Jamie Hanson

Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychology

Research Scientist, Learning Research & Development Center

Research Interests

My research focuses on how children and adolescents learn about their environment, how brain circuitry involved with learning may be impacted by early life stress, and how these brain changes may confer risks for negative outcomes. Through the use of structural and functional MRI, my research aims to learn about the impact of stress on neurobiology through a focus on two different forms of behavior. First, I have explored how early life stress may increase risk for disruptive behavioral problems through alterations in the brain. Second, I have focused on how early life stress may convey risk for depression. Through a series of studies, I have found that the risks for different forms of psychopathology associated with early life stress are conveyed by specific alterations in brain circuitry responsible for reward and socio-emotional information processing. This research program includes longitudinal assessments of individuals at multiple levels of analysis, including neurobiology, family functioning, and developmental history.

Sequeira, S.L., Silk, J.S., Ladouceur, C.D., Hanson, J.L., Ryan, N.D., Dahl, R., Morgan, J., & Forbes, E.E. (2021). Function in neural reward circuitry is associated with psychological treatment response in youth with anxiety disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry, 178(4), 343-351.

Sequeira, S.L., Silk, J.S., Ladouceur, C.D., Hanson, J.L., Ryan, N.D., Dahl, R., Morgan, J., & Forbes, E.E. (2021). Function in neural reward circuitry is associated with psychological treatment response in youth with anxiety disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry.

Gilmore, A.D., Buser, N.J., & Hanson, J.L. (2021). Variations in structural MRI quality significantly impact commonly used measures of brain anatomy.? Brain Informatics,? 8,? 7.

Palacios-Barrios, E. E., Hanson, J. L., Barry, K. R., Albert, D., White, S. F., Skinner, A. T., & Lansford, J. E. (2021). Lower neural value signaling in the prefrontal cortex is related to childhood family income and depressive symptomatology during adolescence. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 48.

Sequeira, S.L., Silk, J.S., Jones, N.P., Hanson, J.L., Forbes, E.E., & Ladouceur, C.D. (2021). From scanners to cell-phones: Neural and real-world responses to social threat in adolescent girls. Social Cognitive Affective Neuroscience, nsab038.

Shirtcliff, E.A., Hanson, J.L, Phan, J.M., Ruttle, P.L., & Pollak, S.D. (2020). Hyper- and hypo-cortisol functioning in post-institutionalized adolescents: The role of severity of neglect and context. Psychoneuroendocrinology.

Albert, W.D., Hanson, J.L., Skinner, A.T., Dodge, K.A., Steinberg, L., Deater-Deckard, K., Bornstein, M.H.,& Lansford, J.E. (2020). Individual differences in executive function partially explain the socioeconomic gradient in middle-school academic achievement. Developmental Science.

Yazgan, I., Hanson, J. L., Bates, J. E., Lansford, J. E., Pettit, G. S., & Dodge, K. A. (2020). Cumulative early childhood adversity and later antisocial behavior: The mediating role of passive avoidance. Development and Psychopathology.

Hanson, J. L., Albert, W. D., Skinner, A. T., Shen, S. H., Dodge, K. A., & Lansford, J. E. (2019). Resting state coupling between the amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal cortex is related to household income in childhood and indexes future psychological vulnerability to stress. Development and Psychopathology, 1-14.

Palacios-Barrios, E. E., & Hanson, J. L. (2019). Poverty and self-regulation: Connecting psychosocial processes, neurobiology, and the risk for psychopathology. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 90, 52-64.

Hanson, J. L., Gilmore, A., Holmes, C. J., Yu, T., Barton, A. W., Beach, S. R., Galván, A., MacKillop, J., Windle, M., Chen, E., Miller, G. E., Sweet, L. H., & Brody, G. H. (2019). A family-focused intervention influences hippocampal-prefrontal connectivity through gains in self-regulation. Child Development, 1-13.

Meier, M. H., Schriber, R. A., Beardslee, J., Hanson, J., & Pardini, D. (2019). Associations between adolescent cannabis use frequency and adult brain structure: A prospective study of boys followed to adulthood. Drug and alcohol dependence, 202, 191-199.

