• DECODING ORIENTATION AND MOTION DECODING ORIENTATION AND MOTION The Tong Lab has developed novel methods to decode orientation- and direction-selective responses from fMRI activity patterns in the visual cortex. These methods allow us to investigate the neural mechanisms that support conscious perception, attentional selection, and visual working memory.
  • FACE AND OBJECT PROCESSING FACE AND OBJECT PROCESSING How are faces and complex objects represented and processed at successive stages of the visual pathway? How are stable or invariant representations achieved, such that a specific item can be robustly identified across a range of viewing conditions?
  • MECHANISMS OF VISUAL ATTENTION MECHANISMS OF VISUAL ATTENTION We are investigating how top-down attention selectively enhances the representation of visual features and complex objects to improve performance at challenging perceptual tasks.
  • VISUAL WORKING MEMORY VISUAL WORKING MEMORY Our lab is developing fMRI and psychophysical methods to better understand how the brain actively maintains precise information about a remembered stimulus over prolonged delay periods.
  • NEURAL BASES OF VISUAL AWARENESS NEURAL BASES OF VISUAL AWARENESS Our lab uses a variety of visual paradigms, binocular rivalry coupled with fMRI to examine the neural basis of visual awareness. These techniques have helped our lab to elucidate several of the functional regions dedicated to complex object processing.



Characterizing the effects of feature salience and top-down attention in the early visual system.

Poltoratski S., Ling S., McCormack D., Tong F. (2017).

Journal of Neurophysiology, 10.1152/jn.00924.2016.

Radial bias is not necessary for orientation decoding.

Pratte, M. S., Sy, J. L., Swisher, J. D., & Tong, F. (2016)

Neuroimage, 127, 23-33

Neural mechanisms of object-based attention.

Cohen, E. H., & Tong, F. (2015).

Cerebral Cortex, 25: 1080-1092

Attention alters orientation processing in the human lateral geniculate nucleus.

Ling, S., Pratte, M. S., & Tong, F. (2015)

Nature Neuroscience, 18:496–498


May 2017

Janneke Jehee has received the 2017 VSS Young Investigator Award, congrats Janneke!

April 2017

Sonia's fMRI study of visual saliency is accepted in the Journal of Neurophysiology.

August 2016

Hojin Jang joins the lab and starts his PhD studies at Vanderbilt. Welcome, Hojin!

August 2015

Mike Pratte starts his new position as assistant professor at MSU. Congrats Mike!

March 2015

Sam, Mike, and Frank's paper on orientation processing in the human LGN is published in Nature Neuroscience.

August 2014

Devin McCormack has joined the Tong lab as the new research analyst! Welcome, Devin!

July 2014

Frank goes to Germany for Tim Kietzmann's glowingly successful PhD defense on July 4. Congrats Dr. Kietzmann!

May 2014

Mike Pratte is the inaugural winner of the Bob Fox Award For Excellence in Postdoctoral Research.