Joy Hirsch designated the Mears/Jameson Professor

Joy Hirsch
Joy Hirsch

Joy Hirsch, newly named as the Elizabeth Mears and House Jameson Professor of Psychiatry, of Comparative Medicine, and of Neuroscience, focuses her research on understanding the neural circuitry and fundamental mechanisms of the brain that enable live interpersonal interactions and social behavior. Her research includes both healthy/typical individuals and patients with neurological, developmental, and psychiatric disorders.

Hirsch conducts her research at the Brain Function Laboratory which she established in 2013 at Yale School of Medicine. Her studies of brain function during spontaneous and live interactions are multimodal and include simultaneous imaging of dual-brain activity using functional near infrared spectroscopy, fNIRS; electroencephalography, EEG; eye-tracking; facial classification systems including machine learning; behavioral measures; and physiological responses. The laboratory is currently focused on specific studies of dynamic coalitions and neural operations that regulate natural interpersonal dialogue and social interactions including conflict, competition, non-verbal communications, and the role of mutual gaze and faces in interpersonal interactions. Her long-term goal is to understand the neural correlates of dynamic and interactive social behavior.

Hirsch completed her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology at Columbia University studying the human visual system. She began her academic career as an Assistant Professor in Yale’s Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science. After receiving tenure at Yale she moved on to a faculty position at the Sloan-Kettering Institute of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center where she pioneered investigations of human brain mapping using functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI. Subsequently she was recruited to Columbia University as founder and Director of the Columbia University fMRI Research Center extending her research to neural systems associated with human cognition, perception, and decision making. Hirsch returned to Yale in 2013 as a Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobiology to establish a new research direction referred to as the “Neuroscience of Two.”

In addition to her new appointment, Hirsch will continue to serve as a Senior Investigator at Haskins Laboratories located adjacent to the Brain Function Laboratory, and as Professor of Neuroscience in the Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering at University College London in the United Kingdom.

Hirsch’s research is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, and she is the author of more than 130 peer-reviewed articles in medical and research journals. She is a popular lecturer on Brain and Behavior, a strong advocate for basic science, and has contributed numerous reviews and book chapters.

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