Christina Karns, Department of Psychology

Christina Karns

Research Assistant Professor
Practice Areas: Neuroscience, Self-Regulation, Gratitude, Neuroplasticity, Parenting

Faculty bio | Research webpage

Christina Karns is an academic expert in brain development, self-regulation and gratitude. She serves as director of the Emotions and Neuroplasticity Project and a researcher in the Center for Brain Injury Research and Training. She uses human neuroimaging, behavior and assessments to address how positive emotions interact with values to support well-being. Her research also addresses fundamental neuroplasticity questions such as: How does the interaction of the brain with autonomic systems supports emotion and cognition over the lifespan? How does experience affect the development of self-regulation, attention and sensation in children, teens and adults? This work provides a foundation for evidence-based interventions that use the neuroplasticity of emotions and cognition to support healthy development across the lifespan and to support recovery following brain injury.

Recent Media: 
The health benefits of gratitude (WJCT News, NPR, Jacksonville Beach, FL, Nov. 26, 2022)
First, an Open Hand (Lion's Roar, March 15, 2022)
Giving thanks may make your brain more altruistic (Vox, Nov. 27, 2019)
Practicing gratitude can have a huge impact on your well-being (The Epoch Times, Oct. 18, 2019)
Can you train your brain to be more grateful? New research says yes (Phoenix Public Radio, Dec. 17, 2018)
When you’re grateful, your brain becomes more charitable (The Conversation, Nov. 21, 2018)
Why gratitude journals are good for everyone (South Dakota Public Radio, Jan. 22, 2018)
Writing a daily diary can literally change your brain (World Economic Forum, Jan. 18, 2020)
Writing on gratitude changes how the brain values charity (Around the O, Jan. 2, 2018)
A Grateful Heart, a Giving Mind (Oregon Quarterly, winter 2018)
Want a more altruistic brain? Try daily gratitude journaling (Psychology Today, Dec. 18, 2017)