James Blair, Ph.D.

James Blair , Ph.D.



James Blair, PhD is the Director of the Center for Neurobehavioral Research. He is an expert in the neurobiology of emotion, aggression and antisocial behavior and has published more than 200 scientific manuscripts on this and related topics. Dr. Blair received a doctoral degree in Psychology from University College London in 1993 under the supervision of Professor John Morton.  Following graduation he was awarded a Wellcome Trust Mental Health Research Fellowship that he held at the Medical Research Council Cognitive Development Unit for three years.  Subsequently, Dr. Blair moved to the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London.  There, with Uta Frith, he helped form and co-lead the Devel​opmental Disorders group, and was ultimately appointed Senior Lecturer. Dr. Blair Joined the NIMH Intramural Research Program in 2002. He joined Boys Town as Center Director in August 2016. He is currently President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy as well as the acting vice-chair of the Board of Scientific Advisors for the National Courts and Sciences Institute (the Institute that educates judges on scientific topics relevant to the courtroom).

Research Interests

Dr. Blair’s primary research focus is on the development of neuro-cognitive systems that, when dysfunctional, give rise to the emergence of mood, anxiety, externalizing symptoms and substance abuse. His primary clinical focus is in understanding the dysfunction of affect-related systems in youth with specific forms of conduct disorder. His research approach includes techniques employed in cognitive neuroscience (both neuropsychology and functional imaging), and psychopharmacology.

​​​Selected Recent Publications:

Blair, R. J. (2020). Modeling the Comorbidity of Cannabis Abuse and Conduct Disorder/Conduct Problems from a Cognitive Neuroscience Perspective. J Dual Diagn, 16(1), 3-21. doi:10.1080/15504263.2019.1668099

Aloi, J., Blair, K.S., Crum, K.I., Zhang, R., Lukoff, J., Blair R.J.R. (2020). Alcohol Use Disorder, but Not Cannabis Use Disorder, Symptomatology in Adolescents is Associated With Reduce Differential Responsiveness to Reward Versus Punishment Feedback During Instrumental Learning. Biol Psychiatry Cogn Neurosci Neuroimaging. doi:10.1016/j.bpsc.2020.02.003

Blair, R. J., Veroude, K., & Buitelaar, J. K. (2016). Neuro-cognitive system dysfunction and symptom sets: A review of fMRI studies in youth with conduct problems. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.10.022

Blair, R. J., Leibenluft, E., & Pine, D. S. (2014). Conduct disorder and callous-unemotional traits in youth. N Engl J Med, 371(23), 2207-2216. doi:10.1056/NEJMra1315612

Blair, R. J. (2013). The neurobiology of psychopathic traits in youths. Nat Rev Neurosci, 14(11), 786-799. doi:10.1038/nrn3577