Thursday, 5 September 2019

JUST PUBLISHED: new paper on task switching in PNAS

In modern life, we engage with many sources of information concurrently. To do this, we must continuously switch between different tasks, but this comes at a cost to performance, especially in older adults. Using a large dataset from the Lumosity online cognitive-training platform, Scott Brown, Guy Hawkins and Frini Karayanidis, with their collaborator Mark Steyvers from the University of California, Irvine, developed a computational model of task switching that defines distinct latent measures of activating the relevant task, deactivating the irrelevant task, and making a decision. This model shows that, although task practice can improve task-switching performance, persistent costs remain even after extensive practice, and more so in older adults. The findings show that, with extensive task practice, older people can become functionally similar to less-practiced younger people.

You can see the paper here: 
Steyvers, M., Hawkins, G., Karayanidis, F., Brown, S. (Early view 2019). The Temporal Dynamics of Task Switching: A Computational Analysis of Practice and Age Effects in Large-Scale Cognitive Training Data. Proceedings of the National Society of Science, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1906788116

The paper received local coverage in the Newy Herald:
and national coverage in the SMH, The Age, WA Today, Brisbane Times and MSM Australia.
https://www.theage.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/brain-training-shown-to-restore-sharpness-in-older-adults-20190902-p52n2p.html?cspt=1567463411|04893d3da1b2b657d0390f623b155dfb

Friday, 30 August 2019

SOPRG research seminar by Dr Kotryna K. Fraser on Performance & Psychology, Tue Sept 17, 12-1pm

The School of Psychology's Social and Organisation Psychology Research Group (SOPRG) is proud of inviting you to...

WHAT/WHO: a research presentation by Dr Dr Kotryna K. Fraser from UON Life Sciences

TITLE: Bridging the gap between performance and psychology: Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology in Practice and Research

WHERE: School of Psychology, Keats room AVGL19, Aviation Building, Callaghan; zoom: https://uonewcastle.zoom.us/s/979950681

WHEN: Tuesday 17th September, 12-1pm

ABSTRACT: Have you considered why some people make it to the top and some don’t? Why some people crumble under pressure while others thrive? Why some athletes are super-champs and win an Olympic Gold while others are almost-champs and come second? Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology may have more [scientific] answers for you to consider than you may expect. This presentation will offer a brief overview of key topics that are often discussed, practised and researched by Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology researchers and practitioners. It will then offer an overview of research projects and key aspects of practical work as a means to bridge the mainstream psychology with domains of sport, exercise and physical performance.

'DISCLAIMER': This presentation is designed to showcase a range of topics, projects and ideas in Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology rather than to turn you into a super-athlete.

BIO: Kotryna K. Fraser is an Associate Lecturer in Exercise and sport Sciences (Sport Psychology) at the School of Environmental and Life Sciences, The University of Newcastle. She is an earlier career researcher with a strong passion and background in Sport and Performance Psychology. Kotryna has MSc in Performance Psychology and a PhD in Education and Sport from The University of Edinburgh, Scotland where she taught and supervised undergraduate and postgraduate students. Kotryna is an accredited Sport and Exercise Scientist in Psychology Support under British Association of Sport and Exercise Scientists. Her research interests lie within the areas of feminism and equity in sport, applied interdisciplinary practice, practitioner and coach development, mental skills training, and positive youth development through sport.   

Thursday, 29 August 2019

E&D NEWS: Psych Researchers Secure Funding from Department of Education to Research Student Success at University

What kind of student do you picture when you think of a successful student? Chances are your idea of a successful student is one who gets HDs, passes all their courses and graduates as quickly as possible. From the perspectives of governments and universities, success at university generally boils down to these kinds of statistics.


However, research has found that when you ask students to define success they have very different indicators and ideas about what they are trying to achieve at university. From a student’s perspective, success takes on an array of meanings ranging from tangible outcomes such as CVs and careers, to personal growth and achievement, to developing the ability to change the world for the better. This is especially true for students from non-traditional backgrounds. In particular, research has shown that students from low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds come to university with different motivations and have different ideas about what they are trying to achieve. Thus, it is possible that the current limited definitions of success held by institutions may undermine low SES students’ own feelings of their success.

