I use human neuroimaging (fMRI and EEG), behavior, 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, and to what degree are these interactions changeable, demonstrating neuroplasticity? As director of the Emotions and Neuroplasticity project, I head a research endeavor investigating these questions – more information on this research can be found here: Link to main research page: Emotions and Neuroplasticity project
In addition, my research addresses fundamental neuroplasticity questions such as:
- How does the brain interact with autonomic systems to support emotion and cognition over the lifespan and how is it affected by experience?
- How do attention and self-regulation develop in children, teens, and adults?
- How do attention and awareness modulate brain responses?
- How is the auditory cortex altered by experience and attention, for example, in adults who were born deaf?
- Spring 2018, Honors college colloqium 441, Neuroscience perspectives on drug policy
- Spring 2018, Research Methods in Psychology 301
- Fall 2017, Developmental Psychology (Psy 308) and Neuropsychology (Psy 449)
- Spring 2017, Honors college colloqium 441, “Why we do good things: The philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience of morality.”
- Winter 2018 (upcoming), Fall 2016, Winter 2016, Fall 2014, Psychoactive Drugs, Psych 383, Physiological and behavioral effects of psychoactive drugs such as alcohol, opiates, barbiturates, and excitants. The psychology of use and overuse; therapies for correcting drug problems.
- Spring 2015, Music and the Brain, Psych 348, Neural correlates of our perception of tonality, harmony, melody, and rhythm framed by acoustics, auditory neurobiology, perceptual grouping mechanisms, brain damage, and cognitive neuroscience.
Karns, CM. Gratitude in a Changing Brain. Positive Resilient Minds. Learning and the Brain. 2017
Karns, CM. Relating gratitude to social evaluations and generosity. Social Affective Neuroscience Society, 2014.
Karns C.M., Towards an Integrative Science of Gratitude, (Dacher Keltner, organizer) 26th APS Annual Convention San Francisco, May 22-25 2014.
Karns C.M., The Gratitude Effect: Physical, Psychological, and Social Benefits of Gratitude. The Greater Good Gratitude Summit. Berkeley, CA June 7, 2014
Karns C.M. The Grateful Brain. Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude Research Workshop, Berkeley, CA, June 2013.
Karns C.M. Prosocial Emotions and Neuroplasticity. University of Oregon Mindfulness Retreat. November 2013.
Karns C.M. Prosocial Emotions and Neuroplasticity. Institute of Neuroscience retreat symposium. University of Oregon. October 2013.
Positive Emotions and Neuroplasticity:
Karns, CM, Moore WE, Mayr U. (2017) The cultivation of pure altruism via gratitude: A functional MRI study of change with gratitude practice. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2017.00599
Karns CM, Stevens C, Dow MW, Schorr EM, Neville HJ. (2016) Atypical white-matter microstructure in congenitally deaf adults: a region of interest and tractography study using diffusion-tensor imaging. Hearing Research. [Region of interest templates will be available at Hearing Research or are available from me on request]Manuscript
Scott GD*, Karns CM*, Dow MW, Stevens C, and Neville HJ. (2014) Enhanced peripheral visual processing in congenitally deaf humans is supported by multiple brain regions, including primary auditory cortex . Front. Hum. Neurosci. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00177
Karns CM, Dow MW, Neville HJ. (2012) Altered cross-modal processing in the primary auditory cortex of congenitally deaf adults: a visual-somatosensory fMRI study with a double-flash illusion. Journal of Neuroscience. Jul 11; 32(28):9626-38.
