The following shows all potential Psychology Research Project Supervisors for 2014. Please note that this information is now being updated by supervisors for the 2014 cohort of honours students.
Use the links bellow to filter the Supervisors to a particular Research Area:
My research interests span psychological factors within the criminal justice system. In particular, I am interested in jury decision-making, particularly surrounding child witnesses and court processes, as well as perceptions of procedural justice and legitimacy in both policing and the court system. Related to this, I also have a developing interest in partnerships in policing and how social psychological factors may play a role in determining the effectiveness and cooperativeness of those involved in these partnerships.
My research is primarily concerned with links between neural processing and conscious perceptual experience. Precisely what neural operations result in us 'seeing'?
One of my specific research themes is time perception. Different sensory experiences can be mediated by relatively independent systems, like vision and audition. So what processes allow us to judge the relative timing of different types of event?
Another line of research concerns face perception - what operations allow you to distinguish a male from a female face, or a familiar from an unfamiliar face.
Another major theme relates to sensory integration. Neural analyses can be relatively independent, like those for colour and movement. Yet we have apparently unified experiences. What processes are responsible for this sensory binding?
For further details, consult my home page. If you are contemplating an honours project on one of these, or a related topic, feel free to contact me via email or in person.
I have projects for Honours students in the following areas.
1. Beliefs about the future of society, particularly the effects of climate change and religion
2. Subtle forms of dehumanization and their consequences
3. Conceptions of what it means to be human
I am also willing to negotiate supervision with students on projects that do not fit neatly into these areas, but are on similar topics.
I am particularly interested in a couple of key areas of social psychology, firstly racism and intergroup relations, and secondly sex and gender relations.
This year I am working on a number of projects with Matt Hornsey looking at the impact of the rejection of intergroup apologies, how being extremely principled can make you wary of imposters, and how intergroup emotions, such as collective guilt and shame, work to affect how people from different groups interact with one another. In addition to this we have a number of projects looking at predictors of women's sexual pleasure, and what social factors are related to feeling guilty about vs. enjoying sex.
Honours students who work with me may choose to work in one of these areas, or, of course, pitch a project in a related area!
As a supervisor, I would focus on weekly meetings, early data collection, and early drafts of written work.
See you this year!
Helena R. M. Radke
My area of expertise is within the areas of cognitive control and attention and eye movements. If you're looking for an Honours Supervisor within this area and would like to talk to me, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Below you'll find some project outlines that are good examples of the kind of projects I'm offering. Students can develop their own research question within my research programme (revolving around attention) or choose from a multitude of projects. The choice of the Honours project and your workload depends, amongst other things, on your goals, interests, commitment and time contraints (relative to pre-existing skills). If you'd like to know more, you can check my personal website (www.sibecker.de), the lab webpage (http://remingtonlab.wordpress.com/), or browse these pages.
A selection of topics I am currently working on:
1. Emotional Faces: Recognition and Visual Search (with Prof. Ottmar Lipp).
2. Tracking the gaze of dogs: Understanding the cognitive abilities of dogs.
3. Visual search: Are items processed contingent on the context?
4. Colour search: Do semantic labels in language affect how we perceive colours?
5. Inattentional Blindness: What factors drive IB?
6. fMRI: The interplay between working memory and attention (with Prof Roger Remington and Jason Mattingley).
Detailed description of two selected projects:
1. Emotional Faces in Visual Search: Why do we find angry faces faster than friendly faces? (in collaboration with Ottmar Lipp).
In visual search, an angry face is detected faster among friendly faces than vice versa, a friendly face among angry faces. This 'anger superiority effect' has been attributed to the fact that angry faces are more relevant to survival. However, there is some indication that this effect may instead be due to salient perceptual characteristics of angry faces, such as an open mouth and the visibility of teeth. In the present study, we'll use eye tracking to measure which regions attract a person's gaze. The results will allow new insights into the question of whether the anger superiority effect is driven by perceptual or emotional factors.
2. How does Similarity affect Visual Search?
Visual Search is one of the most frequent activities in everyday life. Current models of visual search heavily rely on target-nontarget similarity to explain the difference between efficient search -- where we can immediately find the sought-after item -- and inefficient search -- where it takes a long time to find the target. However, surprisingly few studies have systematically investigated effects of similarity on visual search. In this study, we will systematically vary the similarity of target and nontargets while people search for a colour target and we measure people's eye movements. The results will give us a better understanding how and to what extent similarity really influences visual search.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1) What kind of testing and data collection is usually needed or expected in this area for an honours student? What are the types of participants required, and the manner in which they will be recruited? When can testing start, and how much time is generally needed for completing the research?
