Frank Tong, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology; Deputy Director of Psychometrics, Frist Center for Autism & Innovation
Overview of Interests
Dr. Tong's research focuses on understanding the behavioral and neural bases of human visual perception, attentional selection, face and object recognition, and visual working memory. His lab relies on visual psychophysics, computational modeling, and advanced fMRI methods to study how humans flexibly and adaptively process visual information. More recently, he has taken on the role of investigator in the Frist Center for Autism & Innovation, which was selected for funding through the Vanderbilt TIPS program. This interdisciplinary initiative (Director, Keivan Stassun) aims to identify, quantify, and develop the unique cognitive abilities of individuals along the autism spectrum, with the long-term goal of improving the opportunities for these individuals at finding gainful employment.Dr. Tong's role in this project is to develop new cognitive assessments to evaluate the visual-spatial abilities of individuals along the autism spectrum, and to further explore whether these methods can be used to train or enhance their visual-spatial skills. The focus of the Frist Center for Autism and Innovation aligns very well with the mission of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, to improve the quality of life of children, adolescents and adults with challenges in cognitive function.