Dr Karly Turner

University position

Research Associate


Department of Psychology



Home page


Research Theme

Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience


Behavioural flexibility allows behaviour to be changed based on current goals; when behaviour is repeated, habits form (for example, brushing your teeth). The balance between flexible behaviour and habits is complex and may be disrupted in a range of neuropsychiatric disorders. My work aims to understand where and how the brain makes this transition from goal-directed actions to habits. These findings will improve our understanding of the neural circuits and neurotransmitters controlling habit formation and how we can potentially alter this process when it becomes maladaptive. The results of this study will link to both fundamental learning theory and translational mental health research, in particular contributing to the understanding of inappropriate responding in disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and drug addiction.

Research Focus





animal models

Clinical conditions


Obsessive compulsive disorder



Behavioural analysis



Johan Alsio

Dawn Eagle

Mona El-Sayed Hervig

Trevor Robbins


Bernard Balleine Web: http://www.psy.unsw.edu.au/contact...

Thomas Burne Web: https://qbi.uq.edu.au/burnegroup

Associated News Items



    Kesby JP, Turner KM, Alexander S, Eyles DW, McGrath JJ and Burne THJ (2017), “Developmental vitamin D deficiency alters multiple neurotransmitter systems in the neonatal rat brain.” International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience 62: 1-7

    Turner KM, Peak J, and Burne THJ (2017), “Baseline-dependent effects of amphetamine on attention are associated with striatal dopamine metabolism.” Scientific Reports 7(1):297

    Turner KM, Simpson CG, and Burne THJ. (2017), “BALB/c mice can learn touchscreen visual discrimination and reversal tasks faster than C57BL/6 mice.” Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 11:16

    Turner KM, Simpson CG, and Burne THJ. (2017), “Touchscreen-based visual discrimination and reversal tasks for mice to test cognitive flexibility.” Bio-Protocol 7(20): e2583


    Turner KM, and Burne THJ. (2016), “Improvement of attention with amphetamine in low and high performing rats.” Psychopharmacology (Berl) 233:3383-3394

    Turner KM, Peak J and Burne THJ. (2016), “Measuring attention in rodents: comparison of a modified signal detection task and the 5-choice serial reaction time task.” Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 9:370


    Cui X, Lefevre E, Turner KM, Coelho CM, Alexander S, Burne THJ, and Eyles DW. (2015), “Mk-801-induced behavioural sensitisation alters dopamine release and turnover in rat prefrontal cortex.” Psychopharmacology (Berl) 232:509-17

    Peak JN, Turner KM, and Burne THJ. (2015), “The effect of developmental vitamin D deficiency in male and female Sprague-Dawley rats on decision-making using a rodent gambling task.” Physiology and Behavior 138:319-324


    Burne THJ, Alexander S, Turner KM, Eyles DW, and McGrath JJ. (2014), “Developmentally vitamin D deficient rats are more sensitive to the behavioural effects of acute 9-tetrahydrocannabinol.” Behavioural Pharmacology 25:236-244

    Turner KM and Burne THJ. (2014), “Comprehensive behavioural analysis of Long Evans and Sprague-Dawley rats reveals differential effects of housing conditions on tests relevant to neuropsychiatric disorders.” PLoS One 9(3):e93411


    Byrne JH, Voogt M, Turner KM, Eyles DW, McGrath JJ, and Burne THJ. (2013), “The impact of adult vitamin D deficiency on behaviour and brain function in male Sprague-Dawley rats.” PLoS One 8(8):e71593

    Turner KM, and Burne THJ. (2013), “Interaction of genotype and environment: Effect of strain and housing condition on cognitive behaviour in rodent models of schizophrenia.” Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 7(9):97

    Turner KM, Young JW, McGrath JJ, Eyles DW, and Burne THJ. (2013), “Cognitive performance and response inhibition in developmentally vitamin D (DVD)-deficient rats.” Behavioural Brain Research 242:47-53


    Formella I, Scott E, Burne T, Harms L, Lui A, Turner K, Cui X, and Eyles D. (2012), “Transient Knockdown of Tyrosine Hydroxylase during Development Has Persistent Effects on Behaviour in Adult Zebrafish (Danio rerio).” PLoS One 7(8):e42482

    Harms LR, Turner KM, Eyles DW, Young JW, McGrath JJ, and Burne THJ. (2012), “Attentional processing in C57BL/6J mice exposed to developmental vitamin D deficiency.” PLoS One 7(4):e35896


    Moreira LA, Ye YH, Turner K, Eyles DW, McGraw EA, and O’Neill SL. (2011), “The wMelPop strain of Wolbachia interferes with dopamine levels in Aedes aegypti.” Parasites and Vectors 4:28