Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

Cindy Ya Xiong

Assistant Professor, on leave through Fall 2025


Data Visualization, Human-Computer Interaction, Visual Perception and Cognition, Decision Making


We increasingly rely on visualizations to answer questions and make decisions about data. By tapping the power of our visual processing system, visualized data - maps, infographics, flow charts, word clouds, and network diagrams - can massively enhance our ability to analyze and understand patterns in order to make data-driven decisions. However, relying on visualized data may also subject us to powerful biases that can significantly influence what we see and decide.

Bridging the fields of psychology and data visualization, Professor Xiong uses empirical studies and computational models to understand the cognitive and perceptual processes that underlie visual data interpretation. Through understanding how humans interpret and make decisions from visualized data, her research informs the design and development of visualizations and visualization tools that help people more effectively communicate data. 

Research Centers & Labs: 


Cindy Xiong is an Assistant Professor in the College of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She received her PhD in Psychology and her MS in Statistics from Northwestern University in 2021. She was a visiting scholar at Utrecht University in the Netherlands in 2018, and received her bachelor's degrees in Applied Mathematics and Psychology from UCLA in 2016.

Activities & Awards

Professor Xiong's research at the intersection of human perception, cognition, and data visualization has received awards at premier venues in psychology and data visualization, including Psychonomics and IEEE VIS. She is one of the founding leaders of VISxVISION (visxvision.com), a partnership dedicated to increasing collaboration between visualization researchers and perceptual + cognitive psychologists. She organized workshops, symposiums, and panels across both psychology and visualization venues to promote interdisciplinary research in these fields.