Joshua Isen, Ph.D.

Joshua Isen, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Personality and Adolescent Development


Dr Isen will be reviewing graduate student applications for the 2019-2020 academic year. Apply here.


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

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

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.

Highlighted Research

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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