Chris Johnson, Ph.D.

Managing Scientist
Human Factors
Philadelphia
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Dr. Johnson is a Managing Scientist and licensed clinical neuropsychologist with expertise in brain function and human performance under stress. His research and practice focus on brain-behavior responses to stress, and how pressure can alter the information processing such as time perception, situational awareness, sustained attention, impulse control, working memory capacity, judgments of safety and threat, as well as strategic decision-making. He has been recognized by the Department of Defense (DoD), Special Operations Command (SOCOM), and the US Intelligence Community for his research on the neural substrates underlying cognition under stress in special operations forces, and his work has been sponsored by agencies DARPA, Office of Naval Research, and the Combatting Terrorism Technical Support Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense.

From 2009-2014 Dr. Johnson served as principle investigator for the US Navy’s Warfighter Performance research program and he has conducted research on performance under stress in austere environments that include survival school, close quarters combat (CQC) training, maritime navigation, reconnaissance surveillance and intelligence operations. From 2014-2015 Dr. Johnson was the Deputy Command Psychologist for Naval Special Warfare’s Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) program where he was responsible for special operations forces (SOF) assessment and selection protocols. Dr. Johnson also has extensive experience in professional sports and has both analysis and player development of sensory-motor skills for teams in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Football League (NFL). From 2015-2020 he was a full-time front office executive in Major League Baseball (MLB) where his evaluations of cognitive capabilities directly informed player valuations, trade proposals, and draft selections.

Dr. Johnson’s clinical expertise is in neuropsychological assessment of brain injury and anxiety spectrum disorders, as well as the psychobiology of stress. He has experience evaluating sports related concussion over five years in MLB and directed neuropsychological evaluation of blast related traumatic brain injury (TBI) and combat related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for Naval Special Warfare Command. He has testified regarding brain-behavior function under stress and neuropsychological testing at the federal and state level.

Dr. Johnson earned his Ph.D. in Psychology from UCLA and completed two-years of post-doctoral training at Yale University School of Medicine and the Clinical Neurosciences Division of the National Center for PTSD. He also served eleven years active duty in the US Coast Guard where he was a Deck Watch Officer and maritime law enforcement boarding officer for national security operations, and he is a 1993 graduate of the US Coast Guard Academy.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), 2004
  • B.A., Psychology, California State University, Long Beach, 2000
  • B.S., Government, United States Coast Guard Academy, 1993
  • Post-Doc, Clinical Neuroscience, Yale University School of Medicine, 2005-2007

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Licensed Psychologist, California, #21975

National Provider Identifier, #1770788697

Publications

Haase, L., Stewart, J.L., Youssef, B., May, A.C., Isakovic, S., Simmons, A., Johnson, D.C., Potterat, E.G., Paulus, M.P. (2016). When the brain does not adequately feel the body: Links between low resilience and interoception. Biological Psychology, 113:37-45.

Kircanski, K., Johnson, D.C., Mateen, M., Bjork, R. A., Gotlib, I. H. (2015). Impaired Retrieval Inhibition of Threat Material in Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Clinical Psychological Science.

Johnson, D.C., Krystal, J. H., and Southwick, S. M. (2015). Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Acute Stress Disorder. In Current Psychiatric Diagnosis and Treatment, 3rd Edition, ed. M. H. Ebert, P. T. Loosen, B. Nurcombe, and J. F. Leckman.

Johnson, D.C., Thom, N., Stanley, E., et al. (2014). Modifying resilience mechanisms in at-risk individuals: A controlled study of mindfulness training in Marines preparing for deployment. American Journal of Psychiatry, 171(8): 844-853.

Trees, J., Snider, J., Falahpour, M., Guo, N., Lu, K., Johnson, D.C., Poizner, H., Liu, T. (2014). Game controller modification for fMRI hyperscanning experiements in a cooperative virtual reality environment. MethodsX 1:292-299.

Paulus, M. P., Haase, L., Johnson, D.C., et al. (2014). Neural Mechanisms as Putative Targets for Warfighter Resilience and Optimal Performance. Neurotechnology in National Security and Defense: Practical Considerations, Neuroethical Concerns, 51.

Haase, L., Thom, N., Shukla, A., Davenport, P., Simmons, A., Stanley, E. A., Paulus, M., Johnson, D.C. (2014). Mindfulness-based training attenuates insula response to an aversive interoceptive challenge. Social Cognitive Affective Neuroscience.

Thom, N., Knight, J., Dishman, R., Sabatinelli, D., Johnson, D.C., Clementz, B. (2013). Emotional scenes elicit more pronounced self-reported emotional experience and greater EPN and LPP modulation when compared to emotional faces. Cognitive Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience, 1-12.

Thom, N., Johnson, D.C., Flagan, T., Simmons, A., Kotturi, S., Van Orden, K. F., Potterat, E. G., Swain, J. L., Paulus, M. P. (2012). Determining affective stats in others: Increased insula activation differentiates elite team-based Adventure Racers from healthy comparisons. Social Cognitive Affective Neuroscience.

