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Dr Karra Harrington

Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Dr Harrington is a Clinical Psychology Registrar and Research Fellow in the Social Health and Wellbeing Laboratory. She undertook her PhD at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health under the supervision of Professor Paul Maruff and Laureate Professor Colin Masters. In her doctoral research she explored the nature of age-related cognitive decline in older adults and used neuroimaging techniques to differentiate normal age-related changes in cognitive performance from those associated with the early stage neurodegenerative disease.

Dr Harrington's doctoral studies were supported by competitive scholarship funding from Dementia Australia Research Foundation, Yulgilbar Alzheimer’s Research Program, and the Cooperative Research Centre for Mental Health. She has contributed to over 30 peer-reviewed journal articles, as well as having presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference and the Dallas Aging and Cognition Conference on topics related to the psychology of ageing, mental health in older adults, and neuropsychological models of Alzheimer’s disease. In 2017 Dr Harrington was awarded the Nelson Butters Award for best article published in Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology in the preceding year from the National Academy of Neuropsychologists in the United States. During her PhD candidacy Dr Harrington also initiated and co-developed the Write Smarter: Feel Better program to address the high incidence of mental health disorders occurring amongst PhD students, using a peer mentoring approach to support students to build psychological resilience and take a proactive stance towards managing their mental health.

Currently, Dr Harrington is working with Dr Michelle Lim in the Social Health and Wellbeing Laboratory on projects aimed at reducing loneliness in vulnerable populations including older adults and university students. Her current research interests include understanding changes in psychological wellbeing and loneliness in older adults, as well as the role of loneliness and mental ill-health in the development of cognitive decline and dementia.

More information about Dr Harrington and her research interests can be found here. 

Research interests

Clinical Psychology; Cognitive Psychology

PhD candidate and honours supervision


Available to supervise honours students.

Honours topics and outlines

How does loneliness influence the distribution of spatial attention?: Loneliness has be suggested to alter the way we perceive our environment. In fact, lonely people are thought to show greater sensitivity to social stressors. Therefore, in this project we will be trying to determine whether priming people with lonely and non-lonely stimuli alters how they deploy their attention. We will use the Posner cueing task to test this. 

Fields of Research

  • Psychology Of Ageing - 520106
  • Cognition - 520401
  • Child And Adolescent Development - 520101
  • Psychophysiology - 520206
  • Social And Affective Neuroscience - 520207
  • Clinical Neuropsychology - 520301
  • Cognition - 520401
  • Learning, Motivation And Emotion - 520403
  • Behavioural Genetics - 520201
  • Behavioural Neuroscience - 520202
  • Cognitive Neuroscience - 520203
  • Psychopharmacology - 520205


  • 2017, Other, Sallie P. Asche Travel Award, Dallas Aging and Cognition Conference
  • 2017, International, Nelson Butters Award, National Academy of Neuropsychologists (USA)
  • 2014, International, AAIC Travel Fellowship, Alzheimer's Association


Also published as: Harrington, Karra; Harrington, K.; Harrington, Karra D.
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