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Michelle Tong
Assistant Professor of Psychology

Michelle received her Bachelor of Science in psychology with a minor in Biology from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, in 2010. Her interest in research was piqued during those years through many independent study projects, including projects studying heart remodeling after cardiac arrest, biological motion perception, and spatial navigation in honeybees.

After her honors thesis with Professor Li-Jun Ji looking at cultural differences in the use of affect as information in judgments of life satisfaction, Michelle decided that human beings were too troublesome as research subjects. In 2015, she received her doctorate from Cornell University where she explored the molecular mechanisms of olfactory memory in a rodent model.

Contact Info

Campus Mail
Drawer 118



303 Landrum Bolling Center

Office Hours
Mondays, 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., or by appointment

Website Link


  • Psychology
  • Neuroscience


  • Ph.D., Cornell University
  • B.A., Queen's University

Selected Courses:

PSYC 115  Introduction to Psychological Perspectives
PSYC 486  Comprehensive Research Projects

For animals that live in an unpredictable world, the ability to process and remember their sensory environment accurately is crucial for survival. My research focuses broadly on how such sensory representations form (learning) and persist (memory). Specifically, I’m interested in the molecular mechanisms that underlie olfactory memory — not only in the downstream effects of these molecular mechanisms, but also in the way in which the timing of these mechanisms, in the post-learning period, contributes to memory representations.

Tong, M. T., Kim, P. T-Y., & Cleland, T. A. (In prep). TrkB activity in the olfactory bulb is needed for consolidation of long-term, but not short-term memories.

Tong, M. T., Peace, S. T., & Cleland, T. A. (2014). Properties and mechanisms of olfactory learning and memory. Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience, 8.

Earlhamites not only care deeply about the world around them, but are also deeply informed. It’s a joy to work with students who have this characteristic. It means that we can discuss diverse topics and work together to figure out how psychology and neuroscience can help solve real-world issues.

Earlham students are passionate individuals who know how to dream big. They care, and at a time where apathy is so tempting, Earlham students are an inspiration.

Student researchers have been involved in every aspect of research in my lab, and I look forward to working with Earlham students in the same way.

I enjoy reading books. Each year I like to choose a theme for the books I read. In 2016, I read books by authors or about people who have experienced being immigrants. In 2017, I plan to read books exploring experiences of crossing social class divides.

I enjoy doing yoga, photography and hiking.