>> I'm an Experimental Psychologist, so if you choose a project from my research programme, you'd be testing normal participants recruited via UQ's SONA paid participant pool in computer-based experiments. We can measure the response times, error rates, eye movements or EEG - multiple projects are available from which you can choose. Students are also encouraged to develop own ideas within the programme that they can test.
Usually, an honours thesis will include 2 experiments with n=16 subjects. Running two experiments with altogether 32 subjects is not time-consuming -- however, students often choose to run more experiments to get results that are more readily interpretable.
2) What is your supervision style like? - How much guidance would you give as a supervisor and your level of involvement? How often will we be meeting?
>> I usually offer to meet with my students once per week, and in between, we often communicate via email. My supervision style is tailored to the student's needs. Because of time constraints, I usually program the experiments and help a lot with the data analysis, but students can choose to do all these things on their own as well (or at least try).
3) How many honours students will you be taking on this year?
>> I usually take on 2-3 honours students.
4) Will you be away this year?
>> I may attend a conference or two during the Honours supervision period, but this will typically involve an absence of ~5 days at a maximum, and I will be contactable over the internet and email during these periods.
5) Have you supervised honours students before?
>> Yes, I've supervised about a dozen Honours students so far, and I currently supervise 3 PhD students and 3 research students.
6) Are there lab meetings?
>> We have weekly lab meetings, and a reading seminar. Honours students are welcome to attend to both, but it is not compulsory. The link to the lab webpage is here: http://remingtonlab.wordpress.com/
7) Do I need to have neuroscience knowledge?
>> This depends on the project: There are eye tracking and behavioural projects that do not require extensive knowledge about neuroscience. However, it probably won't hurt when you try to include studies in your thesis that have used a similar method as yours but have also measured EEG or BOLD responses (fMRI).
Honours projects in 2014 will investigate holistic person perception of musicians' expressive performing bodies; and emotional and cognitive responses to multi–modal presentations of expressive music performance.
I am interested in research relating to supporting parents who are parenting in vulnerable or complex circumstances. In particular, I am interested in the impact of life-threatening illness in children (e.g., cancer, cardiac disease) on parent wellbeing and parenting practices and investigating the role of parenting interventions in improving health outcomes for seriously ill children.
I am also interested in research relating to parenting during the adolescent years.
I currently have projects looking at parenting in the context of childhood cancer and the role of parenting interventions in child and adolescent mental health settings.
I have potential honours projects exploring parenting in the context of childhood cancer and also investigating aspects of parenting and how they relate to adolescent wellbeing and risky behaviours.
My research interests are at the intersection of clinical, health and social psychology.
In 2015, I am looking to supervise honours students on a project entitled: "In-group germs can't hurt me: Shared group membership and the perceived risk of disease-contagion". Students will have the opportunity to provide input into the design of their experiment.
I have places for two Honours students to join my lab. My research focuses on brain function which underlies the selection and readiness for action and the role of the human "mirror" system in the perception and imitation of actions and gestures.
Research projects will use methods of functional brain imaging (fMRI) or EEG event-related potentials to examine the perception of observed hand actions, or the links between attention and the readiness for action.
I would be interested in supervising projects in the following areas:
(1) Lexical access in speech production.
How do we produce spoken words? Almost all theoretical models propose that this involves two key processing stages including the selection of a semantically and syntactically appropriate word and retrieval of that word’s phonological word form. We also monitor our preverbal message for its accuracy and appropriateness.
(2) Embodied language
‘Embodied language’ theories assume the meanings of words are grounded in the perceptual and motor systems responsible for performing actions. For example, comprehending the word 'punch' necessarily involves the hand/arm sensorimotor system, as might comprehending the word 'hammer'.
Past tense generation of regular (watch-watched) and irregular (catch-caught) verbs is central to theoretical models of inflectional morphology.
I am a Research Fellow in the Parenting and Family Support Centre. My interest is in the broad impact of quality parenting on important developmental outcomes for children (e.g., emotion competence, reading development, school readiness), and the use of the evidence-based parenting program, Triple P, as a means of experimentally testing this issue. I am also interested in the parenting experiences of special groups of parents, particularly those parents who are separated from their children for large periods of time due to the nature of their work commitments (e.g., parents working as FIFO or DIDO workers, parents in the defence force), and how this information can be used to design consumer-responsive interventions for such parents. In 2014, a new potential topic area for an honours student will be in the area of parenting adolescents, particularly the impact of constructs such as monitoring, communication, relationship quality on adolescent development.
