School of Psychology - Current Students - 4th Year - Supervisors

Psychology Research Project 2017 Supervisors

The following shows all potential Psychology Research Project Supervisors for 2017. Please note that this information is still being updated by supervisors for the 2017 cohort of honours students. Supervisors are also still subject to change depending on availability.

The Supervisor Preference Form (Individual thesis students only) for 2017 can be submitted from 09:00 AM on Monday the 23rd of January 2017 until 05:00 PM on Monday the 30th of January 2017.

Associate Professor Derek Arnold

Picture of 'Associate Professor Derek Arnold'
Room:
MC - 465
Phone:
+61 7 3365 6203
Email:
Area:
Perception

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.

http://www2.psy.uq.edu.au/~darnold

Dr Timothy Ballard

Picture of 'Dr Timothy Ballard'
Room:
147
Phone:
+61 7 3346 9506
Email:
Area:
Judgement and Decision Making

My research interests are in the areas of decision making and motivation. The project I will be conducting this year seeks to examine how people make decisions whilst juggling competing goals. For example, how do pilots and air traffic controllers meet the demand to be on time whilst maintaining safety? How do medical practitioners balance the need for effective treatment whilst minimising the risk of side effects to the patient? 

I use laboratory experiments to investigate the psychological processes that underlie these types of decisions. I am particularly interested in understanding the influence of factors such as how the goals are framed, the level of uncertainty in the environment, how difficult the goals are to achieve, and time deadlines on which goal people decide to prioritise and how long it takes to make the prioritisation decision.

As a supervisor, I encourage my students to set short term goals that promote consistent progress throughout the year. I emphasise independence of thought and encourage students to develop their own ideas.  I’m looking for students who are motivated and willing to work hard. In return, I will aim to not only help you do well in your thesis, but also to develop the skills necessary for life after honours.  If you’re interested in chatting about supervision, please do send me an email and/or we can arrange a meeting.

Dr Fiona Kate Barlow

Picture of 'Dr Fiona Kate Barlow'
Room:
457 Psychology Building (McElwain; 24A)
Phone:
+617 3365 6397
Email:
Area:
Social Psychology

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 looking at how the intergroup contact that we have with members of other groups can shape our attitudes.

In particular, does intergroup contact impact on racism? Does the intergroup contact we see in TV shows, and the media, influence how much we want to make intergroup friends? Does negative intergroup contact polarize us (e.g., in the case of the recent US election)?

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!

Dr Oliver Baumann

Picture of 'Dr Oliver Baumann'
Room:
3-3-1 Queensland Brain Institute
Phone:
3346 3305
Email:
Area:
Cognition and Neuroscience

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.

Dr Stefanie Becker

Picture of 'Dr Stefanie Becker'
Room:
MC-459
Phone:
+61 7 3346 9517 or 0449 883870
Email:
Area:
Cognition and Neuroscience

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: s.becker@psy.uq.edu.au

General Information:

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 20 Honours students so far, and I currently supervise 3 PhD and Master 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/

Dr Samudragupta Bora

Picture of 'Dr Samudragupta Bora'
Room:
Aubigny Place, Mater Public Hospitals Campus, South Brisbane
Phone:
+61 7 3163 3487
Email:
Area:
Developmental Psychology

Multiple opportunities exist for students wishing to pursue an honours thesis in the areas of paediatrics and child health, with a focus on neurodevelopmental outcomes of high-risk infants, within the newly established Neurodevelopmental Follow-Up and Outcomes group at Mater Research. Students will be based at Mater Mothers’ Hospital campus, Australia’s largest maternity and newborn service. Honours thesis projects will be part of larger cohort studies involving neuroimaging and neurodevelopmental follow-up assessments. 

Prospective applicants will have a strong interest in clinical research in the field of infant and child development. Successful applicants will belong to a highly productive multidisciplinary research environment that has strong collaborations across Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, UK, and USA. Although experience in neuroimaging and/or neurodevelopmental follow-up of high-risk infants is desirable, it is not essential and appropriate training and supervision will be provided. Successful applicants will also be eligible to apply for Mater Research’s competitive scholarship schemes.

Further information concerning the scope of research and other details can be obtained from Dr Samudragupta Bora via e-mail: samudragupta.bora@mater.uq.edu.au. Please include “Interested in Honours Thesis” in the e-mail subject line along with your query, recent curriculum vitae (if available), and a very brief statement of your research experience (if any) and interests.

Dr Kylie Burke

Picture of 'Dr Kylie Burke'
Room:
S219
Phone:
+61 7 3365 7306
Email:
Area:
Applied/Professional Psychology

I am interested in research relating to supporting parents who are parenting in vulnerable or complex circumstances. 

In 2017 I have an honours project investigating the use of text messaging as a parenting intervention.

Associate Professor Jenny Burt

Picture of 'Associate Professor Jenny Burt'
Room:
MC-409
Phone:
+61 7 3365 6338
Email:
Area:
Memory and Attention

Visual word identification and spelling in adults; memory and language; attention, especially in relation to word processing, and the phenomenon of repetition blindness.  I also work in learning and memory, with a specific focus on the testing effect.

In 2017 I plan to offer one project in word identification. It concerns the effects of word repetition in short sequences of briefly displayed words.  Although a repeated word is more easily processed by the reading system, word repetition has an adverse effect on event separation and sequencing in working memory.

Dr Gary Chan

Picture of 'Dr Gary Chan'
Room:
Room 310, Mc Elwain Building 24A, St Lucia
Phone:
+61 7 3365 5247
Email:
Area:
Health Psychology

Dr. Gary Chan is a UQ Research Fellow at the Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research. His principal research interest lies in the field of substance misuse prevention and the application of cutting-edge statistical method for longitudinal analysis. His recent publications have been focused on polysubstance use (including alcohol, tobacco and cannabis) profiles in adolescent populations, examinations of urban-rural differences in substance use, and the epidemiology of alcohol, tobacco and cannabis use. He collaborates extensively with leading researchers in major national and international institutes, including the University of Washington, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, University of Melbourne, and University College London.

Dr. Chan is also a statistical advisor at the School of Psychology, providing statistical advice to academic staff and RHD students. Since 2016, he has also delivered several advanced statistical workshops at the School on R and multilevel modelling.

Available projects:

  • Examining how parental and peer factor are associated with substance use during adolescence.
  • Comparing psychosocial predictors of substance use across adolescents from different cultural backgrounds.

 

Dr Lucia Colodro Conde

Picture of 'Dr Lucia Colodro Conde'
Room:
QIMR Berghofer
Phone:
+61 7 3845 3018
Email:
Area:
Health Psychology

Depression and nausea and vomiting during pregnancy

Our research group is conducting a collaborative study that aims to investigate the psychosocial consequences of severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy (NVP) through an online survey. Participants report extensive information on NVP severity, duration and impact of NVP for each pregnancy. The information includes quantitative measures of the physical, psychological and social impacts of NVP for participants. Currently, more than 1000 women have provided their data.

NVP is a risk factor for postnatal depression. We propose a project to study the association between NVP and depression prior, during and after to pregnancy.

Professor Jason Connor

Picture of 'Professor Jason Connor'
Phone:
3365 5150
Email:
Area:
Clinical

Psychological, genetic and psychosocial factors in the development of substance use disorders; pharmacological and psychological treatments for alcohol and opiate dependence; disabilities, disability rehabilitation and quality of life; vocational assessment.

Dr David Cowan

Picture of 'Dr David Cowan'
Room:
145, McElwain Building (24A)
Email:
Area:
Social Behaviour

My research is primarily in the area of emotion. I am particularly interested in empathic response, and how how humans process facial expressions of emotion.

I use several methods to research emotional response, including eye-tracking, which can reveal how eye-gaze patterns to faces may relate to the quality of social interaction.

I am also interested in how patterns of social media usage by ourselves and those we connect with, can affect our empathic response and overall emotional state.

I am keen to work with motivated students who are interested in emotion research using eye-tracking techniques, and/ or are interested in how patterns of social media use/ overuse may affect empathic response.

In 2017 I will supervise up to four honours students. Broad thesis topics which can be expanded upon, may include - but are not limited to:

  • Using eye-tracking to understand how gaze patterns may vary across facial emotional expressions. And how trait/ and state empathy may be related to the processing of increasing intensities of a range of facial emotional stimuli.
  • Understanding how patterns of social media use are related to emotional empathy, and what may happen to our emotional state when individuals we connect with appear to cross the line between healthy social interaction and intentional emotional manipulation. Determine what constitutes both of these patterns of use.
  • Look at daily life documenters, and how this affects our perceptions of them, and the emotional effect this has upon us.

