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University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Lisa Aziz-Zadeh PhD

Lisa Aziz-Zadeh PhD

Associate Professor, joint appointment with the Department of Psychology at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

MC 2520
(323) 441-2970
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Web: dornsife.usc.edu/labs/az/

Associate Professor Lisa Aziz-Zadeh trained at the University of California, Los Angeles, receiving her BA degree in Psychology with a minor in neuroscience, and her PhD degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Cognitive Neuroscience. She completed postdoctoral work with Dr. Giacomo Rizzolatti’s laboratory at the University of Parma (Italy), Dr. Richard Ivry’s laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, and was a fellow at the UCLA Tennenbaum Family Creativity Initiative. She has published numerous papers and book chapters on the mirror neuron system, embodied cognition and language. In 2008-2009, she was an invited fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at Berlin.

Research Interests

Dr. Aziz-Zadeh studies embodied representations, creativity and language from a cognitive neuroscience perspective, using techniques including functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology
2003 | University of California, Los Angeles

Master of Arts (MA) in Psychology
2000 | University of California, Los Angeles

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology
1998 | University of California, Los Angeles



Journal Articles

Kilroy, E., Harrison, L., Butera, C., Jayashankar, A., Cermak, S., Kaplan, J., Williams, M., Haranin, E., Bookheimer, S., Dapretto, M., & Aziz-Zadeh, L. (2020). Unique deficit in embodied simulation in autism: An fMRI study comparing autism and developmental coordination disorder. Human Brain Mapping. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25312 Show abstract

Butera, C., Ring, P., Sideris, J., Jayashankar, A., Kilroy, E., Harrison, L., Cermak, S., & Aziz-Zadeh, L. (2020). Impact of sensory processing on school performance outcomes in high functioning individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Mind, Brain, and Education, 14(3), 243-254. https://doi.org/10.1111/mbe.12242 Show abstract


Journal Articles

Kilroy, E., Cermak, S. A., & Aziz-Zadeh, L. (2019). A review of functional and structural neurobiology of the action observation network in autism spectrum disorder and developmental coordination disorder. Brain Sciences, 9(4), 75. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9040075 Show abstract

Kilroy, E., Aziz-Zadeh, L., & Cermak, S. (2019). Ayres theories of autism and sensory integration revisited: What contemporary neuroscience has to say. Brain Sciences, 9(3), 68. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9030068 Show abstract

Harrison, L. A., Kats, A., Williams, M. E., & Aziz-Zadeh, L. (2019). The importance of sensory processing in mental health: A proposed addition to the research domain criteria (RDoC) and suggestions for RDoC 2.0. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 103. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00103 Show abstract


Journal Articles

Liew, S.-L., Garrison, K. A., Ito, K. L., Heydari, P., Sobhani, M., Werner, J., Damasio, H., Winstein, C. J., & Aziz-Zadeh, L. (2018). Laterality of poststroke cortical motor activity during action observation is related to hemispheric dominance. Neural Plasticity, 2018, 3524960. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/3524960 Show abstract

Aziz-Zadeh, L., Kilroy, E., & Corcelli, G. (2018). Understanding activation patterns in shared circuits: Toward a value driven model. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 12, 180. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2018.00180 Show abstract

Liew, S.-L., Anglin, J. M., Banks, N. W., Sondag, M., Ito, K. L., Kim, H., Chan, J., Ito, J., Jung, C., Khoshab, N., Lefebvre, S., Nakamura, W., Saldana, D., Schmiesing, A., Tran, C., Vo, D., Ard, T., Heydari, P., Kim, B., Aziz-Zadeh, L., Cramer, S. C., Liu, J., Soekadar, S., Nordvik, J.-E., Westlye, L. T., Wang, J., Winstein, C., Yu, C., Ai, L., Koo, B., Craddock, R. C., Milham, M., Lakich, M., Pienta, A., & Stroud, A. (2018). A large, open source dataset of stroke anatomical brain images and manual lesion segmentations. Scientific Data, 5, 180011. https://doi.org/10.1038/sdata.2018.11 Show abstract


Journal Articles

Aziz-Zadeh, L., & Gamez-Djokic, V. (2016). Comment: The interaction between metaphor and emotion processing in the brain. Emotion Review, 8(3), 275–276. https://doi.org/10.1177/1754073915595098 Show abstract


Journal Articles

Reynolds, J. E., Licari, M. K., Billington, J., Chen, Y., Aziz-Zadeh, L. S., Werner, J., Winsor, A. M., & Bynevelt, M. (2015). Mirror neuron activation in children with developmental coordination disorder: A functional MRI study. International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience, 47(Part B), 309-319. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2015.10.003 Show abstract

