Frini Karayanidis

Also known as: Frini Karayanidis, Frini Karayanidis
National Library of Australia
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Brief description

Successful adaptation in our complex and unpredictable world depends on our ability to adapt to change by flexibly adjusting our behaviour. Cognitive flexibility, self-control and the brain networks that support them vary across the life course, peaking in late 20s and declining in old age. They also vary across different people within the same life stage. These mechanisms are critical for the development of adaptive behaviours specific to different stages of life. For instance, self-control in childhood is predictive of physical and mental health in middle age, and poor lifestyle choices in middle age are predictive of risk of cognitive decline in old age. My research group targets variability in cognitive flexibility and self-control across the life course. We examine how these processes are linked to variability in brain network maturation, and how this relationship influences adaptive behaviours in the real world. We seek to identify age-specific factors that mediate successful adaptation and strategies to promote positive outcomes at different stages of life. Our aim is to identify age-appropriate neurocognitive markers of risk for poor outcomes (e.g., susceptibility to high-risk behaviours, emergence of early brain/cognitive decline associated with cardiovascular risk factors) and develop personalised, targeted intervention programs to improve cognitive flexibility and promote positive outcomes across the life course.I head a vibrant research program ( that includes collaboration with senior researchers and clinicians at the University of Newcastle well as other national and international institutions. This work is supported by and contributes to the training of many high-calibre PhD and Honours students. The work is conducted within the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory in the School of Psychology and the Imaging Centre at Hunter Medical Research Institute. As director of the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory and the Sensory, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (SCAN) research group in the School of Psychology, as well as the convenor of Psychological Processes hub of the UON Priority Research Centre in Stroke and Brain Injury, I mentor and promote cross-faculty cognitive neuroscience research collaborations.Research ExpertiseMy research program investigates the higher-order cognitive control processes that underlie decision-making and behavioural choices in everyday life. I work to define how these complex cognitive control processes are organised at neural and behavioural levels, and how they interact with other levels of functioning (e.g., emotional control, social integration, adaptive behaviours) across the developmental lifespan in healthy and clinical populations. My work is housed both within basic and applied science in FOR1700, with implications for the National Science & Research Priority area of Health (i.e., improved prediction, identification, tracking, prevention and management of emerging local and regional health threats) – in particular, risk-taking behaviours in young adults, cognitive decline in older adults, recovery from neurological trauma and prevention of neurodegenerative decline.My research is highly interdisciplinary, bringing together behavioural and mathematical modelling measures, a broad range of functional and structural imaging methods and functional/clinical outcome measures. This approach aims to derive robust multi-modal measures with strong explanatory and predictive power for use in applied settings. Since last promotion, I have extended my network of national and international research collaborations to support targeted research methodologies suitable to address theory-driven research questions at different stages of the lifespan. My research toolkit currently includes behavioural an
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