Jenae Neiderhiser

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Jenae M. Neiderhiser
Alma materPennsylvania State University (Ph.D., 1994)
Pennsylvania State University (Master of Science, 1990)
University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (Bachelor of Science,1988)
Known forGene–environment interactions
Scientific career
FieldsBehavior genetics
InstitutionsPennsylvania State University
ThesisFamily environment and adjustment in adolescence: Genetic and environmental influences over time (1994)
Doctoral advisorRobert Plomin

Jenae M. Neiderhiser is an American behavior geneticist who is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies at Pennsylvania State University, where she is also co-director of the Gene Environment Research Initiative.[1]


Jenae M. Neiderhiser is a native of Pennsylvania,[2] and received her B.A. in Psychology (with a Biology minor) from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown in 1988.[3] She earned her Master's (1990) and Doctorate (1994) at Pennsylvania State University from the Department of Human Development and Family Studies.[3] Her doctoral advisor was Robert Plomin,[2] and her doctoral thesis was entitled "Family environment and adjustment in adolescence: Genetic and environmental influences over time".[4]

After receiving her doctorate, Neiderhiser was a postdoctoral fellow from 1995 through 1997 at the Center for Family Research at George Washington University.[3] In 1997 she was appointed Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at George Washington University;[3] she was promoted to Associate Research Professor in 2000.[3] In 2006, she became Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.[3] In 2007 she returned to Penn State as Professor of Human Development and Family Studies,[3] and promoted to Distinguished Professor in 2017.[5]


Neiderhiser studies the dual effect of genes and environment on behavior and is particularly interested in how individuals shape their own environments.[6] She often uses twin and adoption studies in her research.[6]

Neiderhiser has won numerous grants, including multi-million dollar grants from the National Institutes of Health with Leslie Leve and Jody Ganiban.[7][8] One aim of the study is to understand how pollution and community violence affect adopted children.[8]

Neiderhiser and her collaborators have found that “virtuous traits” such as conscientiousness and responsibility are influenced both by parenting and by genetics.[9][10]

In earlier work, Neiderhiser examined the role of genetics on men’s marital relationships. She and colleagues found that men who have certain genetic variant report less bonding with their partners, greater marital discord, and higher chances of divorce.[11]


She is the president of the Behavior Genetics Association for the term 2018–2019.[12] She was elected as a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science in 2016.[13][3]

Selected Works[edit]

Jenae M. Neiderhiser has authored hundreds of articles, and several books.


  • Knopik, V.S., Neiderhiser, J.M., DeFries, J.C., & Plomin, R. (2017). Behavioral Genetics. Seventh Edition. Worth.
  • Horwitz, B. N., & Neiderhiser, J. M. (Eds.). (2016). Gene-environment interplay in interpersonal relationships across the lifespan. New York, NY:Springer.
  • Plomin, R., DeFries, J. C., Knopik, V. S., & Neiderhiser, J. M. (2005). Behavioral genetics. New York: Worth
  • Reiss, D., Neiderhiser, J. M., Hetherington, E. M., & Plomin, R. (2000). The relationship code: Deciphering genetic and social influences on adolescent development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.


  • Amanda M. Ramos, Amanda M. Griffin, Jenae M. Neiderhiser, David Reiss. Did I Inherit My Moral Compass? Examining Socialization and Evocative Mechanisms for Virtuous Character Development. Behavior Genetics, 2019; DOI: 10.1007/s10519-018-09945-4
  • Neiderhiser, J. M., Marceau, K., de Araujo-Greecher, M., Ganiban, J. M., Shaw, D. S., Reiss, D. & Leve, L. D. (2016). Comparing medical records and self-report to measure pregnancy and delivery risk: Estimating the roles of genetic risk, perinatal risk, and rearing environment on early childhood adjustment. Behavior Genetics, 46(3), 334-352. doi 10.1007/s10519-016-9788-0
  • Brotnow, L., Reiss, D., Stover, C.S., Ganiban, J., Leve, L.D., Neiderhiser, J.M., Shaw, D.S., Stevens, H.E. (2015). Expectant mothers maximizing opportunities: Maternal characteristics moderate multifactorial prenatal stress in the prediction of birth weight in a sample of children adopted at birth. PLoS ONE, 10(11): e0141881. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0141881
  • Narusyte, J., Andershed, A.-K., Neiderhiser, J.M. & Lichtenstein, P. (2007). Aggression as a mediator of genetic contributions to the association between negative parent-child relationships and adolescent antisocial behavior. Journal of European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 16(2), 128-137. PMID17136502
  • Neiderhiser, J.M., Reiss, D., & Hetherington, E.M. (1996). Genetically informative designs for distinguishing developmental pathways during adolescence: Responsible and antisocial behavior. Development and Psychopathology, 8(4), 779-791.


  1. ^ "Jenae Neiderhiser". Child Study Center. Retrieved 2018-07-05.
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Jenae Neiderhiser CV. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  4. ^ Neiderhiser, J. (1994) Family environment and adjustment in adolescence: Genetic and environmental influences over time. Dissertation.
  5. ^ Fifteen named distinguished professors at Penn State.
  6. ^ a b MacMillan author biography for Jenae Neiderhiser Retrieved on May 29, 2019 from
  7. ^ Auman-Bauer, K. (September 21, 2016). Study to measure effects of early environment on mental and physical health. Penn State News Retrieved on May 29, 2019.
  8. ^ a b Peng, I. (October 11, 2018). Psychology professor awarded $12.5 million to study adopted children’s development. GW Hatchet Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  9. ^ Cohut, M. (February 27, 2019). Nature vs. nurture: Do genes influence our morals? Medical News Today Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  10. ^ Ramos, A., Griffin, A., Neiderheiser, J., & Reiss, D. (2019). Did I inherit my moral compass? Examining socialization and evocative mechanisms for virtuous character development. Behavior Genetics, 49(2), 175-186.
  11. ^ Flam, F. (September 8, 2008). Is it a gene that makes a man a family guy? The Inquirer Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  12. ^ "Executive Committee". Behavior Genetics Association. Retrieved 2018-07-05.
  13. ^ List of Fellows, Association for Psychological Science. Retrieved May 24, 2019.

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