Garrison, K. A., Rogalsky, C., Sheng, T., Liu, B., Damasio, H., Winstein, J., & Aziz-Zadeh, L. S. (2015). Functional MRI preprocessing in lesioned brains: Manual versus automated region of interest analysis. Frontiers in Neurology, 6, 196. https://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2015.00196 Show abstract

Sobhani, M., Baker, L., Martins, B., Tuvblad, C., & Aziz-Zadeh, L. S. (2015). Psychopathic traits modulate microstructural integrity of right uncinate fasciculus in a community population. Neuroimage: Clinical, 8, 32-38. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nicl.2015.03.012 Show abstract


Journal Articles

Demiris, Y., Aziz-Zadeh, L. S., & Bonaiuto, J. (2014). Information processing in the mirror neuron system in primates and machines. Neuroinformatics, 12(1), 63-91. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12021-013-9200-7 Show abstract


Book Chapters

Liew, S.-L., & Aziz-Zadeh, L. S. (2013). The human mirror neuron system, social control, and language. In D. D. Franks & J. H. Turner (Eds.), Handbook of neurosociology (pp. 183-205). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-4473-8_14 Show abstract

Journal Articles

Fox, G. R., Sobhani, M., & Aziz-Zadeh, L. S. (2013). Witnessing hateful people in pain modulates brain activity in regions associated with physical pain and reward. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, 772. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00772 Show abstract

Liew, S.-L., Sheng, T., Margetis, J. L., & Aziz-Zadeh, L. S. (2013). Both novelty and expertise increase action observation network activity. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7, 541. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2013.00541 Show abstract

Garrison, K. A., Aziz-Zadeh, L., Wong, S. W., Liew, S.-L., & Winstein, C. J. (2013). Modulating the motor system by action observation after stroke. Stroke, 44(8), 2247-2253. https://doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.113.001105 Show abstract

Aziz-Zadeh, L. S., Liew, S.-L., & Dandekar, F. (2013). Exploring the neural correlates of visual creativity. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 8(4), 475-480. https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nss021 Show abstract

Liew, S.-L., Sheng, T., & Aziz-Zadeh, L. S. (2013). Experience with an amputee modulates one’s own sensorimotor response during action observation. NeuroImage, 69, 138-145. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.12.028 Show abstract


Journal Articles

Sobhani, M., Fox, G. R., Kaplan, J., & Aziz-Zadeh, L. S. (2012). Interpersonal liking modulates motor-related neural regions. PLoS ONE, 7(10), e46809. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0046809 Show abstract

Liew, S.-L., Garrison, K. A., Werner, J., & Aziz-Zadeh, L. S. (2012). The mirror neuron system: Innovations and implications for occupational therapy. OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health, 32(3), 79-86. https://doi.org/10.3928/15394492-20111209-01 Show abstract

Aziz-Zadeh, L. S., Sheng, T., Liew, S.-L., & Damasio, H. C. (2012). Understanding otherness: The neural bases of action comprehension and pain empathy in a congenital amputee. Cerebral Cortex, 22(4), 811-819. https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhr139 Show abstract


Book Chapters

Liew, S.-L., & Aziz-Zadeh, L. S. (2011). The human mirror neuron system and social cognition. In R. P. Ebstein, S. Shamay-Tsoory, & S. H. Chew (Eds.), From DNA to social cognition (pp. 63-80). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118101803.ch4

Journal Articles

Liew, S.-L., Ma, Y., Han, S., & Aziz-Zadeh, L. S. (2011). Who's afraid of the boss: Cultural differences in social hierarchies modulate self-face recognition in Chinese and Americans. PLoS ONE, 6(2), e16901. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0016901 Show abstract

Liew, S.-L., Han, S., & Aziz-Zadeh, L. S. (2011). Familiarity modulates mirror neuron and mentalizing regions during intention understanding. Human Brain Mapping, 32(11), 1986-1997. https://doi.org/10.1002/hbm.21164 Show abstract

Liew, S.-L., & Aziz-Zadeh, L. S. (2011). The neuroscience of language and action in occupations: A review of findings from brain and behavioral sciences. Journal of Occupational Science, 18(2), 97-114. https://doi.org/10.1080/14427591.2011.575758 Show abstract

Johnson, A. J., Liew, S.-L., & Aziz-Zadeh, L. (2011). Demographics, learning and imitation, and body schema in Body Integrity Identity Disorder. Indiana University Undergraduate Journal of Cognitive Science, 6(2011), 8-15. Show abstract


Journal Articles

Landau, A. N., Aziz-Zadeh, L. S., & Ivry, R. B. (2010). The influence of language on perception: Listening to sentences about faces affects the perception of faces. The Journal of Neuroscience, 30(45), 15254-15261. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2046-10.2010 Show abstract

Sheng, T., Gheytanchi, A., & Aziz-Zadeh, L. S. (2010). Default network deactivations are correlated with psychopathic personality traits. PLoS ONE, 5(9), e1261. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0012611 Show abstract

