Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Publication and successes of graduates from the Social Cognition Laboratory

 A review article of growing psychophysiological evidence on intergroup anxiety entitled “learning anxiety in interactions with the outgroup: Towards a learning model of anxiety and stress in intergroup contact” was recently published in the journal Group Processes and Intergroup Relations [click here for the abstract and full paper] by Nicholas Harris, Stefania Paolini, and Andrea Griffin.

The article focuses on a re-conceptualisation of intergroup anxiety as a learning process, bridging a number of seemingly disparate areas of empirical research in a new anxiety learning model. The model proposes ways in which learning principles can be tested within established paradigms, distinguishes between episodic and chronic anxiety responses to the outgroup, and recommends investigations on the complexities of their dynamic interplay over time.

Through a review of established and emerging psychophysiological and behavioral research of anxiety in ingroup-outgroup interactions, the paper identifies evidence consistent with this dynamic outlook of intergroup contact effects on anxiety. In this context, the paper also advances novel and untested predictions for future investigations onto the temporal integration of contact effects during an individual’s lifespan. 

These concepts form the foundation for Nicholas’ PhD thesis research, which was submitted just on September 30 and for which Nicholas has recently received a postgraduate excellence award from the Society of Australasian Social Psychologists.

Nicholas has been supervised by Stefania Paolini and Andrea Griffin in the School of Psychology, and was based in the Social Cognition Laboratory at the Ourimbah campus. He has just been offered a permanent lectureship from the Australian College of Applied Psychologists in Sydney and therefore will continue his professional journey in Sydney from January onwards.

Well done Nicholas and good luck with the next steps!