Robert M. Joseph, Ph.D.

Assistant ProfessorR-Joseph Headshot

Phone: 617-414-1311
Fax: 617-414-1301
Location: L-816, BUSM

CV: Robert M Joseph Ph.D.– CV

Dr. Joseph received his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Massachusetts in 1996. He completed postdoctoral training in developmental neuropsychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Cambridge Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Dr. Joseph has been a faculty member of the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology since 2001.

Dr. Joseph does research on the neuropsychology and neurobiology of social disability in children with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. His current research focuses on the ways in which children attend to, perceive, and respond emotionally to information from faces, such as shifts of gaze and facial expressions of emotion. Dr. Joseph also researches differences in visual attention and perception that are often expressed in the form of superior performance in, for example, tests of nonverbal IQ and visual search in autism, to gain a better understanding of how the brain develops and is organized differently in autism.  To study these questions, he uses computerized behavioral tests, eye tracking, psychophysiological measures, and functional magnetic neuroimaging.  Dr. Joseph is the lead psychologist of a multi-site study ( investigating early biological predictors of neurocognitive and neurobehavioral outcomes in children born at extremely low gestational age.  The aim of this study is to determine if neonatal markers of brain inflammation predict a higher prevalence of learning difficulties and behavioral disorders, including autism, in children who are born at very low gestational ages. Dr. Joseph is also an investigator at the Boston University Center of Autism Research Excellence (, where he and his colleagues study the causes of and interventions for language and communications deficits in autism, particularly among children who have not developed any functional language.

Dr. Joseph teaches the following courses:  Human Growth and Development (GMS MH 708), Neuroscience for Mental Health Professionals (MH 709), Elementary Biostatistics for the Biomedical Sciences (MS 700), Autism: Clinical and Neuroscience Perspectives (AN 713), and Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience (AN 716).

Selected Publications

Joseph, R. M., Fricker, Z., & Keehn, B. (2015). Activation of frontoparietal attention networks by nonpredictive gaze and arrow cues. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 10, 294-301.

Joseph, R. M., Fricker, Z., Fenoglio, A., Lindgren, K., Knaus, T., & Tager-Flusberg, H. (2014). Structural asymmetries of language-related gray and white matter as related to language function in young children with ASD. Behavior and Brain Imaging, 8, 60-72.

McLean, R. L., Harrison, A. J., Zimak, E., Joseph, R. M., & Morrow, E. M. (2014). Executive Function in Probands With Autism With Average IQ and Their Unaffected First-Degree Relatives. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 53(9), 1001-1009.

O’Shea, T. M., Joseph, R. M., Kuban, K. C., Allred, E. N., Ware, J., Coster, T. & ELGAN Study Investigators. (2014). Elevated blood levels of inflammation-related proteins are associated with an attention problem at age 24 mo in extremely preterm infants. Pediatric Research, 75(6), 781-787.

Agam, Y., Joseph, R. M., Barton, J., & Manoach, D. (2010). Reduced cognitive control of response inhibition by the anterior cingulate cortex in autism spectrum disorders. Neuroimage, 37, 599-610.

Joseph, R. M., Keehn, B., Connolly, C. E., Wolfe, J. M., & Horowitz, T. S. (2009). Why Is visual search superior in autism spectrum disorder? Developmental Science, 12, 1083-1096.

Keehn, B., & Joseph, R. M. (2008). Impaired prioritization of novel onset stimuli in autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 49, 1296-1303.

Joseph, R. M., McNally, R., Ehrman, K., & Keehn, B. (2008). Affective response to eye contact and face recognition ability in autism spectrum disorder. Journal of the International Neuropsychology Society, 14, 947-955.

Hadjikhani, H., Joseph, R. M., Snyder, J., & Tager-Flusberg, H. (2006). Anatomical differences in the mirror neuron system and social cognition network in autism. Cerebral Cortex, 16, 1276-1282.

Joseph, R. M., Steele, S., Meyer, E., & Tager-Flusberg, H. (2005). Self-ordered pointing in children with autism: Failure to use verbal mediation in the service of working memory. Neuropsychologia, 43, 1400-1411.

Hadjikhani, H., Joseph, R. M., Snyder, J., Chabris, C. F., Clark, J., Steele, S., McGrath, L., Vangel, M., Aharon, I., Fekzco, A., Harris, G J., & Tager-Flusberg, H. (2004). Activation of the fusiform gyrus when individuals with autism spectrum disorder view faces. NeuoImage, 22, 1141-1150.

Joseph, R. M., & Tager-Flusberg, H. (2004). The relationship of theory of mind and executive functions to symptom type and severity in children with autism. Development and Psychopathology, 16, 137-155.

Joseph, R. M., & Tanaka, J. (2003). Holistic and part-based face recognition in children with autism. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 44, 529-542.

Full Publication List