About me


I am a professor of neuroscience and psychology at New York University. In my lab, we  study human perception, attention, working memory, decision-making, and thinking using human behavioral experiments and mathematical modeling. Specifically, we would like to understand better how the brain makes fast, unconscious judgments under uncertainty.


I love teaching. One fun and unconventional course I teach every year links visual and other illusions to the concept of probabilistic inference - how the brain figures out what is happening in the world even though the sensory information it has available is noisy and ambiguous. 


With Diane Geng and Sara Lam, I founded the Rural China Education Foundation, a non-profit organization working to improve the quality and relevance of education in rural China. Our staff are based at an experimental school in Shanxi Province, where they collaborate with rural teachers, principals, educational experts, and local governments to develop an integrated vision on rural schools. This includes improving school management and hardware, but also new curriculum and teaching strategies. We emphasize creative and experiential learning, and strive to build connections between education and the local community. Read more on RCEF's website and blog.


I enjoy writing, board and strategy games, and consulting on modern dance.


My ancestors are from Yantai, China. I grew up in Groningen, the Netherlands and have also lived in Appingedam, the Netherlands, Princeton (New Jersey), Pasadena (California), Rochester (New York), and Houston (Texas). In Chinese, my name is . The Dutch version of my first name is Whee Ky, which is pronounced more or less as "way-kee".


Click here for Lessons from the Ward: Ting Zhou's reflection on medical education.