Faculty Profile: Tara White, PhD

Tara White
Tara White, PhD
Assistant Professor
Behavioral and Social Sciences
Work: +1 401-863-6625
Dr. Tara White is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Brown. Dr. White has strong research interests in the biological bases of personality and temperament, and differences between people in effects of alcohol and drugs on mood, behavior, and brain function. Her research is conducted at the Brown University Tim Trio 3 tesla MRI facility in Sidney Frank Hall and the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies.


Brief Bio

Dr. White is an Assistant Professor in Behavioral and Social Sciences at Brown University. She received her PhD from Cornell University in 1998, pursued postdoctoral training in long-term effects of prenatal drug exposure using animal models at Cornell from 1998 to 2000, and completed postdoctoral training in human behavioral psychopharmacology at the University of Chicago in 2002. She has taught undergraduate, graduate and extension courses in the neural bases of emotion and drug effects at Cornell University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Chicago's Graham School of General Studies. Dr. White joined the faculty of the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies in July 2002.

Dr. White's research interests concern the biological bases of individual differences in personality and acute drug effects, with an emphasis on identifying brain mechanisms conferring vulnerability to psychostimulant and alcohol use and abuse in healthy, nonaddicted populations. Dr. White is PI on grants from NIDA (Imaging-Science Track Award for Research Transition (I/START), R01 and R21) to investigate the neural mechanisms of individual differences in the impulsive behavioral and emotional effects of moderate doses of psychostimulants. Recent publications have focused on between-person variation in psychostimulant effects, and the noradrenergic mediation of emotional traits in humans. Her work has been presented at annual meetings of the Society for Neuroscience (SFN), College of Problems in Drug Dependence (CPDD), the American Psychological Association (APA), the International Study Group Investigating Drugs as Reinforcers (ISGIDAR) and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP). Dr. White has co-authored the book The State of Americans: This Generation and the Next with colleagues in human development at Cornell and serves as reviewer for journals Addiction; Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research; Biological Psychiatry; Drug and Alcohol Dependence; Journal of Psychopharmacology; Journal of Studies on Alcohol; Memory & Cognition; Neuropsychopharmacology; Neuroscience; Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior; Psychology of Addictive Behaviors; and Psychopharmacology.




Research Description

Investigation of between-person differences in mood, behavior, physiological responses, and fMRI imaging in healthy volunteers and clinical samples.

Grants and Awards

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 1994-97.
Jacob K. Javits' Fellowship (awarded; declined), 1993.
Olin Fellowship, 1994-98.
Sage Fellowship, 1993-94.
NIDA Director's Travel Award, National Institute on Drug Abuse, June 2002.
NIDA Early Career Investigator Award, "Frontiers in Addiction Research", Oct 2004.


Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Brown University
Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Brown University
Institute for Brain Science (BIBS), Brown University

Funded Research

Active Grant Support:

Principal Investigator:
1) NIH R01 DA020725 "Imaging Individual Differences in Amphetamine Effects" Tara White, Principal Investigator. 8/15/07 – 5/31/12. $235,000 annual direct costs.

2) Lifespan/Tufts/Brown Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) "Imaging Functional Alcohol Effects in HIV" Tara White, Principal Investigator. 07/01/09 – 06/30/12. $40,000 direct costs.

3) Foundation for Alcohol Research (ABMRF) "Imaging Biphasic Alcohol Effects in Heavy Drinkers" Tara White, Principal Investigator. 07/01/10 – 6/30/12. $50,000 annual direct costs.

4) NIH P01 AA019072 Pilot Project, "Imaging Functional Alcohol Effects in HIV" Tara White, Pilot Project Leader. 09/30/10 – 09/29/15. $10,000 direct costs.

5) NIH R21 DA029189 "Imaging Individual Differences in Methamphetamine Effects" Tara White, Principal Investigator. 07/01/11 – 04/30/13. $150,000 annual direct costs. $445,500 total costs.

6) NIH K05 AA019681. "Advancing a bio-psycho-social alcohol treatment research and mentoring program" Tara White, Mentee. Peter Monti, Principal Investigator. $235,932 annual total costs.

7) NIH P01 AA019072 "Alcohol and HIV: Biobehavioral Interactions and Intervention" Type: P01 Alcohol Research Center (Monti, PI). Tara White, Project Director for Research Component 2; Steering Committee Member. 09/30/10 – 09/29/15. $1,484,315 annual total costs.

Completed Grant Support:
Principal Investigator:
1) NIH I/START DA017178. "Imaging Individual Differences in Amphetamine Effects" Type: Imaging – Science Track Award for Research Transition (I/START). Tara White, Principal Investigator. 9/10/03 – 4/30/06. $150,000 direct costs.

2) Ittleson Foundation. "Amphetamine effects on emotion and behavior assessed by fMRI" Tara White, Principal Investigator. 8/1/03 – 7/31/04. $13,230 direct costs.

