The following shows all potential Psychology Research Project Supervisors for 2015. Please note that this information is now being updated by supervisors for the 2015 cohort of honours students.
Online Applications for 2015 can be submitted from 09:00 AM on Monday the 2nd of February 2015 until 11:59 AM on Monday the 9th of February 2015.
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 a Research Fellow at the Queensland Brain Institute (Prof. Mattingley’s laboratory) and my areas of expertise are the cognitive and neural mechanisms of human memory.
This year I have a place for one Honours student to work with me on a project investigating the cognitive mechanisms of how we encode and retrieve natural scenes.
If you are interested and/or have further questions please write me an email.
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: email@example.com
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.
Visual word recognition and spelling in adults; memory and language; attention, especially in relation to the attentional blink, word processing, and the concept of inhibition of irrelevant stimuli.
In 2015 I am also involved in a project that investigates how listening to and identifying complex auditory patterns (e.g., music or alarms) affects verbal comprehension and working memory.
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.
So far I have supervised 8 Honours students to completion and of these, two have been published and a further three are under review for publication. I'm keen to keep this momentum going by working with motivated students who want to pursue a career in clinical/ music psychology research.
In 2015 I will be supervising two Honours students. Potential topics include:
- understanding and promoting emotional awareness and regulation in normal samples and at risk samples.
- studying how music can be used to evoke and regulate emotions.
- music listening for cravings management.
If you're interested in Music Psychology, sign up for my Honours seminar course!
Another potential supervisor in Music Psychology is Dr Mary Broughton, an experimental psychologist who works in the School of Music (see this list).
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 self-regulation (i.e., self-control) and emotion regulation. The projects I will be pursuing next year will focus on how people successfully regulate their emotions for social gain. I am particularly interested in an emotion regulation strategy called expressive suppression, in which people feel but do not show the emotions they are experiencing. While the literature to date has tended to vilify suppression as a maladaptive emotion regualtion strategy, some of my recent work suggests that it may have social benefits in some situations. I am inerested in testing what these boundary conditions are. I welcome student input on these ideas.
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!
I will be supervising two honours students in 2015. If you are interested in one of the following ongoing projects, you are welcome to apply:
1.) A laboratory-based study of psychotherapeutic interventions to reduce 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.
In 2015, I will be supervising honours students in the following areas of research:
1) What do infants and young children do that make them such amazing language learners? - What do YOU think? I am very opened to exploring an aspect of behavior that you think contributes to their language learning.
2) Language perception in infancy - How do the different modes of speech perception (auditory, visual, etc.) relate with each other, and to the infants' individual stages of speech development?
3) The development of social competence - How do the various facets of social competence develop and what helps with this process?
I am also happy to discuss ideas for projects outside (within reason!) of these areas.
I'm interested in supervising projects looking at:
Why and when a nudge is not enough
In recent years, many governments in the Western world have turned to influencing behavior through nudging (Thaler & Sunstein, 2008). For instance, one government that has enthusiastically embraced ‘nudging-tactics’ is David Cameron’s Coalition government in the United Kingdom (UK). In 2010, the Cameron government created the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT). The BIT unit, sometimes dubbed ‘the nudge unit’, has since argued for the use of nudges to promote healthier lifestyle choices, to increase tax compliance, and to boost charitable giving.
We recently questioned the effectiveness of nudging as a means of bringing about lasting behaviour change and argue that evidence for its success ignores (a) that many successful nudges are not in fact nudges, (b) instances when nudges backfire, and (c) ethical concerns associated with nudges (Mols, Haslam, Jetten, & Steffens, 2014). Instead, and in contrast to nudging, we argue that behaviour change is more likely to be enduring where it involves social identity change and norm internalization.
Students interested in this topic will be encouraged to develop an experimental study to examine the effectiveness of nudges versus social-identity based social influence techniques. It is predicted that, compared to nudges, overt attempts to change behavior that are based on developing a shared identity will be (a) more effective, (b) are less likely to backfire, and (c) will be perceived as more ethical. Experiments will focus on determining the processes underlying successful social influence.
Mols, F., Haslam, S.A., Jetten, J., & Steffens, N. K. (in press). Why a nudge is not enough: A social identity critique of governance by stealth. European Journal of Political Research. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/%28ISSN%291475-6765/earlyview
Thaler, R. & C. Sunstein (2008) Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth and happiness. London: Penguin.
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.
Psychological factors in injury and rehabilitation; posttraumatic stress in adults and children; early psychosocial intervention following trauma; childhood traumatic brain injury and sequelae; childhood burns; adult whiplash; acute to chronic pain transition; interdisciplinary health research.
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.
For honours, my supervision style is to provide plenty of structure, early deadlines, and clear guidance so that motivated students can put themselves in a position to achieve excellent results. In 2014, I am likely to be seeking research-oriented students to work with me on projects in political social cognition, peace psychology, health decision-making, and prejudice/intergroup conflict.