I am a Associate Professor and Australian Research Council Future Fellow in the School of Psychology. My laboratory, the “Queensland Attention and Control Lab”, conducts cognitive-neuroscientific research on human information processing, with a specific focus on the cognitive and neural underpinnings of human capacity limitations related to attention (e.g., why humans can’t do two things at once - multitasking). In addition, I have a specific interest in how coginitive training can enhance attentional performance. The lab uses a variety of behavioural, neuroimaging (e.g., functional magnetic resonance imaging - fMRI) and neurostimulation techniques (e.g., transcranial direct current stimulation - tDCS) to investigate these broad topics and employs both group and individual differences analyses. To learn more about the research conducted in the lab please visit www.paulduxlab.org. In addition, if interested in working in the lab, I strongly recommend that you email me (email@example.com) to set up a meeting.
My research focuses on close relationships (especially couple relationships), primarily from the perspective of attachment theory. Specific topics of interest include relationship conflict, relational power, communication processes, stress appraisals and coping strategies, and perceptions of relationship quality.
My main focus is the psychology of environmental sustainability. I’m interested in understanding the determinants of pro-environmental decisions and developing evidence-based strategies for promoting more sustainable behaviours. My current research includes projects investigating how to communicate effectively about climate change, understanding public responses to alternative water sources, the role of norms in influencing pro-environmental behaviour, and promoting workplace pro-environmental behaviour.
1. Australia is one of the top three refugee resettlement countries in the world per capita, accepting approximately 15,000 humanitarian entrants yearly, nearly 40% of these are children. Resettled refugee families are a disadvantaged population on most indices of health and wellbeing and refugee children are particularly at risk. There is an urgent need to develop effective solutions to promote refugee families’ wellbeing. One, as yet unexplored solution to this problem is to provide refugee parents with support and skills to promote positive parenting and child development early in the resettlement period. We are currently working on the project that will evaluate: (a) parenting experiences and needs of refugee families; (b) cultural acceptability of the evidence-based parenting intervention (Triple P- Positive Parenting Program) among refugee parents; (c) efficacy of the evidence-based parenting program Triple P for improving parenting skills, family functioning and life chances of refugee children.
2. Immigrant parents experience many challenges in the new socio-cultural environment which may undermine positive child development as well as the quality of parent-child relationship. Evidence suggests that parents’ acculturation may be accompanied by changes in parenting style towards greater rigidity, rather than towards a healthier authoritative parenting style. This can negatively affect child development in the immigration context especially during adolescence when children are more susceptible to the negative effects of parent-child acculturation discrepancy. Therefore it is important to identify risk and protective factors for immigrant families in order to inform early intervention and prevention programs. Of particular interest for this project are: (a) factors involved in young immigrant children socio-emotional functioning such as: parental acculturation style, parental behaviours, and family relationships and (b) parenting experiences and acceptability of evidence based parenting programs among immigrant parents.
3. To inform public health policy and parenting interventions it is essential to develop and validate child adjustment and family functioning measures that are valid and reliable, change sensitive, readily deployable, and can facilitate the tracking of intervention outcomes. The Child Adjustment and Parent Efficacy Scale (CAPES; Morawska et al., 2010) is a 27-item measure developed to assess child’s behavioural and emotional adjustment and parental self-efficacy. The Parenting and Family Adjustment Scale (PAFAS; Sanders et al., 2010) is a 30-item scale designed to measure various aspects of parenting and family functioning. Both scales have proven to be reliable and valid measures in a non-clinical sample of Australian parents and children. Currently, we are working on the project that will: (a) evaluate reliability and validity of CAPES and PAFAS in the clinical sample of Australian families, (b) establish clinical cut-offs for CAPES and PAFAS to evaluate whether these measures can effectively discriminate between families with clinical diagnosis of child behavioural and emotional problems, coercive parenting practices and family maladjustment and those without.
My research interests centre around threat, coping, and motivation. At a broad level, I am interested in how people cope with adversity and how they can motivate and regulate themselves to achieve their goals.
I have several projects in mind, and would like to have keen, motivated Honours students work on the following topic(s):
Self-regulation: How do we effectively regulate our desires to achieve our goals? What are the psychological factors that make or break self-regulation efforts?
Emotion regulation: How do we effectively regulate our emotions when interacting with other people? What are the best strategies for keeping our emotions under control and our relationships in tact?
Feeling "in control": How do we experience and express the need to feel in control of our lives? Is control always a good thing? Do we ever not want to feel in control?
This is just a small selection of the topics I will be working on this year. Please contact me if you would like more details on the other projects I am working on or would like to see some example write-ups of the work I have done in the past. I welcome student input to the broad ideas I have outlined.
As a supervisor I emphasize time management and incremental goal achievement. I work to a schedule and expect my students to do the same. I provide structured guidance throughout the Honours process but value independent thought. I am looking for motivated students who want to do well and are willing to put in the time and effort to do so. I work on professional development and growth with students rather than just "surviving" Honours, so if that sounds like a good fit shoot me an email so we can chat about possible supervision!