Attention and Awareness:
Giuliano RJ, Karns CM, Roos LE, Bell TA, Petersen S, Neville HJ, Pakulak E. (In Press, 2018) Effects of Early Adversity on Neural Mechanisms of Distractor Suppression Are Mediated by Sympathetic Nervous System Activity in Preschool-Aged Children. Developmental Psychology
Giuliano RJ, Karns CM, Bell TA, Petersen S, Skowron EA, Neville HJ, Pakulak, E. (2018) Parasympathetic and Sympathetic Contributions to Individual Differences in Neural Mechanisms of Selective Attention in Adults. Psychophysiology. https://doi.org/10.1111/psyp.13079
Andersson A, Sanders LD, Coch D, Karns CM, Neville HJ. (2018) Anterior and posterior erp rhyming effects in 3- to 5-year-old children. Dev Cogn Neurosci. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2018.02.011
Pakulak, E., Gomsrud M., Reynolds, M.M., Bell, T.A., Giuliano, R., Karns, C., Klein, S., Longoria, Z., O’Niell, L., Santillan, J., Neville, H. (2017) Focusing on Families: A Two-Generation Model for Reducing Parents’ Stress and Boosting Preschoolers’ Self-Regulation and Attention. in NAEYC publications.https://www.naeyc.org/resources/pubs/yc/may2017/two-generation-model-reducing-stress
Karns CM, Isbell E, Giuliano R, Neville HJ. (2015) Selective auditory attention in childhood and adolescence: An event-related potential study. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2015.03.001
Giuliano R, Karns C.M., Neville, H., Hilyard SA. (2014) Relationship between attention and working memory: an auditory ERP and visual working memory study. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 26(12):2682-90.
Batterink L, Karns CM, Neville H. (2012) Dissociable Mechanisms Supporting Awareness: The P300 and Gamma in a Linguistic Attentional Blink Task. Cerebral Cortex. 22(12):2733-44.
Batterink L, Karns CM, Yamada Y, Neville H. (2010) The role of awareness in semantic and syntactic processing: an ERP attentional blink study.Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 22(11):2514-29.
Karns, C.M., Knight, R.T. (2009) Intermodal auditory, visual, and tactile attention modulates early stages of neural processing.Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 21(4):669-83.
Moberget T., Karns, C.M., Deouell, L., Lindgren, M., Ivry, R.B., Knight, R.T. (2008) Detecting violations of sensory expectancies following cerebellar degeneration: A mismatch negativity study.Neuropsychologia 46(1): 2569-79.
Deouell L.Y., Karns C.M., Harrison T.B., Knight R.T. (2003) Spatial Asymmetries of Auditory Event-Synthesis in Humans.Neuroscience Letters. 335:171-4.
Brain Structure Development:
Bartholomeusz, H.H., Courchesne, E., Karns, C.M. (2002) Relationship between head circumference and brain volume in healthy normal children and adults. Neuropediatrics 33:239-41.
Saitoh O, Karns CM, Courchesne E. (2001) Development of the hippocampal formation from 2 to 42 years: MRI evidence of smaller area dentata in autism.Brain 124:1317-24.
Courchesne E, Karns CM, Davis HR, Ziccardi R, Carper RA, Tigue ZD, Chisum HJ, Moses P, Pierce K, Lord C, Lincoln AJ, Pizzo S, Schreibman L, Haas RH, Akshoomoff NA, Courchesne RY. (2001) Unusual brain growth patterns in early life in patients with autistic disorder: an MRI study.Neurology 57:245-54.
The Science of Happiness Podcast. Episode 7 (2018): How Gratitude Benefits Your Brain https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/podcast/item/gratitude_benefits_your_brain
Why a Grateful Brain is a Giving One (2017). By Christina Karns. Greater Good Magazine. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_a_grateful_brain_is_a_giving_one
Scientific Insights from the Greater Good Gratitude Summit. By Jeremy Adam Smith June 17, 2014.
The Pliable Brain: Altered touch perception in deaf people may reveal individual differences in brain plasticity. By Christina Karns. Thought Experiment. The Scientist (September 2012) http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/32537/title/The-Pliable-Brain/
Guest on Science Fantastic with Professor Michio Kaku. Aired July 28, 2012. Talk Radio Network. http://mkaku.org
How the Deaf Brain Rewires Itself to ‘Hear’ Touch and Sight. Jul 11 2012. Nadja Popovich The Atlantic. http://www.theatlantic.com
Deaf People’s Brains Use Audio Cortex For Other Senses, July 10, 2012. Oregon Public Radio News. Rob Manning
Deaf people ‘feel touch’ with hearing part of brain, Jeanna Bryner, July 11, 2012. FoxNews.com and CBSNews.com
Deaf People Hear Touch? July 12, 2012. SourceFed