If you think these areas of research may interest you and you'd like to meet to discuss, feel free to email me at d.cowan@psy.uq.edu.

Dr Tegan Cruwys

Picture of 'Dr Tegan Cruwys'
Room:
McElwain 135
Phone:
+61 7 3346 9504
Email:
Area:
Clinical

Professor Ross Cunnington

Picture of 'Professor Ross Cunnington'
Room:
332A
Phone:
+61 7 3346 6330
Email:
Area:
Cognition and Neuroscience

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.

Dr Melissa Day

Picture of 'Dr Melissa Day'
Room:
330
Phone:
+61 7 3365 6421
Email:
Area:
Clinical

My broad area of research expertise for honours thesis supervision is in the area of Clinical Psychology, and more specifically, in the area of pain (acute and chronic) assessment and management. I am interested in a cognitive-behavioural conceptualisation, with also a focus on the role of mindfulness and acceptance in the experience as well as management of pain.

Dr Angela Dean

Picture of 'Dr Angela Dean'
Room:
ISSR
Phone:
3346 8293
Email:
Area:
Cognition and Neuroscience

My research examines processes involved in engaging communities in environmental issues, focusing on knowledge, attitudes and behaviours.    In particular, the environmental focus of my research involves urban water, and marine ecosystems.

Honours projects for 2015

These projects will integrate cognitive and social psychology, and will partner with Dr Kelly Garner (cognitive psychology, Dux lab, SLRC). For this project, two students will work together to recruit participants for a single experimental session incorporating both cognitive tasks and questionnaires. 

This research will examine the following questions:

(i)                  How does message framing and other information characteristics influence engagement in environmental issues;

(ii)                How do environmental values interest with information characteristics to influence engagement in environmental issues.

(iii)               How do individual differences in information processing influence engagement in environmental issues. 

Dr Genevieve Dingle

Picture of 'Dr Genevieve Dingle'
Room:
329
Phone:
+61 7 3365 7295
Email:
Area:
Clinical

2017

Hello Students

I’m a clinical psychologist with basic and applied research interests in music and emotion. I’ve supervised 14 honours students so far, 7 of these have had their thesis published and a further 4 are in preparation for publication.

My supervision style is quite hands-on and I expect my students to attend research meetings, to communicate with me regularly throughout the year (regardless of how progress is going), and to be good team players with others involved in the project (often colleagues and clinical psychology interns). Students are expected to take charge of their own ethics applications, data collection and statistical analysis, with guidance from me (and other when necessary).

In 2017, I am able to supervise up to 3 motivated students, with a choice from the following potential projects that I think will make a significant contribution to theory or practice and give the student an interesting research experience:

  1. The Live Wires music program to enhance cognitive and social functioning in older adults.

This one will probably be based at a retirement village with independent living adults around the ages of 60-75 years (i.e. early retirement, not needing nursing care). It will involve weekly group warm ups and singing of music composed by Dr Robert Davidson at the UQ School of Music. Intern clinical and neuropsychology students will be involved to help with the pre- and post-program assessment of participants cognitive functioning, social connectedness, and mental wellbeing. Professor Cath Haslam, Dr Robert Davidson, and Professor Stephen Clift from the UK are also involved in this project.

Recommended reading:

Victor, C. R., Scambler, S. J., Bowling, A., & Bond, J. (2005). The prevalence of, and risk factor for, loneliness in later life: A survey of older people in Great Britain. Ageing & Society, 25(6), 357-375. DOI: 10.1017/S0144686X04003332

Haslam, C., Cruwys, T., & Haslam, S. A. (2014). “The we's have it”: Evidence for the distinctive benefits of group engagement in enhancing cognitive health in aging. Social Science & Medicine, 120, 57-66. DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.08.037

Dingle, G. A., Brander, C., Ballantyne, J., & Baker, F. (2013) "To Be Heard" - the social and mental health benefits of choir singing for disadvantaged adults. Psychology of Music, 41, 4: 405–421. DOI: 10.1177/0305735611430081

2. The Groups 4 Health: Addiction Recovery project

The Groups 4 Health program developed at UQ by Professor Cath Haslam and colleagues will be modified for adults undergoing outpatient treatment for substance use disorders at Metro North Drug and Alcohol services. The brief group program involves educating participants about the important influence of their social groups and networks and social identities: "I'm a drug user"; "I'm a person in recovery", etc, and helps them to repair or build social group memberships that are likely to support their ongoing recovery. The student will be involved in assessing participants on self report and implicit identity measures at multiple time points, and co-facilitating the group sessions under my supervision, alongside other students and allied health professionals. Professor Cath Haslam, Dr Tegan Cruwys, Dr Mark Daglish (Roma Street Clinic) and several colleagues at the London South Bank University are also involved in this project.

Recommended reading:

Dingle, G. A., Stark, C., Cruwys, T. & Best, D. (2015) Breaking good: breaking ties with social groups may be good for recovery from substance misuse. British Journal of Social Psychology, 54: 236-254. DOI:10.1111/bjso.12081.

Haslam, C., Cruwys, T., Haslam, S. A., Dingle, G., & Chang, M. X-L. (2016). Groups 4 Health: Evidence that a social-identity intervention that builds and strengthens social group membership improves mental health. Journal of Affective Disorders, 194 (2016) 188–195. DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2016.01.010

Dingle, G. A., Cruwys, T., & Frings, D. (2015). Social identities as pathways into and out of addiction. Frontiers in Psychology, 6: 1795. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01795

3. Tuned In music emotion regulation program with young people in residential treatment for substance misuse - co-supervised with Professor Leanne Hides.

This group program is designed to help young people increase their awareness of their emotional states and confidence to regulate their emotions and cravings using music listening and other strategies. The program has been effective with healthy teens in school and university settings as well as at risk adolescents. This study is likely to run at a residential rehabilitation at the Gold Coast, and the student will be involved in recruiting, assessing the participants, and co-facilitating the group program under my supervision.

Recommended reading:

Dingle, G. A., & Fay, C. (2017). Tuned In: the effectiveness for young adults of a group emotion regulation program using music listening. Psychology of Music, in press (copy available by email from me)

Dingle, G. A., Hodges, J. & Kunde, A. (2016), Tuned In emotion regulation program using music listening: Effectiveness in adolescents in educational contexts. Frontiers in Psychology, 7:859. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00859

Dingle. G. A., & Carter, N. A. (2017). Smoke into Sound: A pilot randomised controlled trial of a music cravings management program for chronic smokers attempting to quit. Musicae Scientiae, in press. DOI: 10.1177/1029864916682822 (copy available by email from me)

Dingle, G. A., Kelly, P. J., Flynn, L. M. & Baker, F. A. (2015) The influence of music on emotions and cravings in clients in addiction treatment: a study of two clinical samples. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 45, 18–25. Doi: 10.1016/j.aip.2015.05.005

Dr Barnaby Dixson

Picture of 'Dr Barnaby Dixson'
Room:
328
Email:
Area:
Evolutionary

My research concerns how evolutionary processes have shaped judgments of sexually dimorphic traits in men and women. 

Potential honours projects include:

1. Mulitvariate approaches to the evolution of body shape and body image.

2. Factors underpinning variation in men's beardedness.

3. Cross-cultural and ethnographic studies of human mating behaviour.

Dr Katharine Greenaway

Picture of 'Dr Katharine Greenaway'
Room:
146 Psychology buliding (McElwain)
Phone:
+61 7 3346 9563
Email:
Area:
Social Psychology

My research interests centre around self-regulation (i.e., self-control) and emotion regulation. The projects I will be pursuing this 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. 

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!

Dr Philip Grove

Picture of 'Dr Philip Grove'
Room:
466
Phone:
+61 7 3365 6383
Email:
Area:
Perception

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, 3D cinema, and 3D surgical displays.  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.

Dr Matthew Gullo

Picture of 'Dr Matthew Gullo'
Room:
Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research (CYSAR), UQ Herston campus
Phone:
+61 7 3365 5145
Email:
Area:
Clinical

I will be supervising 2 honours students in 2017. Projects will involve the laboratory-based study of CBT techniques to reduce youth alcohol abuse and uncover their mechanisms of action.

