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Department of Psychology

Faculty and Staff Directory

John Richards

Title: Carolina Distinguished Professor
Department: Psychology
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-2079
Office: Institute for Mind and Brain
1800 Gervais Street, Rm 127
Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]
Department of Psychology


John Richards received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles. At that time he became interested in the psychophysiology of attention. From UCLA Dr. Richards went directly to the Department of Psychology at the University of South Carolina.

Dr. Richards is currently the principal investigator a research grant from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. This grant focuses on the development of sustained attention in infants ranging in ages from two to six months. Dr. Richards is a co-investigator (with Jane Roberts) on a grant to study attention and face processing in infants with neurodevelopmental disorders.

He has served as a reviewer for scientific journals including Child Development, Psychophysiology, Journal of Experimental Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Developmental Psychobiology, and Infant Behavior and Development.

Dr. Richards has three related research themes:

  • The first theme is the development of sustained attention in young infants. This attention phase may be distinguished from other types of attention (e.g., stimulus orienting, automatic interrupt, attention termination). Sustained attention shows developmental changes from 2 to 6 months of age and is closely related to changes in the brain centers controlling attention.
  • The second theme is the development of extended fixations to television programs in the first two years. Young infants do not distinguish between abstract patterns and story-like television programs, but at the end of two years young children do.
  • Third, Dr. Richards uses EEG and ERP in the study of saccade planning, its development in the first few months of infancy, and its relation to cortical areas controlling eye movements. He also is using structural MRI of infants along with ERP to study the cortical sources of the behavior associated with planned eye movements.

Representative Publications

Xie W, Mallin BM, Richards JE. (2018). Development of brain functional connectivity and its relation to infant sustained attention in the first year of life. Developmental Science, e12703.

Tonnsen, B. L., Richards, J. E., & Roberts, J. E. (2018). Heart rate-defined sustained attention in infants at risk for autism. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 10(1), 7. doi:10.1186/s11689-018-9224-2

Reynolds, G. D., & Richards, J. E. (2018). Infant Visual Attention and Stimulus Repetition Effects on Object Recognition. Child Development, 0(0). doi:doi:10.1111/cdev.12982

Guy, M.W., Richards, J.E., Tonnsen, B.L., & Roberts, J.E. (2018). Neural correlates of face processing in etiologically-distinct 12-month-old infants at high-risk of autism spectrum disorder.  Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 29, 61-71.

Buzzell, G. A., Richards, J. E., White, L. K., Barker, T. V., Pine, D. S., & Fox, N. A. (2017). Development of the error-monitoring system from ages 9-35: unique insight provided by MRI-constrained source localization of EEG. Neuroimage. doi:

Henderson, J.M., Luke, S.G., Schmidt, J., & Richards, J.E. . (2013). Co-registration of eye movements and event-related potentials in connected-text paragraph reading. . Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 7:27, doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2013.00028. Link

Richards, J.E. (2013). Cortical sources of ERP in the prosaccade and antisaccade eye movements using realistic source models. . Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 7:27. doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2013.00027. Link

Mallin, B.A., & Richards, J.E. (2012). Peripheral stimulus localization by infants of moving stimuli on complex backgrounds. Infancy, 17, 692-714. Link

Sanchez, C.E., Richards, J.E., & Almli, R. (2012). Age-specific MRI templates for pediaric neuroimaging. Developmental Neuropsychology, 37, 379-399. Link

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