A/Prof Mark Rubin and Dr Olivia Evans from the School of Psychology, along with a team of researchers from the University of Newcastle, the University of Wollongong, the University of the Sunshine Coast, Western Sydney University, the University of Queensland and La Trobe University, have received a Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program National Priorities Pool grant to investigate these issues of SES and success at university.

The project will use quantitative and qualitative research methods to produce a comprehensive, integrative understanding of perspectives to success in higher education and when and how it is predicted by SES. The project will develop our understandings of student success in terms of both (a) objective definitions and measurements and (b) subjective experiences of success and being ‘successful’. The project will also provide insight into which factors contribute to success in terms of broader trends and students’ own attributions of their success. 

To find out more about the grant, follow the link here.
For any questions or to discuss further, contact Mark at: Mark.Rubin@newcastle.edu.au | Twitter: @RubinPsyc
or Olivia at: Olivia.Evans@newcastle.edu.au | Twitter: @Oliviosa

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

School HDR candidates deliver at the University of Newcastle 3-minute-thesis final

Last week was a great week for UoN research students and general public alike:
The University of Newcastle had its annual Three-Minutes-Thesis competition finals at the Newcastle Conservatorium.

Finalists from multiple faculties had to qualify through earlier rounds and compete to represent the University at the Australia-Asia finals.

All presentations were of superb quality, heralded by both spectators and judges. Two of the 15 finalists were from the School of Psychology at the Faculty of Science: Korinne Nicolas and Alix Woolard presented their research on  'keen brain' and 'baby-talk'. respectively. Alix won the popular vote prize. In addition, Ashlea Rendell from the Faculty of Engineering, who is co-supervised by Psychology staff, went on to win the third overall prize.




Monday, 26 August 2019

E&D NEWS: Psych Researchers Secure Funding from Department of Education to Research Student Success at University

What kind of student do you picture when you think of a successful student? Chances are your idea of a successful student is one who gets HDs, passes all their courses and graduates as quickly as possible. From the perspectives of governments and universities, success at university generally boils down to these kinds of statistics.

However, research has found that when you ask students to define success they have very different indicators and ideas about what they are trying to achieve at university. From a student’s perspective, success takes on an array of meanings ranging from tangible outcomes such as CVs and careers, to personal growth and achievement, to developing the ability to change the world for the better. This is especially true for students from non-traditional backgrounds. In particular, research has shown that students from low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds come to university with different motivations and have different ideas about what they are trying to achieve. Thus, it is possible that the current limited definitions of success held by institutions may undermine low SES students’ own feelings of their success.

 A/Prof Mark Rubin and Dr Olivia Evans from the School of Psychology, along with a team of researchers from the University of Newcastle, the University of Wollongong, the University of the Sunshine Coast, Western Sydney University, the University of Queensland and La Trobe University, have received a Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program National Priorities Pool grant to investigate these issues of SES and success at university.

The project will use quantitative and qualitative research methods to produce a comprehensive, integrative understanding of perspectives to success in higher education and when and how it is predicted by SES. The project will develop our understandings of student success in terms of both (a) objective definitions and measurements and (b) subjective experiences of success and being ‘successful’. The project will also provide insight into which factors contribute to success in terms of broader trends and students’ own attributions of their success.  

To find out more about the grant, follow the link here. 
For any questions or to discuss further, contact Mark at: Mark.Rubin@newcastle.edu.au | Twitter: @RubinPsyc
or Olivia at: Olivia.Evans@newcastle.edu.au | Twitter: @Oliviosa


Sunday, 11 August 2019

Psychology students and researchers at the CBMHR annual research day

Students and staff from the School of Psychology participated and presented their research at the annual post-graduate research day of the Center for Brain and Mental Health Research (CBMHR) at the HMRI, last week.

Among the many excellent talks and posters, some of our HDR students also secured prizes for the top presentations. These include Rebekah Bolton (runner-up, best poster; photoed below with Prof Chris Dayas), Annalisa Cuskelly (winner, best blitz talk), and Laura Wall (runner up, best bliz talk). In addition, Gavin Cooper won a prize for the 'audience best question.' 


