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Joanna Morris

Joanna Morris is a cognitive scientist interested in the role of language in the creation of art. She explores the benefits of linguistics understanding for playwrights, poets, storytellers, singers, musicians, writers and actors and the historical role of language in spoken-into-creation myths, public speech, poetry, song lyrics and proverbs. She is also interested in social cognition and how general cognitive processes can help us understand broad social phenomena, such as the ability to correctly attribute beliefs, goals and percepts to other people—a set of meta-representation abilities known as “theory of mind.” Her work has been published in Brain Research, Memory & Cognition, the Journal of Memory and Language, Brain and Language, Language and Cognitive Processes and Psychophysiology.

Morris graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College as a psychology major and holds a PhD in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, where she also completed a pre-doctoral fellowship from Penn’s Institute for Cognitive Science. She earned an M.Phil in theoretical linguistics from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. In addition to teaching at RISD, she is a professor of cognitive science in the School of Cognitive Science at Hampshire College, where her work focuses on the cognitive processes that underlie reading. Her current research is focused on examining how complex words—words with multiple parts like sing-er and un-happy are represented in the mental dictionary.

Fall 2019 Courses

  • HPSS-S177-01 Cognitive Psychology
  • HPSS-S179-01 Theory Of Mind

Spring 2020 Courses

  • HPSS-S185-01 Cognition For Design
  • HPSS-S101-07 Topics: History, Philosophy, & The Social Sciences