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Indiana University Bloomington

Christopher Harshaw

Dr. Christopher Harshaw


charshaw [at]

office: A401C | (812) 856-110

lab: Developmental Psychobiology Lab
   (812) 856-1108


Developmental Psychology, Mechanisms of Behavior, Cognitive Science

Educational Background

  • 2009-2014, Postdoc, Indiana University, Developmental Psychobiology
  • 2009 Ph.D., Florida International University, Lifespan Developmental Science
  • 2000 BA, Florida International University, Psychology
  • 2000 BA, Florida International University, Philosophy

Areas of Study

Developmental Psychology

Mechanisms of Behavior

Cognitive Science

Research Statement

My primary interest is in how homeostatic mechanisms affect cognition and behavior. My current focus is on thermoregulatory deficits in mouse models of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). In particular, it has recently become clear that oxytocin—often considered “social hormone” par excellence—makes important contributions to thermal homeostasis, including brown adipose tissue thermogenesis. Mice lacking a functional oxytocin gene thus suffer a number of thermoregulatory impairments—deficits that may be shared with other mouse models of ASDs. At the same time, it is becoming increasingly clear that findings from mouse models, across the biomedical research landscape, are often highly contingent upon laboratory context, including ambient thermal conditions. My short-term aim is thus to elucidate both (a) the contribution of ambient thermal conditions to social and emotional behavior in standard tests of socio-emotional functioning in mice and (b) the contribution of thermoregulatory deficits, specifically, to dysfunction in mouse models of ASDs, including oxytocin-deficient mice.

Representative Publications

  • Harshaw, C.(2015). Comment on “Number-Space Mapping in the Newborn Chick Resembles Humans’ Mental Number Line.” Science, 348, 1438.
  • Harshaw, C.(2015). Interoceptive dysfunction: Toward an integrated framework for understanding somatic and affective disturbance in depression. Psychological Bulletin, 141, 311-363. doi:10.1037/a0038101
  • Harshaw, C., Campbell, J., & Marcinowski, E. (2014). Communicating developmental psychobiology to the masses: Why psychobiologists should contribute to Wikipedia. Developmental Psychobiology, 56, 1439-1441. doi:10.1002/dev.21239
  • Alberts, J. R., & Harshaw, C.(2014). Behavioral development and ontogenetic adaptation. In K. Yasukawa & Z. Tang-Martinez (Eds.), Animal Behavior: How and Why Animals Do the Things They Do, Vol. 1: History, Causes, and Development (pp. 289-324). Praeger.
  • Harshaw, C., Culligan, J. J., & Alberts, J. R. (2014). Sex differences in thermogenesis structure behavior and contact within huddles of infant mice. PLOS ONE, 9, e.87405. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0087405
  • Zucker, N., & Harshaw, C.(2012). Emotion, attention, and relationships: A developmental model of self-regulation in anorexia nervosa and related disordered eating behaviors. In J. Lock (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Child and Adolescent Eating Disorders: Developmental Perspectives (pp. 67-87). Oxford University Press.
  • Harshaw, C., & Alberts, J. R. (2012). Group and individual regulation of physiology and behavior: A behavioral, thermographic, and acoustic study of mouse development. Physiology & Behavior, 106, 670-682. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2012.05.002
  • Harshaw, C., & Lickliter, R. (2011). Biased embryos: Prenatal experience alters the postnatal malleability of auditory preferences in bobwhite quail. Developmental Psychobiology, 53, 291-302. doi:10.1002/dev.20521
  • Lickliter, R., & Harshaw, C.(2010). Canalization and malleability reconsidered: The developmental basis of phenotypic stability and variability. K. Hood, C. Halpern, G. Greenberg, & R. Lerner (Eds.), Handbook of Developmental Science, Behavior, and Genetics (pp. 491-525). Blackwell Publishing (John Wiley).
  • Harshaw, C.(2008). Alimentary epigenetics: A developmental psychobiological systems view of the perception of hunger, thirst and satiety. Developmental Review, 28, 541-569. doi:10.1016/j.dr.2008.08.001
  • Harshaw, C., Tourgeman, I. P., & Lickliter, R. (2008). Stimulus contingency and the malleability of species-typical auditory preferences in Northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) hatchlings. Developmental Psychobiology, 50, 460-472. doi:10.1002/dev.20309
  • Harshaw, C., & Lickliter, R. (2007). Interactive and vicarious acquisition of auditory preferences in Northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) chicks. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 121, 320-331. doi:10.1037/0735-7036.121.3.320
  • Schneider, S. M., & Harshaw, C.(2007). Whence malleability? Gottlieb’s ducklings, operant contingency, and the social manifold. European Journal of Developmental Science, 1, 233-237. doi:10.3233/DEV-2007-1305


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