Professor Kim Halford

Picture of 'Professor Kim Halford'
Room:
MC-334
Phone:
+61 7 3365 6375
Email:
Area:
Clinical

I will likely supervise one student in 2017 as I work part time and also supervise post graduate theses. My research focus is on couple relationships. If you are interested in one of the ongoing projects below, you are welcome to apply.

a) Relationship standards and couple relationship satisfaction in diverse cultural groups. In this work we are examining how values about what constitutes a good relationship vary across cultures, and how those values relate to satisfaction within couple relationships.

b) On the decision to cohabit. This study will examine values people hold about when a couple should cohabit, and how cohabiting couples’ relationship satisfaction is affected by the values they hold.

c) The notion of couple flourishing, of going beyoind just satisfaction, and how to measure and promote flourishing. 

Dr Paul Harnett

Picture of 'Dr Paul Harnett'
Room:
MC-410
Phone:
+61 7 3365 6723
Email:
Area:
Clinical

My major research area is child Protection (Interventions trageting multi-problem high risk parents). One recent aspect of this research is the relationship between physiological measures of stress and parent-child interactional style.

I am also interested in the relationship between Jeffrey Gray's model of personality and psychopathology (depression, anxiety).

Further, I have an interest in the impact of mindflness-based therapies on psychological and  physiological functioning.

Professor Charmine Hartel

Picture of 'Professor Charmine Hartel'
Room:
Room 315, Colin Clark Building, St. Lucia Campus
Phone:
+61 7 3346 3486
Email:
Area:
Organisational

I am available to supervise up to 4 Honours psychology students if they work with me on the specific projects below:

  1. Investigating the perspectives toward volunteering of demographic groups that are under-represented in volunteering relative to their presence in Australian society;
  2. Identifying both intrinsic and extrinsic (context-related) motivational aspects of volunteering that act as barriers and incentives for under-represented groups;
  3. Studying the process of entrepreneurial identification

 

Professor Alex Haslam

Picture of 'Professor Alex Haslam'
Phone:
+61 7 3346 7345
Email:
Area:
Social Psychology

My research has three main foci:

Psychology in organizations — with an emphasis on the contribution of social identity to leadership, motivation, communication, decision-making, negotiation, and productivity.

The social psychology of stereotyping, prejudice, and tyranny — exploringthe role of group processes in the dynamics of intergroup relations and conflict.  My more recent work has focused on the importance of social identification for what Milgram termed 'obedience to authority'. 

Social processes in health and well-being — looking at the contribution of group life to stress, coping and well-being, especially in vulnerable populations.

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, on the UQ News webpage, or by looking at my Google Scholar page, or following me on Twitter @alexanderhaslam

Professor Catherine Haslam

Picture of 'Professor Catherine Haslam'
Room:
234
Phone:
+61 7 3346 7565
Email:
Area:
Clinical

The projects available focus on health and well-being outcomes in the following topic areas:

1. Adjusting to retirement

We all will face retirement, and some of us experience this as a positive transition. However, 20-30% of people don't adjust well and report significant stress and a marked reduction in their well being. Clearly, there is more to the transition than financial planning which is what has dominated people's experience. This project is part of an Australian Research Council grant investigating the social factors that influence this transition. Specifically, it investigates retirement as a process of managing social identity change (drawing on the Social Identity Model of Identity Change) and examines the role of key identities (from work/organisational identities to retiree identity) in protecting people's health and well-being in the process of retirement.  

2. Ageing well in a foreign land 

Life change can cause uncertainty and instability and as a result can jeopardize our health and well-being. This is particularly true in the case of older people moving to  Australia to be with their families. Adjusting to this change is key to successful aging and this project investigates the role that social identities (identities from one's home country and those developed in the new country) play in adjustment. This project is part of an Australian Research Council Linkage grant investigating the contribution that activities and services provided by our partner Diversicare (based in West End) provide to older migrants in supporting their adjustment to living in Australia.      

3. Real friends or Facebook friends

There is now a growing literature showing that real friends (the ones we see face-to-face) are better for us than online friends. Much of this research, however, focuses on adults who have established networks with both offline and online friends, and in this context it is no surprise that the people you see are more influential (e.g., because you might see them more often, they are probably perceived as more important). But what about people who don't have many real friends or face to face encounters — perhaps because they have a disability and so have fewer opportunities to see people or might be anxious in social contexts? Is it the case that real friends are still better for us in this context? Also, many online encounters are with one other person but our face to face encounters are both one-on-one (with a friend, a sibling) and with groups of others (family, sporting, study, etc).  So, here, is it the richness and diversity of social interaction in face-to-face encounters that makes the difference? This project investigates these types of questions to understand why it is that there is a difference in the effects that online and offline friends have on our health and well-being.     

 

Professor Julie Henry

Picture of 'Professor Julie Henry'
Room:
MC464
Phone:
+61 7 3365 6737
Email:
Area:
Cognition and Neuroscience

In 2016 studies under my supervision will focus on the following research topics.

1) Social perception:  Social perception refers broadly to the ability to understand and react appropriately to the social signals sent out by other people, and is a critical predictor of wellbeing, mental health and social competency. While there is now a considerable literature showing that normal adult aging disrupts many aspects of social perceptual processing, much of this evidence derives from variants of the same basic paradigm: explicitly choosing which emotional label best describes a particular depiction of emotion, such as a photograph of a face, or an auditory expression. However, when we interpret and react to the emotional states of others in our everyday lives, we do not always produce a verbal label for the emotion, we are not limited in our choice from a narrow range of labels, and we may have no awareness of the emotion-decoding process. In addition, how we respond to the cues associated with artificial stimuli in the lab may differ markedly from how we respond to our friends and family in everyday life. To date there has been only limited assessment of age differences in decoding and reacting to emotional and other social cues using naturalistic tasks or familiar people, and even fewer studies that have assessed implicit aspects of social perception. Studies are available that would test whether how age differentially affects implicit and explicit social perceptual processes using more ecologically valid assessments.

2) Prospection:  Episodic memory, the ability to mentally re-experience specific past events, has long been a central topic in psychology. It has been proposed to be part of a more general ability to travel mentally in time, which includes a complementary future component that has been termed episodic foresight. Deficits in episodic foresight have profound consequences. This is because episodic foresight has been consistently linked to independent living and a great variety of functional behaviours. Indeed, we incessantly prepare for the future, from carrying objects with us because we might need them, to anticipating future budgetary expenses, to shopping for next week’s dinner. Prospective memory (PM) is a conceptually related component of prospection, which refers to memory for future intentions such as remembering to take medication and turn off appliances. PM is therefore also crucial for maintaining healthy and safe independent living. Evidence now indicates that in late adulthood both of these capacities are significantly disrupted, but many important questions remain with respect to which task properties are important in understanding age effects, the specificity of the age-related changes, as well as how any changes relate to functional outcomes. Projects are available that would focus on addressing each of these questions, with potentially important implications for the development of targeted interventions.

3)  Dentophobia: Dentophobia refers to the fear of dentistry and receiving dental care, and is very common in many countries, including Australia. Understanding the mechanisms that cause and perpetuate dentophobia is critically important given that extreme dental fear leads to avoidance of treatment and deterioration of oral health. A growing body of research suggests that, in addition to fear, abnormal disgust responses may be implicated in denotophobia. Disgust responding is composed of disgust propensity (the tendency to respond with disgust) and disgust sensitivity (aversion to feelings of disgust), but there is only limited evidence regarding the degree to which these separate constructs are implicated in dentophobia. Studies are available that would clarify the role of abnormal disgust responding in dentophobia, for instance by using eye tracking to index early attentional biases or facial electromyography to index early implicit affective responses. 

 

Details of published research articles from my lab that relate to these topics can be found here: http://www.psy.uq.edu.au/directory/index.html?id=1885#show_Research. I am also happy to meet in person to chat about Honour's supervision if you are interested in learning more (email: julie.henry@uq.edu.au).

Dr Kana Imuta

Picture of 'Dr Kana Imuta'
Phone:
3365 6805
Email:
Area:
Developmental Psychology

In 2017, I will be supervising honours projects on the following two broad topics. I intend to have more than one student working on each topic, but with their own  specific research question that we can develop together.

 

1) How do empathy and prosocial behaviour develop in infancy/toddlerhood?