Friday, 9 August 2019

E&D NEWS: Newcastle Herald spots UON Psychology research about the critical link between social class and sleep


PhD candidate Romany McGuffog was interviewed this week by the Newcastle Herald about her research on the important link between social class and sleep, following Romany’s contribution to the Newcastle Pint of Science in May.

As the news article highlights, Romany’s research shows that people from lower social classes tend to have poorer mental and physical health, and that sleep can partly explain this relationship. The research also informs the types of sleep interventions that can be implemented: People from lower social classes may find having a regular sleep schedule harder to implement if they have multiple jobs with different work times. Therefore, sleep interventions aimed at improving mental health need to be applicable to people from a variety of social class background.
Social class is a relevant and important issue for Australians to discuss. Previous literature however shows that the impact of social class on health is not restricted to Australia but has been found in various countries around the world.



To read the article about Romany’s research from the Newcastle Herald, follow the link here.

The article provides a great insight to the research that Romany has been working on, and is a wonderful example of research dissemination to a wider audience. Both the presentation at the Pint of Science and the news article were excellent ways to share research to a non-academic audience.

Romany is set to submit her PhD thesis on the 22nd August, under the supervision of A/Prof Mark Rubin, A/Prof Stefania Paolini, and Dr Kylie McIntyre.

For any questions or to discuss further, contact Romany at:
Romany.McGuffog@uon.edu.au | Twitter: @RomanyMcGuffog

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

School of Psychology research seminar, Wed Aug 7, 12-1pm: Prof Thomas Denson, UNSW


UPCOMING SCHOOL WIDE

RESEARCH SEMINAR
ONE WEEK TO GO!

WEDNESDAY 7th AUGUST 2019

GUEST SPEAKER: Professor Thomas F. Denson
AFFILIATION: School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
TITLE: Four psychological manipulations that (sort of) reduce anger and aggression

Location: Room-L326 in Auchmuty Library and via Zoom link to Ourimbah HO-173

Zoom link:https://uonewcastle.zoom.us/ j/257709588

Date: Wednesday 7th August 2019

Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm

No rsvp required

Light refreshments will be provided

Thomas F. Denson is a Professor in the School of Psychology at UNSW. He is an experimental social- personality psychologist. His primary interests are anger- driven aggression, the social, cognitive and affective neuroscience of anger and aggression, and psychoneuroendocrinology. Tom received his PhD in 2007 from the University of Southern California, after which he received a lectureship at the School of Psychology. He has won several awards for his research including the Association for Psychological Science’s ‘Rising Star’ Award, the NSW Young Tall Poppy Science Award, and the Society for Australasian Social Psychologists’ Early Career Researcher Award. He is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and a Fellow of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. He has received over $3 million in funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC) and National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). He was an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award Fellow and an ARC Future Fellow. He is also an associate editor at Aggressive Behavior and has published over 95 articles and book chapters. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, playing guitar, and walking his fluffy white dog.

Anger-driven aggression is difficult to prevent. This talk will review recent experimental basic science research on four interventions designed to reduce anger and reactive aggression: cognitive reappraisal, self-control training, cognitive control training, and mindfulness meditation. Cognitive reappraisal involves thinking about a provocation in a less personal, more objective manner. Self-control training involves practicing small acts of self-control over an extended period, usually for two weeks or more. Cognitive control training involves repeat practice of response inhibition tasks tailored to hostile situations. Mindfulness involves acceptance of angry feelings and not reacting to these feelings.

Although my initial review concluded that results were promising for all four strategies (e.g., Denson, 2015), subsequent work from my own laboratory found that cognitive reappraisal and mindfulness are likely to be the most effective in reducing anger and aggression. The data for self-control training are mixed and the evidence is weak to non-existent for cognitive control training. Interestingly, the two strategies which rely on higher-order, abstract cognition (cognitive reappraisal and mindfulness) were most effective. These findings suggest that using these strategies in anger-prone and violent populations may prove challenging as they often lack the requisite abilities to engage in these strategies

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

School of Psychology research seminar by A/Prof Nida Denson, Tue, Aug 6: Free to be Childfree?