In the past, students that I have supervised have investiaged the attitudes of Australians to asylum seekers (2010); the effects of group rejection and how this influences intergroup attitudes in children; the effects of bullying on intergroup behaviours.
In addition to an interest in acculturation and prejudice and discrimination, I am currently also interested in looking at gambling behaviours in young adults and identity and voting behaviour in young voters.
In the work that I do with government, there are also a number of areas that may be of interest to honours students.I am happy to discuss these in more details with interested students.
Broadly, my research is on visual perception. I am particularly interested how the brain generates a vivid representation of the 3-D world from the two 2-D images on the backs of our eyes. If you look at an object and wink your eyes back and forth, you will notice that each of our eyes gets a slightly different view of the world. Our visual system uses these small differences in the images on our retinas to recover information about the 3-D layout of the environment. This is called stereoscopic vision and is the basis of 3-D Movies, Magic Eye stereograms, and many other 3-D visual displays. My theoretical research on stereoscopic vision aims to identify and evaluate possible sources of information contained in the two eyes' images to determine whether or not they contribute to single vision and 3-D perception.
Another interest is to examine binocular processes in the context of 3D-TV and 3D cinema. Viewers frequently complain of fatigue, discomfort and visual artifacts in the displays. My lab is currently investigating two significant binocular processes that underlie major sources of viewer fatigue and image dissatisfaction: binocular fusion mechanisms underlying single/double vision; and how unmatched features in the two eyes are incorporated into a single binocular perception. We use the data from these investigations to inform modifications to 3D content production and subject the modified stereoscopic media to empirical tests of viewer comfort and satisfaction.
In addition to studying how the brain processes information from the two eyes, I am also interested in how it processes information from two or more senses. We live in a multi-sensory world filled with colours, sounds, smells, etc. How does the brain combine all these bits of information to come up with a single sensible representation? In my lab we explore cases where the brain is fooled or biased into choosing one solution over another based on what types of information we provide the observer. A couple of simple demonstrations are available for viewing on my personal homepage (http://www2.psy.uq.edu.au/~grove) under the Research link.
I will likely be supervising two honours students in 2014. If you are interested in one of the following ongoing projects, you are welcome to apply:
1.) A laboratory-based study of risk mechanisms in youth alcohol abuse.
2.) Predictors of treatment outcome in cannabis dependence - Alcohol and Drug Assessment Unit, PA Hospital.
My research is mainly based around social identity theory, however it does cross-over between clinical, social and organisational psychology with a particular focus on leadership & wellbeing.
This year I am particularly interested in supervising research on obedience or creativity. Interested students should email me (details above) regarding their interests in these areas.
You can see more information about my own research on the School of Psychology's 'Featured Researcher' page or the UQ News webpage.
I would be interested in supervising projects in the following areas:
1. Identity-cognition relationships in aging
Cognitive decline is one of the most significant threats to successful aging, but the nature and degree of decline that people experience can vary considerably. We’re now starting to recognize that social factors, and social group memberships in particular, can influence this pattern; people who are more socially connected have better cognitive reserve and are less prone to cognitive decline. Importantly, it is not simply the case that social groups enhance cognitive health. There are also circumstances in which identification with social groups can be the cause of performance decline (as evident in the stereotype threat literature focusing on memory decline in aging). This research raises a number of questions:
Under what circumstances do social groups enhance and reduce cognitive health?
Do these effects extend to abilities other than memory?
What are the mechanisms supporting these relationships?
Can we reverse the performance decline?
People interested in working in this area could focus on any of these questions in experimental research involving healthy older people.
2. Interventions to keep socially connected
Developments in smart house technology are increasingly used to support older people to reside in their homes and to keep them mentally active for longer. A recent development is use of touch screen tablet devices to keep older people socially connected with their family and friends. This touch screen-based device enables older people in just one touch to notify their family/friends they think of by sending a “Thinking of You” message directly to their mobile phones. Whether this is effective in triggering family to make contact with their elders, reducing feelings of social isolation, and keeping older people mentally active has yet to be demonstrated. This project aims to address these questions.
3. Facilitating learning in healthy aging
Memory decline, among other problems is recognized in medical and neuropsychological literatures as a normal consequence of aging. An important question in the face of such decline, is how we help people to make the most of their learning. In the clinical domain, several instructive techniques — errorless learning and spaced retrieval — have been found to be particularly beneficial adults and older adults with acquired memory impairment. But are these techniques as effective when it comes to managing healthy decline. Students working in this area would evaluate the efficacy of these techniques in healthy older adults to determine how they compare with standard trial-and-error learning and which of these stand the test of time when it comes to remembering information for longer.
