Profile picture of Christina Karns

Christina Karns

Assistant Research Professor
Senior Instructor I
Phone: 541-346-0550
Office: Rainier Building, CBIRT, Suite 220


I develop and evaluate evidence-based behavioral interventions that utilize the neuroplasticity of emotions and cognition to support people in positive and healthy interactions with society and each other. I use interventions with children, teens, and adults with and without disability to clarify how attention and self-regulation support healthy neural development. I use multiple methodologies: human neuroimaging (fMRI and EEG), behavior, qualitative data, and assessments to address the following:

  • How do positive emotions like gratitude interact with values like altruism and generosity to affect the way we interact with society and other people?
  • What brain systems support these interactions, how do they affect stress systems in the body for children and adults, and to what degree are these interactions changeable, demonstrating neuroplasticity?
  • How does brain injury and developmental disability affect individuals and families? How do individuals engage with interventions to support positive change?

In addition, my research addresses fundamental neuroplasticity questions such as:

  • How do attention and self-regulation develop in children, teens, and adults?
  • How do attention and awareness modulate brain responses?
  • How is the brain altered by experience and attention, for example, in adults who were born deaf?
  • How does the brain interact with autonomic systems to support emotion and cognition over the lifespan and how is it affected by experience?