Projects in this line of research will involve working with infants and toddlers between 6 and 24 months of age. You will be using a combination of eye-tracking to observe infants' looking behaviour in response to videos and behavioural tasks (e.g., do infants help pick up something that you've dropped?) to study their prosocial behaviour.

 

2) Does bilingualism affect development beyond language?

It is not surprising that being exposed to two languages influences how children learn languages, but recent findings suggest that the effects of bilingualism may extend to other areas of social-cognitive development. I am happy to discuss ideas in this line of research that involve working with infants, preschoolers, or early school-aged children. Additionally, I am interested in how parental attitudes/approaches may be related to the decision to raise a bilingual child.

 

I will be at the Honours Meet and Greet, but you're also welcome to email me (k.imuta@uq.edu.au) if you'd like to arrange a meeting to discuss anything.

Professor Jolanda Jetten

Picture of 'Professor Jolanda Jetten'
Room:
McElwain 24A-130
Phone:
+61 7 3365 4909
Email:
Area:
Social Psychology

I'm interested in supervising projects looking at:

Societal Inequality: Consequences for societies’ social and political vitality

Since the Global Financial Crisis hit in 2008, economic inequality has been a topic that has attracted considerable interest. The topic has not just captured the eye of academics, but also of citizens worldwide and it is now high on the agenda of politicians within and outside of Australia. This is not surprising because economic inequality (defined as the magnitude of the income gap between the poor and wealthy within a particular society) has been found to have pernicious effects: for example, it increases the prevalence of illness, reduces mental and physical health, and poses a threat to economic and societal stability (Wilkinson & Pickett, 2009).

Growing inequality not only undermines an individual’s health, but also the sustainability and vitality of society as a whole. What is poorly understood, though, are the (inter)group dynamics at work in unequal societies.

Without this knowledge it will remain difficult to understand (a) why, (b) when, and (b) for whom inequality will breed societal dissatisfaction and disengagement. As part of a large ARC funded project, honours projects will focus on filling these gaps. We focus on two novel (and interrelated) outcomes of inequality that are indicators of the viability and health of a society. Specifically, we focus on dynamics, perceptions and outcomes at the (1) collective level—e.g., intergroup tension and stereotyping, and (2) individual level—e.g., individuals’ social and political engagement, ideological/political attitudes.

Students interested in this topic will be encouraged to develop an experimental study to examine:

1. why income inequality is harmful for intergroup relations in society

2. When do people perceive inequality as a justice problem?

3. Do groups within society differ in how they respond to inequality?

 

Relevant References:

Jetten, J., Mols, F., & Postmes, T. (2015). Relative deprivation and relative wealth enhances anti-immigrant sentiments: The v-curve re-examined. PLoS ONE, 10(10): e0139156. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0139156.

Wilkinson, R., & Pickett, K. (2009). The spirit level, Why more equal societies almost always do better. Allen Lane.

Dr James Kirby

Picture of 'Dr James Kirby'
Room:
S327
Phone:
+61 7 3365 7290
Email:
Area:
Applied/Professional Psychology

I am able to supervise either 2 or 3 students for 2017.

My research topics will be:

  1. Meta-analysis on the fears of compassion scale examining the links to depression, anxiety, stress, shame and self-criticism
  2. Parental reflective shame and punitative parenting and fears of compassion
  3. Associations between submissive compassion and self-compassion
  4. Compassion experiments with children
  5. Evaluating a podcast series aimed to increase compassion
  6. Examining the links between compassion and secrets

I am happy to discuss options over email (j.kirby@psy.uq.edu.au).

Dr Natasha Koloski

Room:
316
Phone:
0407126897
Email:
Area:
Health Psychology

My research interests lie in psychological factors within gastroenterology practice. In particular, I am interested in the role of psychosocial factors in functional gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and functional dyspepsia. I am interested in brain gut interactions and the relationship of psychological factors to immunological functioning within these disorders.

Dr Ada Kritikos

Picture of 'Dr Ada Kritikos'
Room:
MC-404
Phone:
+61 7 3365 6408
Email:
Area:
Cognition and Neuroscience

Psychology Honours Projects 2017: 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 understand the meaning of each other's actions, as well as understand the physical environment.

One line of research we are following is whether we are able to represent each other's bodies and the actions they make when we are in situations of co-operative action. We look to see whether aspects of the other person's movement alter the way we make our our actions. To do this, we use reaction time paradigms or motion capture and analysis techniques. 

Another line of research is how we extend our self-representation to objects in the environment, that is, to object we own. We have shown previously that we interact differently with our own versus another person's property. We have also shown that we recall items allocated to ourselves better thanitems allocated to other people. We are interested in whether there are differences in the way we recall items belonging to us compared with significant others, such as our mother or best friend. We are also interested in whether this pattern alters in participants who rate high on hoarding (indiscriminate collecting and keeping or all types of objects)

Research profile:

UQ page: https://www.psy.uq.edu.au/directory/index.html?id=1180#show_Research

ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ada_Kritikos

Dr Ben Chun Pan Lam

Picture of 'Dr Ben Chun Pan Lam'
Room:
S323 (Social Sciences Building)
Email:
Area:
Social Psychology

I am a Research Fellow at the School of Psychology and my current research focuses on social identities, intimate relationships, and culture.

In 2017, I will be working on two projects:

1. How Social Identities Influence Adjusting to Retirement:

Retirement is one of the major transitions in one’s life. People may experience a dramatic change in their social relationships and identities. Based on the Social Identity Model of Identity Change, this project investigates how the change in social identities (such as work/organizational identities, retiree identity, group identities, etc.) is linked to one’s health and well-being in the retirement transition.

2. How Romantic Relationship Experiences Differ across Cultures:

Culture has a profound impact on the way we develop and maintain our romantic relationship and marriage. In particular, I am interested in how East Asians compared to Westerners experience love, conflict, satisfaction, commitment, etc., differently in their relationship. This project examines various relationship issues, such as ideal partner, relationship beliefs, and relationship evaluation, from a cultural perspective. 

As a supervisor, I expect to work closely with honours students through regular individual meetings and constant feedback. Moreover, students are encouraged to use various methods (e.g., experiment, survey, qualitative data, etc.) to answer their research questions. 

If you are interested in one of the projects, feel free to write me an email telling me your thoughts and ideas. I am also open to other topics related to social identities, retirement, intimate relationships, or culture.

Dr Lori Leach

Picture of 'Dr Lori Leach'
Phone:
3365 5054
Email:
Area:
Health Psychology

My research interests include social cognition, intergroup relations, and communication in healthcare contexts.  I use mixed-methods to explore pre- and post-qualification health professional stereotypes and the development of health-professional identity, and together with an international collaborative team I explore intergroup identity and communication in health contexts. In particular, I am interested in how evolving leadership styles affect health professional work life, and thence service delivery and patient care.

Research interest keywords:

Boundary spanning, communication, communication accommodation theory (CAT), conflict, health care, hospitals, ingroup, intergroup relations, intergroup communication, interprofessional collaboration (IPC), interprofessional education (IPE), leadership, outgroup, social identity theory (SIT) 

Dr Li-Ann Leow

Picture of 'Dr Li-Ann Leow'
Phone:
0420206033
Email:
Area:
Cognitive Neuroscience

My field of expertise is motor control and motor learning. My research focuses on our remarkable ability to adapt movement to constant changes in our environment, which surpasses the most advanced robotic algorithms. Working with me, you will have the opportunity to examine how humans adapt movement to perturbations in the environment, using different manipulations, including behavioral or brain stimulation protocols. My supervision style is hands-on. Working within the Centre for Sensorimotor Performance, you will be able to benefit from the combined expertise of our research group. http://www.hms.uq.edu.au/research/research-centres/centre-for-sensorimotor-performance-(csp)/

Associate Professor Helen Liley

Area:
Human Factors

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.

Associate Professor Winnifred Louis

Picture of 'Associate Professor Winnifred Louis'
Room:
MC-407
Phone:
+61 7 3346 9515
Email:
Area:
Social Psychology

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 2017, I will beseeking students to work with me on projects in peace psychology and political decision-making, health decision-making, and prejudice/intergroup conflict.  Students interested in working with me should email me before January 31st.

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 provide lots of support and structure, and my focus is on helping students to achieve jobs as well as pubs & awards.

I am willing to supervise across a wide range of topics. My own research expertise is in the areas of social influence, peace psychology and political decision-making, health decision-making, and prejudice/intergroup conflict.  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 w.louis@psy.uq.edu.au .

