Julie Fiez

Department web site

Lab web site

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.

Chrabaszcz, A., Wang, D., Lipski, W.J., Bush, A., Crammond, D.J., Shaiman, S., Dickey, M.W., Holt, L.L., Turner, R.S., Fiez, J.A., Richardson R.M. (2021). Subthalamic nucleus and perisylvian cortical regions differentially encode lexicality during a reading aloud task. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 60.

Hirshorn, E.A., Simcox, T., Durisko, C., Perfetti, C.A., &  Fiez JA. (2020). Unmasking individual differences in adult reading procedures by disrupting holistic orthographic perception. PLoS One, 15(5), e0233041.

Cox, K.M. & Fiez, J.A. (2020). Abstract inference of unchosen option values. Eur J Neurosci, 51(3), 909-921.

Ben-Yehudah G., Hirshorn E. A., Simcox T., Perfetti C. A., & Fiez J. A. (2019). Chinese-English bilinguals transfer L1 lexical reading procedures and holistic orthographic coding to L2 English. Journal of Neurolinguistics. 50:136-148

Martin L., Hirshorn E. A., Durisko C., Moore M. W., Schwartz R., Zheng Y., & Fiez, J. A. (2019). Do adults acquire a second orthography using their native reading network? Journal of Neurolinguistics. 50:120-135

Lim S.J., Fiez J.A., & Holt L.L. (2019). Role of the striatum in incidental learning of sound categories. Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, 116:4671-4880.

Martin, L., Durisko, C., Moore, M. W., Coutanche, M. N., Chen, D., & Fiez, J. A. (2019). The VWFA is the home of orthographic learning when house images are used as letters. eNeuro, 6(1)

Carlos, B. J., Hirshorn, E. A., Durisko, C., Fiez, J. A., & Coutanche, M. N. (2019). Word inversion sensitivity as a marker of visual word form area lateralization: An application of a novel multivariate measure of laterality. NeuroImage, 191,493-502.

Chrabaszcz A, Neumann W.J., Stretcu O., Lipski W.J., Bush A., Dastolfo-Hromack C.A., Wang D., Crammond D.J., Shaiman S., Dickey M.W., Holt L.L., Turner T.S., Fiez J.A., & Richardson R.M. (2019). Subthalamic nucleus and sensorimotor cortex activity during speech production. Journal of Neuroscience, 39:2698-2708.

Liu, R., Schunn, C. D., Fiez, J. A., & Libertus, M. E. (2018). The integration between nonsymbolic and symbolic numbers: Evidence from an EEG study. Brain and Behavior, 8(4).

Alvarez T., & Fiez J. A. (2018). Current perspectives on the cerebellum and reading development. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 92, 55-66.

Lipski W. J., Alhourani A., Pirnia T., Jones P. W., Dastolfo-Hromack C., Helous L. B., Crammond D. J., Sahiman S., Dickey M. W., Holt L. L, Fiez J. A., Turner R. S., & Richardson R. M. (2018). Subthalamic nucleus neurons differentially encode early and late aspects of speech production. Journal of Neuroscience, 38(24), 5620-5631.

Tremel J. J., Ortiz D. M., & Fiez J. A. (2018). Initial encoding experiences impact the strategies and neural systems that mediate subsequent decision-making. Neuropsychologia.

Ghuman A.S.,& Fiez J.A. (2018). Parcellating the structure and function of the reading circuit [Comment]. Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, 115:10542-10544.

Tremel J.J., Ortiz D.M., Fiez J.A. (2018). Manipulating memory efficacy affects the behavioral and neural profiles of deterministic decision-making. Neuropsychologia, 114:214-230.

Moore, M. W., Fiez, J. A., & Tompkins, C. A. (2017). Consonant age of acquisition effects in nonword repetition are not articulatory in nature. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research.

Ying, Y., Dickey, M. W., Fiez , J. A., Murphy, B., Mitchell, T., Collinger, J., Tyler-Kabara, E., Boninger, M., & Wang, W. (2017). Sensorimotor experience with verb-category mapping in human sensory, motor, and parietal neurons. Cortex.

Zelle, S. L., Gates, K. M., Fiez, J. A., Sayette, M. A., & Wilson, S. J. (2017). The first day is always the hardest: Functional connectivity during cue exposure and the ability to resist smoking in the initial hours of a quit attempt. Neuroimage, 151, 24-32.

Durisko, C., McCue, M., Doyle, P. J., Dickey, M. W., & Fiez, J. A. (2016). A flexible and integrated system for the remote acquisition of neuropsychological data in stroke research. Telemedicine and e-Health, 22, 1032-1040.

Fiez, J. A. (2016). The cerebellum and language: Persistent themes and findings. Brain and Language, 161, 1-3.

Guediche, S., Fiez, J. A., & Holt, L. L. (2016). Adaptive plasticity in speech perception: Effects of external information and internal predictions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 42, 1048-1059.

Hirshorn, E. A., Wrencher, A., Durisko, C., Moore, M. W., & Fiez, J. A. (2016). Fusiform gyrus laterality in writing systems with different mapping principles: An artificial orthography training study. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 28, 882-94.

Tremel, J. J., Laurent, P.A., Wolk, D. A., Wheeler, M. E., & Fiez, J. A. (2016). Neural signatures of experience-based improvements in decision-making. Behavioral Brain Research, 315, 51-65.

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.

Julie Fiez, Marc Coutanche, and Corrine Durisko's study published in the Journal of the Society of Neuroscience has been featured in the May 17 PittWire article "Researchers Teach Adults to Read Using Pictures of Houses."

May 17, 2019


Julie Fiez is quoted in the January 18 Scientific American article, "The Cerebellum Is Your 'Little Brain'—and It Does Some Pretty Big Things."

January 18, 2019


The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded one of only 19 grants given to cross-disciplinary teams across the United States to Melissa Libertus (P.I.), Associate Professor, Psychology, Marc Coutanche, Assistant Professor, Psychology, and Julie Fiez, Professor, Psychology, Neuroscience, CNBC and Communication Sciences and Disorders, to conduct innovative research on neural and cognitive systems.

August 8, 2017


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


Principal Investigator Jana Iverson and co-PIs Julie Fiez, Adjunct Faculty, University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, and LRDC Senior Scientist, Melissa Libertus, Associate Professor, Psychology, and LRDC Research Scientist, and Elizabeth Votruba-Drzal, Assistant Professor, Psychology, and LRDC Center Associate were awarded an APA grant for Summer Undergraduate Psychology Research Experience (SUPRE) in May 2017.

May 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