Yuxuan (Effie) Li



I am a final year PhD student in the Department of Psychology at Stanford University, advised by Jay McClelland. I am interested in human-like AI, machine/human cognition, and mechanistic understanding of neural networks.

My research focuses on how structured computation can emerge over learning and how this supports higher-level cognitive abilities such as task decomposition and goal-directed planning. My work has explored what inductive biases, representations, and learning environments are key to the emergence of such abilities in both humans and deep learning models, including in the context of mechanistic interpretability in small-scale transformers and in larger-scale, embodied agents with rich visual input from realistic environments.

In summer 2023, I was a PhD research intern on the PRIOR team at the Allen Institute for AI, working with Luca Weihs. Prior to Stanford, I double-majored in Computer Science and Psychology at Trinity College (Connecticut), and worked on building neural decoders of human episodic memory at the Penn Computational Memory Lab.

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