Schmitz, K. J., Schmied, E. A., Webb-Murphy, J. A., Hammer, P. S., Larson, G. E., Conway, T. L., Galarneau, M. R., Boucher, W. C., Edwards, N. K., Johnson, D.C. (2012). Psychiatric Diagnoses and Treatment of U. S. Military Personnel While Deployed to Iraq. Military Medicine, 177(4), 380.

Paulus, M. P., Flagan, T., Simmons, A. N., Gillis, K., Kotturi, S., Thom, N., Johnson, D.C., Van Orden, K. F., Davenport, P. W., Swain, J. L. (2012). Subjecting elite athletes to inspiratory breathing load reveals behavioral and neural signatures of optimal performers in extreme environments. PLoS ONE 7(1): e29394.

Simmons, A. N., Fitzpatrick, S., Strigo, I. A., Potterat, E. G., Johnson, D.C., Matthews, S. C., et al. (2012). Altered insula activation in anticipation of changing emotional states: Neural mechanisms underlying cognitive flexibility in special operations forces personnel. Neuroreport 23(4), 234-239.

Ballenger-Browning, K. K., Schmitz, K. J., Rothacker, J. A., Hammer, P. S., Webb-Murphy, J. A., & Johnson, D. C. (2011). Predictors of Burnout among Military Mental Health Providers. Military Medicine 176(3), 253-260.

Conway, TL, Hammer, PS, Galarneau, MS, Larson, GE, Edwards, MA, Schmied, EA, Ly, HL, Schmitz, KJ, Webb-Murphy, JA, Boucher, WC, Johnson, D.C., Ghaed, SG. (2011). Theater Mental Health Encounter Data (TMHED) Overview of Study Design and Methods. Military Medicine, 176(11):1243.

Larson, G. E., Hammer, P. S., Conway, T. L., Schmied, E. A., Galarneau, M. R., Konoske, P., Webb-Murphy, J. A., Schmitz, K. J., Edwards, N., & Johnson, D.C. (2011). Symptom histories of war zone psychiatric patients. Psychiatric Services 62(1), 15-21.

Johnson, D.C., Polusny, M. A., Erbes, C., King, D., King, L., Litz, B., Schnurr, P., Friedman, M., Pietrzak, R. H., & Southwick, S. M. (2011). Resilience and response to stress: Development and initial validation of the Response to Stressful Experiences Scale. Military Medicine 176(2), 161-169.

Pietrzak, R. H., Goldstein, M. B., Malley, J. C., Johnson, D.C., & Southwick, S. M. (2010). Risk and protective factors associated with suicidal ideation in veterans. Journal of Affective Disorders 123, 102-107.

Pietrzak, R. H., Goldstein, M. B., Malley, J. C., Rivers, A. J., Johnson, D.C., Morgan, C. A., & Southwick, S. M. (2010). Posttraumatic growth in veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Journal of Affective Disorders.

Johnson, D.C., & Stein, M. B. Assessment of PTSD. (2010). In Clinical Manual for Managing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, ed. D. M. Benedek, G. H. Wynn, American Psychiatric Publishing Inc.

Pietrzak, R. H., Johnson, D.C., Goldstein, M. B., Malley, J. C., Rivers, A., Morgan, C. A., & Southwick, S. M. (2010). Psychosocial buffers of traumatic stress, depressive symptoms, and psychosocial difficulties in veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom: The role of resilience, unit support, and post-deployment social support. Journal of Affective Disorders 120(1), 188-192.

Johnson, D.C. (2009). Key facts on resilience and response to stress for Navy and USMC leaders. Journal of Special Operations Medicine, Fall 9(4), 110-112.

Pietrzak, R. H., Johnson, D.C., Goldstein, M. B., Malley, J. C., & Southwick, S. M. (2009). Psychological resilience and postdeployment social support protect against traumatic stress symptoms in soldiers returning from Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Depression and Anxiety 26(8), 745-751.

Pietrzak, R. H., Goldstein, M. B., Malley, J. C., Johnson, D.C., & Southwick, S. M. (2009). Subsyndromal posttraumatic stress disorder is associated with health and psychosocial difficulties in veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Depression and Anxiety 26(8), 739-744.

Myatt, C. A., & Johnson, D.C. (2009). Editorial comment on "Psychological resilience and postdeployment social support protect against traumatic stress and depressive symptoms in soldiers from Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom". Journal of Special Operations Medicine 9(3), 80.

Pietrzak, R. H., Johnson, D.C., Goldstein, M. B., Malley, J. C., & Southwick, S. M. (2009). Posttraumatic stress disorder mediates the relationship between mild traumatic brain injury and health and psychosocial functioning in veterans of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 197(10), 748-753.

