Yu Gao, PhD


Postdoctoral Research Associate

Departments of Criminology, Psychology, and Psychiatry

University of Pennsylvania


Office: Jerry Lee Center of Criminology, 3809 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA

Phone: 2157464391

Fax: 2157464239

Email: yugao at sas.upenn.edu




1. Biological bases of aggressive, antisocial, psychopathic, and criminal behavior

I am interested in identifying neurobiological bases of externalizing behavior in children, adolescents, and adults using psychophysiological method (e.g. electrodermal conditioning, P300). Specifically:

l           What are the neurobiological deficits and which brain circuits are involved?

l           Are they specific to aggressive individuals with psychopathic traits?

l           Do children/adolescents show similar deficits as observed in adults?

l           Are neurobiology-aggression associations moderated by psychosocial factors?

l           Are there any cultural differences in the above associations?


2. Decision making deficits in psychopathy

I have been examining decision making deficits in community psychopaths and psychopathic-like adolescents.

l           Do successful psychopaths show decision making deficits as observed in unsuccessful criminal psychopaths?

l           What factors predispose to decision making deficits?

l           Which aspects of psychopathy are more closely related to decision making deficits?


3. Basic cognitive-affective processes development in children

Using latent growth curve analysis, I have been investigating the developmental trajectories of cognitive (e.g. orienting) and emotional (e.g. fear conditioning) in early childhood.



University of Pennsylvania, 2008-2010 (Philadelphia, PA)                     Post-doctoral fellowship

University of Southern California, 2003-2008 (Los Angeles, CA)            Ph.D. in Psychology

Beijing Normal University, 1998-2002 (Beijing, China)                             B.S. in Applied Psychology



Gao, Y., Raine, A., & Schug, R. A. (in press). P3 deficits and childhood victimization in successful and unsuccessful psychopaths. Brain and Cognition.

Gao, Y., Glenn, A. L., Peskin, M., Rudo-Hutt, A., Schug, R. A., Yang, Y., & Raine, A. (in press). Neurocriminological approaches. In D. Gadd, S. Karstedt, and S. Messner (Eds.), Sage handbook of criminological research methods. London: SAGE.

Gao, Y., & Raine, A. (in press). Psychophysiology and crime. In F. Cullen, Wilcox, P., and Swartz, K. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of criminological theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Yang, Y., Gao, Y., Glenn, A. L., Schug, R. A., Peskin, M., & Raine, A. (in press). Biosocial contributors of antisocial behavior. In M. DeLisi and K. Beaver (Eds.), The Life-course of antisocial behavior: Aggression to delinquency to crime. Boston: Jones & Bartlett.

Peskin, M., Gao, Y., Glenn, A.L., Schug, R.A., Yang, Y., Raine, A., et al. (in press). Personal characteristics of delinquents: Neurobiology, genetic predispositions, individual psycho-social attributes. In B. C. Feld and D. M. Bishop (Eds.), Oxford handbook of juvenile crime and juvenile justice, NY: Oxford University Press.

Gao, Y., Raine, A., Venables, P. H., Dawson, M. E., & Mednick, S. A. (2010). Poor childhood fear conditioning predisposes to adult crime. American Journal of Psychiatry, 167, 56-60.

Gao, Y., Raine, A., Venables, P. H., Dawson, M. E., & Mednick, S. A. (2010). Reduced electrodermal fear conditioning from ages 3 to 8 years is associated with aggressive behavior at age 8 years. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51, 550-558.

Gao, Y., & Raine, A. (2010). Successful and unsuccessful psychopaths: A neurobiological model. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 28, 194-210.

Gao, Y., Raine, A., Venables, P. H., & Mednick, S. A. (2010). Early maternal and paternal bonding, childhood physical abuse, and adult psychopathic personality. Psychological Medicine, 40, 1007-1016.

Gao, Y., Raine, A., Venables, P. H., Dawson, M. E., & Mednick, S. A. (2010). The development of skin conductance fear conditioning in children from ages 3 to 8 years. Developmental Science, 13, 201-212.

Fung, A.L.C., Gao, Y. & Raine, A. (2010). The utility of the child and adolescent psychopathy construct in Hong Kong, China. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 39, 134-140.

Schug, R. A., Gao, Y., Glenn, A. L., Peskin, M., Yang, Y., & Raine, A. (2010). The developmental bases: Neurobiological research and forensic applications. In G. J. Towl and D. A. Crighton (Eds.), Forensic Psychology (pp. 73-94), UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

Gao, Y., Glenn, A. L., Schug, R. A., Yang, Y., & Raine, A. (2009). The neurobiology of psychopathy: A neurodevelopmental perspective. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 54, 813-823.

Gao, Y., & Raine, A. (2009). P3 event-related potential impairments in antisocial and psychopathic individuals: A meta-analysis. Biological Psychology, 82, 199-210.

Gao, Y., Baker, L.A., Raine, A., Wu, H., & Bezdjian, S. (2009). Brief Report: Interaction between social class and risky decision-making in children with psychopathic tendencies. Journal of Adolescence, 32, 409-414.

Gao, Y., Tuvblad, C., Raine, A., & Baker, L.A. (2009). Genetic and environmental influences on frontal EEG asymmetry and alpha power in 9-10-year-old twins. Psychophysiology, 46, 787-796.

Fung, A.L.C., Raine, A., & Gao, Y. (2009). Cross-cultural generalizability of the reactive-proactive aggression questionnaire (RPQ). Journal of Personality Assessment, 91, 473-479.

Schug, R. A., Gao, Y., Glenn, A. L., Yang, Y., & Raine, A. (2009). Role of the frontal lobe in violence. In McGraw-Hill yearbook of science and technology (pp. 326-328). Hightstown, NJ: McGraw-Hill.

Gao, Y., Raine, A., Dawson, M.E., Venables, P.H., & Mednick, S.A. (2007). Development of skin conductance orienting, habituation, and reorienting from ages 3 to 8 years: A longitudinal latent growth curve analysis. Psychophysiology, 44, 855-863.






Updated on May 18, 2010