My research is clinical oriented with a focus on child behaviour and family functioning. Within this I have two interest areas including the work-family interface and parenting in low resources settings and countries such as Africa and with refugees.
Students working with me will do clinically relevant projects that will involve recruiting and working directly with parents. The projects are most suited to students with an interest in child and family psychology and who have good interpersonal and communication skills.
Student projects for 2014 will be along the lines of
I am interested in research focuses on the developmental outcomes of children and adolescents the influence that working with families and schools can have on these outcomes. I am also interested exploring the interplay between these contexts.
I am currently working as a Post Doctoral Research fellow on the Stepping Stones Triple P project, a population level rollout of free parenting programs to parents of children with disabilities. The overarching aim of this project is decrease behavioural and emotional problems in children with disabilities in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales. In 2014, honours research will be connected to this project.
My main research area involves threats to group identity (e.g., threats to national, political or gender identity). Threats may occur from perceptions of discrimination, from acts of criticism, or from the presence of dissenters and impostors within the group. I'm particularly interested in the effect of these threats on how people feel about their own group, about rival groups, and about themselves. I am also interested in the struggle between the will of the individual and the will of the group. How do people change abusive or maladaptive aspects of their group cultures? When do people conform to group pressures and when do they counter-conform? How do people balance their need to belong with thier need to feel different? How do we manage group memberships in an individualistic world?
1. We developed a hazard perception training package for young drivers in conjunction with Queensland Transport - and preliminary data indicates that it has a huge beneficial effect on drivers' hazard perception response times and actually changes what people are looking at in our driving simulator. However, many unanswered questions remain, for example, how long the training effect lasts for, do people need booster training sessions, which components of the training work the best, and how to persuade drivers to take the training in the first place. Help us find out the answers to these questions and save lives!
2. Lots of people die in hospital under circumstances that can be avoided (in fact, more than the number of people who die in road accidents). We're currently working on projects to reduce this death toll by designing and evaluating clinical charts to minimize human error. We have an excellent opportunity to save thousands of lives with this research.
3. Performing surgery requires high levels of expertise and knowledge. We're trying to find ways to train and assess surgeons that will be superior to what current procedures. This work could include the use of computer-based tools to investigate skills like the recognition of dangerous polyps in the bowel.
My research interests include: learning and memory, language perception, and social cognition in infants and young children.
I am open to discussing ideas for projects within or outside (within reason!) of these areas.
I'm interested in supervising projects looking at:
The wealth paradox
Despite the fact that wealthy people and wealthy groups have more material resources, they are often surprisingly reluctant to share these resources with others who are less well off. For example, there is a growing body of work that those who are economically prosperous have more negative attitudes towards minorities such as immigrants than those who are less well off (a so called relative gratification effect; Dambrun et al., 2006; Guimond & Dambrun, 2002).
There are two hypotheses in particular that students will be encouraged to look at:
hypothesis 1: Members of relatively prosperous groups will more likely to self-stereotype as cold, competent, and rational. This will affect the content of salient group norms, which, in turn, determines the extent to which hostility towards minorities can be justified.
Hypotheses can be examined using either an experimental design or through survey methods.
I have research interests in:
Adolescence is a high risk time for the initiation and development of substance use. Projects are potentially available that examine how family relationships, school engagement, and mental health are related to substance use. We have a particular interest in experimentation with alcohol and tobacco use. The research involves large scale existing datasets and there is great potential for publication of findings in peer reviewed journals.
Action observation; integration of vision and touch; how ownership (of objects) modifies our behaviour and our attention within the environment. Psychology Honours Projects 2014: *Humans are social animals who rely on one-to-one and group interactions for physical and cultural survival. For these interactions to be successful, we need to integrate information from the environment (vision, touch), as well as meaning: do the objects in the environment belong to me or to someone else? Then we need to 'represent' to ourselves each other's actions to understand their meaning. We have cognitive mechanisms for both action observation and for analysisng attributes such as ownership. *In the Perception and Action lab, we are currently investigating the mechanisms of action observation and object ownership. To do this, we use reaction time paradigms and motion capture and analysis techniques. Healthy participants will be required to identify the actions (measured with button-press responses) or actually produce the actions (measured with motion capture and analysis equipment).
My interests are mainly in applied perception/cognition, and human factors. Most recently I have been investigating cognitive and perceptual factors in driving safety, particularly among older adults. Studies have investigated motion perception and vision loss and their influence on driving performance on the Hazard Perception Test, as well as on-road driving tests. I have also been interested in the benefits of different kinds of sunglasses on hazard perception in driving, as well as the benefits of high-visibility clothing for pedestrians and cyclists.
