Dee Higley, Professor

Department: Psychology

Vita

Email: james_higley@byu.edu

Office: 1042 SWKT

Phone: 801-422-7139

Website

Bio

Dr. Higley is a professor of psychology at Young University. He received his Ph.D. in Child Development and Primate Behavior from the University of Wisconsin. For nearly two decades, Dr. Higley headed the National Institutes of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s intramural nonhuman primate research program, located just outside of Washington, DC. Dr. Higley is recognized as an international expert in serotonin-mediated temperament and personality, and developmental psychopathology. More recently has received a good deal of interest for his teams’ discovery that genes that modulate behavior function differently depending on the environmental setting.

Education

  • PhD in Child Development and Primate Behavior from University of Wisconsin–Madison, 1985
  • MS in Child Development and Primate Behavior from University of Wisconsin–Madison, 1983
  • BS in Psychology from Brigham Young University, 1980

Research Interests

Professor Higley is recognized as an international expert in serotonin-mediated temperament and personality, and developmental psychopathology. His research uses rhesus macaques to model features of human alcohol abuse and alcoholism and their related behaviors and biochemistry. The studies have focused on the development of neurobiological mechanisms, as mediated by early experience and genetic influences. The importance of mothers in development is primary to his research focus. Secondary measures such as temperament, and other behavioral measures are used as early life predictors of alcohol abuse, violence, and anxiety. Included in this program is the use of a large database of various behavior, rearing, genetic and neurochemical measures that are to assess the behavioral outcomes and early predictors of alcohol intake and violent behavior. Ongoing research performed at the University of California National Primate Center allows students to act as summer interns collecting data from the monkeys. Neuroimaging and other traditional approaches are used to study the brain of the monkeys prone to excessive alcohol intake. A major aspect of the research is based on he and his colleagues discovery that genes that modulate behavior function differently depending on the environmental. This focus on gene X environment interactions, has led to research on how genetic influences are modulated by parents, situations, sex, and the genotype of a partner. His publications focus on the effect of parental treatment and genetic influences on alcohol abuse, violence, impulsivity, and individual differences. Recent studies have been initiated to design a nonhuman primate model of ADHD.

Awards

  • Promotion to Fellow from American College of Neuropsychopharmacology,
  • Nominated to run for the office of Executive Secretary, American Society of Primatology from American Society of Primatology, 2010
  • Nominated to Run for the office of Treasurer, American Society of Primatology from American Society of Primatology, 2005

Professional Affiliations

  • Mormon History Association
  • Research Society on Alcoholism
  • American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
  • American Society of Primatologists
  • Society for Neuroscience