UPCOMING SCHOOL WIDE

RESEARCH SEMINAR
ONE WEEK TO GO

TUESDAY 6th AUGUST 2019

GUEST SPEAKER: Associate Professor Nida Denson
TITLE: Free to be childfree? Evidence of bias towards people who are childfree by choice

People who consciously choose not to have children are increasing in Western countries, yet anecdotal evidence points to bias towards people who choose not to have children. In three studies, we empirically tested whether bias exists towards people who choose to be childfree, as well as some potential moderating or mediating factors of  perceptions of people from these groups. In the first two studies, we empirically examined whether people who are childfree by choice are targets of prejudice. We compared the childfree by choice with commonly prejudiced groups based on the stereotype content model (e.g., warmth, competence). We also examined possible gender differences in bias targets as well as bias sources. In the third study, we sought to examine possible mediating and moderating factors of the perceptions of people from these groups (e.g., dehumanization, moral outrage). We found that people who are childfree by choice were evaluated similar to, or more negative than some commonly prejudiced target groups but not others. We also found that people who are childfree by choice were evaluated more negatively than people who  have children, people who wanted children but could not  have children, and also people who have adopted children.
This research is the first quantitative work to show a small to moderate societal prejudice toward people who choose not to have children and among parent groups, they are perceived as lowest in warmth. Promoting awareness of this prejudice may eventually aid in its reduction.





Location: Keats AVLG-17 and Zoom link to Ourimbah IRC113 via Zoom link: https://uonewcastle.zoom.us/j/926033087 
Date: Tuesday 6th August 2019

Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm



Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Psychology speed mentoring, Ourimbah campus, August 6, 2019


The New South Wales Central Coast branch of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and University of Newcastle (UoN) are proud to host the first psychology speed mentoring event at the Ourimbah campus:


·       Designed to connect Undergraduate and Postgraduate psychology students with industry professionals to help students gain insight and understanding of the psychology profession. 
·       Opportunity for professionals to share their experiences and passion to help guide and support those working towards a career in psychology.  

Where: The Millery, University of Newcastle, Ourimbah Campus
When: 6th August 2019
Time: 6:30pm to 8:30pm

Canapes will be provided and the bar will be open for purchasing drinks

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

New book on Transgender Health by A/Prof Rachel Heath & Dr Katie Wynne


Conjoint Associate Professor Rachel Heath from the School of Psychology and Dr Katie Wynne, Senior Staff Specialist in Endocrinology at the John Hunter Hospital and Conjoint Senior Lecturer in Medicine, have written about transgender health in a book published recently by ABC-CLIO located in Santa Barbara, USA, in their Praeger Book series.



The book provides the most up-to-date information on transgender science and its applications for gender-diverse people, their supporters and the professionals who assist them to lead healthy, happy and successful lives.

The number of people presenting at gender clinics worldwide for assistance has increased exponentially in the last decade. Transgender people also have become much more prominent in the media. An increase in political populism, however, has brought unprecedented attacks on trans* people. Covering a wealth of topics relevant to transgender people and their supporters, both social and professional, our book will help readers to see through the flawed arguments of those who wish to inflict damage on the trans* community. 

The content of this book ranges from theoretical ideas about the origin of gender diversity to practical solutions for trans* people to enjoy life in their chosen gender. Physical health topics include hormone therapy, puberty blockers, breast augmentation/reduction, gender confirmation surgery, and speech therapy. Mental health topics include dealing with discrimination, bullying, and transphobia.

The text is presented so that it can be understood with no scientific background but is also highly relevant to the health professional. Copious footnotes and references allow those wishing to delve more deeply into the topics to do so easily. The book is also supported by readily accessible resources available online and on social media.

For further information, please contact






Saturday, 29 June 2019

NOTE CHANGE OF TIME FOR AE&D SERIES: Research presentation on Improving STEM outcomes for social minority students by Prof Bowman from UofIowa, Wed 10th July 12-1pm

The School of Psychology's Outreach working party is proud of inviting you to join us for a research presentation of our Aboriginal Equity and Diversity Series.

