Prof. Dr. Yee Lee Shing, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

Since January 2018, Yee Lee Shing has been the new professor for Developmental Psychology at Goethe University Frankfurt, where she is directing the Lifespan Cognitive and Brain Development (LISCO) lab. She is also a Jacobs Foundation Research Fellow and a member of the IDeA research center of the DIPF | Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education.

Research in the LISCO lab focuses on the development of cognitive and neural functioning across the human lifespan, with an emphasis on episodic memory. We aim to shed light on the mechanisms underlying age-related differences as well as within-person changes in the functioning of episodic memory, and cognitive abilities in general. Therefore, our methodological approach is characterized by an emphasis on experimental (comparing cross-sectional group differences) as well as longitudinal (following individuals across time) studies. We utilize neuroimaging (e.g., structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging [MRI]) and multivariate developmental methodology (e.g., structural equation and latent growth curve modelling) to investigate the dyamics of brain–behaviour relationships across age groups and/or across time.

One of our current projects is the PIVOTAL (Predictive Memory Systems Across the Human Lifespan) project, funded by an ERC Starting Grant to Yee Lee Shing. This projects aims to bring together three separate strands of cognitive neuroscience research on predictive processing, memory systems, and lifespan development. The key questions we tackle are: (1) What is the nature of the internal models on which predictions are generated and how do our actual experiences shape them? (2) How do prediction processes play out in human brains that are inherently diverse due to changes such as those caused by maturation and senescence. By using functional MRI with experimental research designs, we aim to unravel the cognitive and neural mechanisms that underlie predictive processing based on individuals’ memory of prior experience (episodic memory) and well-learned knowledge about the world (semantic memory). These mechanisms are systematically examined in samples of children, younger adults, and older adults, who differ from each other in important ways due to divergence in developmental orientation (progression vs. conservation) and neurocognitive landscape (structural/functional integrity of neural networks underlying memory processes).
Endorsing the notion that human development is embedded within environments and shaped by individuals’ experiences, one of our research foci is to unravel the mechanisms through which environmental factors impact children’s cognitive and brain development (and vice versa). For example, entering formal schooling is a major transition in almost every child’s life. In collaboration with colleagues from Scotland, we initiated a longitudinal study (funded by the Jacobs Foundation) that assesses brain functions, cognitive abilities, and academic performance in a sample of children similar in age but different in year of school entrance. In Scotland, parents of children born in January and February can choose to defer their child’s entry and these requests are automatically approved. The unique setting of comparing children who enter school to those who stay in kindergarten, but enter school one year later, allows us to assess their schooling-specific brain and cognitive changes across time, as well as their relations to future academic performance.
Other ongoing projects in the lab include a subproject within SFB 1315 that focuses on memory consolidation in pre- and full-term born children, as well as a longitudinal study on stress-related social disparities in cognitive and brain development (both projects in collaboration with colleagues from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin).
To find out more about our projects and team members, please kindly visit our website and don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly!

Lab Website:

Selected Publications
(full list see

Raffington, L., Prindle, J., & Shing, Y. L. (2018). Income gains predict cognitive functioning longitudinally throughout later childhood in poor children. Developmental Psychology, 54, 1232-1243, doi:10.1037/dev0000529.
Raffington, L., Prindle, J., Keresztes, A., Binder, J., Heim, C., & Shing, Y. L. (2018). Blunted cortisol stress reactivity in low–income children relates to lower memory function. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 90, 110-121, doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2018.02.002.

Fandakova, Y., Sander, M. C., Grandy, T. H., Cabeza, R., Werkle-Bergner, M., & Shing, Y. L. (2018). Age differences in false memory: The importance of retrieval monitoring processes and their modulation by memory quality. Psychology and Aging, 33, 119-133, doi:10.1037/pag0000212.

Brod, G., Bunge, S. A., & Shing, Y. L. (2017). Does one year of schooling improve children's cognitive control and alter associated brain activation? Psychological Science, 28, 967-978, doi:10.1177/0956797617699838.

Shing, Y. L., Brehmer, Y., Heekeren, H., Bäckman, L., & Lindenberger, U. (2016). Neural activation patterns of successful episodic encoding: Reorganization during childhood, maintenance in old age. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 20, 59-69, doi:10.1016/j.dcn.2016.06.003.

Shing, Y. L., Werkle-Bergner, M., Brehmer, Y., Mueller, V., Li, S.-C., & Lindenberger, U. (2010). Episodic memory across the lifespan: The contributions of associative and strategic components. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 34, 1080-1091, doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2009.11.002.

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