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Charles Geier
Charles F. Geier
Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
Professor-in-Charge, Graduate Program
Co-Director, Center for Brain, Behavior, and Cognition (CBBC)
  • Human Development and Family Studies - HDFS
  • Administration
  • Research
  • Adolescent Development
  • Methodology
  • Graduate Program
  • Graduate Professor-in-Charge
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  • Ph.D., 2009, Cognitive Psychology/Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh
  • B.S., 2000, Biological Science/Psychology, Ohio University
  • M.S., 2002, Neuroscience, Ohio University
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Currently Accepting Graduate Students
Office Address
229 Health and Human Development Building
University Park, PA 16802
Additional Websites
Grants and Research Projects

Adolescents are known to take risks that can impact their health and well-being. Prominent ‘dual-systems’ models of adolescent risk-taking propose that maturation of the mesolimbic dopamine system, which supports behavioral motivation and reward, temporally precedes maturation of prefrontal cortical regions supporting cognitive control. The resultant imbalance in these systems during adolescence contributes to ‘immature’ decision-making (relative to adults), and often risk taking, as the cognitive control (“braking”) system often cannot override reward-seeking impulses. It was from this broad framework that my research program first emerged and grew.

My work uses behavioral measures and multi-modal functional neuroimaging to examine (1) the normative neurodevelopment of reward and control-related brain systems during adolescence and young adulthood, (2) how the interaction of these systems contribute to health-related behaviors and illness, including consummatory behavior and obesity, smoking cigarettes, and depression and anhedonia, and (3) how initially reward or goal-directed behaviors evolve into habits in adolescents and young adults. We are particularly interested in applying advanced statistical methods (e.g., GIMME, time-varying vector autoregressive models, etc.) to acquired fMRI time series data to characterize intra-individual change and inter-individual differences in intra-individual change in brain connectivity between task-relevant regions of interest.  


Published or in press 

44.    **Gunther, K.E., **Petrie, D., Pearce, A.L., Fuchs, B., Pérez-Edgar, K., Keller, K.L., & Geier, C.F. (2022). Heterogeneity in fronto-amygdala connectivity in middle childhood and concurrent interrelations with inhibitory control and anxiety symptomology. Neuropsychologia, 174(2): 108313
43.    Laskowitz, S., Griffin, J.W., Geier, C.F., & Scherf, K.S. (2022). Cracking the code of live human social interaction in autism: A review of the eye-tracking literature. Proceedings of Machine Learning Research, 173, 242-264.
42.    **Petrie, D., Chow, S. & Geier, C.F. (2021). Effective Connectivity During an Avoidance-based Pavlovian-to-Instrumental Transfer Task. Brain Sciences 11(11), 1472. 

41.    Griffin, J.W., Geier, C.F., Smyth, J.M., & Scherf, K.S. (2021) Improving sensitivity to eye gaze cues in autistic adolescents using series game technology: A randomized control trial. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry Advances 

