Faculty Experts - Irene Kan, Ph.D.

Irene Kan, Ph.D.

Irene Kan, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Psychology
Villanova University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Area of Expertise:

  • Memory and Cognition
  • Cognitive Neuropsychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


The study of the link between biology -- especially the brain -- and behavior is Dr. Kan's forte. Reporters working on stories about behavioral disorders arising from conditions such as Organic Amnesia, Alzheimer's Disease, Traumatic Brain Injury, and a variety of neuropsychological disorders will find Dr. Kan a premier source. The effect of neural functioning on memory and language is her special area of emphasis.


  • Post-Doctoral Fellow  Memory Disorders Research Center, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston Veterans Affairs Healthcare System
  • Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
  • M.A., University of Pennsylvania
  • M.S., Villanova University
  • B.A., College of Wooster

Selected Publications

  • Kan, I.P., Alexander, M.P. and Verfaellie, M., "Contribution of prior semantic knowledge to new episodic learning in amnesia," Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 21, 938-944, 2009.
  • Kan, I.P., Giovanello, K.S., Schnyer, D.M., Makris, N., and Verfaellie, M., "Role of the medial temporal lobes in relational memory: Neuropsychological evidence from a cued recognition paradigm," Neuropsychologia, 45, 2589-2597, 2007.
  • Kan, I.P., Kable, J.W., Van Scoyoc, A., Chatterjee, A., Thompson-Schill, S.L., "Fractionating the left frontal response to tools: Dissociable effects of motor experience and lexical competition," Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 18, 267-277, 2006.
  • Kan, I.P., Biran, I., Thompson-Schill, S.L., Chatterjee, A., "Letter selection and letter assembly in acquired dysgraphia," Cognitive & Behavioral Neurology, 19, 225-236, 2006.

Selected Professional Experience

  • Instructor, University of Pennsylvania, College of General Studies
  • Instructor, Chestnut Hill College

Selected Research

  • Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Minority Junior Faculty Grant, "The role of semantic support in new learning: Evidence from memory disorders" (2009 - Present)
  • Villanova University Summer Research Fellowship and Research Support Grant, "The role of semantic support in new learning: Evidence from amnesia" (2009)
  • American Psychological Association Dissertation Research Award, "Organization and retrieval of conceptual knowledge" (2004)

About Villanova

Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.

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