Cynthia Tong

Associate Professor of Psychology

As a quantitative psychologist, I develop and apply statistical methods to address important and novel substantive questions in psychology. My research focuses on Bayesian methods, robust and interpretable longitudinal modeling, and missing data analysis. Although statistics is used in almost every aspect of our daily life and helps people make informed decisions, Mark Twain’s word, “there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics”, expressed the concern that statistics can cause. Bayesian and data science methods add extra layers of potential dishonesty of data analysis. Such content is typically taught in advanced undergraduate and graduate level courses, but I strongly believe that an early exposure to potential issues can lay a good foundation for scientific learning and critical thinking. Introducing these topics to first-year students in an engaging environment could be very fun. The Engagements allow me to invite first-year students to ask big questions, think and discuss the beauty of data science, interpret claims in the context of continuously updated data, as well as articulate and respond to ethical questions, and consider what they mean in real life.