40.    † Adise, S., White, C.N., **Roberts, N.J., Geier, C.F., & Keller, K.L. (2021) Children’s inhibitory control abilities in the presence of rewards are related to weight status and eating in the absence of hunger. Appetite, 128, 167-179.
39.    Fuchs, B., **Roberts, N.J., † Adise, S., Pearce, A., Geier, C.F., White, C., Oravecz, Z., & Keller, K.L. (2021) Decision-making processes related to perseveration are indirectly associated with weight status in children through laboratory assessed energy intake. Frontiers Psychology. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2021.652595
38.    Frank, J.L., Broderick, P., Oh, Y., Mitra, J., Schussler, D., Kohler, K., Geier, C.F., Berrena, E., Mahfouz, J., Levitan, J., Roeser, R., & Greenberg, M. (2021) The Effectiveness of a Teacher Delivered Mindfulness-Based Curriculum on Adolescents’ Social-Emotional and Executive Functioning. Mindfulness.
37.    Griffin, J.W., Geier, C.F., Smyth, J.M., & Scherf, K.S. (2020) Improving the ability to interpret eye gaze cues in autistic adolescents: A serious game intervention. Journal of Vision, 20(11), 1346.
36.    Chaby, L., Lasseter, H.C., Geier, C.F., & Jeromin, A. (2020) Determining risk for stress-linked psychiatric illness following adolescent stress exposure. Current Opinions in Behavioral Sciences, 36, 79-89.
35.    Kling, S.M., Pearce, A.L., Reynolds, M., Garavan, H., Geier, C.F., Rolls, B.J., Rose, E.J., Wilson, S.J., & Keller, K.L. (2020) Development and Pilot Testing of Standardized Food Images for Studying Eating Behaviors in Children. Frontiers in Psychology.
34.    Pearce, A.L., † Adise, S., **Roberts, N.J., White, C., Geier, C.F., & Keller, K.L. (2020) Individual Differences in the Influence of Taste and Health Impact Successful Dietary Self-Control: A Mouse Tracking Food Choice Study in Children. Physiology & Behavior, 223, 112990
33.    **Roberts, N., Oravecz, Z., Sprague, B., & Geier, C.F. (2019) A Novel Hierarchical LATER Process Model: Evaluating Latent Sources of Variation in Reaction Times of Adult Daily Smokers. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 10, 474 (online).
32.    † Adise, S., Geier, C.F., **Roberts, N.J., White, C.N., & Keller, K.L. (2019) Food or Money? Children’s brains respond differently to the anticipation of rewards regardless of weight status. Pediatric Obesity, 14(2). E12469
31.    Scherf, K.S., Griffin, J., Judy, B., Whyte, E., Geier, C.F., Elbich, D., & Smyth, J.M. (2018) Improving sensitivity to eye gaze cues in autism using serious game technology: Study protocol for a Phase I randomized controlled trial. BMJ Open, 8(9). E023682
30.    † Adise, S., Geier, C.F., **Roberts, N.J., White, C.N., & Keller, K.L. (2018). Is brain response to food rewards related to overeating?  A test of the reward surfeit model of overeating in children. Appetite, 128, 167-179. 
29.    Geier, C.F., **Roberts, N., & **Lydon, D.M. (2018). The effects of smoking abstinence on incentivized spatial working memory, Substance Use & Misuse, 53(1), 86-93. 
28.    Hallquist, M., Geier, C.F., & Luna, B. (2018) Incentives facilitate developmental improvements in inhibitory control by modulating control-related networks, NeuroImage, 172, 369-380. 
27.    MacLean, R.R., Pincus, A.L., Smyth, J.M., Geier, C.F., & Wilson, S.J. (2017).  Extending the balloon analogue risk task to assess naturalistic risk taking via a mobile platform. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 1-10.
26.    **Lydon, D. & Geier, C.F. (2017). Age-varying associations between sensation seeking, impulse control, and daily cigarette smoking during adolescence and young adulthood. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 28(2), 354-367.
25.    Hawes, S.W., Chahal, R., Hallquist, M.N., Paulsen, D.J., Geier, C.F., & Luna, B. (2017). Modulation of Reward-Related Neural Activation on Sensation Seeking Across Development, NeuroImage, 147, 763-771.
24.    **Lydon, D.M., Ram, N., Conroy, D.E., Pincus, A.L., Geier, C.F., & Maggs, J.L. (2016). The within-person associations between alcohol use and sleep duration and quality in situ: An experience sampling study. Addictive Behaviors, 61, 68-73. 
23.    Sweitzer, M.M., Geier, C.F., Denlinger, R., McClernon, F.J., Addicott, M.A., Raiff, B.R., Dallery, J., & Donny, E.C. (2016) Smoking abstinence-induced changes in resting state functional connectivity with ventral striatum predict lapse during a quit attempt. Neuropsychopharmacology, 41(10), 2521-2529. 
22.    Sweitzer, M.M., Geier, C.F., Denlinger, R., Forbes, E., Raiff, B., Dallery, J., McClernon, F.J., & Donny, E.C. (2016).  Blunted striatal response to monetary reward anticipation during smoking abstinence predicts lapse during a contingency management-supported quit attempt. Psychopharmacology, 233(5), 751-760. 
21.    Chung, T., Paulsen, D., Geier, C.F., Luna, B., & Clark, D.B. (2015). Regional brain activation supporting cognitive control in the context of reward is associated with treated adolescents’ marijuana problem severity at follow-up: A Preliminary Study.  Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 16, 93-100. 
20.    **Lydon, D., Howard, M., Wilson, S.J., & Geier, C.F. (2015). The perceived causal structure of smoking: Smoker and non-smoker comparisons. Journal of Health Psychology, 21(9), 2042-2051. DOI: 10.1177/1359105315569895 
19.    **Lydon, D., **Roberts, N., & Geier, C.F. (2015). Reduced influenced of monetary incentives on Go/No-Go performance during smoking abstinence.  Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 17(9), 1178-1181. DOI: 10.1093/ntr/ntu283. 
18.    Paulson, D., Hallquist, M., Geier, C.F., & Luna, B. (2015). Effects of Incentives, Age, and Behavior on Brain Activation During Inhibitory Control: A Longitudinal fMRI Study.  Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 11, 105-115. DOI: 10.1016/j.dcn.2014.09.003. 
17.    Zhai, Z., Pajtek, S., Luna, B., Geier, C.F., Ridenour, T., & Clark, D. (2014). Reward Modulated Response Inhibition, Cognitive Shifting and the Orbital Frontal Cortex in Early Adolescence. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 25(4), 753-764.  DOI: 10.1111/jora.12168. 
16.    **Lydon, D., Wilson, S.J., **Childs, A., & Geier, C.F. (2014). Adolescent Nicotine Dependence: What we know and where we are headed.  Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 45, 323-342.
15.    Geier, C.F., Sweitzer, M., Denlinger, R., Sparacino, G., & Donny, E. (2014). Abstinent Adult Daily Smokers Show Reduced Anticipatory but Elevated Saccade-related Brain Responses During a Rewarded Antisaccade Task. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 223(2), 140-147.   DOI: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2014.04.007
14.    Sweitzer, M.M., Geier, C.F., Joel, D., Denlinger, R., Donny, E. (2013). Dissociated Effects of Anticipating Smoking Versus Monetary Reward in the Caudate as a Function of Smoking Abstinence. Biological Psychiatry, 223, 140-147. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.11.013 
13.    MacLean, R., Geier, C.F., Henry, S.L., & Wilson, S.J. (2013). Digital Peer Interactions Affect Risk Taking in Young Adults: A Preliminary Study. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 24(4), 772-780. DOI: 10.1111/jora.12093
12.    Geier, C.F. (2013). Adolescent Cognitive Control and Reward Processing: Implications for Risk Taking and Substance Use. Hormones and Behavior, 64(2), 333-342. 
11.    Luna, B., Paulsen, D., Padmanabhan, A., & Geier, C.F. (2013). Cognitive Control and Motivation. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 22 (2), 94-100. 
10.    Weaver, M.T., Geier, C.F., Levin, M.E, Caggiula, A.R., Sved, A.F., Donny, E. (2012) Adolescent Exposure to Nicotine Results in Reinforcement Enhancement but does not Affect Adult Responding in Rats. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 125(3), 307-312.
9.    Geier, C.F. & Luna, B. (2012) Developmental Effects of Incentives on Response Inhibition. Child Development, 83(4), 1262-1274. 
8.    Padmanabhan, A., Geier, C.F., Ordaz, S., Teslovich, T., & Luna, B. (2011) Developmental Changes in Brain Function Underlying the Influence of Reward Processing on Inhibitory Control. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 1(4), 517-529.  
7.    Chung, T., Geier, C.F., Luna, B., Pajtek, S., Terwilliger, R., Thatcher, D., & Clark, D. (2011) Enhancing Response Inhibition by Incentive: Comparison of adolescents with and without substance use disorder. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 115(1-2), 43-50.
6.    Luna, B., Velanova, K., & Geier, C.F. (2010) Methodological Approaches in Developmental Neuroimaging Studies. Human Brain Mapping, 31, 863-871.
5.    Geier, C.F., Terwilliger, R., Teslovich, T., Velanova, K., Luna, B. (2010) Immaturities in Reward Processing and its Influence on Inhibitory Control in Adolescence. Cerebral Cortex, 20(7), 1613-29. 
4.    Geier, C.F. & Luna, B. (2009) The Maturation of Incentive Processing and Cognitive Control. Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior, 93(3), 212-221
3.    Geier, C.F., Garver, K.E., Terwilliger, R., & Luna, B. (2009) The Development of Working Memory Maintenance. Journal of Neurophysiology, 101(1), 84-99.
2.    Luna, B., Velanova, K., & Geier, C.F. (2008) Development of Eye Movement Control. Brain & Cognition, 68(3), 293-308.
1.    Geier, C.F., Garver, K.E., & Luna, B. (2007) Circuitry Underlying Temporally Extended Spatial Working Memory. NeuroImage, 35, 904-915. 