Kraynak, T. E., Marsland, A. L., Hanson, J. L., & Gianaros, P. J. (2019). Retrospectively reported childhood physical abuse, systemic inflammation, and resting corticolimbic connectivity in midlife adults. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.

Hanson, J. L., Knodt, A. R., Brigidi, B. D., & Hariri, A. R. (2018). Heightened connectivity between the ventral striatum and medial prefrontal cortex as a biomarker for stress-related psychopathology: Understanding interactive effects of early and more recent stress. Psychological Medicine, 48(11)

Miller, A. B., Sheridan, M. A., Hanson, J. L., McLaughlin, K. A., Bates, J. E., Lansford, J. E., Pettit, G. S., & Dodge, K. A. (2018). Dimensions of deprivation and threat, psychopathology, and potential mediators: A multi-year, longitudinal analysis. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 127,(2), 160-170.

Harms M.B., Shannon-Bowen K., Hanson J.L., & Pollak S.D. (2018). Atypical Instrumental Learning and Brain Activity in Physically Abused Adolescents. Developmental Science, 21 (4)

Hanson, J. L., van den Bos, W., Roeber, B., Rudolph, K.D., Davidson, R. J., & Pollak, S. D. (2017). Early adversity and learning: Implications for typical and atypical behavioral development. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Chung, M. K., Hanson, J. L., Adluru N., Alexander, A. L., Davidson, R. J., & Pollak, S. D. (2017). Integrative structural brain network analysis in diffusion tensor imaging. Brain Connectivity.

Harms, M. B., Shannon Bowen, K. E., Hanson, J. L., & Pollak, S. D. (2017). Instrumental learning and cognitive flexibility processes are impaired in children exposed to early life stress. Developmental Science, 21(4). doi: 10.1111/desc.12596.

Hair, N. L., Hanson, J. L., Wolfe, B. L., & Pollak, S. D. (2016). Association between child poverty and academic achievement-in reply. JAMA Pediatrics, 170(2), 180.

Chung M. K., Hanson J. L., & Pollak S. D. (2016). Statistical analysis on brain surfaces. In H. Ombao, M. Lindquist, W. Thompson, & J. Aston (Eds). Handbook of Modern Statistical Methods: Neuroimaging Data Analysis. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.

Hanson J. L., Albert D., Iselin A. R., Carré J. M., Dodge K. A., & Hariri A. R. (2016). Cumulative stress in childhood is associated with blunted reward-related brain activity in adulthood. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 11(3), 405-412.

Scult M. A., Knodt A. R., Hanson J. L., Ryoo M., Adcock R. A., Hariri A. R., & Strauman T. J. (2016). Individual differences in regulatory focus predict neural response to reward. Social Neuroscience, 1-11.

Hanson J. L., Hariri A. R., & Williamson D. E. (2015). Blunted ventral striatum development in adolescence reflects emotional neglect and predicts depressive symptoms. Biological Psychiatry, 78(9), 598-605.

Dismukes A. R., Shirtcliff E. A., Hanson J. L., & Pollak S. D. (2015). Context influences the interplay of endocrine axes across the day. Developmental Psychobiology, 57(6), 731-741.

Kudos to Momentum Grant recipients from LRDC as PI or co-PIs: Josefina ?Bañales: Anti-Racism Action Development Among Latinx Youth (Seeding Grant); Jamie Hanson: Understanding the Role of the Brain in Race/Ethnicity Based Stressors and Behavioral Challenges Among Youth of Color; Kevin Ashley and Diane Litman: Center for Text Analytic Methods in Legal Studies (Teaming Grants); Omid Fotuhi: Improving Educational Opportunities for Black Youth in Pittsburgh: A Justice-Centered Intervention (Scaling Grant).

