The INDIE study aims to understand how fluctuations in brain and body physiology affect the cognitive and emotional development of young people during early to mid adolescence.

We use brain imaging, hormone and other physiology assays, and dense remote measures of mood and behaviour. We work with young people and their parents and carers, as well as with teachers and other educators, clinicians and mental health practitioners. Together we design, interprete, and make use of our research.

Purpose of the study

The purpose of this study is to understand the marked and volatile changes that occur in physiology during puberty and how they relate to young people’s cognitive and emotional maturation. This will enable us to understand how to help young people thrive during this important developmental period, and how to better support those at risk of psychopathology.

Previous research has shown that the changes in the hormonal physiology relevant in puberty are associated with changes in the structure, organisation, and function of the brain. At the same time, young people experience a host of developmentally important changes, such as increased lability in mood, age-specific changes in sleep quality and physiology, and challenges in regulating emotion. However, we do not yet understand the mechanisms that link pubertal physiological changes with the behavioural, cognitive, and emotional profile of adolescence. In particular, we don’t understand how the very prominent fluctuations in physiology may be driving maturation in this age range.

The INDIE study uses brain imaging, hormonal physiology, mood, sleep, cognitive, and physical activity measures in order to synthesise a detailed picture of the interplay between physiology, maturation, and experience.

Who is running the study?

This study is organised by the Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN) with collaborators across the University and beyond. The study Principal Investigator is Professor Anastasia Christakou. Experimental work is reviewed by the University of Reading Research Ethics Committee.

How do I find out more?

To find out more, including ways in which you can get involved, please contact

Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN)
Research at the Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN) investigates the dynamical interactions that bring about human thought and behaviour – from the fast neural timescale of a few milliseconds, to the slow timescale of life-span development.