Keith E. Whitfield
  • Keith E. Whitfield

  • Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Overview

    Dr. Whitfield's research on individual differences in minority aging employs a two prong approach that includes studying individual people as well as members of twin pairs. Dr. Whitfield’s research examines the individual variation in health and individual differences in cognition due to health conditions. Dr. Whitfield has worked with researchers from Sweden, Russia, and the United States to examine how social, psychological, and cultural factors of cognition and healthy aging. He has completed a study that involves examining health and psycho-social factors related to health among adult African American twins from North Carolina. His current research project is a longitudinal study of cognition and health among older African Americans.
  • Specialties

    • Developmental Psychology
  • Current Projects

    Carolina African American Twin Study of Aging, , Baltimore Study of Black Aging: Patterns of Cognitive Aging
  • Areas of Interest

    Individual differences in cognitive aging among African Americans
    Genetic and environmental influences on health amoung African Americans
  • Education

      • Ph.D.,
      • Psychology,
      • Texas Technical University,
      • 1989
      • M.A.,
      • Texas Technical University,
      • 1987
      • B.A.,
      • Coll Santa Fe,
      • 1984
  • Awards, Honors and Distinctions

      • Distinguished Acheivement Award,
      • National Institute on Aging,
      • November, 2010
      • Distinguished Mentor Award,
      • Gerontological Society of America,
      • November, 2010
      • Faculty Marshal for the College of Arts and Sciences,
      • May, 2010
      • Leadership Award,
      • Gerontological Society of America-Task Force on Minority Issues,
      • November, 2007
      • Allen L. Edwards Endowed Lecturer,
      • University of Washington,
      • December, 2005
      • Allen L. Edwards Endowed Lecturer,
      • University of Washington,
      • December, 2005
  • Recent Publications

      • A Jelenkovic, Y Yokoyama, R Sund, C Honda, LH Bogl, S Aaltonen, F Ji, F Ning, Z Pang, JR Ordoñana, JF Sánchez-Romera, L Colodro-Conde, SA Burt, KL Klump, SE Medland, GW Montgomery, C Kandler, TA McAdams, TC Eley, AM Gregory, KJ Saudino, L Dubois, M Boivin, AD Tarnoki, DL Tarnoki, CM Haworth, R Plomin, SY Öncel, F Aliev, MA Stazi, C Fagnani, C D'Ippolito, JM Craig, R Saffery, SH Siribaddana, M Hotopf, A Sumathipala, F Rijsdijk, T Spector, M Mangino, G Lachance, M Gatz, DA Butler, G Bayasgalan, D Narandalai, DL Freitas, JA Maia, KP Harden, EM Tucker-Drob, B Kim, Y Chong, C Hong, HJ Shin, K Christensen, A Skytthe, KO Kyvik, CA Derom, RF Vlietinck, RJ Loos, W Cozen, AE Hwang, TM Mack, M He, X Ding, B Chang, JL Silberg, LJ Eaves, HH Maes, TL Cutler, JL Hopper, K Aujard, PK Magnusson, NL Pedersen, AK Aslan, YM Song, S Yang, K Lee, LA Baker, C Tuvblad, M Bjerregaard-Andersen, H Beck-Nielsen, M Sodemann, K Heikkilä, Q Tan, D Zhang, GE Swan, R Krasnow, KL Jang, A Knafo-Noam, D Mankuta, L Abramson, P Lichtenstein, RF Krueger, M McGue, S Pahlen, P Tynelius, GE Duncan, D Buchwald, RP Corley, BM Huibregtse, TL Nelson, KE Whitfield, CE Franz, WS Kremen, MJ Lyons, S Ooki, I Brandt, TS Nilsen, F Inui, M Watanabe, M Bartels, TC van Beijsterveldt, J Wardle, CH Llewellyn, A Fisher, E Rebato, NG Martin, Y Iwatani, K Hayakawa, J Sung, JR Harris, G Willemsen, A Busjahn, JH Goldberg, F Rasmussen, YM Hur, DI Boomsma, TI Sørensen, J Kaprio and K Silventoinen.
      • 2015.
      • Zygosity Differences in Height and Body Mass Index of Twins From Infancy to Old Age: A Study of the CODATwins Project..
      • Twin research and human genetics : the official journal of the International Society for Twin Studies
      • 18:
      • 557-570
      • .
      Publication Description

      A trend toward greater body size in dizygotic (DZ) than in monozygotic (MZ) twins has been suggested by some but not all studies, and this difference may also vary by age. We analyzed zygosity differences in mean values and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) among male and female twins from infancy to old age. Data were derived from an international database of 54 twin cohorts participating in the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins), and included 842,951 height and BMI measurements from twins aged 1 to 102 years. The results showed that DZ twins were consistently taller than MZ twins, with differences of up to 2.0 cm in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.9 cm in adulthood. Similarly, a greater mean BMI of up to 0.3 kg/m2 in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.2 kg/m2 in adulthood was observed in DZ twins, although the pattern was less consistent. DZ twins presented up to 1.7% greater height and 1.9% greater BMI than MZ twins; these percentage differences were largest in middle and late childhood and decreased with age in both sexes. The variance of height was similar in MZ and DZ twins at most ages. In contrast, the variance of BMI was significantly higher in DZ than in MZ twins, particularly in childhood. In conclusion, DZ twins were generally taller and had greater BMI than MZ twins, but the differences decreased with age in both sexes.

