Dr Stephanie Wong

Dr Stephanie Wong, NHMRC Research Fellow, The University of Sydney.

Dr Stephanie Wong is an Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Psychology and Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney. Her research combines neuropsychology, cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging to investigate the neurobiological bases of motivation, reward processing and financial capability in aging and dementia. Through her research and clinical work, she aims to directly translate research findings into advances in clinical practice and interventions, thereby improving quality of life in individuals living with dementia and their families.

Forefront Group:

  • BMC FRONTIER Frontotemporal Dementia Research Group

Affiliate Organisations

School of Psychology, the University of Sydney, Brain and Mind Centre, the University of Sydney

Neurodegeneration of interest:

AD, FTD, Ageing


  • Neuropsychology
  • Cognitive neuroscience
  • Neuroimaging

Specific Skills:

  • Clinical Neuropsychologist


  • “Challenging behaviours in dementia: mechanisms, assessment and interventions” – CI, NHMRC Emerging Leadership 1 Investigator Fellowship (2021–2025)
  • “Financial skills in older adults” – CIA, Ecstra Foundation Financial Wellbeing and Ageing Well Project Grant (2021)
  • “Financial vulnerabilities in younger onset dementia: insights for targeted interventions” – CI, Dementia Australia Research Foundation (2019–2021)

Challenging behaviours in dementia: mechanisms, assessment and interventions

Disease area:

Dementia, FTD, AD, PD

Chief investigator(s):

Stephanie Wong

Research Project Description

This research program (2021–2025) focuses on the behavioural symptoms of dementia. These symptoms are common, and can range from reduced motivation and empathy to overeating, gambling and socially-inappropriate or repetitive behaviour.

Notably, these behaviours are challenging for carers and families to cope with, and often lead to patients being placed into aged care facilities. My research aims to understand why these symptoms develop and how we can manage these behaviours effectively.

Key publications from this project

Wong, S., Balleine, B.W. & Kumfor, F. (2018). A new framework for conceptualizing symptoms in frontotemporal dementia: from animal models to the clinic. Brain. 141(8): 2245-2254

Financial skills in older adults

Disease area:

Ageing, Dementia

Chief investigator(s):

Stephanie Wong, Fiona Kumfor, Travis Wearne, Kurt Lushington, Braam Lowies

Research Project Description

The capacity to handle money and personal finances is crucial for living independently. Changes in cognition due to healthy ageing or neurodegenerative disease can lead to increased susceptibility to financial errors and exploitation. Currently, however, assessment of everyday financial skills is not routinely conducted or widely accessible.

The Test of Financial Skills (TOFS) is a clinician-administered neuropsychological test that has been specifically developed for older Australians (with and without dementia) to assess a wide range of financial skills that are relevant to everyday life. The primary objective of this project is to translate and transfer this test onto an online interface, allowing consumers (older adults in Australia) to independently complete a short form of the test (the mini-TOFS) and receive tailored feedback and recommendations. This project is funded to be completed throughout 2021.

Financial vulnerabilities in younger onset dementia: insights for targeted interventions

Disease area:

Dementia, FTD, AD

Chief investigator(s):

Stephanie Wong

Research Project Description

People with dementia have a higher risk of being financially exploited, and may also have difficulty managing their money. Together, these financial vulnerabilities present a unique set of challenges for individuals with younger onset dementia––which typically affects people younger than the age of 65––as they are at a stage in their lives where they may still have significant financial responsibilities (e.g. paying mortgages, supporting children).

Despite serious consequences, little is known about the prevalence and causes of financial vulnerabilities in these individuals, and how this impacts on their families.

Through a series of questionnaires and interviews with family members and tests in people with younger onset dementia, this project will establish the prevalence of financial vulnerabilities, determine how this impacts on family members and identify changes in cognition and behaviour that give rise to increased financial vulnerabilities. Through information workshops and educational materials, findings from this project will raise awareness of financial exploitation and mismanagement in people with younger onset dementia, while also facilitating the development of targeted interventions to support their financial independence. Ultimately, these findings will help improve the wellbeing and everyday lives of families and individuals affected by younger onset dementia. This project is funded to be completed in 2019–2021.