Andrew Martin

Picture of 'Andrew Martin'
Email:
Area:
Cognition and Neuroscience

My research is primarily concerned with social cognition and executive functioning across the healthy lifespan and in clinical disorders. I use advanced brain stimulation and neuroimaging techniques as well as neuropsychological methods to explore related questions. 

Another line of research within our group at the Centre for Clinical Research is the use of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to improve cognition in healthy ageing and language function in post-stroke aphasia rehabilitation. 

In 2017, honours projects are available in the following areas: 

  1. Using high-definition tDCS to investigate different aspects of social cognition in healthy young and older adults. For example, we know that large networks involving regions such as the medial prefrontal cortex and temporoparietal junctions are involved in a range of sociocognitive tasks, but little is known about their specific contributions. I am particularly interested in the distinction and integration of self-other processes and how this can inform empathy and theory of mind.
  2. Neural mechanisms underlying conventional and high-definition tDCS in stroke patients with language impairment (in collaboration with Prof. Bruce Crosson at Emory University, Atlanta). This project will commence in early 2017 at UQ and HD-tDCS will be administered during simultaneous functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

All projects will be co-supervised by A/Prof Marcus Meinzer of UQCCR.

Associate Professor Barbara Masser

Picture of 'Associate Professor Barbara Masser'
Room:
MC-461
Phone:
+61 7 3365 6373
Email:
Area:
Social Psychology

In 2017 I will take 2-3 students for supervision.  I am interested in supervising theses on the topics of:

1. Blood (product) donors/donation

  • Exploring the role of voluntary reciprocal altruism on donation behaviour (in conjunction with Prof Eamonn Ferguson, University of Nottingham)
  • Understanding the altruistic and (potentially) selfish motivations of blood donors using a basic economic game (the dictator game; with Eamonn Ferguson)
  • Exploring perceptions of blood donors - specifically is blood donation a costly signal?
  • Intervening to build donor identity/intrinsic motivation

2. Perceptions of sexual assault victims and specifically exploring issues around:

  • What actions/behaviours by victims and perpetrators contribute to perceptions of consent
  • The interplay between victim and perpetrator stereotypes and heterosexual sexual scripts
  • Perceptions of male victims of sexual assault

If you would like to discuss any of these areas/topics with me then please get in touch. Additional information about these areas of research (and others) can be found at:  http://www.psy.uq.edu.au/research/appliedsocial/   

Please note that all students who work with me in 2017 are expected to attend and contribute to weekly Applied Social Psychology lab group meetings. Further, my preference is for my students to work across the breadth of my research interests (i.e. some in blood, some in gender) rather than having all working on similar topics.  In the event I have more requests than spots available this will guide my choice of students. 

Natasha Matthews

Picture of 'Natasha Matthews'
Email:
Area:
Cognitive Neuroscience

PROJECT: Brain mechanisms underlying successful learning

I am a research scientist in the Science of Learning Research Centre here in the School of Psychology. I am interested in working with an honours student on projects exploring what changes in the brain when we successfully learn new things. This work uses electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings - which are a simple, non-invasive way to measure the electrical activity present in the brain. Using EEG we will investigate the way in which both "brain" training and our beliefs about learning (i.e. are we "good learners" or "bad learners") influence our ability to learn. This work will be done in collaboration with Associate Professor Paul Dux and Professor Jason Mattingley as part of our Science of Learning research team.

Professor Jason Mattingley

Picture of 'Professor Jason Mattingley'
Room:
417
Phone:
+61 7 3346 7935
Email:
Area:
Cognitive Neuroscience

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 2016. I will explain these in more detail in person at the Honours "Meet and Greet" session on 27th January, or you can contact me directly via email to find out more.

Honours Projects for 2016:

In 2016, I will be offering several projects. Some of these projects will be co-supervised with post-doctoral research fellows in my laboratory. Below you will find two examples of the kinds of projects on offer.

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: Is learning more efficient when we co-operate or compete?

The brain is a highly efficient learning machine. We begin learning from the moment we are born (and perhaps even earlier!), and we go on learning well into old age. How does the brain integrate new information learned from the environment with existing knowledge? Are there some contexts that provide a better environment for learning than others? In this project we will compare the efficiency of learning when participants undertake a novel task alone, with efficiency when they co-operate of compete with another person. We will use EEG to measure brain activity associated with learning under these different conditions. The study will be undertaken in the new ARC Science of Learning Research Centre (slrc.org.au). You will also have an opportunity to get involved in other learning projects and activities within the SLRC during the year.

Co-supervised with Dr David Painter (School of Psychology)

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.**

Associate Professor John McLean

Picture of 'Associate Professor John McLean'
Room:
MC-413
Phone:
+61 7 3365 6394
Email:
Area:
Memory and Attention

My approach to Hons supervision is generally a traditional one of developing projects of mutual interest with motivated research students rather than fitting students into pre-existing projects.  While I tend to take a cognitive perspective on most topics, the topics I have supervised include a fairly broad range of the discipline of psychology.  Recent Hons and PhD projects have included research in attention  - broadly defined, including basic processes, lapses of attention (e.g. mindwandering / daydreaming),and development of attentional skill (e.g. meditation).  My interests also  include cross-cultural psychology, sports psychology, and the psychology of teaching & learning in university contexts.  I am available for Hons supervision in 2017.  Potentially interested students should feel free to contact me (john@psy.uq.edu.au) to arrange for an obligation-free conversation on their interests.

Dr Amy Mitchell

Picture of 'Dr Amy Mitchell'
Room:
S218
Phone:
+61 7 3346 1202
Email:
Area:
Applied/Professional Psychology

I am based in the UQ Parenting and Family Support Centre, and will be supervising one Honours student in 2017.

My research focuses on the link between parenting behaviour and child health, particularly around parenting children with chronic health conditions; and the impact of difficult childbirth and breastfeeding experiences on the transition to parenthood.

This year I will be offering an honours project that will explore relationships between difficult birth and breastfeeding experiences and early parenting behaviour. Difficult childbirth and breastfeeding experiences can impact the psychological and physical health of women, with consequences reaching far beyond the first weeks or months following delivery. Sequelae can include psychological distress for mothers; feelings of shame, guilt, and inadequacy; and problems within the mother-infant relationship, including delayed bonding between mother and infant. 

I am happy to meet with interested students on Mondays or Tuesdays by appointment - please email me to arrange a meeting, a.mitchell5@uq.edu.au

Associate Professor Alina Morawska

Picture of 'Associate Professor Alina Morawska'
Room:
S217
Phone:
+61 7 3365 7304
Email:
Area:
Clinical

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 2017 will look at focus on parenting and gender roles. 

Professor Andrew Neal

Picture of 'Professor Andrew Neal'
Room:
McElwain 118
Phone:
+61 7 3365 6372
Email:
Area:
Organisational

If you do your honours year in my lab, you will get to work in a team with other honours students, PhDs and postdocs on one of the following research programs: 

1. Developing and testing a general theory of multiple goal pursuit

The aim of this program is to develop and test a formal theory that explains the mechanisms by which people make choices amongst competing goals in a dynamic and uncertain environment ("multiple goal pursuit"). People have to manage competing goals in a wide range of settings (e.g., work, education, sport), yet the mechanisms are poorly understood. Our theory integrates formal theories of self-regulation with formal theories of decision making, to provide a more general account of multiple goal pursuit. We test the predictions of the theory in a series of experiments in which people have to pursue two goals simultaneously. The experiments allow us to test competing views, and understand the mechanisms involved. 

2. Modelling human decision making in complex environments 

The project aims to extend state-of-the art models of simple choice tasks to decision making with complex stimuli in complex environments. These new models will provide a comprehensive account of behaviour, including the choices that are made, how long it takes to make them, and how choices and choice times vary within and between decision makers. The models will explain how people adapt to changes in task demands when dealing with multiple stimuli or performing multiple tasks concurrently under time pressure. The project will provide the basic research that is needed to extend psychological models of choice to complex ‘real-world’ tasks, such air traffic control and maritime surveillance. 

Dr. Nicole Nelson

Picture of 'Dr. Nicole Nelson'
Room:
McElwain 333
Phone:
+61 7 3365 6427
Email:
Area:
Developmental Psychology

I am broadly interested in understanding how children (and adults) learn about and understand emotional expressions.  More specific lines of research focus on: how we integrate facial, postural, and vocal expression cues; our incorporation of situational information into emotion understanding; what role movement plays in expression recognition; how cultural information informs our understanding of others’ expressions; how children decide which expression movements to learn about. 