WHAT: a research presentation by Prof Nicholas Bowman from the University of Iowa, USA,

TITLE: Improving STEM Outcomes for Postsecondary Students who Speak English as a Second Language: The Impact of a Social-Belonging Intervention


ABSTRACT: In the United States and other countries, substantial group disparities exist in terms of which university students study science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and ultimately receive a degree in these fields. Various efforts have attempted to improve the STEM outcomes of underrepresented groups, most notably women and racial minority students. However, very little research has explored the outcomes of postsecondary students who speak English as a second language (ESL). ESL students in the U.S. are underserved and underrepresented in STEM fields, and they likely face substantial psychological barriers within STEM learning environments. Therefore, the present study examined the impact of a social-belonging intervention on ESL students who were interested in pursuing a STEM degree. Specifically, it examined data from a large-scale study of over 12,000 STEM-interested students at 19 U.S. universities. The findings indicated positive effects of this belonging intervention on ESL students’ STEM GPA, STEM credits earned, and proportion of STEM credits obtained successfully; these relationships were generally larger among ESL students than non-ESL students. This work provides evidence for the benefits of psychological interventions for students whose marginalized identity is often overlooked.

WHEN: Wednesday 10th July, 2019, 12.30-1.30 (Note change of time)
WHERE: Keats Reading Room AVLG17, Aviation Building, Callaghan (Video link to Ourimbah Meeting room, Science Offices; Zoom link:: https://uonewcastle.zoom.us/s/979950681 ZoomID: 979950681



BIO: Nicholas A. Bowman is a professor of higher education and student affairs as well as the director of the Center for Research on Undergraduate Education at the University of Iowa. His research uses a social psychological lens to explore key issues in postsecondary education, including student success, diversity, admissions, rankings, and research methodology. His work has appeared in over 80 journal articles in education, psychology, and sociology. He is also a co-author of the third volume of How College Affects Students, which systematically reviewed over 1,800 studies on the short-term and long-term effects of undergraduate education. Professor Bowman is currently an associate editor of Journal of Higher Education and Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research.

Tor more information on Prof Bowmanm see: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Nicholas_Bowman4
To make contact with Prof Bowman, email: Mark.Rubin@newcastle.edu.au

Thursday, 27 June 2019

School of Psychology research seminars -- semester 2, 2019


Dear All,

Please join our excitement for the following  school-wide research seminars taking place throughout semester 2 2019.
Save these dates.
Where:  Room-L326 in Auchmuty Library, via Zoom link to Ourimbah and beyond
When: 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Week 2 – 7th August 2019 - Professor Tom Denson: From UNSW -  School of Psychology
Week 4 – 21st August 2019 - Siobha Curran: Integrated Innovation Network (I2N)
Week 6 – 4th September 2019 - Dr Cassandra Gauld: applied psychology field of road safety
Week 8 – 18th September 2019 - Dr Heather Douglas: Confidence, workplace performance, and imposter phenomenon
Week 10 – 16th October 2019 - ECR Group - TBC
Week 12 – 30th October 2019 - Women in STEM: Panel discussion



Thursday, 20 June 2019

Australasian Society for Social & Affective Neuroscience (AS4SAN) meeting in Newcastle


The Australasian Society for Social and Affective Neuroscience (AS4SAN) is a non-profit organisation that aims to promote basic and applied research investigating social and affective behaviour across a wide range of different species using a wide variety of neuroscience and neuropsychological techniques. AS4SAN sees social and affective neuroscience as an interdisciplinary field devoted to the study of central nervous system mechanisms (e.g., neural, hormonal, cellular, genetic) underlying social and affective behaviour, in the context of both normal development and functioning, as well as relevant to clinical disorders.

This week, Dr Michelle Kelly (AS4SAN Vice President) led a conference committee of UON researchers Dr Linda Campbell and Professor Frances Martin in convening the society’s 6th annual meeting at NewSpace, University of Newcastle). A team of 6 students (RHD and undergraduate) also assisted with conference organisation and running.

