Areas of Expertise
PhD, Harvard University, 2000
Research Categories: Behavioral Genetics
Research Description: Behavioral genetics, psychology and political psychology, theories of personality, methodology of the social sciences, philosophy of science
Typical Courses Taught:
Representative Publications (More Publications)
Charney's research concerns genetic, biological, and evolutionary explanations of human psychology and behavior, ranging from personality to political orientation. His current focus is on the methodologies (in particular twin, adoption, and gene association studies), presuppositions, and findings of the hybrid discipline known as behavioral genetics. He is engaged in a critical reexamination of these methodologies, presuppositions, and findings in light of 1) current research in molecular genetics and epigenetics, developmental biology, neuroscience, and evolutionary theory, along with the rise of the field of evolutionary developmental biology ("evo-devo"); and 2) methodological questions relating to a) the widespread use of widely available data sets in twin and gene association studies; and b) the employment of underspecified phenotypes and/or phenotypes that are value-laden and/or historically culturally contingent. Related research concerns the philosophy of biology and the philosophy and sociology of science. Charney has published articles in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (forthcoming), Scientific American (forthcoming), The American Political Science Review, Perspectives on Politics, and PsyCrit, and a book chapter, "Political Science and Behavior Genetics: Rethinking Foundational Assumptions" in Biology and Politics: The Cutting Edge. Ed. Albert Somit and Steven A. Peterson. He has received fellowships from the Mellon, Jacob Javits, and Earhardt Foundations, and was the recipient of the first Susan Tift Undergraduate Teaching and Mentoring Award.