      • K Silventoinen, A Jelenkovic, R Sund, C Honda, S Aaltonen, Y Yokoyama, AD Tarnoki, DL Tarnoki, F Ning, F Ji, Z Pang, JR Ordoñana, JF Sánchez-Romera, L Colodro-Conde, SA Burt, KL Klump, SE Medland, GW Montgomery, C Kandler, TA McAdams, TC Eley, AM Gregory, KJ Saudino, L Dubois, M Boivin, CM Haworth, R Plomin, SY Öncel, F Aliev, MA Stazi, C Fagnani, C D'Ippolito, JM Craig, R Saffery, SH Siribaddana, M Hotopf, A Sumathipala, T Spector, M Mangino, G Lachance, M Gatz, DA Butler, G Bayasgalan, D Narandalai, DL Freitas, JA Maia, KP Harden, EM Tucker-Drob, K Christensen, A Skytthe, KO Kyvik, C Hong, Y Chong, CA Derom, RF Vlietinck, RJ Loos, W Cozen, AE Hwang, TM Mack, M He, X Ding, B Chang, JL Silberg, LJ Eaves, HH Maes, TL Cutler, JL Hopper, K Aujard, PK Magnusson, NL Pedersen, AK Aslan, YM Song, S Yang, K Lee, LA Baker, C Tuvblad, M Bjerregaard-Andersen, H Beck-Nielsen, M Sodemann, K Heikkilä, Q Tan, D Zhang, GE Swan, R Krasnow, KL Jang, A Knafo-Noam, D Mankuta, L Abramson, P Lichtenstein, RF Krueger, M McGue, S Pahlen, P Tynelius, GE Duncan, D Buchwald, RP Corley, BM Huibregtse, TL Nelson, KE Whitfield, CE Franz, WS Kremen, MJ Lyons, S Ooki, I Brandt, TS Nilsen, F Inui, M Watanabe, M Bartels, TC van Beijsterveldt, J Wardle, CH Llewellyn, A Fisher, E Rebato, NG Martin, Y Iwatani, K Hayakawa, F Rasmussen, J Sung, JR Harris, G Willemsen, A Busjahn, JH Goldberg, DI Boomsma, YM Hur, TI Sørensen and J Kaprio.
      • 2015.
      • The CODATwins Project: The Cohort Description of Collaborative Project of Development of Anthropometrical Measures in Twins to Study Macro-Environmental Variation in Genetic and Environmental Effects on Anthropometric Traits..
      • Twin research and human genetics : the official journal of the International Society for Twin Studies
      • 18:
      • 348-360
      • .
      Publication Description

      For over 100 years, the genetics of human anthropometric traits has attracted scientific interest. In particular, height and body mass index (BMI, calculated as kg/m2) have been under intensive genetic research. However, it is still largely unknown whether and how heritability estimates vary between human populations. Opportunities to address this question have increased recently because of the establishment of many new twin cohorts and the increasing accumulation of data in established twin cohorts. We started a new research project to analyze systematically (1) the variation of heritability estimates of height, BMI and their trajectories over the life course between birth cohorts, ethnicities and countries, and (2) to study the effects of birth-related factors, education and smoking on these anthropometric traits and whether these effects vary between twin cohorts. We identified 67 twin projects, including both monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, using various sources. We asked for individual level data on height and weight including repeated measurements, birth related traits, background variables, education and smoking. By the end of 2014, 48 projects participated. Together, we have 893,458 height and weight measures (52% females) from 434,723 twin individuals, including 201,192 complete twin pairs (40% monozygotic, 40% same-sex dizygotic and 20% opposite-sex dizygotic) representing 22 countries. This project demonstrates that large-scale international twin studies are feasible and can promote the use of existing data for novel research purposes.

      • AT Aiken-Morgan, AA Gamaldo, RC Sims, JC Allaire and KE Whitfield.
      • 2015.
      • Education Desegregation and Cognitive Change in African American Older Adults..
      • The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences
      • 70:
      • 348-356
      • .
      Publication Description

      The present study examined the relationship between desegregated schooling and cognitive change in a sample of 420 community-dwelling African American elders (mean age = 68.6; SD = 9.1).Participants were recruited for the Baltimore Study of Black Aging - Patterns of Cognitive Aging. Cognitive measures from six domains of function were administered at baseline and follow-up 33 months later. Repeated measures multivariate analysis of covariance was conducted; the between subjects factors were schooling type and age cohort, and the within subjects factor was time. Analyses controlled for age, years of education, and sex, and follow-up univariate analyses were used to determine which individual cognitive scores drove the multivariate effects.There were significant multivariate within-group, between-group, and interaction effects (p

      • AT Aiken-Morgan, AA Gamaldo, RC Sims, JC Allaire and KE Whitfield.
      • 2015.
      • Education Desegregation and Cognitive Change in African American Older Adults.
      • JOURNALS OF GERONTOLOGY SERIES B-PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES
      • 70:
      • 348-356
      • .
      • L Schmid, K Manturuk, I Simpkins, M Goldwasser and KE Whitfield.
      • 2015.
      • Fulfilling the promise: do MOOCs reach the educationally underserved?.
      • Educational Media International
      • 52:
      • 116-128
      • .
  • View All Publications
  • Search Publications
  • Postdoctoral Students

    • Adrienne Aiken-Morgan
      • 2011-April
    • Patricia Gregory
      • 2008 - 2010
      • Kaward mentor for Dr. Gregory
    • Regina Sims
      • 2007 - 2009
      • Asst. Prof at Howard University, Washington D.C.