June 2021


Jamie Hanson, Assistant Professor, Psychology, received media coverage for "A family-focused intervention influences hippocampal-prefrontal connectivity," published in Child Development, article here. Hanson was interviewed and featured on the September 8, 2020, WXOW news, La Crosse, Wisconsin; September 10, 2020, WFMZ-TV News, Allentown, Pennsylvania; and September 14, 2020, News on 6, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

September 8, 2020


LRDC Research Scientist Jamie Hanson, Assistant Professor, Psychology, is quoted in the March 29, 2020, Pittsburgh Post Gazette article regarding COVID-19.

March 29, 2020


Jamie Hanson's American Psychological Foundation Robert L. Fantz Memorial Award was highlighted in Pittwire.

January 15, 2020


Kudos to Jamie Hanson, the recipient of the 2019 American Psychological Foundation (APF) Robert L. Fantz Memorial Award. The Fantz Award "encourages and supports careers of promising young investigators in psychology or related disciplines and covers basic scientific research or scholarly writing in the fields of perceptual-cognitive development and the development of selective attention; and research and writing on the development of individuality, creativity and free choice of behavior."

November 2019

Jamie Hanson, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, is part of an interdisciplinary team led by Caroline Oppenheimer, Psychiatry, to develop a neuroimaging task to measure teen brain response to social media. The project was awarded $25,ooo through the Pitt Innovation Challenge (and Pitt's Clinical and Translational Science Institute). The work is with Jennifer Silk, Sophie Choukas-Bradley, Helmet Karim, and Mary Phillips.

September 25, 2019


Kudos to LRDC Research Scientist Jamie Hanson for being awarded the R03 grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for “Neurodevelopmental Pathways Linking Physical Abuse and Affective Dysregulation”

September, 2019

Kudos to Jamie Hanson who has been selected a 2019 NIH Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Sciences Early Stage Investigator Paper Awardee.

May 28, 2019


Jamie Hanson is quoted in the January 14 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article "Growing Up Through the Cracks" on the effects of poverty on families.

January 14, 2019


Jamie Hanson is quoted in the November 1 Medical Xpress article "Strengthening Self-regulation in Childhood May Improve Resiliency Later in Life."

November 1, 2018


Jamie Hanson was quoted in the September 4 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article “It Affects Your Emotional State: Experts Say Classroom Temperature, Noise Stifle Learning.”

September 4, 2018


Jamie Hanson is the recipient of the Steven D. Manners Award, announced in the July 11 PittWire. His project is titled "Leveraging Ecological Momentary Assessments to Understand Associations Between Poverty, Stress Exposure and Environmental Volatility."

July 11, 2018


Jamie Hanson is featured in the Pittwire accolades alongside Tristen Inagaki for having been named 2017 APS Rising Stars.

February 12, 2018


The American Psychological Society has selected Jamie Hanson as a Rising Star. The Rising Star designation recognizes outstanding psychological scientists in the earliest stages of their research career post-PhD whose innovative work has already advanced the field and signals great potential for their continued contributions.

January 22, 2018


Jamie Hanson's research was discussed in Vice Magazine in the article "The Science of How Poverty Harms the Brain," which was posted to their website on July 14, 2017.

July 14, 2017

Vice Magazine


Jamie Hanson commented on a colleague's recent study in "Positive Parenting May Offset Brain Effects of Poverty," a June 29, 2017 Reuters article featured online.

July 24, 2017


The research of Jamie Hanson, Assistant Professor, Psychology, and LRDC Research Scientist, was the subject of the March 1 Pittsburgh Post Gazette article “Pitt Study: Abuse in Childhood can Lead to Misbehavior Later.”

March 1, 2017


LRDC Research Scientist Jamie Hanson's work on childhood stress and mental health is featured in the Child & Family Blog's article "Brain Scans Show Biological Link Between Early Life Stress and Poorer Adult Mental Health."

August 17, 2016


Jamie Hanson, LRDC Research Scientist and Assistant Professor, Psychology, was cited in the USA Today article “Evidence Grows of Poverty’s Toll on Young Brains” on July 6, 2016.

July 2016


Jamie Hanson, LRDC Research Scientist and Assistant Professor, Psychology, was cited in the ScienceDaily article “Early Childhood Stress Affects Brain's Response to Rewards” on October 19, 2015.

October 2015