Alva Tang

Alva Tang

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Developmental changes in social-emotional development; Individual differences and social-contextual factors; Mental and physical health

Tags: affective neuroscience social neuroscience Psychology-Faculty Developmental Psychology temperament

Professional Preparation

PhD - Developmental Psychology
McMaster University - 2017
BSc - Psychology
University of Toronto - 2012

Research Areas

My research focuses on understanding how individual differences in social and emotional development shape mental and physical health. I have conducted interdisciplinary studies that investigate individual differences linked to children's and adolescents’ temperament (e.g., shyness) and exposures to early adversities (e.g. child maltreatment and neglect). This work aims to identify neural, biological, and social processes (e.g., neural correlates in processing social information, friendships, health behaviors, inflammation) that alter risk and resilient trajectories to enhance our understanding of developmental risk factors and ability to implement prevention strategies. To do this work, my research lab uses multiple neural and behavioral measures (e.g., EEG, lab observations) in experimental and observational studies.


Tang, A., Harrewijn, A., Benson, B., Haller, S.P., Guyer, A.E., Perez-Edgar, K., Stringaris, A., Ernst, M., Brotman, M.A., Pine, D.S., & Fox, N.A. (2022). Striatal activity to reward anticipation as a moderator of the relation between early behavioral inhibition and changes in anxiety and depressive symptoms from adolescence to adulthood. JAMA Psychiatry, 79(12), 1199-1208.  - publications
Zeytinoglu, S., Tang, A., Zeanah, C.H., Nelson, C.A., Almas, A., & Fox, N.A. (2022). Effects of foster care intervention and caregiving quality on the bidirectional development of executive functions and social skills following institutional rearing. Developmental Science,  e13309.
- publications
 Bas-Hoogendam, J., 50+ Contributors from individual sites, & Pine, D.S. (In press). Structural brain correlates of childhood inhibited temperament: An ENIGMA-Anxiety mega-analysis. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
- publications
 Tang, A., Fox, N.A., Slopen, N. (2022). Examination of early childhood temperament of shyness and social avoidance and associations with cardiometabolic health in young adulthood. JAMA Network Open, 5(1), e2144727-e2144727.
- publications
Tang, A., McLaughlin, K.A., Sheridan, M., Nelson, C.A., Zeanah, C.H., & Fox, N.A. (2022). Autonomic reactivity to social rejection and the buffering effects of adolescent friendships on social problems following early psychosocial deprivation. Emotion, 22, 318-330.
- publications
Tang, A., Lahat, A., Crowley, M.J., Wu, J., & Schmidt, L.A. (2021). Children’s shyness and neural responses to social exclusion: Patterns of midfrontal theta power usually not observed until adolescence. Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience, 21, 1262-1275.
- publications
Tang, A., Almas, A., Zeytinoglu, S., Zeanah, C.H., Nelson, C.A., & Fox, N.A. (2021). Long-term effects of institutional rearing and enhanced attachment relationships on close adolescent friendships. Child Development, 92(6), 2431–2446.
- publications
Oddo, L.E., Meinzer, M.C., Tang, A., Murphy, J.G., Vasko, J.M., Lejuez, C.W., & Chronis-Tuscano, A. (2021). Enhanced brief motivational intervention for college student drinkers with ADHD: Goal directed activation as a mechanism of change. Behavior Therapy, 52(5), 1198-1212.
- publications


Assistant Professor
University of Texas at Dallas [2022–Present]
Post Doctoral Fellow
University of Maryland [2017–2022]
Adjunct Instructor
Catholic University of America [2021–2022]

News Articles

Study: How Early Fears Play Role in Future Anxiety, Depression
Anxious or reserved? You might've been that way as a baby
How Early Adversity Relates to Brain Activity Years Later


Parent-child separation and cardiometabolic risk factors and outcomes in adulthood: A systematic review of main effects, potential mediators, and modifiers in human studies
17,102 - National Institutes of Ageing Reversibility [2022/12–2022/12]
Long-term consequences of developmental trajectories of shyness from infancy to adulthood
90,000 - Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada [2018/09–2020/08]
Post Doctoral Fellowship
Impact of social rejection on the adolescent shy brain
40,000 - Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada [2016/09–2018/08]
Doctoral Fellowship
Neural correlates of peer rejection in children and adults: Influence of individual differences in temperament
17,500 - Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada [2014/09–2015/08]
Joseph Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship-Master’s
Intersensory perception of emotional body movements
5800 - Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada [2012/05–2012/08]
Undergraduate Student Research Award