Richard Depue


Richard Depue

243 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Phone: (607) 255-7620 Fax: (607) 255-9856
View Cornell University Contact Info
Curriculum Vitae
Biographical Statement:

I am interested in the neurobiology and neurochemistry that underlies the major traits of personality. With the aid of funding from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), I study the relation of dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and opiod function to the traits of extraversion, emotional stability, fear-anxiety, and affiliation, repectively, as well as to cognitive functioning. The developmental interest in these personality traits is that they define four major dimensions of temperament in children.

Teaching and Advising Statement:

In general, I wish to promote two types of thinking in teaching and advising. One is analytic, in which phenomena are taken apart into component processes in order to understand their mechanisms. The other is integrative or synthetic, where the focus is on seeing connections between disparate areas and arriving at new syntheses. These two types of thinking complement each other in arriving at a comprehensive understanding of brain-behavior relations.


Current Professional Activities:

Professor Depue's work is on the neurobiology and neurochemistry associated with the structure of personality,emotion, and cognition. He is particularly interested in the personality traits of extraversion, fear-anxiety, affiliative bonding, and Behavioral Stability as they relate to neurotransmitter and neuropeptide functions. These latter systems are modulated pharmacologically in humans and assessed for genetic polymorphisms, and the sensitivity of the responses is assessed hormonally, emotionally, motorically, and cognitively. The work has direct implications for personality disorders and disorders of affect. Finally, the manner in which these systems come to be controlled by environmental context is addressed.

Current Research Activities:

Currently, research is being done on the role of mu-opiates in the reward that underlies social bonding. This is looked at in two ways: first, degree of affiliative affective responding to affiliation-inducing film material and degree of heat tolerance to optic-heat is studied in placebo and opiate receptor-inhibition conditions, all as a function of social closeness - a higher-order affiliation personality trait. Second, polymorphisms in the genes for the mu-opiate receptor and oxytocin receptor are being assessed in a large college population, and then related to a) affiliative behavior rated over two weeks, b) affective response to affiliative  film material, c) heat tolerance (a mu-opiate mediated response) while alone and in the company of a close friend, and d) affective conditioning to a neutral human face.

This work follows from my Behavioral and Brain Sciences (2005) article that lays out a neurobehavoral theory of affiliative reward and affiliative behavior.


Ph.D 1971 - University of Oklahoma - Clinical Psychology

Clinical Internship, Spring Grove Hospital Center 1969

B.A. 1967 - Gettysburg College - Psychology / English Literature

Courses Taught:

Spring 2014: HD 6200 Proseminar
Fall 2014: HD 4660-Psychobiology of Temperament and Personality
Fall 2014: HD 6660-Genetic and Epigenetic Processes in the Development of Individual Differences

Fall 2014: HD 6200 Proseminar

Related Websites:

As DGS for Human Development, I created a large information site for HD graduate students on the HD Graduate Program website. I also upgraded the websites of the 7 HD Research Themes on the HD website.

Administrative Responsibilities:

I became DGS of HD in July 2013. Since that date to December 2014, I collected a great deal of information in order to construct a report on the State of the HD Graduate Training Program, which served as the basis of the Graduate School-requested self-assessment of HD for June 2014. Information collected included: a) meetings with nearly all graduate students in HD, b) distribution of a faculty survey asking about various issues relevant to the HD graduate program, c) survey data from the Graduate School on HD graduate program and students. My report was distributed to the faculty in January 2014. Since then, I have conducted two field meetings to vote on the reports of two committees I constructed: one to develop new course requirements for the PHD, and a second to revise the admissions process. Both reports were voted into effect in Spring 2014. In Fall 2014, I evaluated the publication productivity of HD grad students, and found that their productivity was relatively weak. A field meeting in Spring 2015 is scheduled to provide the foundation of general discussion on improving the research training program in HD.

Selected Publications:

Fu, Y, Selcuk, E., Schweitzer, P, & Depue, R. (under review). Human social learning is mediated by soft touch-induced affective conditioning as a function of variation in Mu-opiate, but not oxytocin, receptor genes.

Depue, R. & Fu, Y. (in press). Neurochemical Processes in Hedonics. In A. Toga & M. Lieberman      (Eds.), Brain Mapping: An Encyclopedic Reference. NY: Elseviere.

Depue, R., & Moore, S. (in press). A multifactorial common final pathway model of anxiety. In D.  Cicchetti (Ed.). Developmental Psychopathology. NY: Wiley-Interscience.

Moore, S., Fu, Y., & Depue, R. (2014). Individual differences in a social bonding trait modulate attentional capture by affiliative stimuli. Frontiers in Personality and Social Psychology, 1-16.

