James P. Morris

Associate Professor

Office Address

311 Gilmer Hall

Office Hours:
Tu 10:00-12:00


Current work in my laboratory is focused on how the actions, thoughts, beliefs and feelings of others are represented in the brain. We refer to these processes collectively as social perception. We use a multimodal approach to characterize neural systems allowing for efficient execution of these processes. Current techniques employed in the lab include functional magnetic resonance imaging, event-related potential recordings and molecular genetic techniques. Most of our work is concerned with building basic neurobiological models of social function. However, we also explore the neural basis of social deficits associated with autism spectrum disorder. A more recent line of work is examining how individual differences in social perception may be related to epigenetic mechanisms.

Selected Publications

  • Lerner, M.D., McPartland, J., and Morris, J.P. (2012). Multimodal emotion processing in autism spectrum disorders: An event-related potential study. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, In Press.
  • Englander, Z.A., Haidt, J., and Morris, J.P. (2012). Neural basis of positive social emotions demonstrated through inter-subject synchronization of cortical activity during free-viewing. PLoS One.
  • Jack, A, Englander, Z.A., and Morris, J.P. (2011). Subcortical contributions to effective connectivity in brain networks supporting imitation. Neuropsychologia, 49, 3689-3698.
  • Zucker, N, Green, S.R., Morris, J.P., Kragel, P., Pelphrey, K.A., Bulik, C.M., and LaBar, K.S. (2011). Hemodynamic signals of mixed messages during a social exchange. Neuroreport, 22, 413-418.
  • Heyda, R.D., Green, S.R., Wyk, B.C., Morris, J.P. and Pelphrey, K.A. (2010). Brain mechanisms for representing what another person sees. Neuroimage, 50, 693-700.
  • Pelphrey, K.A., Lopez, J., and Morris, J.P. (2009). Developmental continuity and change in responses to social and nonsocial categories in human extrastriate cortex. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 3:25.
  • Perlman, S.B., Morris, J.P., Vander Wyk, B.C., Green, S.R., Doyle, J.L., and Pelphrey, K.P. (2009). Individual differences in personality predict how people look at faces. PLoS ONE, 4, 1-6.
  • Haidt, J. and Morris, J.P (2009). Finding the self in self-transcendent emotions.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencnes, 106, 7687-7688.
  • Morris, J.P., Green, S., Marion, I., and McCarthy, G. (2008). Guided saccades modulate face- and body-sensitive activation in the occipitotemporal cortex during social perception. Brain and Cognition, 3, 16-25.
  • Morris, J.P., Pelphey, K.A., and McCarthy, G. (2007). Face processing without awareness in the right fusiform gyrus. Neuropsychologia, 45, 3087-3091.
  • Morris, J.P., Pelphrey, K.A., and McCarthy, G. (2007). Perceived causality influences brain activation     evoked by biological motion. Social Neuroscience, 3, 16-25.
  • Pelphrey, K.A., Morris, J.P, McCarthy, G., and LaBar, K.S. (2007) Perception of dynamic changes in facial affect and identity in autism. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 2, 140-149.
  • Morris, J.P., and McCarthy, G. (2007). Guided saccades modulate object and face-specific activity in the right fusiform gyrus. Human Brain Mapping. 28, 691-702.
  • Morris, J.P., Pelphrey, K.A., and McCarthy, G. (2007). Controlled scanpath variation alters fusiform face activation. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. 2, 31-38.
  • Pelphrey, K.A., and Morris, J.P. (2006). Brain mechanisms for interpreting the actions of others from biological motion cues. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15, 136-140.
  • Morris, J.P., Pelphey, K.A., and McCarthy, G. (2006). Occipitotemporal activation evoked by the perception of human bodies is modulated by the presence or absence of the face. Neuropsychologia, 44, 1919-1927.
  • Morris, J.P., Pelphrey, K.A., and McCarthy, G. (2005). Regional brain activation evoked by approaching virtual characters on a virtual walk, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 17, 1744-1752.
  • Pelphrey, K.A., Morris, J.P., Michelich, C.R., Allison, T., and McCarthy G. (2005) Functional anatomy of biological motion perception in posterior temporal cortex: An fMRI study of eye, mouth, and hand movements. Cerebral Cortex , 15, 1866-1876.
  • Pelphrey, K.A., Morris, J.P., and McCarthy, G. (2005). Neural basis of eye gaze processing deficits in autism. Brain, 128, 1038-1048
  • Pelphrey, K.A., Adolphs, R., and Morris, J.P. (2004). Neuroanatomical substrates of social cognition dysfunction in autism. Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews, 10, 259-271.
  • Pelphrey, K.A., Morris, J.P., and McCarthy G. (2004). Grasping the intentions of others: The context of a perceived action influences activity in the superior temporal sulcus during social perception. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 10, 1706-1716.
  • Morris, J.P., Squires, N.K., Taber, C.S., and Lodge, M. (2003). The activation of political attitudes: A psychophysiological examination of the hot cognition hypothesis. Political Psychology. 24: 727-745.