I am happy to supervise students interested in developing new projects based on the topics above.  I also have several projects in development, which students are welcome to adopt:

 

1)      Children’s expression recognition (particularly this expression) and whether it is related to experiences of relational aggression/bullying in school-aged children.

 

2)      Does the way we exaggerate expressions for children help them identify that movement as an expression? [eye-tracking study]

 

3)      Can visual attention tell us how children integrate facial and postural expression cues? [eye-tracking study]

 

4)      How do parents talk to children about concepts like ‘surprise’? 

 

5)      What information do spontaneous expressions of fear convey to others?

Associate Professor Peter Newcombe

Picture of 'Associate Professor Peter Newcombe'
Room:
McElwain Building (#24A) - Room 403 (St Lucia)
Phone:
+61 7 3365 6830
Email:
Area:
Developmental Psychology

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.

Associate Professor Mark Nielsen

Picture of 'Associate Professor Mark Nielsen'
Room:
MC-337
Phone:
+61 7 3365 6414
Email:
Area:
Developmental Psychology

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 2017 include (but are not limited to):

  • Children's recognition and understanding of ritual behaviour
  • The complementary and conflicting roles of imitation and innovation in the development and transmission of cultural and functional behaviour
  • Children's developing tool-use skills
  • The development of compassion in young children

Dr Brenda Ocampo

Picture of 'Dr Brenda Ocampo'
Email:
Area:
Perception
Honours projects in 2016 will investigate how stimuli and events of which we are not aware affect our behaviour. These experiments will use the masked priming paradigm to demonstrate how an initial non-conscious event influences a second, conscious event. This effect is referred to as "priming".
 
Project 1 will explore the distinctions between the two main mechanisms through which priming can occur.
Project 2 will determine whether our current goals dictate which of the two mechanisms will be recruited.
      

Assoc Prof Tyler G. Okimoto

Room:
331, Colin Clark (Bldg. 39)
Phone:
+61 7 3346 8043
Email:
Area:
Social Psychology

My research uses survey and experimental methods to tackle issues of social justice in organisations, politics, and society more broadly, particularly how decision-making biases contribute to discrimination, unethical practices, injustice, and conflict within and between groups.  Notably, my work focuses on understanding both sides of the problem: (a) the causes of the diverse moral viewpoints that often incite conflict, and (b) the effectiveness of and willingness to use more compassionate, inclusive approaches to repairing harm and building moral consensus.  I have a number of ongoing projects in the latter domain that thesis students might contribute to, although I am also open to novel predictions that are relevant to my core research themes.  Specific areas of current research interest include: forgiveness, revenge/retribution, apologies (interpersonal and intergroup), restorative justice, ex-offender reintegration, reactions towards marginalized group members, the role of leadership in these processes, etc.

Further details/information about me and my research interests can be found on my UQ staff website: https://www.business.uq.edu.au/staff/tyler-okimoto

Professor Kenneth Pakenham

Picture of 'Professor Kenneth Pakenham'
Room:
MC-326
Phone:
+61 7 3365 6677
Email:
Area:
Clinical

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.

Dr Alan Pegna

Picture of 'Dr Alan Pegna'
Room:
460
Phone:
0733656412
Email:
Area:
Cognitive Neuroscience

My research interests lie in the field of emotional face processing from a neuroscience perspective.

More specifically, I would like to address the topic of attraction of attention by emotional faces, and in particular to measure how efficient emotional faces are at attracting attention when they are presented at different degrees of excentricity in the visual field.

In addition, in order to establish if the amygdala (a key structure for emotions) is involved in this type of processing, the study will also manipulate the parameters the face presentation in order to suppress or facilitate the amydala's ability to process the stimuli.     

 

Dr Kim Peters

Picture of 'Dr Kim Peters'
Room:
132
Phone:
+61 7 3346 9157
Email:
Area:
Organisational

My current research centres on the following two topics (gossip and role models), and I would be willing to supervise a student in either of these areas.

Gossip: 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.

Role Models: 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.

Note to interested 2016 students: I am in Europe until mid-February, and will not be able to attend the supervisor meet and greet. If you would like to find out more about me and my approach to supervision, please email me.

Dr Jonathan Redshaw

Picture of 'Dr Jonathan Redshaw'
Room:
328
Email:
Area:
Cognitive Development

My research primarily focuses on the development of episodic foresight (thinking about the future) in children. I have a few possible projects in this area, all with the ultimate aim of publication. You are welcome to work on these projects but I am also very open to other ideas.

1. Preparing for mutually exclusive future possibilities: Recent research from our lab shows that children become able to mentally represent and prepare for mutually exclusive versions of the future during the preschool years. But why do younger children struggle with this type of reasoning? One possibility is that they fail to understand that their predictions about future events can be incorrect. Potential projects would involve working with typically developing children (and possibly children with autism) to make progress on this question.

2. Strategic reminder setting to aid prospective memory: Prospective memory involves remembering to perform an action at a specific future occasion. Adults often use external aids, such as calendars and alarms, to help us remember what to do and when to do it. When do children spontaneously do the same, and what are the cognitive processes responsible? Moreover, is this capacity less functional in certain clinical groups, such as those with schizophrenia or autism?

3. Means-end reasoning to achieve a future goal: Classic research shows that chimpanzees can mentally reason backwards through several steps to solve a complex problem and achieve a goal. When can children do this, and is it related to inhibitory control and other executive functions?

4. How much effort will preschoolers expend to obtain future rewards? Parents often use future rewards to motivate their children to do chores (e.g., "if you put away your toys then you can watch TV tonight"). But it remains largely unknown how children are influenced by the size and nature of the future reward. When there are more rewards available, will they work harder on a task to maximise their future benefit?

Please feel free to send me an email (j.redshaw@uq.edu.au) if you would like to meet and discuss potential projects.

Dr Eva-Maria Reuter

Picture of 'Dr Eva-Maria Reuter'
Room:
Human Movement Studies Building (26B), Blair Drive, Room 424
Phone:
+61 7 3365 6104
Email:
Area:
Motor Control

I am a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Motor Control, in the Centre for Sensorimotor Performance at the School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences. I am interested in the interrelation between motor adaptation and attention as well as in age-related differences in sensorimotor control. Research methods include behavioural testing as well as EEG.

An honours project could be concerned with the question how differentially young and older adults prepare their movements when adapting their reaches to a force field. The experiments will be carried out with a robotic manipulandum in a virtual reality environment.

Feel free to email me to arrange a meeting or approach me at the supervisor meet&greet. 

Dr Gail Robinson

Picture of 'Dr Gail Robinson'
Room:
MC - 412
Phone:
+61 7 3365 6401
Email:
Area:
Clinical Neuropsychology

I have space for 1 Honours student to be involved in a larger clinical neuropsychology study. The focus of the project is the executive component of language generation with both healthy controls (older and younger) and neurological patients. Executive functions enable individuals to behave appropriately by implementing a complex set of processes that include evaluation, planning and the generation of novel responses. This will suit students with an interest in cognition and neuropsychology. If this fits, email me detailing your interests and to set up a meeting (g.robinson@psy.uq.edu.au).

Professor Penelope Sanderson

Picture of 'Professor Penelope Sanderson'
Room:
MC-123
Phone:
+61 7 3346 9529
Email:
Area:
Human Factors

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 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 study in the UQ Usability Laboratory that examines how people manage interruptions.

2. Do head-worn displays help healthcare practitioners monitor multiple patients?

With the advent of wearable personal technologies such as head-worn displays (HWDs), we need to understand their impact on visual attention (see the Vuzix M100 and the ORA-2 for two sample HWDs). In the UQ Usability Laboratory we are investigating when HWDs are/are not helpful when users must monitor multiple patients. The results will influence how HWDs are used in healthcare, the military context, and in everyday life. Your lab-based study could be one of those studies. 

3. How can auditory displays help doctors and nurses monitor the status of newborn babies or monitor anaesthetised patients during surgery?

We have an ongoing partnership with personnel at Mater Hospital and University of Florida on the design of auditory displays for different patient monitoring contexts--two examples are monitoring the oxygen status of neonates, and monitoring the vital signs of adults undergoing anesthesia. Your thesis on auditory displays for patient monitoring could break new ground and help improve outcomes for patients of all ages. 

