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Julie Fiez

Adjunct Faculty, Carnegie Mellon University Department of Psychology

Professor, University of Pittsburgh Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition

Professor, University of Pittsburgh Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders

Professor, University of Pittsburgh Department of Neuroscience

Professor, University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychology

Senior Scientist, Learning Research & Development Center

Research Interests

My lab relies upon a broad-based and interdisciplinary cognitive neuroscience approach to address questions that fall within two predominant strands of research. One strand is focused on the neural basis of language processing. Topics of interest include the articulatory and phonological codes involved in verbal working memory, and the ways in which different writing systems influence the representation and processing of orthographic information. A second strand is focused on basic learning systems in the human brain. We are especially interested in how cognition may be optimized by reinforcement learning signals mediated by the basal ganglia and error-correction signals mediated by the cerebellum.

Hirshorn, E. A., Li, Y., Ward, M. J., Richardson, R. M., Fiez, J. A., Ghuman, A. S. (2016). Decoding and disrupting left midfusiform gyrus activity during word reading. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Liu, A. S., Kallai, A. Y., Schunn, C. D., & Fiez, J. A. (2015). Using mental computation training to improve complex mathematical performance. Instructional Science.

Hirshorn, E. A., & Fiez, J. A. (2014). Using artificial orthographies for studying cross-linguistic differences in the cognitive and neural profiles of reading. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 31,69-85.

Moore, M. W. Durisko, C. Perfetti, C. A. & Fiez, J. A. (2014). Learning to read an alphabet of human faces produces left-lateralized training effects in the fusiform gyrus. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 26(4), 896-913.

Guediche, S., Blumstein, S. E. Fiez, J. A., & Holt, L. L. (2014). Speech perception under adverse conditions: insights from behavioral, computational, and neuroscience research. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 7(126), 1-16.

Moore, M. W., Brendal, P., &  Fiez, J. A. (2014). Reading faces: Investigating the use of a novel face-based orthography in acquired alexia. Brain and Language, 129, 7-13.

Lim S-J., Fiez J.A., & Holt L.L. (2014). How may the basal ganglia contribute to auditory categorization and speech perception? Frontiers in Neuroscience, 8:230.

Fiez, J. (2014). Neural basis of phonological memory. To appear in: Neurobiology of Language (GS Hickok, SL Small, eds).

Guediche, S., Holt, L., Laurent, P., Lim, S. J., & Fiez, J. A. (2014). Evidence for cerebellar contributions to adaptive plasticity in speech perception. Cerebral Cortex.

Wilson, S. J., Sayette, M. A., Fiez, J. A. (2014). Self-control, negative affect and neural activity during effortful cognition in deprived smokers. Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience, Epub ahead of print.

Wilson, S. J., Creswell, K. G., Sayette, M. A., & Fiez, J. A. (2013). Ambivalence about smoking and cue-elicited neural activity in quitting-motivated smokers faced with an opportunity to smoke. Addictive Behaviors.

Simcox, T., & Fiez, J. A. (2013). Collecting response times using Amazon Mechanical Turk and Adobe Flash. Behavior Research Methods.

Wilson, S. J., Sayette, M. A., Fiez, J. A. (2013). Neural correlates of self-focused and other-focused strategies for coping with cigarette exposure. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 27, 466-476.

Hedges, J. H., Adolph, K. E., Amso, D., Beavelier, D., Fiez, J. A., Krubitzer, L., McAuley, J. D., Newcombe, N. S., Fietzpatrick, S. M., & Ghajar, J. (2013). Play, attention, and learning: how do play and timing shape the development of attention and influence classroom learning? Annals of the New York Academy of Science, 1292, 1-20.

Simcox, T., Fiez, J.A. (2013). Collecting Response Times Using Amazon Mechanical Turk and Adobe Flash. Behavior Research Methods.

Wilson, S.J., Sayette, M.A., Fiez, J.A. (2012).  Neural Correlates of Self-Focused and Other-Focused Strategies for Coping with Cigarette Exposure. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors

Wilson, S. J., Sayette, M. A., & Fiez, J. A. (2012). Neural correlates of self-focused and other-focused strategies for coping with cigarette exposure. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

Tricomi, E., & Fiez, J. A. (2012). Information content and reward processing in the human striatum during the performance of a declarative memory task. Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience.

Kallai, A. Y., Schunn, C. D., & Fiez, J. A. (2012). Mental arithmetic activates analogic representations of internally generated sums. Neuropsychologia, 50, 2397-23407.

Moses-Kolko, E. L., Fraser, D., Wisner, K. L., James, J. A., Sual, A. T., Fiez, J. A., & Phillips, M. L. (2011). Rapid habituation of ventral striatal response to reward receipt in postpartum depression. Biological Psychiatry. 15: 198-211

Perfetti, C. A., Nelson, J., Liu, Y., Fiez, J., & Tan, L. H. (2010). The neural bases of reading: Universals and writing system variations. In P. Cornelissen, M. Kringelbach, & P. Hansen (Eds.), The neural basis of reading (pp. 147-172). Oxford University Press.

Durisko, C., & Fiez, J. A. (2010). Functional activation in the cerebellum during working memory and simple speech tasks. Cortex, 46, 896-906.

Chein, J. M., & Fiez, J. A. (2010). Evaluating models of working memory through the effects of concurrent irrelevant information. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 139(1), 117-137.

Fiez, J. A., & Schunn C. (June 2009). Understanding the neuroscience of rigorous learning. Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media: Teachers College, Columbia University.

Nelson, J. R., Liu, Y., Fiez, J., & Perfetti, C. A. (2009). Assimilation and accommodation patterns in ventral occipitotemporal cortex in learning a second writing system. Human Brain Mapping, 30, 810-820.

Julie Fiez is a Co-Director of the Behavioral Brain (B2) Research Training Program along with Lori Holt of Carnegie Mellon University. B2 has been renewed for five more years of funding by the National Institutes of Health. This program aims to train the next generation of behavioral science researchers who can skillfully incorporate neuroscience perspectives and methods into their programs of research, based on an understanding of brain structure and function that bridges traditional areas of behavioral research.

June 5, 2017


Tune into WESA Radio, Pittsburgh’s NPR affiliate (90.5 fm), on Tuesday, August 16, between 4-5 pm to hear Liz Hirshorn, Julie Fiez, and co-authors Yuanning Li, R. Mark Richardson, and Avniel Singh Ghuman, discuss their study of “Decoding and Disrupting Left Midfusiform Gyrus Activity During Word Reading,” with award-winning journalist Melinda Roeder. Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

August 16, 2016

Julie Fiez's research was mentioned in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article "'Unboxxed': Leadership Pittsburgh's Seminar Challenges Traditional Forms of Education. Both, Walt Schneider and Julie presented at the conference.

November 2014


Report from Hechinger Institute Explores Academic Rigor in Schools

June 3, 2009

The Hechinger Institute



Association for Psychological Science

APA Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology


Chancellor's Distinguished Research Award


Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow


Wiley Young Investigator Award in Human Brain Mapping


Fellow, Charles A. Dana Foundation


Finalist, Donald Lindsley Prize in Behavioral Neuroscience, Soc. for Neuroscience

Fellow, Spencer T. Olin Foundation


Washington University

Olin Fellowship for Outstanding Biomedical Research, Washington University

Fellow, National Science Foundation


Woodruff Fellow, Emory University


Phi Beta Kappa, Emory University