School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Sciences
Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Associate Professor Talitha Best, Dr Wei-Peng Teo (Deakin University)
Doctor of Philosophy

ResearchGate: Michael Finch

Michael J Finch

Research Details

Thesis Name

The neural and cognitive correlates of synergetic parasympathetic and sympathetic mind-body training in a stress paradigm.

Thesis Abstract

Could a short multidisciplinary (mind-parasympathetic / body-sympathetic) intervention produce complementary effects through synergistic pathways? Or if not, why? Although high-intensity-interval-training (HIIT) and mind-based focused-breathing have been widely studied for effects in psychosocial measures of wellbeing, no investigation has examined their potential as complementary interventions. This study aims to improve the wellbeing and cognitive-performance of a stressed but otherwise healthy cohort, utilising a novel cost-time-effective multidisciplinary intervention. Measures include indicators of brain activation/neurovascular-coupling using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and electroencephalography (EEG) alpha-brainwaves. Additionally, biophysical data; galvanic skin response, blood pressure, heart rate variability, blood lactate, cortisol and BDNF will be collected.

Why my research is important/Impacts

This study will develop and evaluate a novel, simple cost/time-effective multidisciplinary intervention designed to influence neural activity and regulate the autonomic nervous system in young adults to combat the symptoms of stress. This aims to improve the wellbeing and cognitive performance of a stressed, but otherwise healthy cohort. This may lead to a translatable improvement in mental health, reducing the potential stress-related symptoms and risk factors associated with morbidity and mortality that burden the Australian health care system. Additionally, improved cognition supports academic endeavours that require a neural state primed for cognitive performance, learning and flexibility.