RESEARCH GROUP AND LABORATORY. We provide a structured and highly supportive environment for honours students. Most of our honours students end up publishing their theses and several students have had the opportunity to subsequently travel interstate or overseas to present their honours research. In 2016, our honours student Hai-Ping Lim won the McElwain Prize for the best individual thesis in the School of Psychology. 

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. 

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/.

Dr Theresa L. Scott

Picture of 'Dr Theresa L. Scott'
Phone:
07 3346 5147
Email:
Area:
Applied/Professional Psychology

My research activities primarily focus on the complex issues around dementia and driving. The complex issues around dementia and driving have emotional, social, legal and ethical ramifications for individuals and present serious public health risks. Drivers with dementia have an increased risk of crashes two to eight times that of older adults without cognitive decline. Dementia has a profound effect on capacity for driving, although a diagnosis of dementia does not automatically preclude a person from safe driving, at some stage they will have to stop. Some drivers avoid their responsibility to stop driving even when their licence is revoked, for emotional, logistical and mobility reasons. Stopping driving impacts health and quality of life for people with dementia and their caregivers, and poses considerable challenges to health professionals who monitor driving issues. General Practitioners are tasked with reporting patients with dementia that they believe are a risk to public safety. This puts them in an uncomfortable ethical position. It is a complex area for everyone involved. Evidence shows that without intensive emotional and practical support to plan for and cease driving, people with dementia are at risk of isolation, depression, unsafe driving, injury and loss of life.

 

Dr David Sewell

Picture of 'Dr David Sewell'
Room:
McElwain 325
Phone:
+61 7 3346 7629
Email:
Area:
Memory and Attention

My research investigates the basic mechanisms underlying associative learning, memory, and decision-making. I have a broad interest in the way knowledge is represented and used to determine choice behavior. I am particularly interested in the basic learning processes that contribute to choice outcomes, and the ways in which knowledge and decision-making might be influenced by attentional factors. My work typically involves a combination of experimental and cognitive modeling techniques to address these issues.

 

In 2017, I am especially interested in supervising Honors projects on the following topics, though I am open to other possibilities in the domain of learning and decision-making:

1. Attentional Weighting in Categorization

People are adept at combining information from multiple sources to make categorization decisions (e.g., this furry animal with four legs and its tongue hanging out is a dog). Generally, people attend to cues in a way that promotes accurate performance. However, it is less clear whether people can allocate attention arbitrarily when all cues are equally relevant. This project will examine the way people's decision-making is affected by instructions to attend/ignore different sources of information.

 

2. Rule Use Under Uncertainty

In many situations, behavior is determined by the selection and application of simple decision rules (e.g., greeting a dear friend via bear hug is fine). Rule-use is cognitively efficient, as it allows people to attend to relatively little information. However, context very often dictates which rules result in acceptable responses (e.g., greeting a foreign dignitary via bear hug may trigger confusion and/or a minor international incident). Oftentimes though, the context in which a decision needs to be made is uncertain, which may complicate selection of a decision rule. This project will explore how rule selection is affected by degrees of uncertainty in decision context.

 

3. Selection Costs in Visual Working Memory

How is visual information represented in memory? An enduring debate is whether representation is based on integrated objects or component features. This question has traditionally been addressed via analysis of response time switch costs. However, it is not always clear whether switch costs reflect the time taken for attention to move from one object to another, or if they are instead driven by reductions in the quality of the representations themselves (e.g., due to time-based decay or interference in memory). This project will apply a cognitive model of choice response time in order to identify the relative contribution of these processes.

Professor Virginia Slaughter

Picture of 'Professor Virginia Slaughter'
Room:
MC-335
Phone:
+61 7 3365 6220
Email:
Area:
Developmental Psychology

General areas of interest: cognitive development in infancy and early childhood; theory of mind and early social development; development of knowledge about the human body; development of biological concepts; early numerical knowledge.

My preference is to negotiate with students about the project they wish to undertake in Honours.  We normally spend the first few weeks discussing mutual interests, before settling on a topic. 

Most of my Honours students do developmental research, recruiting and testing infants and/or children through the Early Cognitive Development Centre or via local daycare centres and schools.  Contrary to rumour, it is not especially difficult or otherwise disadvantagous to carry out a developmental project, as we have excellent systems in place to ensure that students can recruit a good-sized sample within the Honours timeframe.

Dr Nik Steffens

Picture of 'Dr Nik Steffens'
Room:
134, McElwain Building (Building 24A, St. Lucia Campus)
Phone:
+61 7 3346 9555
Email:
Area:
Organisational

I am happy to supervise highly motivated students (e.g., research experience, Honours, Master students) on research projects in the broad areas of leadership and followership, creativity and motivation, and health and well-being. Exemplary research projects might examine one of the following issues:

  • Creativity: How is people's ability to generate and recognise creative performances influenced by (a) the multiple social identities that people have and (b) the relationship between these?
  • Meta-psychology of people's engagement with groups: To what extent does group members’ engagement with groups depend on the extent to which other group members' identify with the group?
  • Authentic leadership: What makes a leader authentic? To what extent are leaders seen to be authentic as a function of being aware of (a) their personal self ('I' and 'me) and (b) their social self ('we' and 'us') that they share with followers?
  • Role models: How is the ability to be seen as a role model and to inspire as a role model influenced by the extent to which a person perceives to have overlap in social group memberships with a potential role model?
  • Leadership and the psychology of followership: What factors influence people’s  theories about followers (what followers are like and do) and about the ways in which leaders can and should influence followers?

If you are an Honours student and would like to meet and discuss potential supervision, please come to the Honours Meet & Greet event.

Dr Stan Steindl

Picture of 'Dr Stan Steindl'
Email:
Area:
Clinical

Shame, psychopathology and the moderating role of compassion

Growing evidence supports the association between early memories of shame (as well as a lack of warmth and safeness) and later psychopathology. In fact, shame memories have been found to function like trauma memories, and can lead to patterns of symptoms similar to those found in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). More recently, compassion (including compassion towards others, compassion from others, and compassion towards oneself) has been hypothesised to moderate the effect of early shame memories on later psychopathology. Thus far, research exploring these relationships have largely been conducted with university student or general community populations.

The project to be undertaken will involve collecting cross-sectional survey data on variables such as shame memories, warmth and safeness, compassion, psychological flexibility and psychopathology among both a university sample and a clinical sample. The project will be conducted in collaboration with Dr Marcela Matos at University of Coimbra, Portugal, who has carried out previous research in this area. The clinical sample will be gathered from a private practice setting.

I am interested in taking one honours student in 2017. I would like to invite students with an interest in clinical psychology to apply. I am a clinical psychologist in private practice, and as such may need to meet the student sometimes at my offices, either in Morningside or Newmarket, however, I will be available to come to UQ on some Mondays. Hopefully we will be able to have joint supervision sessions via Skype with Dr Matos at times throughout the year, especially for advice regarding statistical analyses. If you have any queries, please feel free to contact me by email.

Professor Thomas Suddendorf

Picture of 'Professor Thomas Suddendorf'
Room:
MC-455
Phone:
+61 7 3365 8341
Email:
Area:
Cognition and Neuroscience

Cognitive development, Animal Cognition, Evolutionary Psychology

Associate Professor Jason Tangen

Picture of 'Associate Professor Jason Tangen'
Room:
MC458
Email:
Area:
Judgement and Decision Making

I’ll be taking five honours students in 2017. Our work is broadly based on the perceptual and cognitive changes that occur as novices become experts. 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 have a bunch of really great projects lined up for the year. Our primary focus this semester is to test a range of novel training methods to turn novices into experts as efficiently as possible. Our ultimate goal is to design, build, and deploy a first-of-its-kind suite of learning methods to train identification experts in the context of matching fingerprints. This work will enable examiners to interpret evidence more effectively and efficiently, help to reduce the amount of time that it takes to train experts, aid in the development of a model of expert testimony that better captures the reality of their decision making processes, and ensure the integrity of forensics as an investigative tool available to police so the rule of law is justly applied.

Another project that we have available this year is how to detect an “Aha!” moment: Like a lightbulb turning on, it’s possible to solve a problem in a sudden and unexpected flash of insight. Many of the most famous scientific discoveries happen in this way, and many problems we encounter in day to day life are understood unexpectedly while having a shower, taking a walk, or riding a bike. However, to begin to understand insight moments and how to improve their accuracy and frequency, we first need to be able to detect when they happen. In this project, we will aim to elicit insight moments in the laboratory using creative problem-solving and then compare three different ways of measuring when they occur, including a novel visceral measure of insight employing a dynamometer.

