Joy Hirsch

Joy Hirsch, Ph.D.

Professor of Functional NeuroRadiology, Radiology, Neuroscience, Psychology
Director of the Program for Imaging & Cognitive Sciences
Member, The Kavli Institute for Brain Science

Neurological Institute, B-41
Tel +1 212-342-0291

Area of Research

Cognitive/Systems Neuroscience, Brain Imaging


Neuroimaging of cognitive, perceptual, emotional, and language processes to model healthy, psychiatric, and neurologically-relevant conditions.


Joy Hirsch is the Director of PICS, a university-wide core facility established at Columbia University to provide a collaborative and multi-investigator neuroimaging environment. PICS is focused on the investigation of the neurocircuitry that underlies cognition, perception and action as well as the development of clinical applications that enhance the goals of personalized clinical neuroscience and psychiatry.

Current research interests of the Hirsch group are aimed toward understanding the role of functional specializations in the brain and mechanisms of cognitive control. The recent discovery of neural systems that modulate “bottom-up” information based on prior experience and expectation has initiated numerous investigations of the neurobiological processes that influence emotion, executive function, and perception.

Additionally, on-going projects targeted for clinical applications include investigations of disorders of consciousness such as: minimally conscious or vegetative states, self and visual awareness, and attention; investigations of benefits for neurosurgery such as: brain maps of essential functions including language, motor, sensation, memory, and emotion; integration of EEG and fMRI techniques to localize seizuregenic cortex in relation to eloquent and functioning cortex; integration of transcranial magnetic stimulation, TMS, and fMRI to discriminate essential and associative language-sensitive cortical areas; and integration of VEP, EEG and fMRI to inform assessments of disabilities secondary to stroke or neural degeneration. Projects intended to refine and enhance diagnosis of psychiatric disorders (such as anxiety, depression, and eating disorders) include the development of specialized paradigms to target both dysfunctional neurocircuitry of emotional systems (amygdala and basal ganglia) and control and regulatory systems (cingulate and pre-frontal cortex). Current projects also include investigations of neural circuitry that underlie development disorders including autism and developmental delay.


Grinband, J., Wager, T., Lindquist, M., Ferrera, V., Hirsch, J.  Detection of time-varying signal in event-related fMRI designs, Neuro Image, 43: 509-520, 2008.

Rosenbaum, M., Sy, M., Pavlovich, K., Leibel, R., Hirsch, J.   Effects of weight loss and leptin administration on in vivo regional neural activity in response to visual food stimuli, Journal of Clinical Investigation, 118(7): 2583-2591, 2008.

Summerfield, C., Egner, T., Greene, M., Koechlin, E., Mangels, J, Hirsch, J. Predictive Codes for Forthcoming Perception in the Frontal Cortex, Science 24 November 2006: Vol. 314., 1311-1314, 2006

Etkin, A., Egner, T., Peraza, D.M., Kandel, E.R., Hirsch, J. Resolving emotional conflict: a model for amygdalar modulation by the rostral anterior cingulate cortex, Neuron 51, 871-882, 2006.

Grinband, J., Hirsch, J., Ferrera, V. A Neural Representation of Categorization Uncertainty in the Human Brain Neuron 49, 757–763, 2006.

Summerfield, C., Egner, T., Mangels, J., Hirsch, J. (2005). Mistaking a house for a face: neural correlates of misperception in healthy humans. Cerebral Cortex, 16, 500-508, 2006.