James P. Morris

Professor and Chair of Psychology

James P. Morris

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

  • Lancaster, K., Goldbeck, L., Puglia, M. H., Morris, J. P., Connelly, J. J. (2018). DNA methylation of OXTR is associated with parasympathetic nervous system activity and amygdala morphology. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 13, 1155–1162. Read here

  • Lancaster, K., Goldbeck, L., Pournajafi-Nazarloo, H., Connelly, J. J., Carter, C. S., and Morris, J. P. (2018). The Role of Endogenous Oxytocin in Anxiolysis: Structural and Functional Correlates. Biological Psychiatry. Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, 3, 618-625. Read here

  • Puglia, M. H., Connelly, J. J., and Morris, J. P. (2018). Epigenetic regulation of the oxytocin receptor is associated with neural response during selective social attention. Translational PsychiatryRead here

  • Lancaster, K., Morris, J. P., and Connelly, J. J. (2018). Neuroimaging epigenetics: Challenges and recommendations for best practices. Neuroscience, 370,  88-100. Read here

  • Gonalez, M., Puglia, M. H., Morris, J. P., and Connelly, J. J. (2017). Oxytocin receptor genotype and low economic privilege reverses ventral striatum-social anxiety association. Social Neuroscience. Read here

  • Puglia, M. H., and Morris, J. P. (2017). Neural response to biological motion in healthy adults varies as a function of autistic-like traits. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. Read here

  • Garman, H. D., Spaulding, C. J., Webb, S. J., Mikami, A. Y., Morris, J. P., and Lerner M.D. (2016). Wanting it too much: An inverse relation between social motivation and facial emotion recognition in autism spectrum disorder. Child Psychiatry and Human Development. 47, 890-902. Read here

  • Lancaster, K., Carter, C. S., Nazarloo, H. P., Karaoli, T., Lillard, T. S., Jack, A., Davis, J. M., Morris, J.P., and Connelly, J.J. (2015). Plasma oxytocin predicts individual variability in social cognition. Frontiers in Human NeuroscienceRead here

  • Puglia, M. H., Lillard, T. S., Morris, J. P., and Connelly, J. J. (2015). Epigenetic modification of the oxytocin receptor gene influences the perception of anger and fear in the human brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112, 3308-3313. Read here

  • Jack, A. and Morris, J. P. (2014). Neocerebellar contributions to social perception dysfunction in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 10, 77-92. Read here

  • Smith E. D., Englander, Z. A., Lillard, A. S., and Morris, J. P. (2013). Cortical mechanisms of pretense observation. Social Neuroscience, 8, 356-368. Read here

  • Beckes, L., Coan, J. A., and Morris, J. P. (2013) Implicit conditioning of faces via the social regulation of emotion: ERP evidence of early attentional biases for security conditioned faces. Psychophysiology, 50, 734-742. Read here

  • Earls, H. A., Englander, Z. A., and Morris, J. P. (2013). Perception of race-related features modulates neural activity associated with action observation and imitation. Neuroreport, 24, 410-413. Read here

  • Ng, B. W., Morris, J. P., and Oishi, S. (2013). Cultural Neuroscience: The current state of affairs. Psychological Inquiry, 24, 1-5. Read here

  • Jack, A., Connelly, J. J., and Morris, J. P. (2012). DNA methylation of the oxytocin receptor gene predicts the neural response to ambiguous social stimuli. Frontiers in Human NeuroscienceRead here

  • 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, 11-21. Read here

  • 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.e39384. Read here

  • Jack, A., Englander, Z. A., and Morris, J. P. (2011). Subcortical contributions to effective connectivity in brain networks supporting imitation. Neuropsychologia, 49, 3689-3698. Read here