Faculty Experts - Irene Kan, Ph.D.

Irene Kan, PhD

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., Garrison, S. L., Drummey, A. B., Emmert, Jr. B.E., and Rogers, L. L. (2017). “The roles of chronological age and time perspective in memory positivity”.  Aging, Neuropsychology & Cognition.
  • Kan, I. P., Teubner-Rhodes, S., Drummey, A. B., Nutile, L., Krupa, L., and Novick, J. M. (2013). “To adapt or not to adapt:  The question of domain-general cognitive control”  Cognition, 129, 637-651.
  • Kan, I. P., LaRocque, K. F., Lafleche, G., Coslett, H. B., & Verfaellie, M. (2010). “Memory monitoring failure in confabulation: Evidence from the semantic illusion paradigm”.  Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 16, 1006-1017.
  • Kan, I.P., Alexander, M.P. and Verfaellie, M. (2009). "Contribution of prior semantic knowledge to new episodic learning in amnesia," Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 21, 938-944.
  • Kan, I.P., Kable, J.W., Van Scoyoc, A., Chatterjee, A., Thompson-Schill, S.L. (2006). "Fractionating the left frontal response to tools: Dissociable effects of motor experience and lexical competition," Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 18, 267-277.

Selected Professional Experience

  • Post-Doctoral fellow, Memory Disorders Research Center, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston Veterans Affairs Healthcare System

Selected Research

  •  Fulbright Visiting Research Chair Award, Fulbright Canada (Spring 2017, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta)
  • All Disciplines Fulbright Scholar Award, Fulbright Canada (Fall 2016, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario), "Memory Scaffolding:  Interplay between Prior Knowledge and New Learning"
  • Brain Aneurysm Foundation Research Grant Program (2012), “Understanding and Enhancing Memory Monitoring in Confabulation: Evidence from Ruptured Aneurysm Cases”
  • Villanova University Summer Research Fellowship and Research Support Grant, 2009, 2012, 2017
  • Villanova University Faculty Development Grant, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2016
  • 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)
  • 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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