nimtottenham's picture
Nim Tottenham
Assistant Professor
Ph. D.,
University of Minnesota: Developmental Psychology & Neuroscience
Primary Area:
Developmental Psychology
Secondary Area:
Behavioral Neuroscience
2243C FH
(310) 794-7779
Research and Teaching Interests:

(Link to lab website below)

My research focuses on the neurodevelopment of affective behaviors across childhood and adolescence, with a particular emphasis on limbic-cortical connections. Through this work, we aim to identify sensitive periods during which the environment has the largest influence on neural phenotypes. 

In order to better understand how early experiences shape brain development, we study the neurodevelopment of children who experienced various forms of early life stress (e.g., poor caregiving) in hopes to understand long-term effects of early deprivation on human brain development.

Representative Publications:

§ Gee, D.G., Humphreys, K.L., Flannery, J., Goff, B., Telzer, E.H., Shapiro, M., Hare, T.A., Bookheimer, S.Y., Tottenham, N. (in press). A Developmental Shift from Positive to Negative Connectivity in Human Amygdala-Prefrontal Circuitry. Journal of Neuroscience.

§ Goff, B. Gee, D.G., Telzer, E.H., Humphreys, K.L., Gabard-Durnam, L., Flannery, J., Tottenham, N. (in press). Reduced nucleus accumbens reactivity and adolescent depression following early-life stress. Neuroscience.

§Malter-Cohen, M. Tottenham, N., & Casey, BJ (in press). Translational studies of stress on brain and illness?. Neuroscience.

§ Humphreys, K.L., Lee, S.S., Tottenham, N. (in press). Not all risk taking behavior is bad: Associative sensitivity predicts learning during risk taking among high sensation seekers. Personality and Individual Differences.

§ Telzer, E.H., Humphreys, K., Shapiro, M., & Tottenham, N. (2013). Amygdala sensitivity to race is not present in childhood but emerges over adolescence. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 25(2), 234-244.

§ Ganzel, B.L., Kim, P., Gilmore, H., Tottenham, N., Temple, E. (in press). Stress and the healthy developing brain: Evidence for stress-related neural plasticity in later childhood. Development and Psychopathology.

§ Tottenham, N., Phuong, J., Flannery, J., Gabard-Durnam L., Goff, B. (in press). A Negativity bias for ambiguous facial expression valence during childhood: converging evidence from behavior and facial corrugator muscle responses. Emotion.

§ Li, L. & Tottenham, N. (in press). Exposure to the self-face facilitates identification of dynamic facial expressions: influences on individual differences. Emotion.

§ Tottenham, N. (in press). Early social deprivation and the neurobiology of interpreting facial expressions. Navigating the social world: What infants, children, and other species can teach us. Eds.: Banaji, M. & Gelman, S. New York: Oxford University Press.

§ Tottenham, N. (2012). Risk and developmental heterogeneity in previously-institutionalized children, Journal of Adolescent Health, 51(2, Supplement), S29-S33.

§ Tottenham, N. (2012). Human amygdala development in the absence of species-expected caregiving. Developmental Psychobiology, 54(6):598-611.

§ Tottenham, N., Shapiro, M., Telzer, E., & Humphreys, K. (2012). Amygdala response to mother. Developmental Science, 15(3), 307-19.

§ Li, L. & Tottenham, N. (2011). Seeing yourself helps you see others. Emotion, 11(5):1235-41.

§ Tottenham, N., Hare, T.A., & Casey, B.J. (2011). Behavioral assessment of emotion discrimination, emotion regulation and cognitive control, in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Frontiers in Developmental Psychology, 2, 1-9.

§ Casey, BJ Ruberry, E., Libby, V., Glatt, C.E., Hare, T.A., Soliman, F., Dehoux, S., Frielingsdorf, H., & Tottenham, N. (2011). Transitional and translational studies of Risk for Anxiety. Depression & Anxiety, 8(1):18-28.

§ Tottenham, N., Hare, T.A., Millner, A., Gilhooly, T., Zevin, J.D. & Casey, BJ (2011). Elevated Amygdala Response to Faces Following Early Deprivation. Developmental Science, 13(1), 46-61.

§ Amso, D., Fitzgerald, M., Davidow, J., Gilhooly, T., Tottenham, N. (2010). Visual exploration strategies and the development of infants' facial emotion discrimination. Frontiers in Developmental Psychology, 1, 1-8.

§ Tottenham, N. & Sheridan, M. (2010). A Review of adversity, the amygdala and the hippocampus: A Consideration of developmental timing. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 3, 1-18.

§ Soliman, F., Glatt, C., Levita, L., Bath, K.G., Jones, R., Pattwell, S.S., Tottenham, N.,Amso, D., Somerville, L., Voss, H., Glover, G., Ballon, D., Lee, F.S., Casey, B.J. (2010). Genetic variant bdnf (val66met) polymorphism alters learning in mouse and human. Science, 327(5967):863-6.

