Researchers have known for decades that jobs with high demands and low autonomy seem to drain workers’ mental and physical health. For example, women with these types of jobs were 40 percent more likely to suffer from heart disease in a 10-year study of more than 17,000 women. Because of this pattern, it seems logical that employers can help workers with demanding jobs by giving them more autonomy.
The study used a questionnaire to assess participants’ motivation. The questionnaire measured two types of focus. The first is called “prevention focus,” which is how much people focus on avoiding negative outcomes such as getting a failing grade. The other, “promotion focus,” describes the drive to excel and achieve goals. After completing the questionnaire, 110 university students played the role of a human resources manager answering emails from employees. For the first set of emails, participants had information about company policies but no specific instructions about how to do their jobs. Then, some participants were instructed to answer future emails in chronological order and at a consistent pace, while others were told they were free to choose their own order and pace.
"The results suggest that anxious or risk-averse people may do better in a structured environment where they know exactly what is expected of them." - Dr Stacey Parker (UQ Psychology Lecturer in Organisation Psychology)
For the full article published on Inside Science see:
Brendan Zietsch looks at a possible genetic link with infidelity: 'Born to be unfaithful? Study says cheating behaviour can be inherited. The story was covered by The Telegraph in the UK.
"It could be the perfect excuse for cheating spouses who are caught out: infidelity may be inherited. Both men and women may be more likely to have affairs as a result of the genes passed down by their parents, according to research."
"Scientists have even identified a single gene which has variations that make women more likely to commit adultery."
"The study, carried out by researchers at the University of Queensland and other institutions, examined the roles played by genes in human affairs."
"Dr Brendan Zietsch, research fellow at the university’s school of psychology, who led the study, said: “Our research clearly shows that people’s genetic make-up influences how likely they are to have sex with someone outside their main partnership."
The story was also covered by:
Alex Haslam was interviewed on the 7.30 Report last week about the forthcoming G20 in Brisbane, and how police can engage constructively with protesters.
"Most of the people in crowds are there for a good reason and they're actually exercising their legitimate rights whether it's to go to a football match or to engage in protest and if you treat that group of people as if they're just all criminals then they will turn against the police and against the authorities and align themselves with those elements who are intent on violence. So actually you get a spiral of activity which is very, very destructive, very, very counter-productive."
Dr Eric Vanman was featured on Catalyst discussing how his research has shown that people can identify the faces of people crying even at an unconscious level.
"It must just have been something that some ancestor was able to create - this secretion - and those people who could do that when they were sad were more likely to be taken care of and cared for. So you'd basically get these criers that get passed on, where generations after them can now show tears as well."
Professor Paul Harnett published an article on 'The Conversation':
"The starting point for child protection workers to respond to a report of suspected maltreatment is to estimate an overall level of risk. Many jurisdictions across the world use computerised structured decision-making tools that estimate risk based on the presence or absence of specific risk factors and protective factors."
"Decision-making is most straightforward when risk factors clearly outweigh protective factors or vice versa. One such example may be a case where a child shows signs of neglect, rarely attends school and lives with substance-misusing parents who are in a domestically violent relationship."
ABC News online has convered the launch of Crime 101x:
"The University of Queensland is inviting participants from around the globe to take part in a citizen crime scene investigation."
"Participants would learn about the psychology of the law and follow the trial through a series of weekly videos."
James M. Sherlock (PhD candidate in Psychology) published an article on 'The Conversation':
Singld Out, an online dating service based on “cutting-edge” science, has the solution for busy singles to sniff out the perfect companion. Literally.
The dating site, in conjunction with a company called Instant Chemistry, offers its subscribers a DNA-based compatibility check of the genes underlying natural body scent. The site promises better sex, healthier children and greater long-term satisfaction than genetically-incompatible schmucks who stupidly rely on meeting people to start relationships.
Just order a DNA kit, spit in the tube, mail it in and wait for the verdict.
What prompts ordinary people to commit acts of evil?
The question has been debated by philosophers, moralists, historians and scientists for centuries.
One idea that carries much weight today is this: you, me - almost anyone - is capable of carrying out atrocities if ordered to do so.
Commanded by an authoritarian figure, and wishing to conform, we could bulldoze homes, burn books, separate parents from children or even slaughter them, and our much-prized conscience would not as much as flicker.
Called the "banality of evil", the theory has been proffered as an explanation for why ordinary, educated Germans took part in the Jewish genocide of World War II.
Now psychologists, having reviewed an opinion-shaping experiment carried out more than 50 years ago, are calling for a rethink.
"The more we read and the more data we collect, the less evidence we find to support the banality of evil idea, the notion that participants are simply 'thoughtless' or 'mindless' zombies who don't know what they're doing and just go along for the sake of it," said Alex Haslam, a professor at the University of Queensland in Australia.
Professor Matt Sanders (Professor of Clinical Psychology; Director, Parenting and Family Support Centre) speaks to 'The Age' about a Queensland Schools decision to ban students from performing cartwheels, handstands or any other type of gymnastic move at school, "unless they are properly supervised by a trained PE teacher".
Read more and watch the video here:
An office enriched with plants makes staff happier and boosts productivity by 15 per cent, a University of Queensland researcher has found.
The study is the first of its kind to assess the long-term impacts of plants in an office environment.
Co-authored by Professor Alex Haslam, the study found that adding plants to an office also improved employee satisfaction and quality of life.
Professor Haslam said a green office helps employees to be more physically, mentally and emotionally involved in their work.
“Office landscaping helps the workplace become a more enjoyable, comfortable and profitable place to be,” he said.
“It appears that in part this is because a green office communicates to employees that their employer cares about them and their welfare.
“Employees from previously lean office environments experienced increased levels of happiness, resulting in a more effective workplace.”
The study was conducted in partnership with researchers from Cardiff University, the University of Exeter and the University of Groningen.
The research team examined the impact ‘lean’ versus ‘green’ office space has on employees from two large commercial offices in the UK and the Netherlands.
The team monitored staff productivity levels over a two-month period, and employees were surveyed to determine perceptions of air quality, concentration, and workplace satisfaction.
“Employees were more satisfied with their workplace and reported increased concentration levels and better perceived air quality in an office with plants,” Professor Haslam said.
“The findings suggest that investing in landscaping an office will pay off through an increase in office workers’ quality of life and productivity.”
Professor Haslam also said the findings challenge modern business philosophies that suggest a lean office is a more productive one.
"The 'lean' philosophy has been influential across a wide range of organisational domains,” he said.
“Modern offices and desks have been stripped back to create sparse spaces - our findings question this widespread theory that less is more – sometimes less is just less.”
The study is published today in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied.
This was also covered in the following publications:
Established in 1992 as a tribute to Professor Glenorchy McBride, former Professor of Psychology at the University and maintained by the income from a find given by his colleagues, students and friends.
For the best thesis in ethology or social psychology.
$160 (and University provides certificate)
Established in 2006 from Carrick award received by the School in 2006 for best teaching.
Awarded to the student enrolled in the Bachelor of Psychological Science program who achieves the highest marks across the first year psychology courses PSYC1020, PSYC1030 and PSYC1040 in a given year.
$250 Book Voucher and Certificate.