Depue, R., Fu, Y. (2013). On the nature of extraversion: Variation in conditioned contextual activation of dopamine (methylphenidate)-facilitated affective, cognitive, and motor processes. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 7:1-17.

Depue, R (2012). The neurobiology and neurochemistry of temperament. In M. Zentner (Ed.), The Handbook of Temperament. NY: Guilford Press.

Depue, R, & Fu, Y (2012). Modeling borderline personality disorder based on the neurobehavioral foundation of major personality traits. Psychodynamic Psychiatry 40:131-181 (Invited for Special Issue on Personality Disorders. Guest Editor: Michael Stone). 

Depue, R & Fu, Y. (2011). The Neurobiology of personality: Implications for conceptualizing personality disorders as dimensional, multifactorial phenomena. International Review of Psychiatry 23: 258–281. (Special Issue on Personality and Personality Disorders. Guest Editor: Gerald Nestadt.

Depue (2009). Dopamine, motivated behavior and depression. International Encyclopedia of Depression. NY: Springer Verlag

Depue (2009). Epigenetic effects in the development of personality disorders. Development and Psychopathology.

Depue & White (2010). Neurobiology of personality: Use of a pharmacological challenge protocol. International Encyclopedia of Psychopharmacology. NY: Oxford University Press.

Depue (2008). Neurobehavioral dimensions in personality and personality disorders. In S. Wood (ed.), The Neuropsychology of mental illness. NY: Cambridge University Press.

Depue (2006) Neurobehavioral foundation of agentic and affiliative extraversion. In R Krueger (ed), Personality and Psychopathology. NY: Guilford Press.

Depue (2006) Dopamine in agentic and opiates in affiliative forms of extraversion. In T. Canli (ed), Biology of personality. NY: Guilford Press.

Depue & Lenzenweger (2005). Personality disorders as emergent phenotypes from mutiple interaction neurobehavioral systems. In Clarkin & Lenzenweger (Eds), Handbook of Personality Disorders, 2nd Ed. NY: Guilford Press.

Depue, R. & Morrone, J (2005). Affiliative stimulus-induced affectionate feelings and heat tolerance is blocked by u-opiate antagonism as a function of a human trait of affiliation. Behavioral Neuroscience.
Depue, R. & Morrone, J. (2005). Psychostimulant-induced contextual incentive facilitation of visuospatial working memory as a function of personality. Cerebral Cortex. 

Morrone, J , & Depue R. (2004). Influence of personality on attribution of incentive salience to psychostimulant-paired context. Behavioral Neuroscience.
Depue, R. & Morrone J. (2004). Neurobehavioral foundation of affiliative bonding: Implications for a human trait of affiliation. Behavioral and Brain Sciences.
Depue, R. & Lenzenweger, M. (2001). Neurobiology of personality disorders. In J Livesley (ed.), Handbook of Personality Disorders. New York: Guilford Press.

Zald, D. & Depue, R. (2001). Serotonergic modulation of positive and negative affect in psychiatrically healthy males. Personality and Individual Difference 30:71-86. 

Depue (2000). Neurobehavioral systems, personality and psychopathology. New York: Springer-Verlag. 

Depue, R. A., & Zald (in press). Biological and Environmental Processes in nonpsychotic psychopathology. In C.Costello (Ed.), Basic Issues in Psychopathology. New York: Guilford Press.

Depue, R. A., & Collins. (1999). Neurobiology of the Structure of Personality: Dopamine, facilitation of incentive motivation, and extraversion. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 22:491-569. 

White, T. & Depue, R. (1999). Differential association of traits of fear and anxiety with norepinephrine- and dark-induced pupil reactivity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 77: 863-877.

Depue, R. A. (1999). Relation of a D2 receptor agonist to the structure of personality. 

Luciana, M, Collins, P., & Depue, R. (1998). Opposing roles for dopamine and serotonin modulation of visuospatial delayed-response performance. Cerebral Cortex 8:218-226.

Depue, R., Luciana, M., & Arbisi, P, Collins, P., & Leon, A. (1994). Dopamine and the structure of personality: Relation of agonist-induced dopamine D2 activity to positive emotionality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 67: 485-498. 

Luciana and Depue, R. A. (1992). Facilitation of working memory by a D2 receptor agonist in human subjects. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.

Collins and Depue, R. A. (1992). A Neurobehavioral Perspective on Development

Searchable Keywords:
personality, neurobiology, genetics, psychopharmacology, epigenetics

The information on this bio page is taken from the CHE Annual Report.