Aikins, D. E., Johnson, D. C., Borelli, J. K., Klemansky, D., Morrissey, P. M., & Southwick, S. M. (2009). PTSD and thought suppression: Differences in memory rebound and arousal as indicators of resilience in combat veterans. Behavior Research and Therapy 47(9), 744-751.

Pietrzak, R. H., Johnson, D. C., Goldstein, M. B., Malley, J. C., & Southwick, S. M. (2009). Perceived stigma and barriers to mental health care utilization among OEF-OIF veterans. Psychiatric Services 60(8), 1118-1122.

Johnson, D. C., Aikins, D. E., and Craske, M. G. (2008). Trait-anxiety and repressors: Suppression of recall for aversive images. Personality and Individual Differences 44, 550-562.

Johnson, D. C., Krystal, J. H., and Southwick, S. M. (2008). Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Acute Stress Disorder. In Current Psychiatric Diagnosis and Treatment, 2nd Edition, ed. M. H. Ebert, P. T. Loosen, B. Nurcombe, and J. F. Leckman.

Ozbay, F., Johnson, D. C., Dimoulas, E., Morgan, C. A., Charney, D., & Southwick, S. M. (2007). Social support and resilience to stress: From neurobiology to clinical practice. Psychiatry 4(5), 35-40.

Waters, A. M., Nitz, A. B., Craske, M. G., & Johnson, D. C. (2007). The effects of anxiety upon attention allocation to affective stimuli. Behavior Research and Therapy, 45, 763-774.

Prior Experience

Director of Personnel & Performance, Pittsburgh Pirates, MLB, 2015-2020

Player Development Staff, Golden State Warriors, NBA, 2014-2015

Deputy Command Psychologist, Naval Special Warfare Center, 2014-2015

Senior Scientist, Warfighter Performance, Naval Health Research Center, 2009-2014

Department Head, Naval Center for Combat Operational Stress Control, 2008-2009

Military Service: US Coast Guard, 1988-1999

Academic Appointments

Assistant Professor, Psychiatry, University of California-San Diego, 2007-2014

Associate Research Scientist, Yale University School of Medicine, 2005-2007

Additional Information

Research Grants

Human Performance and Response to Stress During Naval Special Warfare Close Quarters Combat (CQC) Training

Goal: Developing metric of individual performance and response to stress during CQC training.

Role: PI

Sponsor: Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA), 10/01/2013 - 09/30/2015

Effects of Mental Skills Training on Response to Stress and Individual Performance

Goal: Operational evaluation of mental skills for stress recovery in Marines during pre-deployment infantry immersive training.

Role: PI

Sponsor: Office of Naval Research (ONR), 10/01/2012 - 09/30/2014

Neural Mechanisms of Mental Skills Resilience Training

Goal: Utilization of neuroimaging methods (fMRI, EEG) to evaluate effects of stress reduction training in active-duty Marines preparing for combat deployment.

Role: PI

Sponsor: Office of Naval Research (ONR), 09/01/2010 - 08/31/2012

Stress Inoculation Effects of Infantry Immersive Training

Goal: Identify operational, tactical, and behavioral indices of effectiveness of training program for Marines Operating in Urban Terrain (MOUT) at the Infantry Immersion Trainer (IIT).

Role: PI

Sponsor: Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED), 09/01/2009 - 08/31/2012

Biomarkers of Stress Inoculation During Immersive Training

Goal: Evaluation of bio-marker profiles pre/post stressful pre-deployment operations at the Marine Infantry Immersion Trainer (IIT)

Role: PI

Sponsor: Office of Naval Research (ONR), 09/01/2009 - 08/31/2012

Psychobiological Assessment of High Intensity Military Training

Goal: Evaluate stress hormone profiles in active-duty military personnel participating in high-intensity survival training.

Role: Co-Investigator

Sponsor: US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), 09/2005 - 09/2006

Effects of DHEA on Mood, Memory, and Cognition in Soldiers Exposed to Acute Stress

Goal: Evaluation of stress-mitigation potential of DHEA administered to active-duty personnel during high-intensity survival and operational training.

Role: Co-Investigator

Sponsor: US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), 09/2005 - 09/2006

PTSD & Resilience in 10th Mountain Combat Infantry

Goal: Evaluation of cognitive and neuropsychological factors underlying resilience and PTSD with infantry unit exposed to high-intensity combat.

Role: Co-Investigator

Sponsor: VA National Center for PTSD, 09/2006 - 09/2007

Peer Reviewer

Annals of Psychology and Neuroscience

Behavior Research and Therapy

Biological Psychiatry

Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development

Journal of Traumatic Stress

Biological PsychologyStress

Psychiatry Research

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

Military Psychology

International Journal of Hypothermia

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), 2004
  • B.A., Psychology, California State University, Long Beach, 2000
  • B.S., Government, United States Coast Guard Academy, 1993
  • Post-Doc, Clinical Neuroscience, Yale University School of Medicine, 2005-2007

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Licensed Psychologist, California, #21975

National Provider Identifier, #1770788697