James P. Morris

Professor and Chair of Psychology

304M/408 Gilmer Hall

Office Hours:

Research Areas:

My research program focuses on the neural mechanisms underlying human social behavior. I am particularly interested in how the brain supports basic social perceptual processes such as understanding information conveyed by facial expressions, eye-gaze direction, body posture and biological motion. Beyond identifying and characterizing these basic systems, my goal is to understand how they change in development, are variable across individuals, and how they may contribute to typical and atypical social behaviors. To achieve our work, my lab employs a multimodal approach that includes functional magnetic brain imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG/ERP), eyetracking, molecular genetics, and behavioral experiments. My work embraces a life-span perspective, in which we acknowledge that these systems allowing for social processes develop and change in meaningful ways related to various stages of life.

Selected Publications

  • Skyberg AM, Newman BT, Graves AJ, Goldstein AM, Brindley SR, Kim M, Druzgal TJ, Connelly JJ, and Morris JP. (2022). An epigenetic mechanism for differential maturation of amygdala-prefrontal connectivity in childhood socio-emotional development. Translational Psychiatry. 

  • Puglia, M.H., Krol, K.M., Missana, M., Williams, C.L., Lillard, T.S., Morris, J.P., Connelly, J.J., and Grossman T. (2020) Epigenetic tuning of brain signal entropy in emergent social behavior. BMC Medicine, 18, 1-24. 

  • 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. 

  • 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. 

  • 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. 

  • 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.