Amanda Guyer

Position Title
Professor of Human Development and Family Studies


I am a Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, Chair of the Human Development Graduate Group, and Associate Director of the Center for Mind and Brain at UC Davis. I received my BS in Psychology from Skidmore College in 1995, where my desire to be a developmental science researcher was launched. I then worked as a full-time research assistant at MDRC in New York City on national evaluations of welfare-to-work programs for low-income families. In 2003, I received my Ph.D. in Psychology (Developmental) from Yale University, under the mentorship of Professor Edward Zigler, and then completed 6 years of postdoctoral training in the Intramural Program of the National Institute of Mental Health with Dr. Daniel Pine.

I have dedicated most of my career to understanding risk and protective factors in the development of psychopathology during adolescence. My graduate training focused on understanding children’s social-information processing and development of behavior problems in the context of poverty and parental maltreatment. My postdoctoral training expanded this training with a focus on brain function and structure in relation to psychopathology. My current work brings these lines of work full circle such that I have been studying the influence of social-contextual factors during childhood (e.g., poverty, discrimination, types of parenting, and peer relationships) on brain function and structure during adolescence, and their associations with adolescents’ processing of social-emotional information and development of depression, anxiety and substance use.

I find working with undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students and trainees from all backgrounds to be highly rewarding because they bring new ways of thinking and approaching problems to the scientific inquires we pursue in my lab, and I am bestowed with the important opportunity to scaffold and support their career development through mentoring and guidance.


Diversity Statement 

My research includes a focus on neurobiological development and risk for psychopathology in diverse populations. I am examining neurobiological indices that are sensitive to social and cultural contextual factors in Mexican-origin adolescents at risk for depression or substance use. I am also studying depression risk in an all-female sample of adolescents that is largely African-American and from low-income neighborhoods. I teach about diversity-related variation during middle childhood and adolescence in domains of development (e.g. identity) and in contexts (e.g. peers, neighborhoods). The majority of trainees in my lab are of diverse backgrounds, and I have participated with several trainees in various mechanisms focused on increasing inclusion and communication about diversity-related issues.


Selected Publications

A selected list of Dr. Guyer's publications is available here.


Recent Accomplishments

Recognized as 2019 Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science

Co-Investigator (Multiple Principal Investigators: Prado, Adu-Afarwuah) on a new grant called "Neural mechanisms of protective effects of early nutrition on the development of social-emotional difficulties among children in Ghana," funded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R01 HD099811), 09/04/19-06/30/24, amount awarded: $2,629,078. 


Recent Publications (*student co-author)

Chahal, R.*, Weissman, D. G.*, Hallquist, M. N., Robins, R.W., Hastings, P. D., & Guyer, A. E. (2020). Neural connectivity biotypes: Associations with internalizing problems throughout adolescence. Psychological Medicine, 1-11. doi: 10.1017/S003329172000149X

Chahal, R.*, Gotlib, I. H., & Guyer, A. E. (2020). Brain network connectivity and the heterogeneity of depression in adolescence: A precision mental health perspective. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. doi: 10.1111/jcpp.13250

Guyer, A. E. (2020). Adolescent psychopathology: The role of brain-based diatheses, sensitivities, and susceptibilities. Child Development Perspectives, 14, 104-109. doi: 10.1111/cdep.12365

Chahal, R.*, Weissman, D. G.*, Marek, S., Rhoads, S. A.*, Hipwell, A. E., Forbes, E. E., Keenan, K. & Guyer, A. E. (2019). Girls’ brain structural connectivity in late adolescence relates to history of depression symptoms. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. doi: 10.1111/jcpp.13184

Vilgis, V.*, Rhoads, S. A.*, Weissman, D. G.*, Gelardi, K. L.*, Forbes, E. E., Hipwell, A. E., Keenan, K., Hastings, P. D., & Guyer, A. E. (2019). Direct replication of task-dependent neural activation patterns during sadness introspection in two independent adolescent samples. Human Brain Mapping, 41, 739-754. doi: 10.1002/hbm.24836

Swartz, J.R., Weissman, D.G.*, Ferrer, E., Beard, S.J.*, Fassbender, C., Robins, R.W., Hastings, P.D., & Guyer A. E. (2019). Reward-related brain activity prospectively predicts increases in alcohol use in adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 59, 391-400. doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2019.05.022

Weissman, D. G.*, Guyer, A. E., Ferrer, E., Robins, R. W., & Hastings, P. D. (2019). Tuning of brain-autonomic coupling by prior threat exposure: Implications for internalizing problems in Mexican-origin adolescents. Development and Psychopathology, 31, 1127-1141. doi: 10.1017/S0954579419000646

Jarcho, J. M, Grossman, H., Guyer, A. E., Quarmley, M., Smith, A. Fox, N. A., Leibenluft, E., Pine, D. S., & Nelson, E. E. (2019). Connecting childhood social wariness to adolescent social anxiety through the brain and peer experiences. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 47, 1153-1164. doi: 10.1007/s10802-019-00543-4