For PhD students, my supervision style is to have regular meetings, early deadlines, and clear guidance. I like my students to aim to write more, aim at higher level journals, collect more data, go to more conferences and international and national summer schools, learn more about teaching well, take ethics seriously, attend lab group regularly, play a leadership role in their postgrad cohort, and in general attempt to be high achievers. :) I am willing to supervise across a wide range of decision-making / identity / norms topics. I particularly value 2 kinds of candidates: (1) loves learning; loves ideas; wants to be an academic because of the autonomy & freedom to pursue groovy research; (2) passionate about social justice; smart and self-motivated; wants to pursue research to change to the world (maybe academia, maybe aiming for government or NGOs). If you are interested in a PhD with me, please e-mail me at email@example.com .
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 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.
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:
My research interests fall in the field of Clinical and Health Psychology. The frameorks that have guided my research include stress and coping theory, positive psychology, and more recently the "third wave" Cognitive and Behaviour Therapies. I have active research activity in the following areas:
1. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): I am interested in exploring the ACT framework, clinical applications of ACT, and ACT training, particularly with respect to personal applications of ACT for self-care.
2. Mindfulness: specific interests include understanding the mechanisms by which minduflness has benefiical impacts and clinical applications of mindfulness.
3. Positive Psychology: I am particularly interested in exploring the theoretical understanding and clinical applications of resilience, compassion and self-compassion, hope and meaning making (benefit finding and sense making).
4. Living Fully with Chronic Illness: I have been researching the applications of the above frameworks to living with chronic illness for over 20 years. Illness contexts that my research has explored include both physical (e.g., multiple schlerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes) and mental (e.g., Schizophrenia, Asperger's Syndrome) health problems. Importantly my research has included an interpersonal perspective that has included carers or family members.
5. Caregiving: consistent with a biopsychosocial perspective on illness, my research has applied the above frameworks to both the person with a health problem and their carer. I investigate caregiving across the life span including caregiving in children, young adults and older adults.
I research in the areas of occupational health psychology and positive organisational behaviour.
In 2015 I will likely take 2-3 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 an existing dataset, come up with your own research questions, and test your model using SEM in AMOS or multilevel modelling in MPlus. Example 1: A dataset with small franchisee business owners' ratings of their personal and organisational resources as well as franchisor-rated performance. Example 2: A dataset with volunteers' motivations, work resources, and health/stress/wellbeing outcomes.
3) 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:
We have some very exciting things happening in the lab in 2015, and I'll be taking five outstanding students with a passion for research.
Our work is broadly based on the perceptual and cognitive changes that occur as we accumulate experiences. How do humans and non-humans develop a sensitivity to visual structure in the world? For example, we've demonstrated previously that honeybees can distinguish between paintings by Picasso and Monet. Other species including chimpanzees, mice, pigeons, and fish have all been shown to be sensitive to style in art, music, and even handwriting. A common response to findings like these is that animals are far more like humans than previously realised, rather than the obvious alternative that the psychological processes that subserve these abilities are simpler than previously assumed.
The honours students in my lab will examine these psychological processes from different perspectives. Some questions are more "pure" (e.g., what's the best way to learn the visual structure of a brand new category?), while others are more "applied" (e.g., how should forensic examiners testify in court?). We also work across many different domains: radiology, rationality, fingerprint identification, face recognition, illusions, insight, and teaching and learning in higher education. Have a look at our lab website for more information.
Deciding what to do for honours is an incredibly difficult decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you have any questions about the projects in our lab, life as an honours student, balancing course work and your thesis, expectations, workload, etc., please don't hesitate to contact any of my PhD students (Rachel, Ruben, Gianni), my postdoc (Matt), or lab manager (Wen). They've all been through honours at UQ and managed to do exceptionally well. I would also be happy to answer any questions that you have, so feel free to contact me directly.
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.
Humans make judgements and decisions throughout the process of medical diagnosis and crime scene investigation. Working with me in the Expertise and Evidence Lab, you will have the opportunity to answer several questions; here are just four possibilities:
More at mbthompson.com.
I am able to offer two honours projects in 2015. One project will look at completing a pilot study of a web-based intervention for obsessive-compulsive disorder in adolescents. The other study will look at testing one aspect of a cognitive behavioural model of body dysmorphic disorder in young adults. If you are interested in working on these projects, you must be able to attend supervision on a Tuesday, and be willing to attend supervision off campus. You are welcome to e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org
I will be supervising at least 2 honours students in 2015.
In the UQ Social Neuroscience Lab, we use various psychophysiological measures to examine emotional and cognitive process involved in social interactions. Although informed by recent findings in neuroimaging, the research in our laboratory is typically done without people being put into a fMRI scanner. To heighten experimental realism, the laboratory has available interactive software programs so that participants become highly involved in the experimental procedures. Recent studies conducted by students in the lab have examined the effects of being the source or target of ostracism, implicit prejudice and discrimination, trust and motor mimicry, event-related potentials and guilt, and Facebook use. Honours students in the lab typically attend our weekly lab meetings in addition to having individual supervision appointments.
In 2015, theses on the following topics would be particularly welcome:
(1) the perception of tears and how it affects social behaviour
(2) the social rewards of using Facebook or other social networking services
(3) the perception of trust in others who may or may not share our group memberships
Please be sure to contact me if you have any questions.
My key research interest is in interpersonal and intergroup communication particulary in the health arena. My research focuses on on communication between health professionals and their patients, and between health professionals in health provider teams.
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.