Contact Information

Mailing Address:
Psychology Department
Vanderbilt University
301 Wilson Hall
111 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37240

Office: Wilson Hall, Room 531
Telephone: 615-322-1780
Fax: 615-343-8449

Email: frank.tong [at]

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

My research interests center around a fundamental problem in neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy, often called the Mind-Body problem. How is it that human brain activity can give rise to our subjective experiences of the visual world around us? In other words, how does activity in our brain correspond to our ability to perceive basic visual features (redness, motion, a diagonal line in a Kandinsky painting) or recognize complex objects (faces, animals, scenes, paintings)? By identifying key relationships between brain activity and visual awareness, we aim to develop a better understanding of how the human brain gives rise to fundamental aspects of human experience.

Currently, much of our lab work focuses on using fMRI decoding methods to investigate the neural bases of visual feature perception, attentional selection, face and object processing, mental imagery, and visual working memory. To find out more about our lab research projects, click here.


- Psy 232, Mind and Brain (aka Cognitive Neuroscience)
- Psy 238, Social Cognition and Neuroscience
- Psy 236, The Visual System

Quick Bio

I grew up in Toronto Canada. I received my B.S. in Psychology at Queen's University in Kingston, Canada working with Barrie Frost, and my Ph.D. at Harvard University working with Ken Nakayama and Nancy Kanwisher. I worked with Steve Engel at UCLA for a year as a McDonnell-Pew post-doctoral fellow before starting my position as an assistant professor at Princeton University in 2000. My lab and I moved to Vanderbilt University in Fall 2004, where I am a Professor of Psychology. Awards and honors include the McDonnell-Pew Training Fellowship (1999), Robert K. Root Preceptorship, Princeton (2003), Scientific American Top 50 Award (2004), Young Investigator Award from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society (2006), Chancellor's Award for Research, Vanderbilt (2008), Young Investigator Award from the Vision Sciences Society (2009), and the Troland Research Award in Psychology from the National Academy of Sciences.

Favorite Hobbies