Skip to Content

Jennifer Pfeifer

Jennifer Pfeifer profile picture
  • Title: Associate Professor
  • Phone: 541-346-1984
  • Office: 334 LISB
  • Interests: Developmental, Adolescence, Developmental Social and Affective Neuroscience, Self, Social Cognition, and Emotion
  • Website: Website

Research Interests and Publications

The transition from childhood through adolescence is characterized by changing brains and bodies, affect and motivation, peer relationships and conceptions of self – many strands which combine to shape behavior during this critical period. Dr. Pfeifer is interested in how affect, motivation, regulation, self-evaluation, and social perception interact across contexts, are instantiated at the neural level, as well as influence adolescent choices and well-being. She studies the development of these related phenomena at multiple levels, with the goal of enabling healthy transitions from childhood through adolescence and into adulthood. Her research is focused on i) building a foundational knowledge base about normative and atypical trajectories of functional brain development supporting these social, affective/motivational, and regulatory processes - in particular, integrating the contributions of social processes and social cognitive brain function to our neurobiological models of adolescent development; and ii) using fMRI as a tool to advance our understanding of neurobiological mechanisms that put some adolescents at risk for adverse outcomes, or serve as protective factors for others. She is also interested in how functional brain development is affected by various endogenous and exogenous factors such as pubertal development and early adversity. Her work has been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Science Foundation, and the Oregon Medical Research Foundation.

Selected Publications:

Giuliani, N.R., & Pfeifer, J.H. (2015). Age-related changes in reappraisal of appetitive cravings during adolescence. Neuroimage, 108, 173-181.

Kahn, L. E., Peake, S. J., Stormshak, B., Dishion, T., & Pfeifer, J. H. (2015). Learning to play it safe (or not): Stable and evolving neural responses in adolescent risky decision-making. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 27, 13-25.

Graham, A.M., Pfeifer, J.H., Fisher, P.A., Lin, W., Gao, W., & Fair, D.A. (2014). The potential of infant fMRI research and the study of early life stress as a promising exemplar. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 16, 12-39.

Sherman, L.E., Rudie, J.D., Pfeifer, J.H., Masten, C.L., McNealy, K., & Dapretto, M. (2014). Development of the Default Mode and Central Executive Networks across early adolescence: A longitudinal study. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 10, 148-159.

Mahy, C.E.V., Moses, L.J., & Pfeifer, J.H. (2014). How and where: Theory-of-Mind in the brain. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 9, 68-81.

Jankowski, K.F., Moore, W.E. III, Merchant, J.S., Kahn, L.E., & Pfeifer, J.H. (2014). But do you think I'm cool? Developmental differences in striatal recruitment during direct and reflected social self-evaluations. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 8, 40-54.

Moore, W. E. III, Merchant, J. S., Kahn, L. E., & Pfeifer, J. H. (2014). ‘Like me?’: Ventromedial prefrontal cortex is sensitive to both personal relevance and self-similarity during social comparisons. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 9, 421-6.

Peake, S. J., Dishion, T., Stormshak, B., Moore, W. E. III, & Pfeifer, J. H. (2013). Risk-taking and social exclusion in adolescence: Behavioral and neural evidence of peer influences on decision-making. Neuroimage, 82, 23-34.

Pfeifer, J. H., Kahn, L. E., Merchant, J. S., Peake, S. A., Veroude, K., Masten, C. L., Lieberman, M. D., Mazziotta, J. C., & Dapretto, M. (2013). Longitudinal change in the neural bases of adolescent social self-evaluations: Effects of age and pubertal development. Journal of Neuroscience, 24, 7415-7419.

Masten, C.L., Eisenberger, N.I., Pfeifer, J.H., & Dapretto, M. (2013). Neural responses to witnessing peer rejection after being socially excluded: fMRI as a window into adolescents' emotional processing. Developmental Science, 16, 743-759.

Graham, A. M., Fisher, P. A., & Pfeifer, J. H. (2013). What sleeping babies hear: An fMRI study of interparental conflict and infants’ emotion processing. Psychological Science, 24, 782-789.

Masten, C.L., Eisenberger, N.I., Pfeifer, J.H., Colich, N. L., & Dapretto, M. (2013). Associations among pubertal development, empathic ability, and neural responses while witnessing peer rejection in adolescence. Child Development, 84, 1338-54.

Pfeifer, J. H., Merchant, J. S., Colich, N., Hernandez, L., Rudie, J., & Dapretto, M. (2013). Neural and behavioral responses during self-evaluative processes differ in youth with and without autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 2, 272-285.

Pfeifer, J. H., & Allen, N. (2012). Arrested development? Reconsidering dual-systems models of brain function in adolescence and disorders. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16, 322-329.

Pfeifer, J. H. & Peake, S. J. (2012). Self-development: Integrating cognitive, social, and neuroimaging perspectives. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 2, 55-69.

Pfeifer, J. H., & Blakemore, S.-J. (2012). Adolescent social cognitive and affective neuroscience: Past, present, and future. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 7, 1-10.

Moore, W. E. III, Pfeifer, J.H., Masten, C.L., Iacoboni, M., Mazziotta, J.C., & Dapretto, M. (2012). Facing puberty: Associations between pubertal development and neural responses to affective facial displays. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 7, 35-43.

Pfeifer, J.H., Masten, C.L., Moore, W.E. III, Oswald, T.M., Iacoboni, M., Mazziotta, J.C., & Dapretto, M. (2011). Entering adolescence: Resistance to peer influence, risky behavior, and neural changes in emotion reactivity. Neuron, 69, 1029-1036.

Masten, C.L., Eisenberger, N.I., Borofsky, L.A., McNealy, K., Pfeifer, J.H., & Dapretto, M. (2011). Subgenual anterior cingulate responses to peer rejection: A marker of adolescents’ risk for depression. Development and Psychopathology, 23, 283-292.

Masten, C.L., Eisenberger, N.I., Pfeifer, J.H., & Dapretto, M. (2010). Witnessing peer rejection during adolescence: Neural correlates of empathy for experiences of social exclusion. Social Neuroscience, 2, 1-12.

Pfeifer, J. H., Masten, C. L., Borofsky, L. A., Dapretto, M., Lieberman, M. D., & Fuligni, A. J. (2009). Neural correlates of direct and reflected self-appraisals in adolescents and adults: When social perspective-taking informs self-perception. Child Development, 80, 1016-1038.

Masten, C.L., Eisenberger, N., Borofsky, L.A., McNealy, K.S., Pfeifer, J.H., Mazziotta, J.C., & Dapretto, M. (2009). Neural correlates of social exclusion during adolescence: Understanding the distress of peer rejection. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 4, 143-157.

Pfeifer, J.H., Iacoboni, M., Mazziotta, J.C., & Dapretto, M. (2008). Mirroring others' emotions relates to empathy and social abilities during childhood. Neuroimage, 39, 2076-2085.

Pfeifer, J.H., Lieberman, M., & Dapretto, M. (2007). "I know you are but what am I?!": Neural bases of self- and social knowledge retrieval in children and adults. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 19, 1323-1337.