019;In press
  • Wang MZ, Hayden B.Y. A testable definition of curiosity. Newletter on cognitive and developmental systems. IEEE, 2018.
  • Wang MZ, Hayden BY. Reactivation  of associative structure specific outcome responses during prospective evaluation. Nat Commun. 2017 Jun 9;8:15821.
  • Wang MZ, Marshall AT, Kirkpatrick K. (2017). Environmental rearing effects on individual differences in impulsivity and behavioral flexibility. Behav Brain Res., 2017;327:54-64.
  • Dillon HM, Adair LE, Geher G, Wang Z, Strouts P. Playing smart: The mating game and mating intelligence. Current Psychol. 2015;35:414-420.
  • Dillon HM, Adair LE, Wang Z, Johnson Z. Slow and steady wins the race: Life history, mate value, and mate settling. Personality Indiv Diff. 2013;55:612-618.

Graduate Oral Presentations:

  • Wang MZ. The Role of Macaque Orbitofrontal-posteromedial circuit in reward simulation and planning. Invited Talk. National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, M.D., 2019.
  • Wang MZ. Reward simulation and prospective goal representation in the Macaque brain. Invited Talk. Stanford University, Palo Alto, C.A., 2019.
  • Wang MZ. (organizer)  Prospective goal state representation in monkey OFC and RSC in a 3D virtual reality foraging task. Nano-symposium: Cortical-Hippocampal Interactions I. The Annual Meetings of Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, C.A., 2018.
  • Wang MZ. (invited speaker) Reactivation of associative structure specific outcome responses during prospective evaluation. Mini-symposium: Neural Circuits Supporting Cognitive Maps for Goal-Directed Behavior. The Annual Meetings of Society for Neuroscience, Washington, D.C., 2017.
  • Wang MZ. Reward simulation in OFC. Gordon Research Seminar: Neurobiology of Cognition, Newry, M.E., 2016.

Graduate Poster Presentations:

  • LoConte GA, Wang MZ, Hayden BY. Reward simulation in OFC. The Annual Meetings of Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, C.A., 2018.
  • Wang MZ, Hayden BY. Reward simulation in OFC. Gordon Research Conference: Neurobiology of Cognition, Newry, M.E., 2016.
  • Wang MZ, Hayden BY. Reward simulation in Orbitofrontal Cortex (OFC). The Annual Meetings of Society for Neuroscience, Chicago, IL, 2015.
  • Marshall AT, Wang Z, Kirkpatrick K. Individual differences in impulsivity and behavioral flexibility: Effects of the rearing environment. Spring Meeting of the International Conference on Comparative Cognition, Melbourne, FL, 2015.
  • Wang Z, Marshall AT, Kirkpatrick K. Environmental rearing effects on impulsivity in rats. The Annual Meetings of Society for Neuroscience, Washington, D.C., 2014
  • Wang Z, Marshall AT, Kirkpatrick K. Environmental rearing effects on behavioral flexibility. Spring Meeting of the International Conference on Comparative Cognition, Melbourne, FL., 2014.

Graduate Awards:

  • Milne Brandenburg Award for exceptional thesis research, 2019.
  • Gordon Research Seminar Travel Award, Aug, 2016
  • The 2014 Peterson Prize for the Outstanding Graduating Senior in Psychology, May, 2014
  • The featuring story of KSU Foundation for promoting undergraduate research, May, 2014
  • Undergraduate Research Travel Award, Feb, 2014
  • Undergraduate Research Award, Oct, 2013
  • The Doreen Shanteau Undergraduate Research Fellowship, May, 2013
  • Meritorious Winner of the international Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM)/Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling (ICM), April, 2013
  • Outstanding Model Student, South China Normal University, 2010-2011
  • Academic Excellence Award, South China Normal University, 2010-2011
Picture of Maya (Zhe) Wang