Joshua Isen, Ph.D.

Joshua Isen, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Personality and Adolescent Development


Ph.D. University of Southern California, Los Angeles; 2010-Psychology
M.A. University of Southern California, Los Angeles; 2007-Psychology
B.A.  University of California, Berkeley; 2003-Psychology


Dr. Isen will be reviewing graduate student applications for the 2021-2022 academic year. Apply here.

Research Interests

  • Normal adolescent development and rule-breaking behavior
  • Behavioral genetics
  • Individual differences in social attitudes and pubertal growth

My research focuses on the relationship between normal adolescent development and rule-breaking behavior. To this end, I examine how individual differences in social attitudes and pubertal growth translate into risk for aggressive/delinquent behaviors. I view the adolescent increase in sensation-seeking and social nonconformity as a kind of double-edged sword, as it promotes the emerging adult’s independence but also contributes to substance abuse and other negative outcomes. I am a behavioral geneticist by training, and seek to understand the genetic and environmental bases of these associations


Jackson, N., Isen, J., Khoddam, R., Irons, D., Tuvblad, C., Iacono, W., McGue, M., Raine, A., & Baker, L. (2016). The impact of adolescent marijuana use on intelligence: Results from two longitudinal twin studies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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