Carol Prescott

Professor of Psychology and Gerontology

Contact Information
Phone: (213) 740-2314
Office: SGM 934

Curriculum Vitae
Personal Website

Biographical Sketch

Carol Prescott earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in Experimental Psychology from Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. in Psychology with an emphasis in clinical research and quantitative methods from the University of Virginia. Her clinical internship at the Neuropsychiatric Institute of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) focused on geropsychology. She then had post-doctoral training in psychiatric genetics and epidemiology at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she then joined the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry. She came to USC in 2005 and is affiliated with the Clinical Science program within the Department of Psychology.

Dr. Prescott’s research has been funded by grants from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (including the Institute on Aging, Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, Mental Health, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse), as well as the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression. Dr. Prescott has received several awards in recognition of her research, including the Fulker Award from the Behavior Genetics Association and the Theodore Reich Prize from the International Society for Psychiatric Genetics. She is currently President of the Behavior Genetics Association (2013-2014).


  • B.A. Psychology, Johns Hopkins University, 1984
  • M.A. Experimental Psychology, Johns Hopkins University, 1985
  • Ph.D. Psychology (Clinical Research), University of Virginia, 1991

  • Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

    • Professor, University of Southern California, 2005-  
    • Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Commonwealth University, 2000-2005  
    • Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1995-2000  

    Description of Research

    Summary Statement of Research Interests
    The primary goal of my research is to understand the genetic and environmental sources of individual differences in cognition and cognitive aging. Approaches to this include using twin and family studies and molecular genetic methods, as well as studies of sex differences. Other research interests include the etiology of substance use disorders and psychopathology.
    Research Specialties
    Cognition, Behavior Genetics, Psychiatric Epidemiology, Substance Use Disorders, Psychopathology, Longitudinal Data Analysis, Research Methodology

    Funded Research

    Contracts and Grants Awarded
    • Assessing and Improving Measures of Cognition in the HRS (NIA), John J. McArdle, Carol Prescott (Co-Investigator), $5,732,533, 05/01/2011-04/30/2016  
    • A 55- Year Followup of Project TALENT Twins, Siblings and Classmates (National Institute on Aging, NIH), Carol Prescott, $875,000, 09/2013-06/2015  
    • Intergenerational Transmission of Alcohol Involvement (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism), Susan Luczak, Carol Prescott (Co-Investigator), $2,499,999, 09/10/2010-06/30/2015  
    • Greatest Generation, A Study of World War II Veteran Twins (National Institute on Aging, NIH), Gatz, Margaret, $99,000, 03/2011-02/2013  
    • Interactions of Genes and Childhood Adversity in the Lifetime Dynamics of Cognitive Abilities (National Institute on Aging), Carol Prescott, John Joseph McArdle, $234,921, 06/01/2009-04/30/2012  

    Honors and Awards

    • Elected President, Behavior Genetics Association, 7/2012-  
    • Fulker Award, Behavior Genetics Association, 2007  
    • Theodore Reich Young Investigator Award, International Society of Psychiatric Genetics, 2004  

  • Carol Prescott
  • University of Southern California
  • Department of Psychology
  • SGM 934