Portrait of Susan Ames
  • Email
  • Degrees
    PhD, Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California
    MA, Psychology, California State University, Los Angeles
    BA, Clinical Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Madison
    BA, Social Work, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Research Interests
    Dual process models of addictive behaviors; Neurobiological systems and brain structures associated with appetitive behaviors; Mediation in neurocognitive processes in addictive behaviors; Etiology of habits among at-risk populations; New prevention and risk reduction strategies for addictive behaviors

Susan L. Ames is an associate professor in Claremont Graduate University’s School of Community & Global Health. She is also the director of the PhD program within this school. Her research interests include dual process models of appetitive behaviors, neurobiological systems and brain structures associated with implicit associative and control processes across a range of health behaviors, etiology of habits, and new prevention and risk reduction strategies for addictive behaviors.

Ames received her PhD in Preventive Medicine from the University of Southern California in 2001. Since then, she has conducted research at USC, UCLA, and CGU. Ames has taught courses in research methods, issues in the cessation and prevention of substance abuse, prevention neuroscience, and theoretical foundations in health promotion and education.

Ames has conducted a variety of studies that focus on associative (habit-based) memory and implicit cognitive processes in appetitive behaviors among adolescents and other at-risk populations. She has an ongoing research program aimed at increasing our understanding of the neural processes underlying automatic implicit associations and cognitive control mechanisms in substance use and eating-related behaviors in adolescents and emerging adults. She has served as principal investigator on National Institutes of Health projects that involve the neuroimaging of habit-related associative processes related to alcohol and marijuana use using the IAT, and the neuroimaging of neurocognitive control processes using cue-specific Go/NoGo tasks and the Iowa Gambling Task.

She has published numerous articles in such academic journals as Frontiers in Neuroscience, Nutrition Journal, Behavioral Brain Research, and Appetite. She has worked in substance abuse treatment for nearly a decade, and she is co-author of two books on concepts in the etiology, prevention and cessation of substance abuse: The Social Psychology of Drug Abuse (Open University Press, 2001) and Drug Abuse: Concepts, Prevention and Cessation (Cambridge University Press, 2008).

Co-authored with Alan Stacy. “Cannabis, Associative Memory, fMRI, and the Implicit Association Test.” In Handbook of Cannabis and Related Pathologies: Biology, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Pharmacology, edited by Victor R. Preedy. San Diego: Elsevier, Inc., Forthcoming.

Co-authored with Steve Sussman and Yue Liao. “Substance Use Prevention Approaches for School-Aged Youth.” In Interventions for Addiction: Comprehensive Addictive Behaviors and Disorders, edited by Peter Miller, 843–53. San Diego: Elsevier, Inc., 2013.

Co-authored with Steve Sussman. Drug Abuse: Concepts, Prevention and Cessation. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Co-authored with Alan Stacy, et al. “Spontaneous Cognition and HIV Risk Behavior.” Psychology of Addictive Behavior 20, no. 2 (2006): 196–206.

Co-authored with Steve Sussman, et al. “Implicit Cognition and Dissociative Experiences as Predictors of Adolescent Substance Use.” American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse 31, no. 1 (2005): 129–162.

Co-authored with Steve Sussman. The Social Psychology of Drug Abuse. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press, 2001.

Theoretical Foundations in Health Promotion & Education
Prevention Neuroscience
Research Methods
Issues in the Cessation & Prevention of Substance Abuse