It was the first time that the conference was hosted in Newcastle and we attracted 60 delegates representing Australia (12 universities), UK, USA and Germany. In keeping with the tradition of the conference, we had a single stream format consisting of 3 invited keynote speakers, 23 platform presentations, 14 datablitz presentations and 10 poster presentations. AS4SAN is dedicated to supporting student researchers and this is evident with 40% of the overall platform presentations and 64% of the overall poster and datablitz sessions being presented by students. AS4SAN is also proud to say they are working towards gender equity across all society activities. We had two female Keynote speakers (Dr Izelle Labuschagne and Dr Belinda Craig), and 62% of conference presenters overall were female.

We held welcome drinks at Brain @ Watt Space exposing the exhibit to 40 researchers across the country, and were pleased to have Professor Kristen Pammer attend and officially open the meeting. We held two preconference workshops and thank our local presenters Dr Bryan Paton and Dr Elise Kalokerinos for their time and expertise. I think all those who attended would agree that these were top quality workshops. This conference provided a platform for 8 UON students and 4 UON staff to present their research.

Overall the conference was very successful, enjoyed by all!

The conference organisers and AS4SAN Executive Committee thank the sponsors: Centre for Brain and Mental Health Research, Faculty of Science, School of Psychology, AD Instruments, Medilink and SR Research.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

How Do You Play With Your Kids?


Dr Emily Freeman and PhD Candidate Mrs Erin Robinson have been looking at parent-child play interactions. “We want to know what sorts of things parents are doing with their children”, says Dr Freeman, “How often do you rough-and-tumble or play with toys?”. This research was born from previous work with Dr Freeman looking at rough-and-tumble play between Dads and their kids. “It’s so important that we are finally studying the important role that father’s play in child development, but I was finding that when I spoke with parents about these previous projects, lots of Mums were saying ‘but hey I do that too’ or ‘I do more of the rough-and-tumble than my partner!’ and so Erin and I thought maybe we should actually ask parents what types of play they are doing”.
If you would like further information on this study, or are a parent of a child aged 0-10 years and would like to participate, head on over to the survey page here: https://limesurvey.newcastle.edu.au/index.php/347555?lang=en





Dr Emily Freeman (left) and PhD Candidate Mrs Erin Robinson (right).

Monday, 3 June 2019

UON Psychology Welcomes Academics from the University of Sofia visiting through the ERASMUS Exchange Program

WHAT: research presentations by Prof Sonya Karabeliova and Dr Milen Milanov, University of Sofia, Bulgaria.

WHEN: Tuesday 11th June, 2019, 12-1pm

WHERE: Keats Reading Room AVLG17, Aviation Building, Callaghan (Video link to Ourimbah Meeting room, Science Offices; zoom link::https://uonewcastle.zoom.us/s/979950681 ZoomID: 979950681

TALK BY PROF KARABELIOVA:
Value Orientations and Cultural Practices - Similarities and Differences between Bulgaria and Australia (based on the Hofstede’s model)

PROF KARABELIOVA’S ABSTRACT: The lecture will present a short introduction to the theoretical model of Geert Hofstede on the topic of value measurement. This has served as a forming factor of culture on an individual and national level. The model is based on a large-scale empirical survey conducted in more than 80 countries around the world. The dominant value orientations reflect cultural practices which characterise people’s everyday behaviour. The lecture will present data from two national large-scale surveys conducted in Bulgaria according to Hofstede’s model. The results will be compared with findings about Australia taken from published research by Geert Hofstede. Finally, we will discuss similarities and differences between Bulgaria and Australia.

PROF KARABELIOVA’S BIO: Sonya Karabeliova is a Professor in Psychology at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Sofia, Bulgaria. She graduated with a Master’s degree from the same university where she also successfully defended her PhD and earned a subsequent DSc. She is currently one of the Vice-Deans of the Faculty of Philosophy which includes the Department of Psychology. She is the leader of a Master’s and a PhD degree in Health Psychology. Her other research interests are within the field of Cross-Cultural Psychology. She has led and been a part of numerous national and international research projects. She has written three books: Career Choice; Values and Cultural Practices in Bulgaria; Human Potential Management and Development and is a co-author of three additional books and a number of research papers. Prof. Sonya Karabeliova also has a vast experience as a consultant for private organisations.

TALK BY DR MILANOV: When patriotism and sexism correlate: Some common socio-demographic determinants.