About 10% of neonates experience difficulties in the first minutes of life as they make the transition from the uterine environment. We need more effective ways of conveying the newborn's status to the doctors and nurses who assist at this critical time. In this project you will apply theories of attention to the design of a novel display for monitoring the neonate's status, and you will contact a controlled empirical evaluation with representative participants to test whether the display is more effective than the displays in current use.
My research interests primarily involve understanding the visuo-motor control of our actions. More specifically, I am investigating how people can successfully interact with moving objects despite rather long neuro-mechanical delays. I am also interested in the role of motion perception in the planning and control of skilled motor actions. Another recent area of research interest involves examining the effects of loud auditory stimuli on corticospinal excitability during preparation for anticipatory timing actions.
While unlikely, there might be something of interest in my webpage. So check it out and contact me if you want to have a chat.
My interests are in Mental Health, Mental Ill-health, Self-injury and Suicide as outcomes of Mental Health problems, and mechanisms for how suicide and self-injury occur. Latterly we have been intrigued as to why people give up their suicidal ideation, or give up self-injury. All of this has involved studies of psychological mechanisms - including alexithymia, affect regulation, coping, perfectionism and resilience. In addition we have considered social support and connectedness as factors. We have now published several studies, completed by honours students, in international journals. More recently we have completed several RCTs of emerging therapies in self-injury/self-harm.
About me and my laboratory:
My interests are within the broad area of Cognitive Neuroscience, with a particular emphasis on understanding the neural bases of selective attention, multisensory integration and the interface between perception and action.
If offered a place you will become part of a large research group, with several fellow honours students plus numerous research fellows and research support staff. You will have an opportunity to learn one or more of the following experimental methods: functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), psychophysics and human neuropsychology. I am particularly keen to hear from students who wish to continue with a career in cognitive neuroscience research.
My laboratory is based at the Queensland Brain Institute (on the St Lucia Campus). This is where you will undertake your research, attend weekly lab meetings and become part of a dynamic team working to understand brain function in health and disease.
There are several possible projects that students can undertake in my lab in 2014. I will explain these in more detail in person at the Honours "Meet and Greet" session on 5th February, or you can contact me directly via email to find out more.
Honours Projects for 2014:
In 2014, I will be offering several projects. Some of these projects will be co-supervised with post-doctoral research fellows in my laboratory.
Title:Is selective attention influenced by the predictability of sensory events?
Attention and prediction are two fundamental brain functions. Attention is crucial for boosting the processing of sensory inputs that are currently relevant for guiding behaviour, and for suppressing irrelevant or distracting information. Prediction reduces information processing load and improves cognitive efficiency by incorporating past experiences into judgements about the likelihood of events in the future. How do these processes interact? In this project we will investigate the extent to which the predictability of an event can impact, or bias, the amount of attentional resources we devote to it. We will address this question using behavioural and electroencephalographic (EEG) methods to understand the brain mechanisms of such putative biases in healthy volunteers.
Co-supervised with Dr Marta Garrido (Queensland Brain Institute; https://sites.google.com/site/martaigarridophd)
Title: What role do neural oscillations play in brain plasticity?
We all know that sleep helps us retain information acquired the previous day. Information is retained in long-term memory by mechanisms that consolidate the storage of important events, a process known as ‘neural plasticity’. During sleep, oscillations in brain activity are thought to be important in promoting plasticity. Recent evidence suggests that these brain oscillations can be induced in the awake brain using non-invasive brain stimulation. This project will investigate whether artificially induced neural oscillations can promote the induction of plasticity in motor regions of the human brain. This project will utilise techniques called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and electroencephalography (EEG).
Co-supervised with Dr Martin Sale (Queensland Brain Institute; http://www.qbi.uq.edu.au/dr-martin-sale)
Title: How does attention influence brain plasticity?
Imagine trying to learn a new skill, like juggling or driving a car, without attending to what you are doing – bystanders beware! Commonsense tells us that we learn better with focused attention, and whilst research supports this idea, little is in fact known about the neural processes underlying such enhancements. We do know, however, that learning depends on brain plasticity. This project will investigate how attention influences plasticity in the human brain using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and neurophysiological recording techniques. This project would suit a highly motivated student who is interested in brain plasticity and who would like to learn how to use transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to safely stimulate the cerebral cortex.
Co-supervised with Dr Marc Kamke (Queensland Brain Institute; http://researchers.uq.edu.au/researcher/1775)
For further information on the kind of research conducted in my laboratory, see my homepage on the School of Psychology website.
