Debra Karhson

Debra Karhson

Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
MB 3114

Dr. Karhson is an Assistant Professor of Psychology. Her main research focus is on autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the endocannabinoid system, cognition, and social functioning. The techniques and methodology used in her work take a translational neuroscience approach to discover novel avenues for the development of interventions that improve quality of life for people with neurodevelopmental disorders that impact cognitive function.

Education and Training:

  • (2014-2019) Postdoc, center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences research, Stanford University
  • (2014) Ph.D. in Neuroscience, Tulane University
  • (2007) B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, Drexel University

Recent Publications:

A randomized placebo-controlled pilot trial shows that intransal vasopressin improves social deficits in children with autism. KJ Parker, O Oztan, RA Liblove, N Mohsin, DS Karhson, RD Sumiyoshi,... Science translational medicine 11 (491), 2019

Plasma anandamide concentrations are lower in children with autism spectrum disorder. DS Karhson, KM Krasinska, JA Dallaire, RA Libove, JM Phillips, AS Chien, ... Molecular Autism 9 (1), 1-6, 2018

Intransal oxytocin treatment for social deficits and biomarkers of response in children with autism. KJ Parker, O Oztan, RA Libove, RD Sumiyoshi, LP Jackson, DS Karhson, ... Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114 (30). 8119-8124, 2017

Atypical sensory reactivity influences auditory attentional control in adults with autism spectrum disorders. DS Karhson, EJ Golob Autism Research 9 (10). 1079-1092. 2016

Endocannabinoid signaling in social functioning: an RDoC perspective. DS Karhson, AY Hardan, KJ Parker, ... Translational psychiatry 6 (9) e905-e905. 2016

The role of right inferior parietal cortex in auditory spatial attention: a repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation study. DS Karhson, JR Mock, EJ Golob, Plos one 10 (12), e0144221, 2015

Research Interests:

Psychophysiological of Autism Spectrum Disorder

My psychological and physiological research on ASD involves:

  1. understanding of brain-behavior mechanisms of connectivity in car ASD features
  2. examining the significance of neural noise in ASD brain dynamics
  3. defining the brain dynamics of social and cognitive function in ASD

Translational Neuropsychiatry of Endocannabinoid System in Neurodevelopmental Brain Disorders

My neuropsychiatric research on the endocannabinoid system involves:

  1. understanding of the developmental role of this system in the cognitive and social function
  2. determining how this system can best be leveraged in therapeutic interventions
  3. defining how this system is impacted by other interventions
  4. measuring the short and long-term impact of interventions on this system

Links to Other Pages:

ResearchGate Profile

Google Scholar Profile 


  • PSYC 3304 Experimental Psychology
  • PSYC 3104 Experimental Psychology Laboratory
Last Updated: 03/31/2022