Garrison, K. A., Winstein, C. J., & Aziz-Zadeh, L. S. (2010). The mirror neuron system: A neural substrate for methods in stroke rehabilitation. Neurorehabilitation & Neural Repair, 24(5), 404-412. https://doi.org/10.1177/1545968309354536 Show abstract

Aziz-Zadeh, L. S., Sheng, T., & Gheytanchi, A. (2010). Common premotor regions for the perception and production of prosody and correlations with empathy and prosodic ability. PLoS ONE, 5(1), e8759. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0008759 Show abstract


Book Chapters

Aziz-Zadeh, L. S., & Ivry, R. B. (2009). The human mirror neuron system and embodied representations. In D. Sternad (Ed.), Progress in Motor Control. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology (Vol. 629, pp. 335-376). Boston, MA: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-77064-2_18 Show abstract

Grafton, S. T., Aziz-Zadeh, L. S., & Ivry, R. B. (2009). Relative hierarchies and the representation of action. In M. Gazzaniga (Ed.), The Cognitive Neurosciences (4th ed., pp. 641-655). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Full text

Journal Articles

Aziz-Zadeh, L. S., Kaplan, J. T., & Iacoboni, M. (2009). "Aha!": The neural correlates of verbal insight solutions. Human Brain Mapping, 30(3), 908-916. https://doi.org/10.1002/hbm.20554 Show abstract


Book Chapters

Aziz-Zadeh, L. S., & Ivry, R. (2008). Action representation and the mirror neuron system. In D. Sternad (Ed.), Progress in motor control: A multidisciplinary perspective (5th ed., pp. 355-377). New York, NY: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-77064-2_18 Show abstract

Journal Articles

Aziz-Zadeh, L. S., Fiebach, C. J., Naranayan, S., Feldman, J., Dodge, E., & Ivry, R. B. (2008). Modulation of the FFA and PPA by language related to faces and places. Social Neuroscience, 3(3-4), 229-238. https://doi.org/10.1080/17470910701414604 Show abstract

Kaplan, J. T., Aziz-Zadeh, L. S., Uddin, L. Q., & Iacoboni, M. (2008). The self across the senses: An fMRI study of self-face and self-voice recognition. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 3(3), 218-223. https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsn014 Show abstract

Aziz-Zadeh, L. S., & Damasio, A. R. (2008). Embodied semantics for actions: Findings from functional brain imaging. Journal of Physiology, Paris, 102(1-3), 35-39. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jphysparis.2008.03.012 Show abstract


Journal Articles

Aziz-Zadeh, L. S., Wilson, S. M., Rizzolatti, G., & Iacoboni, M. (2006). Congruent embodied representations for visually presented actions and linguistic phrases describing actions. Current Biology, 16(18), 1818-1823. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2006.07.060 Show abstract

Gazzola, V., Aziz-Zadeh, L. S., & Keysers, C. (2006). Empathy and the somatotopic auditory mirror system in humans. Current Biology, 16(18), 1824-1829. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2006.07.072 Show abstract

Aziz-Zadeh, L. S., Koski, L., Zaidel, E., Mazziotta, J., & Iacoboni, M. (2006). Mirror neurons and the lateralization of language [Author response]. The Journal of Neuroscience, 26, 6666-6667s. Full text

Aziz-Zadeh, L. S., Koski, L., Zaidel, E., Mazziotta, J., & Iacoboni, M. (2006). Lateralization of the human mirror neuron system. The Journal of Neuroscience, 26(11), 2964-2970. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2921-05.2006 Show abstract

Aziz-Zadeh, L. S., Iacoboni, M., & Zaidel, E. (2006). Hemispheric sensitivity to body stimuli in simple reaction time. Experimental Brain Research, 170(1), 116-121. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-005-0194-8 Show abstract


Journal Articles

Aziz-Zadeh, L. S., Cattaneo, L., Rochat, M., & Rizzolatti, G. (2005). Covert speech arrest induced by rTMS over both motor and nonmotor left hemisphere frontal sites. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 17(6), 928-938. https://doi.org/10.1162/0898929054021157 Show abstract


Journal Articles

Aziz-Zadeh, L. S., Iacoboni, M., Zaidel, E., Wilson, S., & Mazziotta, J. (2004). Left hemisphere motor facilitation in response to manual action sounds. European Journal of Neuroscience, 19(9), 2609-2612. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0953-816X.2004.03348.x Show abstract


Journal Articles

Aziz-Zadeh, L. S., Maeda, F., Zaidel, E., Mazziotta, J., & Iacoboni, M. (2002). Lateralization in motor facilitation during action observation: A TMS study. Experimental Brain Research, 144(1), 127-131. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-002-1037-5 Show abstract