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Karen Anderson, Ph.D.

Associate Department Chair; Associate Professor, Behavior Analysis

Click here to access the webpage for Dr. Anderson's Lab.


Dr. Anderson received her Ph.D. degree in Psychology in 1998 from the University of Florida. She joined the WVU faculty in 2003 as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2009. She serves as Associate Chair of the Department of Psychology.

Research Interests

Dr. Anderson's research interests concern Behavioral Pharmacology and how drugs and behavior interact in different environmental contexts. She is particularly interested in issues related to substance abuse. Certainly, not everyone who tries a drug becomes an “addict,” so what is different about those individuals who do develop substance-abuse disorders? There is a well-established correlation between substance abuse and impulsivity, but it is not clear if increased impulsivity leads to drug abuse, if long-term exposure to drugs results in increased impulsivity, or if other factors are involved, e.g., early learning history, genetics, neurochemistry. In her laboratory, researchers use non-human animal models (different rat strains) to help identify determinants of choice, particularly when that choice is deemed impulsive (choosing a small, immediate reinforcer over a larger, but delayed one). Researchers are also interested in the behavioral and pharmacological effects of drugs on impulsive choice. Other research interests include: drug discrimination, drug self-administration, response acquisition with delayed reinforcers, and behavioral factors involved in drug tolerance.


  • Psychology 302 – Behavior Principles
  • Psychology 736 – Advanced Experimental Analysis of Behavior: Behavioral Pharmacology
  • Psychology 754 – Clinical Psychopharmacology