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Karen Mansfield


Senior Postdoctoral Researcher

My aim is to develop solid research to protect the health and wellbeing of children and adolescents, in collaboration with researchers from multiple disciplines, young people, policy makers, and all key stakeholders. I am particularly interested in the promotion of equity, inclusion, engagement and agency. My research uses surveys, longitudinal data and co-production to investigate determinants of and factors associated with adolescent mental health, wellbeing, executive function, motivation and learning.

I try to apply a meta-scientific approach. This means considering diversity, inclusion, heterogeneity and representativeness, research design, measurement bias, reproducibility, reporting bias, ethics, data security, confidentiality, and other forms of research and data integrity. Examples are my perspective piece with Willem Kuyken and MYRIAD team on challenges to the design of universal interventions, my role in the development of the OxWell survey study protocol, and my UKDS blog piece on data governance.

My main affiliation is now at the Oxford Internet Institute, where I am working on a project with Andy Przybylski on Adolescent Well-being in the Digital Age, but I am keen to continue collaboration with colleagues in Psychiatry. I also co-supervise a DPhil student (Denise Kohlhepp) with Gaia Scerif in the Department of Experimental Psychology, on a project investigating how physical activity benefits the emotional and cognitive health of children and adolescents over time.

From 2018-2022, I was a research scientist with the Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre, carrying out translational research. Working closely with Mina Fazel, I led on development of the protocol, analysis plans, and dissemination of findings to stakeholders for the OxWell Student Survey, in collaboration with local authority and NHS partners. For the EMOTIVE project, I led on development of the protocol and experimental task for the collection and analysis of high-dimensional digital data to measure mood and emotions in patients and healthy volunteers (digital phenotyping). From May 2022 I worked on analyses of cohort data from the MYRIAD project with Willem Kuyken, including using measures that were co-designed with young participants from the trial. 

Before I joined the Department of Psychiatry, my previous research (Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford) and PhD project (Tilburg University, The Netherlands) focused on the neural mechanisms of cognitive control, adaptive learning, engagement and motivation. My research methods included electrophysiological data (ERPs and spectral analysis), intelligence testing, cognitive training and non-invasive electrical stimulation (tES).

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