Headshot of Yueran Yang

Yueran Yang

Associate Professor


I am an Assistant Professor with a joint appointment with the Psychology Department and the Interdisciplinary Social Psychology Ph.D. Program at the University of Nevada, Reno. I received my Ph.D. in both Psychology and Statistics from Iowa State University. My research interests include interrogated confessions and eyewitness identification.

Research Interests

Both psychology and mathematics fascinate me. Psychology inspires my interests in understanding human mind and behavior, while mathematics refines my way of thinking. My research combines these two.

As a social psychologist with a strong statistical background, I have focused my research on building mathematical models and applying statistical methods to answer questions in psychology, particularly questions that have real-world impact. The overarching goal of my program of research is to understand the psychological causes of convictions of the innocent.

To date, among more than 300 wrongful convictions that have been exposed through post-conviction DNA testing, approximately 91 percent were caused by false confession, eyewitness misidentification, or -- in some cases -- both (www.innocenceproject.org). Accordingly, my primary areas of research are within the domains of criminal confessions and eyewitness identification.

Graduate Students

  • Jean Cabell
  • Sarah Moody

Classes taught

  • PSY 706 Intermediate Statistics I 


  • Ph.D., Psychology and Statistics, Iowa State University, 2016
  • M.S., Psychology, Iowa State University, 2012
  • B.S., Psychology, Peking University, 2009


  • Yang, Y., Madon, S., & Guyll, M. (accepted). The interrogation decision-making model: A general theoretical framework for confessions. Law and Human Behavior.
  • Madon, S., Guyll, M., Yang, Y., Smalarz, L. A., Marschall, J., & Lannin, D. (revise and resubmit). Police interrogation elicits a biphasic process of resistance from suspects: The mobilization and depletion of self-regulatory resources. Law and Human Behavior.
  • Smalarz, L. A., Madon, S., Yang, Y., Guyll, M., & Buck, S. (2016). The perfect match: Do criminal stereotypes bias forensic evidence analysis? Law and Human Behavior, 40(4), 420-429. doi: 10.1037/lhb0000190.
  • Wells, G. L., Yang, Y., & Smalarz, L. A. (2015). Eyewitness identification: Bayesian information gain, base-rate effect equivalency curves, and reasonable suspicion. Law and Human Behavior, 39(2), 99-122. doi: 10.1037/lhb0000125
  • Yang, Y., Madon, S., & Guyll, M. (2015). Short-sighted confession decisions: The role of uncertain and delayed consequences. Law and Human Behavior, 39(1): 44-52. doi: 10.1037/lhb0000100
  • Guyll, M., Madon, S., Yang, Y., Lannin, D., Scherr, K. C., & Greathouse, S. (2013). Innocence and resisting confession during interrogation: Effects on physiologic activity. Law and Human Behavior. 37(5), 366-375. doi: 10.1037/lhb0000044
  • Madon, S., Yang, Y., Smalarz, L. A., Guyll, M., & Scherr, K. C. (2013). How factors present during the immediate interrogation situation produce short-sighted confession decisions. Law and Human Behavior. 37(1), 60-74. doi: 10.1037/lhb0000011

Ph.D. students