University of Southern California

USC Neuroscience

Laura A. Baker

Professor, Department of Psychology
Director, Southern California Twin Project

Research Topics

  1. Behavioral genetics
  2. Childhood aggression
  3. Antisocial behavior

Research Overview

My research involves genetic and environmental bases of human behavior. I study how genes and environment produce individual differences in both cognitive and personality variables, as well as antisocial behavior during both childhood and adulthood.

My current research is focussed on genetic and environmental factors in childhood aggression and antisocial behavior. I am in the midst of conducting a large-scale twin study in this area (funded by NIMH), in which we are investigating biological risk factors (primarily psychophysiological measures, including ERPs, startle-blink responses, and autonomic arousal) for antisocial behavior , as well as social risk factors (including family and peer characteristics). My aim is to understand how genes and environment mediate the pathways between risk factors and antisocial outcomes.

Contact Information

Web Sites:
Home Page
Research Group
Mailing Address:
University of Southern California
Psychology Department
SGM 501
Los Angeles CA 90089-1061
Office Location:
SGM 623
Office Phone:
(213) 740-2261
Lab Location:
SGM 619, 622
Lab Phone:
(213) 740-2259
(213) 746-9082


  • Ph.D., University of Colorado, 1983.
  • M.A., University of Colorado, 1982.
  • B.A., University of Kansas, 1978.

Research Images

Selected Publications

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Baker, L., Tuvblad, C., Reynolds, C., Zheng, M. & Raine, A.  (2009).  Resting heart rate and the development of antisocial behavior from age 9-14:  Genes and environment. Development and Psychopathology, 21: 939-960.   -PubMed

Tuvblad, C., Raine, A., & Baker, L.A. (2009). Stability of reactive and proactive aggression in twins from childhood to adolescence. Aggressive Behavior (in press).

Gao, Y., Tuvblad, C., Baker, L.A., Lozano, D.I., & Raine, A. (2009). Genetic and environmental influences frontal EEG asymmetry and alpha power in 9-10 year old twins: Psychophysiology, 46(4): 787 - 796. -PubMed

Isen, J. D., Baker, L.A. & Raine A., Bezdjian, S.  (2009).  Genetic and environmental influences on the Junior temperament and Character Inventory in a preadolescent twin sample. Behavior Genetics 39: 36 – 47. -PubMed

Gao, Y., Baker, L.A., Raine, A., Wu, H. &.Bezdjian, S. (2009).  Brief report:  Interaction between social class and risky decision-making in children with psychopathic tendencies.  Journal of Adolescence, 32(2): 409–414. -PubMed

Baker LA, Raine A, Liu J, Jacobson KC. (2008) Differential genetic and environmental influences on reactive and proactive aggression in children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 36:1265 – 1278. -PubMed

Baker LA, Jacobson KC, Raine A, Lozano DI, Bezdjian S. (2007). Genetic and environmental bases of childhood antisocial behavior: A multi-informant twin study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. 116(2): 219-235. -PubMed

Zumberge A, Baker LA, Manis FR. (2007) Focus on words: a twin study of reading and inattention. Behav Genet. 37(2):284-293. -PubMed

Baker LA, Barton M, Lozano DI, Raine A, Fowler JH. (2006) The Southern California Twin Register at the University of SouthernCalifornia: II. Twin Res Hum Genet. 9(6):933-940. -PubMed

Baker, L.A., Bezdjian, S., & Raine, A. (2006). Behavioral Genetics: The Science of Antisocial Behavior. Journal of Law and Contemporary Problems. 69(1-2): 7-46. -PubMed

Abrahamson, A.C., Baker, L.A., & Caspi, A. (2002). Rebellious teens? Familial influences on the social attitudes of adolescents. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 83(6):1392-408. -PubMed

Baker, L.A. (2006). Methods for understanding genetic and environmental influences in normal and abnormal personality. In Strack, S. (Ed.) Differentiating Normal and Abnormal Personality-Second Edition.

Raine, A., Baker, L.A., & Liu, J. (2006). Biological risk factors for antisocial and criminal behavior. In A. Raine (ed). Crime and schizophrenia: Causes and cures. New York: Nova Science Publishers.

Baker, L.A., Barton, M., & Raine, A. (2002). The Southern California Twin Register at USC. Twin Research. 5(5):456-9. -PubMed

Posner S, Baker LA. (2000) Evaluation and extensions of a structural equation modeling approach to the analysis of survival data. Behavior Genetics 30:41-50.