DR MILANOV’S: In this research we identify a number of socio-demographic factors that determine the levels of patriotism and sexism in two separate data sets with a total of 958 participants. The results of  independent samples t-tests and ANOVAs show that age, education level, marital status, and to some extend gender, all account for significant differences in the attitudes towards the common stereotypes of male and female roles in society. The same factors appear to predict different levels of patriotism as well. We discuss the relatively stable patterns of interactions between demographics and both patriotism and sexism in our samples and elaborate on the positive correlation between these phenomena.

DR MILANOV’S BIO: I completed my Master’s degree in Psychology at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” in Bulgaria and worked in the private sector for several years. In 2006 I relocated to Australia and completed my PhD in social psychology at the University of Newcastle in 2010.  Shortly after, I accepted a tenured track assistant professor position at my home university back in Bulgaria and I have been there ever since. My research is in the areas of group identity, prejudice and discrimination. I am also interested in research methodology and teach various statistical courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Join us for a Research Presentation on Chronic Social Exclusion by Marco Marinucci on Tuesday 28th May, 12-1pm


The Social and Organisational Psychology Research Group is proud of inviting you to join....

WHAT: a research presentation by Marco Marinucci, University of Milan-Bicocca, Italy.

WHEN: Tuesday 28th May, 2019, 12-1pm

WHERE: Keats Reading Room AVLG17, Aviation Building, Callaghan (Video link to Ourimbah Meeting room, Science Offices; zoom linkZoom link:: https://uonewcastle.zoom.us/s/979950681 ZoomID: 979950681

A large body of literature showed that scarce social relationships are associated with poor psychological well-being (Lieberman, 2013), depression (Wong et al., 2016), different health conditions (Aldridge et al., 2018), and increased mortality rates (Rubin, 2017). In a series of studies, we investigated the psychological implications of being connected and disconnected from others in different social groups and contexts. In a primary line of research, we tested the Williams’ theoretical assumption that people exposed to a chronic condition of social exclusion would inescapably enter a stage of psychological resignation (2009). In two study we found that homeless people (N=140) and prisoners (N=138) showed higher level of resignation compared to the general Italian population, and in both the studies social support buffered against the resignation stage. We also found that the association between chronic social exclusion and resignation in asylum seeking immigrants (N=112) was buffered by social connections with the majority group and aggravated by the connections with other minorities, and these results were replicated and extended on a large-scale European survey (N=2206). Finally, we found preliminary longitudinal evidences that chronic social exclusion predicts the development over time of the resignation stage in asylum seeking-immigrants. In a parallel research line, we analysed the sociometric profiles of 15.000 European adolescents in school, showing how the quality of peer social connections and social status affected different psychological and health outcomes. Future research directions in social exclusion and intergroup relations are discussed.

Marco Marinucci is a Ph.D. student at the University of Milano-Bicocca (Italy) advised by Dr. Paolo Riva and he is currently visiting the University of Newcastle under the supervision of Dr. Mark Rubin. Marco’s main research area focuses on social exclusion and social connectedness among disadvantaged social groups. He studies individual, social, and contextual factors that shape individuals’ responses to different conditions of social exclusion.


Saturday, 18 May 2019

Pint of Science NEWCASTLE: bringing science out of the lab


Pint of Science - NEWCASTLE 

Pint of Science Australia is a 3-day event in May each year, and a part of an international festival of the same name. It aims to bring science out of the lab and into your local! In 2019 the festival will run over the 20th, 21st and 22nd of May.

This year we have our very own Romany McGuffog and Patrick Skippen from the School of Psychology presenting next Wednesday night 22nd May, 6.30pm at the Happy Wombat. The theme for the night is "Make up your Mind". Dr Elena Prieto from the Faculty of Education & Arts is also presenting. 

For more information and to book your tickets visit: https://pintofscience.com.au/events/newcastle

Working class or sleeping beauty? 
Ms Romany McGuffog 
People from lower social classes tend to have poorer mental and physical health. Through online surveys using higher education students, my research tests sleep as a possible explanation.

Gender and STEM education: one step forward? 
Dr Elena Prieto 
In this presentation I will talk about several initiatives aiming to increase female participation in STEM. I will talk about effectiveness but I will also reflect -with help from the audience- on possible dangers of a push for STEM.

