Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences (Research)


Brief Bio

Dr. White serves as an Assistant Professor (Research) and founding director of the Laboratory of Affective Neuroscience at Brown University. Dr. White’s research focuses on the neurobiological mechanisms of human emotion and drug effects.   Her work is multidisciplinary and utilizes noninvasive MRI assessments in tandem with validated self-report state and trait measures of emotion, physiological assessment, and drug challenge techniques to elucidate the neural mechanisms of emotion, cognition and behavior in humans.  Her work focuses on two scholarly areas: the basic neuroscience of emotion and drug and alcohol effects in the human brain.  In the area of affective neuroscience, Dr. White’s work focuses on structural, functional and metabolic brain mechanisms of personal agency, emotional flexibility, fearlessness, risk-taking and affiliative bonding in healthy young adults.   In neuropharmacology, Dr. White’s work focuses on individual differences in the brain, neuroendocrine, mood and behavioral responses to monoaminergic drugs, with special attention to psychostimulants (d-amphetamine, Adderall).  She is currently developing a new line of collaborative research on alpha-1 receptor mechanisms of  emotion and behavior which are relevant to the pharmacological treatment of drug and alcohol dependence.

Dr. White has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health and private and public foundations since 2003. She has been the recipient of funding from the British Academy, Alcohol Beverage Medical Research Foundation, George and Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience, Ittleson Foundation, Hanlon Foundation, Brown Institute for Brain Science, and the Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney Institute for Brain Science.   Dr. White serves on the Editorial Board of the academic journals Emotion; Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology; and Behavioral Neuroscience.  She has been an International Visiting Fellow at the British Academy (2019) and the University of Cambridge U.K. (2018).  She is currently a Life Fellow at the University of Cambridge (Clare Hall) and is a named Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science (APS) in recognition of her ‘sustained and outstanding distinguished contributions to psychological science.’

Dr. Tara White has a B.S. in human biology from Cornell University, and received a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Cornell in 1998. She completed postdoctoral training in cognitive and behavioral neuroscience at Cornell in 2000, postdoctoral training in human behavioral psychopharmacology at the University of Chicago in 2002, and joined the faculty at Brown as a Research Associate, Investigator (Research), and Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior in 2003-2007.  Dr. White joined the faculty of the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences in the School of Public Health at Brown University in 2007, has been a member of the core training faculty in the Neuroscience Graduate Training Program since 2008, and serves the MRI community as a regular member the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Brown Magnetic Resonance Facility (MRF).

Brown Affiliations

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