Julie A. Fiez, PhD

Professor, Psychology, Neuroscience


605 Learning Research Development Center
F: 412-624-9149
Website >


PhD, Washington University (1992)


Neuroimaging and behavioral studies of language, working memory, motivation, and learning.

Research Summary

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.


Wilson, S. J., Sayette, M.A., & Fiez, J.A. (2012). Quitting-unmotivated and quitting-motivated cigarette smokers exhibit different patterns of cue-elicited brain activation when anticipating an opportunity to smoke. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 121, 198-211. DOI: 10.1037/a0025112.
Tricomi E, Fiez JA. Information content and reward processing in the human striatum during performance of a declarative memory task. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. 2012 Jun;12(2):361-72. PMID: 22194237

Chein, J.M. and Fiez, J.A. Evaluating models of working memory through the effects of concurrent irrelevant information. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 2009, in press.

Nelson, J.R., Liu, Y., Fiez, J. and Perfetti, C.A. Assimilation and accommodation patterns in ventral occipitotemporal cortex in learning a second writing system. Human Brain Mapping, 30: 810-20, 2009.

Strick, P.L., Dum, R.P. and Fiez, J.A. Cerebellum and Non-Motor Function. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 32: 413-24, 2009.

Ben-Yehudah, G. and Fiez, J.A. Impact of cerebellar lesions on reading and phonological processing. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1145: 260-74, 2008.

Tricomi, E. and Fiez, J.A. Feedback signals in the caudate reflect goal achievement on a declarative memory task. Neuroimage, 41: 1154-67, 2008.