3) Brown University. "Imaging Individual Differences in Amphetamine Effects" Type: CAAS Research Excellence Award (REA). Tara White, Principal Investigator. 5/1/03 – 11/30/04. $15,227 direct costs.

4) Cornell University. "Pupil dilation and negative affect" Type: Graduate Research Grant. Tara White, Principal Investigator. 10/1/93 – 5/30/96. $10,800 direct costs.

5) Cornell University. "Memory in young children" Type: Honors Research Grant. Tara White, Principal Investigator. 10/1/92 – 5/30/93.

Other grants:
6) National Science Foundation (NSF). "Acquisition of a 3T MRI System" Type: BCS Major Research Instrumentation grant. 7/1/05 – 6/30/07. Tara White, Senior Investigator, Jerome Sanes PI.

7) NIH R21 DA018942 "Effect of Mood on Impulsivity Among Adolescent Smokers" 9/30/04 – 8/31/06. Tara White, Co-Investigator, Chad Gwaltney, PI.

Teaching Experience

Neurobiology of personality
Drugs and the brain

Courses Taught

  • Directed Research/Independent Studies (BIOL 1960)
  • Directed Research/Independent Study (BIOL1950)
  • Independent Study, Neuroscience Undergraduate Program (NEUR 197)
  • Independent Study, Neuroscience Undergraduate Program (NEUR 198)
  • Independent Study, Public Health Program (PHP 1970 s23)
  • Special Topics in Psychology (PY0197)

Selected Publications

  • Depue, R.A. & White, T.L. (2010). Personality: Neurobehavioural Foundation and Pharmacological Protocols. In I. Stolerman (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Psychopharmacology †, Vol. 2, Part 16, 988-994. Springer. (2010)
  • White, T.L. (2010). Imaging Substance Use and Misuse: Psychostimulants. In R. Cohen and L. Sweet (Eds.), Brain Imaging in Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Neuroscience ¥. Springer. (2010)
  • Baskin-Sommers, A., White, T.L., & Sommers, I. (2008). Neurobiology of Addiction. In G.L. Fisher and N.A. Roget (Eds.). Encyclopedia of Substance Abuse, Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery. ISBN# 9781412950848. SAGE Publications, Newbury Park, CA. (2008)
  • White, T.L., Lejuez, C.W., & de Wit, H. (2008). Test-retest characteristics of the Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART). Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology†, 16(6):565-70. (2008)
  • White, T.L., Lejuez, C.W., & de Wit, H. (2007). Personality and gender differences in effects of d-amphetamine on risk-taking. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 15(6):599-609. (2007)
  • White, T.L., Grover, V.K., & de Wit, H. (2006). Cortisol effects of D-amphetamine relate to traits of fearlessness and aggression but not anxiety in healthy humans. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 85:123-131. (2006)
  • White, T.L., Lott, D., & de Wit, H. (2006). Personality and the subjective effects of acute amphetamine in healthy volunteers. Neuropsychopharmacology, 31(5):1064-74. (2006)
  • Gendle, M.H., White, T.L., Strawderman, M.S., Mactutus, C.F., Booze, R.M., Levitsky, D.A., & Strupp, B.J. (2004). Enduring effects of prenatal cocaine exposure on selective attention and reactivity to errors: Evidence from an animal model. Behavioral Neuroscience, 118 (2): 290-7. (2004)
  • White, T.L., Justice, A.J.H., & de Wit, H. (2002). Differential subjective effects of d-amphetamine by gender, hormone levels and menstrual cycle phase. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior. 73(4):729-41. (2002)
  • Morrone, J.V., Depue, R.A., Scherer, A.J., & White, T.L. (2000). Film-induced incentive motivation and positive activation in relation to agentic and affiliative components of extraversion. Personality and Individual Differences, 29, 199-216. (2000)
  • White, T.L. & Depue, R.A. (1999). Differential association of traits of fear and anxiety with norepinephrine- and dark-induced pupil reactivity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 863-877. (1999)
  • White, T.L., Leichtman, M.D., & Ceci, S.J. (1997). The good, the bad, and the ugly: Accuracy, inaccuracy, and elaboration in preschoolers' reports about a past event. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 11, S37-S54. (1997)
  • Bronfenbrenner, U., McClelland, P., Wethington, E., Moen, P., Ceci, S.J. with Hembrooke, H., Morris, P.A., & White, T.L. (1996). The State of Americans: This Generation and the Next. New York: The Free Press. (1996)
  • White, T.L., & Wethington, E. (1996). Youth: Changing beliefs and behaviors. In U. Bronfenbrenner, P. McClelland, E. Wethington, P. Moen, S.J. Ceci with H. Hembrooke, P.A. Morris, & T.L. White, The State of Americans: This Generation and the Next. (pp.1-29). New York: The Free Press. (1996)