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Indiana University Bloomington

Karin James

Dr. Karin James

Associate Professor


khjames [at]

office: PY 154 | (812)856-0659

lab: Cognition and Action Neuroimaging Lab
   PY A104 | (812)856-7237


Action and perception interactions during learning; development of object recognition; effects of handwriting on cognitive development, perceptual expertise, gesture processing and active learning in adults

Educational Background

  • 2001-03 - Post Doctoral Fellow, Vanderbilt University
  • 2001 - Ph.D., Psychology, University of Western Ontario
  • 1998 - MA, Psychology, University of Western Ontario
  • 1996 - BS, Psychology, University of Toronto
  • 1991 - BA, History, University of Toronto

Areas of Study

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Brain and Behavior
  • Developmental Psychology

Research Topics

  • Action and perception interactions during learning
  • Development of object recognition
  • Reading acquisition

Research Summary:

Dr. James' overall research questions center around the idea that learning about objects in the world is shaped and changed by the way humans interact with the world through their bodies. More specifically, self-generated actions create learning episodes that in turn shape cognition - what we do determines how we learn. She is investigating how action affects learning in many domains including: object recognition, language learning, reading, and mathematical understanding, using several behavioral methods for assessing learning outcomes and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging for investigating the brain mechanisms involved in different types of learning in both children and adults.

Dr. James' research program is devoted to studying the neural correlates of learning in humans. In general, how motor experience can influence visual recognition in both adults and children, and how the brain changes in response to specific experiences.

Professional Organizations and Memberships

2007-present: Society for Research in Child Development
2004-present: Cognitive Neuroscience Society
2000-present: Vision Sciences Society
1998-2000: Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
1998-1999: Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science

Representative Publications

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

James, KH & Gauthier, I (under revision). When writing impairs reading: Letter perception's susceptibility to motor interference.

James, KH. (under revision). Sensori-motor experience leads to changes in visual processing in the developing brain.

James, KH & Atwood, TP (2008). The role of sensori-motor learning in the perception of letter-like forms: tracking the causes of neural specialization for letters. Cognitive Neuropsychology.

Wong, A C-N, Jobard, G., James, KH, James, TW & Gauthier, I (2008). Expertise with characters in alphabetic and nonalphabetic writing systems engage overlapping occipito-temporal areas. Cognitive Neuropsychology.

in press - Foss, A. H, Altschuler, E.L. & James, K.H. Neural correlates of the Pythagorean ratio rules. Neuroreport.

2006 - James, K.H. & Gauthier, I. Letter processing automatically recruits a sensory-motor brain network. Neuropsychologia, 44, 2937-2949.

2005 - James, K.H., James, T.W., Jobard, G., Wong, C-N., & Gauthier, I. Letter processing in the visual system: Different activation patterns for single letters and strings. Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience, 5(4), 452-466 .

2002 - James, K.H., Humphrey, G.K., Vilis, T, Baddour, R., Corrie, B. & Goodale, M.A. Learning three-dimensional object structure: A virtual reality study. Behavioral Research Methods, Instruments and Computers,34:3, 383-390.

2001 - James, K.H., Humphrey, G.K. & Goodale, M.A. Manipulating and Recognizing Virtual Objects: Where the Action Is. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 55:2., 111-120.

1999 - Harman, K.L., Humphrey, G.K. & Goodale, M.A. Active manual control of object views facilitates visual recognition. Current Biology, 9:22. 1315-1318.

1999 - Harman, K.L. & Humphrey, G.K. Encoding ‘regular’ and ‘random’ sequences of views of novel, three-dimensional objects. Perception,28, 601-615.

Book Chapters

in press - James, K.H., Wong, C-N, Jobard, G. The case for letter expertise. To appear in: Perceptual Expertise: Bridging Brain and Behavior, Gauthier, I, Bub, D. & Tarr, M.J. (Eds.) Oxford University Press.

2005 - James, T.W., Humphrey, G.K., James, K.H. & Goodale, M.A. (2005) Do visual and tactile object representations share the same neural substrate? M.A. Heller and S. Ballesteros (Eds.), Touch and blindness: psychology and neuroscience. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.