Ranxiao Wang's directory photo.

Ranxiao Wang


Primary Affiliation

Biologically Informed Artificial Intelligence


Status Part-time Faculty

Home Department of Psychology

Phone 244-3664


Address 2121 Beckman Institute, 405 North Mathews Avenue

  • Biography

    Ranxiao Frances Wang received her PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1999 in Computational Cognitive Sciences and is currently a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois. Dr. Wang's research focuses on visual and spatial cognition, including how people encode and process spatial information during navigation;  how humans perceive optic flow and make judgments about their locomotion; how the visual system temporally separate and integrate the continuous stream of optical stimulation to coherent percepts; how people recognize objects and scenes, and human spatial representations of higher-dimensional objects and space. 

  • Research

    I’m currently collaborating with Camille Goudeseune and Ron Carbonari at ISL on a project that aims to develop multirotor unmanned aerial vehicles and ground robots acting as domestic assistive devices for older adults. The goal of this project is to provide the foundations to address human related concerns that arise in multiple human-robot systems, where robots have to perform tasks in the presence of (and in cooperation with) humans. In particular, this project targets the fundamental understanding of two issues that are crucial in the integration of robotic systems into real-life human
    populated environments: ?rst, how humans perceive autonomous mobile robots as a function of robots’ appearance and behavior; second, how to design and control mobile robots so that to improve the level of comfort and perceived safety of the people present in the environment.

  • 2016

    • Street, W. N.; Wang, R. F., Examining Reference Frame Interaction in Spatial Memory Using a Distribution Analysis. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 2016, 23, (1), 239-245.
    • Wang, R. F., Building a Cognitive Map by Assembling Multiple Path Integration Systems. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 2016, 23, (3), 692-702.


    • Fernandes, A. S.; Wang, R. F.; Simons, D. J. Remembering the Physical as Virtual: Source Confusion and Physical Interaction in Augmented Reality, Proceedings of the ACM SIGGRAPH Symposium on Applied Perception Tubingen, Germany, Sept 13-14, 2015, 127-130.


    • Holmes, R.; Christensen, B. G.; Street, W.; Alford, C.; Wang, R. F.; and Kwiat, P., Determining the lower limit of human vision using a single-photon source. Research in Optical Sciences, OSA Technical Digest (online) (Optical Society of America, 2014), paper QTu2A.2.
    • Street, W. N.; Wang, R. F., (in press).  Examining reference frame interaction in spatial memory using a distribution analysis. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.
    • Street, W. N.; Wang, R. F., Differentiating Spatial Memory from Spatial Transformations. Journal of Experimental Psychology-Learning Memory and Cognition 2014, 40, (2), 602-608, DOI:10.1037/A0035279.
    • Wang, R. F. Can humans form four-dimensional spatial representations? In D. R. Montello, K. E. Grossner, & D. G. Janelle (Eds.) Space in Mind: Concepts and Ontologies for Spatial Education, 2014, 119-136. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
    • Wang, R. F., Human Four-Dimensional Spatial Judgments of Hyper-Volume. Spatial Cognition and Computation 2014, 14, (2), 91-113, DOI:10.1080/13875868.2013.870569.
    • Wang, R. F., Stronger Evidence for Four-Dimensional Spatial Representations: A Response to Frank. Spatial Cognition and Computation 2014, 14, (2), 121-123, DOI:10.1080/13875868.2014.885979.
    • Yoon, H. U.; Wang, R. F.; Hutchinson, S. A., Modeling user’s driving-characteristics in a steering task to customize a virtual fixture based on task-performance. Proceedings of 2014 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2014, 625-630.


    • Wan, X. A.; Wang, R. F.; Crowell, J. A., Effects of Basic Path Properties on Human Path Integration. Spatial Cognition and Computation 2013, 13, (1), 79-101.
    • Zhang, H. T.; Zhang, K.; Wang, R. F., The Role of Static Scene Information on Locomotion Distance Estimation. Journal of Cognitive Psychology 2013, 25, (1), 73-83.


    • Burns, C.; Wang, R. F.; Stipanovic, D. M., Study of the Impact of Delay on Human Remote Navigators with Application to Receding Horizon Control. Journal of Behavioral Robotics 2012, 3, (2), 63-74.
    • Sampaio, C.; Wang, R. F., The Locus of the Categorical Bias in Spatial Memories. Journal of Cognitive Psychology 2012, 24, (7), 781-788
    • Wan, X.; Wang, R. F.; Crowell, J. A., The effect of landmarks in human path integration. Acta Psychologica 2012, 140(1), 7-12.
    • Wang, R. F., Theories of Spatial Representations and Reference Frames: What Can Configuration Errors Tell Us? Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 2012, 19, (4), 575-587.


    • Burns, C.; Wang, R. F., A Study of Human and Receding Horizon Controller Performance of a Remote Navigation Task with Obstacles and Feedback Delays. Paladyn: Journal of Behavioral Robotics 2011, 2, (1), 44-63.
    • Burns, C.; Zearing, J.; Wang, R. F.; Stipanovi, D. M. Autonomous and Semiautonomous Control Simulator, 2010 AAAI Spring Symposium, AAAI Press: Menlo Park, California, 2011.


    • Higgins, J. S.; Wang, R. F., A landmark effect in the perceived displacement of objects. Vision Research 2010, 50, (2), 242-248.
    • Sampaio, C.; Wang, R. F., Overcoming default categorical bias in spatial memory. Memory & Cognition 2010, 38, (8), 1041-1048.
    • Wan, X. A.; Wang, R. F.; Crowell, J. A., The effect of active selection in human path integration. Journal of Vision 2010, 10, (11).


    • Ambinder, M. S.; Wang, R. F.; Crowell, J. A.; Francis, G. K.; Brinkmann, P., Human four-dimensional spatial intuition in virtual reality. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 2009, 16, (5), 818-823.
    • Higgins, J. S.; Irwin, D. E.; Wang, R. F.; Thomas, L. E., Visual direction constancy across eyeblinks. Attention Perception & Psychophysics 2009, 71, (7), 1607-1617.
    • Sampaio, C.; Wang, R. F., Category-Based Errors and the Accessibility of Unbiased Spatial Memories: A Retrieval Model. Journal of Experimental Psychology-Learning Memory and Cognition 2009, 35, (5), 1331-1337.
    • Wan, X. I.; Wang, R. F.; Crowell, J. A., Spatial updating in superimposed real and virtual environments. Attention Perception & Psychophysics 2009, 71, (1), 42-51.


    • Higgins, J. S.; Wang, R. X. F.; Irwin, D. E. The landmark effect in perceived object stability: A general mechanism. Visual Cognition 2007, 15, (1), 91-94.
    • Ross, B. H.; Wang, R. F.; Kramer, A. F.; Simons, D. J.; Crowell, J. A., Action information from classification learning. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 2007, 14, (3), 500-504.


    • Wang, R. X. F.; Crowell, J. A.; Simons, D. J.; Irwin, D. E.; Kramer, A. F.; Ambinder, M. S.; Thomas, L. E.; Gosney, J. L.; Levinthal, B. R.; Hsieh, B. B. Spatial updating relies on an egocentric representation of space: Effects of the number of objects. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 2006, 13, (2), 281-286.