Book Chapters 
4.    **Rock, J.A., Geier, C.F., Noll, J.G., & De Bellis, M.D. (2018) Developmental Traumatology: Brain Development and Maltreated Children with and without PTSD. Jennie G. Noll (Ed.). The Biology of Early Life Stress: Understanding Child Maltreatment and Trauma. Springer. 
3.    **Lydon. D., Galvan, A., & Geier, C.F. (2015) Adolescents and addiction: Vulnerabilities, opportunities, and the role of brain development. S.J. Wilson (Ed.), The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook on the Cognitive Neuroscience of Addiction. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. 
2.    Luna, B., Padmanabhan, A., & Geier, C.F. (2013) The Adolescent Sensation Seeking Period: Development of Reward Processing and its Effects on Cognitive Control. In V. Reyna and V. Zayas (Eds.), The Neuroscience of Risky Decision Making. Washington, DC; American Psychological Association.  
1.    Geier, C.F., Padmanabhan, A., & Luna, B. (2012) Immaturities in Incentive Processing and Executive Function in Adolescence. In T. Palomo, R.M., Kostrzewa, R.J. Beninger (Eds.), Staging Neuropsychiatric Disorders: Etiopathogenesis and Treatment. (pp.297-308). Springer.  

Additional Information

Developmental cognitive neuroscience, with particular focus on reward processing, basic cognitive control abilities, and their interaction; understanding the relationship between adolescent neurodevelopment and risk taking behavior; nicotine dependence in adolescent and young adult smokers.