Paul Hastings

Paul Hastings Portrait

Position Title

146A Young Hall


  • Ph.D., Applied Developmental Psychology, University of Toronto
  • M.A., Experimental Psychology, University of Toronto
  • B.S., Faculty of Science, McGill University


Paul Hastings is a developmental psychologist and Professor of Psychology, past Chair of Psychology, and past Interim Dean of the School of Education at the University of California Davis. He completed his studies in Canada at McGill University (B.S.), the University of Toronto (M.A., Ph.D.) and the University of Waterloo Ontario (post-doc), and then worked at the National Institute of Mental Health intramural program (Bethesda, Maryland) and Concordia University (Montreal, Quebec) before moving to UC Davis. He is a member of the UC Consortium on the Developmental Science of Adolescence, the Center for Poverty Research and the Center for Mind and Brain, where he directs the Healthy Emotions, Relationships and Development Laboratory (HERD Lab). With his colleagues and students, Professor Hastings is currently conducting research in the U.S. (California, Maryland, New York, North Carolina), Canada, Chile, Jordan, Bangladesh, and Ghana. Professor Hastings is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and a member of several professional organizations, including American Psychological Association-Division 7, International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development, Society for Psychophysiological Research and Society for Research in Child Development.

Research Focus

In his research, Professor Hastings charts the development of physiological, social and emotional functioning from early childhood into adulthood, and explores the factors contributing to individual differences in functioning and developmental trajectories. He examines the intersecting contributions of “context” through cultural and socioeconomic conditions, "nurture" through close family and peer relationships, and "nature" through autonomic, neuroendocrine, immune and brain systems. His research focuses on understanding how these factors shape developmental trajectories toward adaptive functioning, like compassion and social competence, and maladaptive functioning, like depression, anxiety and aggression.


Health Emotions, Relationships & Development (HERD) Lab (Hastings)


  • Miller, J. G., Xia, G., & Hastings, P. D. (2020). Right temporoparietal junction involvement in autonomic responses to others‚Äô suffering: A preliminary transcranial magnetic stimulation study. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 14, 1-9. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2020.00007

  • Swartz, J. R., Weissman, D. G., Ferrer, E., Beard, S. J., Fassbender, C., Robins, R. W., Hastings, P. D., & Guyer, A.E. (2019). Reward-related brain activity prospectively predicts increases in alcohol use in adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
  • Weissman, D. G., Guyer, A. E., Ferrer, E., Robins, R. W., & Hastings, P. D. (2019). Tuning of brain-autonomic coupling by prior threat exposure: Implications for internalizing problems in Mexican-origin adolescents. Development and Psychopathology, 13, 1127-1142. doi:10.1017/S0954579419000646
  • Hastings, P. D., Kahle, S., Fleming, C., Lohr, M. J., Katz, L. F., & Oxford, M. (2019). An intervention that increases parental sensitivity in families referred to Child Protective Services also changes toddlers‚Äô parasympathetic regulation. Developmental Science, 22. e12725.
  • Kahle, S., Miller, J. G., Helm, J. L., & Hastings, P. D. (2018). Linking autonomic physiology and emotion regulation in preschoolers: The role of reactivity and recovery. Developmental Psychobiology, 60, 775-788. DOI: 10.1002/dev.21746
  • Parra, L. A., & Hastings, P. D. (2018). Integrating the neurobiology of minority stress with an intersectionality framework for LGBTQ-Latinx populations. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 161, 91‚Äì108. DOI:10.1002/cad.20244


Professor Hastings teaches courses in the areas of Social and Personality Development, Current Research in Psychology, and Topics in Developmental Psychology.


Professor Hastings has earned grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health, the UC Davis Interdisciplinary Frontiers in the Humanities and Arts (IFHA) and the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain MRI SeedGrant.