**NOTE: Studies using EEG, MRI and TMS are conducted in relatively small laboratory spaces and require a certain level of physical dexterity on the part of the experimenter. If you are uncertain about your capacity to operate in such an environment, please contact me for more information before nominating me as a supervisor.**
My two areas of research interest are:
I am interested in the following areas of short- and long-term memory research:
You are also welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss projects that don't fit neatly into one of these areas, but still fall within the realm of memory research.
I am interested in the following areas of jury decision-making:
Please feel free to get in touch with me if you want to discuss any of these areas or related topics that you are interested in.
Find out more: http://www.psy.uq.edu.au/research/appliedsocial/
Cognitive psychology; attention - broadly defined, including lab testing of theory, lapses of attention (e.g. daydreaming), development of attentional skill (e.g. meditation); cross-cultural psychology; psychology of teaching & learning in the university context.
My research looks at parenting and parenting interventions to prevent and treat child behavioural and emotional problems. I am particularly interested in childhood chronic illnesses, like asthma, eczema and diabetes and the role parents play in managing these health conditions. Honours projects in 2014 will look at interactions between parents and children with chronic illnesses; parenting interventions at the transition to parenthood; and evaluations of the efficacy of a brief mealtime program for parents of young children.
Organisational and cognitive psychology: Work motivation; learning & performance; effects of positive and negative emotional states (incl. stress, workload & fatigue as well as engagement & enthusiasm).
Developmental psychology; Quality of life issues for children with chronic health conditions; children and the Law - in particular issues relating to young children’s suggestibility and reliability and credibility as eyewitnesses; theory of Mind; psychological consequences to parental use of physical punishment; quality of life and chronic health conditions in young children and adolescents.
Students who work with me undertake projects that typically focus on the development of social-cognitive skills with a broad view on their possible role in young children’s attainment and transmission of culturally bound behaviours.
Some broad project ideas for 2014 include (but are not limited to):
My research uses both survey and experimental approaches to explore interdisciplinary questions fundamental to management, public policy, criminology, and/or social behaviour more broadly. This year I am seeking one student whose specific area of focus will be on the (in)effectiveness of intergroup apologies in promoting forgiveness and reconciliation in the aftermath of group conflicts.
Further details/information about me and my research can be found on my staff website:
I research in the areas of occupational health psychology and positive organisational behaviour.
In 2014 I will likely take 2 honours students and students will have the opportunity to;
1) bring their own field project (i.e., if you have access to an organisational sample we can develop a project together), or
2) work on a ready-made experimental project. There is scope for the student to contribute to the design of these ready-made projects. For more details, see below.
Ready-made experimental projects:
My current research centres on the following two topics, and I would be willing to supervise a student in either of these areas.
Is gossip a (pleasurable) waste of time, or does it play a valuable role in group cohesion and cooperation? I am currently using a number of methodologies (scenario questionnaires, behavioural experiments, experimental games) to investigate these ideas.
There is a common belief that role models are a key to occupational success and that a lack of role models may account for underachievement in underrepresented groups. However, while Governments and other organisations spend millions rolling out various role model interventions, there is almost no evidence that they have any lasting positive impact. I am currently exploring the nature and effect of role models in people's occupational lives to develop a better sense of when (and why) role model interventions make a difference.
Areas of interest include women's health and childlessness; gender equality; the transition to early adult life/parenthood; qualitative research methods (interviews/ focus groups/media content analysis).
Potential topics for Honours students include:
COGNITION, PERCEPTION, AND HUMAN FACTORS. In my research group we are using theoretical knowledge of perception, action, attention and memory to better design the fit between people and especially demanding work environments (critical care medicine, transportation, military contexts, etc.). Some sample thesis topics follow -- many others are possible. Ultimately, the thesis topic and scope are decided collaboratively with each honours student.
1. Prospective memory, interruptions, and distractions
Concern about the impact of workplace interruptions and distractions is very topical in basic and applied psychology right now. Many kinds of safety critical work (aviation, healthcare) require people to manage multiple threads of work at the same time. What effect do distractions and interruptions have on people's work, and is there a need for remedies of some kind? Theories of prospective memory have helped us make some progress in the area, but much more work needs to be done. You would run a laboratory study in the UQ Usability Laboratory that examines how people manage interruptions.
2. Do video glasses help healthcare practitioners monitor multiple patients?
With the advent of wearable personal technologies such as Google Glass, we need to understand the full impact of HMDs on visual attention. We have been investigating this problem in full-scale medical simulation environments. In the UQ Usability Laboratory we are investigating when video glasses are vs. are not helpful. The results will influence how HMDs are used in healthcare, the military context, and in everyday life. Your lab-based study could be one of those studies.