Impulse and inhibition: what’s the link? 
Mr Patrick Skippen 
Topic/description: What leads to impulsive actions: Losing control at the wheel or not paying attention to the road rules? I will discuss what leads to people doing rash, often dangerous behaviours and how well-disciplined, inhibited mindset won’t necessarily stop you from being impulsive. I’ll use my own research into young people’s behaviour and brain activity to describe how we at the tipping point of discovery to understanding the links between how inhibited an individual is, whether this leads to them being more or less impulsive in the real world, and what the brain can tell us about why these two things aren’t as connected as they should be. I’ll finish by offering insight into how the amount of attention that is being payed to the world around us can assist in controlling our impulses.




Thursday, 16 May 2019

Cross your fingers for Scott Brown's epic 50km Ultra Trail challenge

Prof Scott Brown from the School of Psychology at the University of Newcastle is on a quest to show that Psychologists can actually perform out of their research laboratory. Scott is leaving his computational models behind for a few days as he is taking the epic challenge of completing the Australia Ultra Trail Marathon, a grueling 50km run in the Blue Mts.

In the photo you can see Scott in his formal race attire, still smiling. Godspeed Scott.

Friday, 10 May 2019

UON Psychology and NORCCC run Super-Successful Peak International Conference on Social Cohesion at Newcastle

Researchers and experts on social cohesion from 18 countries and 6 continents have ‘talked research’ and discussed findings from social cohesion interventions -- while admiring dolphins and Newcastle beautiful Costal views from Noahs on the Beach, Newcastle -- between Monday 29 April and Wednesday 1 May. Led by AProf Stefania Paolini and Professor Miles Hewstone, UON School of Psychology staff and students plus members of the Newcastle-Oxford Research Centre on Conflict and Cohesion (or NORCCC) have shone hosting the 2019 SASP-SPSSI group meeting on “Advances in intergroup contact research: showcasing, consolidating, deconstructing and innovating the science of social integration”.

Photo above: conference delegates take a photo opportunity at the end of three intense research days at Noah’s on the Beach, Newcastle


This specialized gathering has showcased the best research on the dynamics of intergroup contact and social cohesion that is currently available on the international stage.  What was supposed to be a ‘small’ group meeting, has in fact become a medium-size meeting, with a total of 77 participants across the three days, including 50 researchers presenting research papers, and 20+ non-presenting participants from university staff, research students, and representatives of industry stakeholders in the social cohesion space from around the country. 

One of the conference delegates reached out to the organisers to express all her enthusiasm for the event as soon as it finished, saying: “I can honestly say it was the most well-organised, fun, thought-provoking conference I’ve attended.” AProf Paolini explains that: “the high quality gathering and its success will give further momentum to research in social cohesion and contribute to Newcastle’s evergrowing national and international research profile, recently confirmed by excellent ERA results for psychology. The conference reflects and is a testimony to the high quality of the work that many dedicated researchers, research laboratories do around the world”. She added: “it has been exciting to learn about cutting-edge paradigms, methods, and analytical approaches capable of unveiling the roots of intergroup prejudice and discrimination and working to find ways to increase social cohesion in a multitude of intergroup settings, participant populations and societal contexts.  We need more good quality research that helps us get closer to the society and the world that we want to be”.

 

Photo on the right: AProf Paolini (right) and research collaborator Fatima Azam (left) reflect on their contact-inspired community project bringing together non-Muslim and Muslim women around hijab stalls on UON campuses.

The Newcastle meeting enjoyed a very strong delegation of international and national delegates of varied seniority and background: 18 countries from all continents but Antarctica were represented. Of the 50 presenting delegates, 17 were from Australia, 24 from Europe, and 9 from other destinations around the world, making it into a truly international event!






To learn more about the 2019 SASP-SPSSI meeting on intergroup contact, visit the conference website: https://sasp.org.au/2018/09/sasp-spssi-group-meeting-2019/ To learn more about and contact researchers from the Newcastle-Oxford Research Centre on Conflict and Cohesion, visit: https://www.norccc.org/