Tony Ro

Tony Ro

Research Interests

  • Perception, attention, consciousness, multisensory integration, synesthesia


  • Ph.D. in Neuroscience, University of California, Davis

Research Focus: Behavioral/Systems/Cognitive|Neuroscience

Tony Ro’s research explores the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying attention, perception, and action. Combining psychology with neuroscience, computer science, physics, and other scientific disciplines, his work seeks to untangle the mysteries surrounding information processing. How does the human brain encode the vast arrays of sensory information we take in, and what proportion of this information enters our awareness for conscious perception? How does attention influence our perceptual representations of the external world and shape subsequent actions? How do different areas of the brain work in tandem to generate those perceptions and actions?

Currently, Ro’s laboratory is investigating the cognitive and neural architecture involved in perception, attention, consciousness, multisensory integration, and synesthesia using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), electroencephalography (EEG), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and optical imaging in neurologically healthy and impaired individuals. The lab has garnered funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and a variety of philanthropists.

As a leading scholar in his field, Ro has contributed insights to international media outlets, ranging from The New York Times to CBSBloombergSmithsonian MagazineBBC News, and PBS NewsHour. He has authored nearly 70 research articles, which have appeared in journals such as Annals of NeurologyCurrent Biology, Journal of Neuroscience, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In recognition of his achievements, Ro was named a presidential professor in psychology and biology by The Graduate Center upon his appointment to the faculty in 2015.

Ro joined The Graduate Center after seven years at the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at CUNY’s City College. His previous positions included an associate professorship in the department of psychology at Rice University and a postdoctoral fellowship at University College London, where he studied face perception and attention as part of a Human Frontiers Science Program project.

Recent Publications

  • Webster, K., & Ro, T. (2020). Visual Modulation of Resting State α Oscillations. eNeuro, 7(1).
  • Ro, T., & Beauchamp, M. S. (2020). Ipsilesional perceptual processing deficits in hemispatial neglect: Case reports. Cortex, 122, 277-287.
  • Wokke, M., & Ro, T. (2019). Competitive fronto-parietal interactions mediate implicit inferences. Journal of Neuroscience, 39(26), 5183-5194.
  • Ro, T. (2019). Alpha oscillations and feedback processing in visual cortex for conscious perception. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 31(7), 948-960.
  • Koenig, L., & Ro, T. (2019). Dissociations of conscious and unconscious perception in TMS-induced blindsight. Neuropsychologia, 128, 215-222.
  • Webster, K., Clarke, J., Mack, A., & Ro, T. (2018). Sustained inattentional blindness for scenes and its reduction by canonical color. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 80(7), 1833-1846.
  • Webster, K., & Ro, T. (2017). Retinal and visual cortex distance from transcranial magnetic stimulation of the vertex affects phosphene perception. Experimental Brain Research, 235(9), 2857-2866.
  • Peters, M., Fesi, J., Amendi, N., Knotts, J. D., Lau, H., & Ro, T. (2017). Transcranial magnetic stimulation to visual cortex induces suboptimal introspection. Cortex, 93, 119-132.
  • Vincent, M., Tang, H., Khoo, W., Zhu, Z., & Ro, T. (2016). Shape discrimination using the tongue: feasibility of a visual to tongue stimulation substitution device. Multisensory Research, 29, 773–798.
  • Persuh, M., Emmanouil, T., & Ro, T. (2016). Perceptual overloading reveals illusory contour perception without awareness of the inducers. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 78(6), 1692-1701.
  • Fleming, S., Maniscalco, B., Ko, Y., Amendi, N., Ro, T., Lau, H. (2015). Action-specific disruption of perceptual confidence. Psychological Science, 26, 89-98.
  • Britz, J., Hernandez, L. D., Ro, T., & Michel, C. M. (2014). EEG-microstate dependent emergence of perceptual awareness. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 8(163), 1-10.
  • Mathewson, K. E., Beck, D. M., Ro, T., Maclin, E. L., Low, K. A., Fabiani, M., & Gratton, G. (2014). Dynamics of alpha control: Preparatory suppression of posterior alpha oscillations by frontal modulators revealed with combined EEG and event-related optical signal (EROS). Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 26(10), 2400-2415
  • Emmanouil, T. & Ro, T. (2014). Amodal completion of unconsciously presented objects. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 21(5), 1188-94.
  • Ai, L. & Ro, T. (2014). The phase of prestimulus alpha oscillations affects tactile perception. Journal of Neurophysiology, 111(6), 1300-1307.
  • Jaegle, A. & Ro, T. (2014). Direct control of visual perception with phase-specific modulation of occipito-parietal cortex. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 26, 422-432.

Professional Affiliations

  • Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness
  • Association for Psychological Science
  • Cognitive Neuroscience Society
  • Psychonomic Society (Associate Member)
  • Society for Neuroscience
  • Vision Sciences Society

Courses Taught

  • Cognitive Neuroscience of Consciousness
  • Human and Computer Vision
  • Research Methods in Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Ethical Issues in Research and Professional Development
  • Neuroscience II: Systems, Behavioral, and Cognitive Neuroscience