3. Do tactile displays help healthcare practitioners monitor multiple patients?
The tactile sense is relatively seldom used to display information, compared with the visual or auditory sense, but it is highly portable and it has some powerful alerting properties. We are exploring whether tactile displays keep healthcare professionals "in the loop" on the status of their patients, and whether tactile displays are more effective for this than auditory displays, such as alarms. Your experiment could break new ground in this area.
4. How can a newborn baby's physiological status best be conveyed to neonatologists?
We have an ongoing partnership with Mater Hospital on neonatal resuscitation. About 10% of neonates experience difficulties in the first minutes of life as they make the transition from the uterine environment. We need more effective ways of conveying the newborn's status to the doctors and nurses who assist at this critical time. Your thesis could break new ground and help give infants the best start in life.
RESEARCH GROUP AND LABORATORY. See http://www.itee.uq.edu.au/cerg for more information about the work of our research group. We are based in the UQ Usability Laboratory in Level 1 of the McElwain Building--see http://www.uqul.uq.edu.au for a glimpse of our research environment. Many of our honours students have published their thesis and several have had the subsequent opportunity to travel overseas to present their honours research.
RESEARCH EXPERIENCE. If you'd like research experience in our group before starting an honours thesis, or if you'd just like to learn about human factors, you might consider taking PSYC2991 or PSYC2992: see Sanderson entry at http://www.psy.uq.edu.au/current-students/undergraduate/rec/.
General areas of interest: cognitive development in infancy and early childhood; theory of mind; development of knowledge about the human body; development of biological concepts; early numerical knowledge.
I am happy to develop new ideas in these areas with Honours students. I also have some pre-conceived projects for 2014. These include:
(1) in several recent studies we have shown that 18-month-olds recognise when someone makes an error while counting objects. This indicates that infants recognise violations of the abstract principles of counting, prior to mastering counting behaviour. There are several directions we can take with this work; I would be particularly interested to supervise a training study to evaluate whether or not increased exposure to counting, or exposure to novel counting events (such as counting in a foreign language) influences infants' sensitivity to counting errors.
(2) a recent study suggested that infants are 'prepared' to fear natural predators, such as snakes. This is evident in their tendency to visually fixate on videos of snakes compared to other animals, when they are also being exposed to a fearful voice. The visual preference for snakes is not present when the voice is neutral. Using a similar paradigm, I would like a student to test whether or not infants are also prepared to fear sharks.
I am happy to supervise highly motivated students (e.g., Honours students, MSc students, research experience students) on research projects in the broad areas of leadership, followership, creativity, and health and well-being. Exemplary research projects might examine one of the following issues:
I have broad interests across the field of clinical psychology and psychological interventions. I am particularly interested in parenting and the Triple P-Positive Parenting Program and developmental disabilities, especially Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). I am a research fellow in the Parenting and Family Support Centre and work part-time as a psychologist at Minds and Hearts, a clinic specialising in ASD. I can suggest projects around these areas, or am open to discussing your own ideas for clinical research projects.
I am able to offer one honours project in 2014. This project will be looking at predictors of CBT treatment outcome in children and adolescents with OCD. If you are interested in working on this project, and you are able to attend supervision on Tuesdays, please feel welcome to e-mail me: email@example.com
Are you interested in doing applied research to improve patient care?
I conduct research in the areas of human factors and applied cognitive psychology. This year, I have places for two Honours students to join the team looking at topics related to:
(1) The design and evaluation of display and patient charts to support clinical decision-making. This includes work with Prof P Sanderson on patient monitoring devices and work with A/Prof M Horswill and Dr Andre Hill on the design of patient charts.
(2) The development of the evidence based clinical training program looking at learning and retention of skills. This includes procedural and surgical skills through to the skills required operate as part of an effective clinical team.
Alternatively, you might prefer to pitch your own entirely original research idea in a related area.
A bit about me as my UQ positions are research only so you are unlikely to have had a lot of interaction with me.
I am the Executive Director of the Queensland Health Clinical Skills Development Service which is the largest clinical skills development service in the world (http://www.sdc.qld.edu.au/tour.htm). The service not only supports training for over 12,000 clinicians each year, we also have incredible facilities to do applied research. I have a continuing A/Prof in the School of Medicine as well as my Honorary A/Prof in Psychology at UQ. I joined the Schools Psychology through the Key Centre for Human Factors in 2002. I have won several awards for innovations and the Jerome Ely Award for the Best Paper in Human Factors.
Evolutionary psychology - mate preferences and choices, mate value, physical attractiveness, intelligence, personality, sexual orientation, masculinity-femininity, sexual behaviour, and how these relate to sexual selection and the evolution of the human mind.