I’ve been ridiculously fortunate to work with some amazing students in the past, many of whom have continued on to do a PhD afterward. If you’d like to be part of this group, feel free to contact me directly.

Dr Eric Vanman

Picture of 'Dr Eric Vanman'
Room:
MC-465
Phone:
+61 7 3365 6213
Email:
Area:
Social Behaviour

I will be supervising at least four honours students in 2017.

In the UQ Social Neuroscience Lab, we use various psychophysiological measures to examine emotional and cognitive processes involved in social interactions.  Although informed by recent findings in neuroimaging, honours projects are 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 are required to attend weekly lab meetings with my PhD students and other research assistants, in addition to having individual supervision appointments.

In 2017, my honours students will be focusing on the situational factors that cause us to have more or less empathy for another person. These factors might include the facial expression of the other person, their age or race, how trustworthy they appear, their "story", etc. Each thesis project will involve learning how to record facial EMG (muscle activity from the face) and possibly other physiological measures. All projects will be "pre-registered" at the Open Science Framework site. 

What about my honours supervision style? I realise that most new honours students are undertaking their first big research project, so early on I try to help them develop a realistic time schedule with a set of goals that we assess at our weekly individual meetings. Once data collection has begun, we meet individually less often, and but start to meet more often again when it's time to analyse the data. By the end of the year, I hope that my students feel that they can work more independently. I also like to improve students' writing skills whenever possible, so some of our lab meetings will cover those skills as well. To this end, each student will receive their own copy of the APA publication manual! 

Please be sure to contact me if you have any questions. I'll be free to meet with you from January 30th.

Cheers,

Eric

Professor Bill von Hippel

Picture of 'Professor Bill von Hippel'
Room:
MC-323
Phone:
+61 7 3365 6430
Email:
Area:
Social Psychology

I am interested in evolutionary social cognition. We are conducting a variety of projects on self-deception, overconfidence, and social intelligence.

Dr Margie Wright

Room:
Qld Institute of Medical Research
Phone:
(07) 33620225
Email:
Area:
Behaviour Genetics

My research is at the interface of cognitive neuroscience and genomics using a multimethod approach. The overall aim is to provide new knowledge and understanding of the neurobiological causes of major mental illnesses through the integration of structural and functional imaging, measures of cognition, health and well being, and behavioural and molecular genetic approaches. A primary goal is to disentangle the relative contributions of genetic and environmental factors on brain variation in healthy individuals, and to discover some of the genes and pathways that influence brain structure and function. Discovering genetic loci that modify or protect against brain disorders will help identify the critical molecular pathways contributing to brain deterioration or health throughout life, which in turn should improve future treatments and create the potential for prevention strategies.

One of my recent projects is the Queensland Twin Adolescent Brain project. This longitudinal study will track the developmental brain changes that occur during puberty. We will be testing 400 twins three times collecting data such as structural and functional MRI, biological samples (including hormones and DNA) as well as neuropsychological and psychopathological measures.

Interested students should contact me with their research ideas (related to my research focus) so we can discuss possible options for an honours project.

Dr Maryam Ziaei

Picture of 'Dr Maryam Ziaei'
Room:
303
Email:
Area:
Cognition and Neuroscience

I am based at the Centre for Advanced Imaging and working on a number of projects including the following. I’m happy to talk about them in more details. Please contact me on Maryam.ziaei@cai.uq.edu.au if you have any questions. Here is my website for more information:

Logical reasoning among healthy young adults: Logical reasoning is one of the fundamental ability that drives success in various aspects of our lives, such as interpersonal interaction, decision making, and career progression. Therefore, gaining a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of reasoning could provide a comprehensive picture of how we can enhance this skill. In this project, we are aiming to examine the link between logical reasoning and other cognitive functions as well as individuals’ characteristics. I’ve completed a project in this area just recently and writing the results at the moment. Happy to share some of the findings if you are interested to know more about this topic.

Own-age bias among younger and older adults: There is increasing evidence that we perceive our own age faces differently than other age faces. Such bias could lead to implicit stereotypes and discrimination against elderly individuals. In this study, we aim to investigate the cognitive and social cognitive mechanisms of own-age biases in aging. In my previous work, I examined the neural correlates of own-age bias in aging and can send you a paper which is under revision if you want to read more about this topic.

Neural mechanisms of social cognitive function in epilepsy: In this study, we aim to examine the underlying neural correlates of social cognitive functions, such as recognizing different facial features, in healthy young adults and patients with epilepsy. This is a long-term project which includes two stages. The first stage is to examine the underlying neural correlates of socially-relevant stimuli (such as faces) in healthy subjects and then we investigate the changes among epileptic patients. For an Honours’ project, you could choose to get involved in any of these stages. Here are some examples of my previous work in this area:

  1. Ziaei, M., Burianova, H., Von Hippel, W., Ebner, N. C., Phillips, L. H., & Henry, J. D., 2016. The impact of aging on the neural networks involved in gaze and emotional processing. Neurobiology of Aging, 48, 182-194.
  2. Ziaei, M., Ebner, N. C., & Burianova, H., 2016. Functional brain networks involved in gaze and emotional processing. European Journal of Neuroscience,1-9. 

Dr Brendan Zietsch

Picture of 'Dr Brendan Zietsch'
Room:
457 Psychology Buliding (McElwain; 24A)
Email:
Area:
Evolutionary

I’m interested in 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.

My supervision style is flexible. You will attend weekly lab meetings with the von Hippel lab group; however, one-on-one supervisory meetings can be organised weekly or as-needed depending on your preference. Data collection will take approximately 30 hours across the two semesters and will be collected in two teams of two using the SONA 1st year participant pool.

The projects below represent example theses for 2017. If you selected one of these, you would review the literature and come up with your own specific hypotheses for the project. Alternatively, we can discuss any other project ideas you may have that fit in with my research areas and methodology. If you'd like to talk about any of these options, don't hesitate to contact me. Alternatively, come and say hi at the supervisor meet and greet in January.

1. Do men produce and women appreciate humour?

Previous research has shown that the sexes place different emphases on the importance on humour. Allegedly, women prefer men who are funny and men prefer women who find them funny. However, a second line of research has demonstrated that people’s explicit preferences may not correspond to the implicit preferences they show when rating actual people. We suspect this may be the case with humour production and appreciation. For this project, you will have participants rate each other on ‘(s)he is funny’ and ‘(s)he finds me funny’ and see how this influences the extent to which they find each other attractive.

2. Do people prefer partners similar to themselves?

Assortative mating, the phenomenon whereby individuals mate with individuals who are similar to them, has been demonstrated for several physical and psychological traits. However, people’s mate preferences and mate choice do not always coincide, which raises the question of whether this is out of preference or compromise. While people’s explicit preferences for self-similarity have been tested previously, the implicit preferences they show when rating actual people have not. For this project, you would choose several key traits (physical and/or psychological) and investigate whether people find similarity based on these traits attractive.

3. What makes an attractive body?

In an evolutionary sense, the most important aspect of a potential partner is their ability to produce and rear healthy children.  This should result in men favouring women with body dimensions that signal youth and fertility and women favouring men with body dimensions that signal genetic quality and capacity for protection. Though this area has been studied extensively, there is limited research that includes 1) ratings of men and 2) in-person ratings. For this project, you would use several key body dimensions to predict in-person ratings of bodily attractiveness from members of the opposite sex.

4. What makes an attractive face?

Many traits have been associated with facial attractiveness, these include symmetry, averageness, masculinity-femininity and more. Previous research has used facial analysis and ratings of photographs to better understand what makes a face attractive. However, it is not clear that these ratings of photographs accurately capture the attraction that might occur in person. For this project, you would collect photographs for facial analysis and compare participants’ masculinity/femininity with in-person ratings of facial attractiveness. There would also be scope to compare these in-person ratings to photograph ratings if you chose to do so.

Methodology

All of these projects use a modified speed-dating paradigm. Participants complete a series of questionnaires regarding themselves and the other participants they speak to during the session. By using this ‘dyadic data’, we are able to go beyond self-report and gain insights into attraction from both perspectives. The data are analysed using multi-level modeling and you should therefore be fairly confident with statistics. For examples of previous projects using the speed-dating paradigm, please see these previous theses.

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