Karen L. Bales, Ph.D. - IDDRC Investigator

Karen L. Bales, Ph.D.

Professor and Vice-Chair, Department of Psychology, Unit Leader, Brain Mind and Behavior Unit, California National Primate Research Center, University of California, Davis
Department of Psychology
One Shileds Avenue
Davis, CA 95616

Phone: 530-754-5890 / Fax:  530-752-2087
E-mail: klbales@ucdavis.edu

Areas of Interest

Animal models, Autism, Social Behavior, Oxytocin


Dr. Bales studies the physiology, neurobiology, and development of social bonding, particularly in monogamous species. She works with prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) and titi monkeys (Callicebus cupreus), species in which males and females form pair-bonds and males help take care of infants. In particular, she is interested in the role of neuropeptides such as oxytocin and vasopressin in the neurobiology and development of social behavior, and their use in human health practices such as labor induction and intranasal use in autism and schizophrenia.

Current IDDRC Projects

Effects of chronic intranasal oxytocin, NICHD/NIH, R01 HD071998

Recent Representative Publications

Millan, M.J., Bales, K.L. (2013) Towards improved animal models for evaluating social cognition and its disruption in schizophrenia: the CNTRICS initiative.  Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, epub ahead of print.

Ragen, B.J., Maninger, N., Mendoza, S.P., Jarcho, M.R., Bales, K.L. (2013) Presence of a pair-mate regulates the behavioral and physiological effects of opioid manipulation in the monogamous titi monkey (Callicebus cupreus).  Psychoneuroendocrinology, 48, 2448-2661. PMCID:3812423

Miller, M., Bales, K.L., Taylor, S.L., Yoon, J., Hostetler, C.M., Carter, C.S., Solomon, M. (2013) Oxytocin and vasopressin in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders: sex differences and associations with symptoms. Autism Research, 6, 91-102. PMCID:3657571

Bales, K.L., Perkeybile, A.M., Conley, O.G., Lee, M.H., Guoynes, C.D., Downing, G.M., Yun, C.R., Solomon, M., Jacob, S., Bales, K.L. (2013) Chronic intranasal oxytocin causes long-term impairments in partner preference formation in male prairie voles.  Biological Psychiatry, 74, 180-188.  PMCID: 3556198

Bales, K.L., Perkeybile, A.M. (2012) Developmental experiences and the oxytocin receptor system. Hormones and Behavior, 61, 313-319.