§ Tottenham, N., Hare, T., Quinn, B., McCarry, T., Nurse, M., Gilhooly, T., Millner, A., Galvan, A., Davidson, M., Eigsti, I.M., Thomas, K.M., Freed, P., Booma, E.S., Gunnar, M., Altemus, M., & Aronson, J., Casey, B.J. (2010) Prolonged institutional rearing is associated with atypically larger amygdala volume and difficulties in emotion regulation. Developmental Science, 13 (1), 46-61. PMC2817950
**Awarded Developmental Science EARLY CAREER RESEARCHER PRIZE for the best original scientific paper or report to appear in the journal Developmental Science.

§ Tottenham, N., Tanaka, J., Leon, A.C., McCarry, T., Nurse, M., Hare, T.A., Marcus, D.J., Westerlund, A., Casey, B.J., Nelson, C.A. (2009). The NimStim set of facial expressions: judgments from untrained research participants. Psychiatry Research, 168(3), 242-249.

§ Tottenham, N., Hare, T.A., Casey, B.J. (2009). “A Developmental Perspective on Human Amygdala Function”. Chapter in The Human Amygdala; Eds.: Whalen, P.J. & Phelps, E.A.

§ (*equal contributions, listed alphabetically) Casey*, BJ, Glatt*, C., Tottenham*. N, Soliman, F., Bath, K., Amso, D., Altemus, M., Pattwell., S., Jones, R., Levita, L., Mezey, J., Clark, A., Gunnar, M., Thomas, K., Hempstead, B., McEwen, B., & Lee, F.S. 2009). BDNF as a model system for examining gene by environment interactions across development. Neuroscience, 164(1),108-120.

§ Hare, T. A., Tottenham, N., Galvan, A., Voss, H. U., Glover, G. H., & Casey, B. J. (2008). Biological substrates of emotional reactivity and regulation in adolescence during an emotional go-nogo task. Biological Psychiatry, 63(10), 927-934.

§ Durston, S., Davidson. M.C., Mulder, M.J., Spicer, J.A., Galvan, A., Tottenham, N. Scheres, A., Castellanos, F.X., van Engeland, H. & Casey, B.J. (2007). Neural and behavioral correlates of expectancy violations in Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 48 (9), 881 - 889.

§ Blau, V.C., Maurer, U., Tottenham, N., & McCandliss, B.D. (2007). The face-specific N170 component is modulated by emotional facial expression. Behavioral and Brain Functions, 3:7.

§ Tottenham, N., Leon, A.C., & Casey, B.J. (2006). The Face behind the mask: a developmental study. Developmental Science, 9 (3), 288-294.

§ Durston, S., Davidson, M.C., Tottenham, N., Galvan, A., Spicer, J., Fossella, J.A., & Casey, B.J. (2006). A Shift from diffuse to focal cortical activity with development. Developmental Science, 9(1), 1-8.

§ Hare, T. A., Tottenham, N., Davidson, M. C., Glover, G. H., & Casey, B. J. (2005). Contributions of amygdala and striatal activity in emotion regulation. Biological Psychiatry, 57(6), 624-632.

§ Casey, B.J., Tottenham, N., Liston, C., & Durston, S. (2005). Imaging the developing brain: What have we learned? Trends in Cognitive Science, 9(3), 104-110.

§ Liston C., Watts R., Tottenham N., Davidson M.C., Niogi S., Ulug A.M., Casey B.J. (2005). Frontostriatal microstructure modulates efficient recruitment of cognitive control. Cerebral Cortex, 16(4), 553-560.

§ Noble, K.G., Tottenham, N., & Casey, B.J. (2005). Neuroscience perspectives on disparities in school readiness. Future of Children Special Issue - The Ethnic and Racial test score gap; School readiness and the first five years of life, 15 (1), 71-89.

§ Casey, B.J., Davidson, M.C., Hara, Y., Thomas, K.M., Martinez, A., Galvan, A., Halperin, J.A., Rodríguez-Aranda, C.E., & Tottenham, N. (2004). Early development of subcortical regions involved in non-cued attention switching. Developmental Science, 7 (5), 534-542.

§ Davidson, MC, Horvitz, JC, Tottenham, N., Fossella, JA, Watts, R., Ulug, AM, Casey, BJ. (2004). Differential cingulate and caudate activation following unexpected nonrewarding stimuli. Neuroimage, 23, 3, 1039-1045.

§ Durston S, Tottenham N, Thomas KM, Davidson MC, Eigsti IM, Yang Y, Ulug AM, Casey BJ. (2003). Differential patterns of striatal activation in young children with and without ADHD. Biological Psychiatry, 53(10):871-8.

§ Durston, S., Davidson, M.C., Thomas, K.M., Worden, M.S., Tottenham, N., Martinez,A., Watts, R., Ulug , A.M., & Casey, B.J. (2003). Parametric manipulation of conflict and response competition using rapid mixed-trial event-related fMRI. Neuroimage, 20(4), 2135-2141.

§ (*equal contribution, listed alphabetically) Davis*, E., Parker*, S., Tottenham*, N., & Gunnar, M. (2003) “Neuroendocrinology: Emotion and Cognition.” Chapter to M. DeHaan & M.H. Johnson (Eds.), The Cognitive Neuroscience of Development. Sussex, England: Psychology Press, Ltd.

§ Casey, B.J., Tottenham, N., Fossella, J. (2002). Clinical, imaging, lesion and genetic approaches toward a model of cognitive control, Developmental Psychobiology 40(3), 237-54.