Friday, 28 April 2017

Official opening of the Ourimbah Psychology Clinic

The official opening of the Ourimbah Psychology Clinic was celebrated on Wednesday, with the Vice-Chancellor Professor Caroline McMillen presiding. The Clinic sees the School of Psychology expanding the range of placement experiences on offer to postgraduate students in Clinical Psychology, as well as providing an affordable and accessible service to residents of the Central Coast. 

The Ourimbah Psychology Clinic builds upon the existing Callaghan Psychology Clinic, offering a range of services including diagnostic and cognitive assessments, group programs, family therapy, and individual therapy for a wide range of concerns. The Clinic also supports clinical research initiatives, such as Dr Linda Campbell’s work with neurodevelopmental disorders and Dr Michelle Kelly’s research into the provision of an intervention for carer’s of older people living with dementia. The Ourimbah Psychology Clinic will initially open on Mondays and Tuesdays. More information, including appointment details and session costs, can be found here: 

From Left to Right: Drs Andrea Griffin, Linda Campbell, Stefania Paolini, and Frini Karayanidis celebrating the opening of the new clinic.

L to R: Drs Stefania Paolini, Linda Campbell, Frini Karayanidis, and Andrea Griffin inside the new clinic.

Dr Sean Halpin, the Psychology Clinic Director at the University of Newcastle, with Prof Simon Dennis, the Head of UoN School of Psychology.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

UoN School of Psychology hosted the Australasian Experimental Psychology Society conference

From April 19-22, the University of Newcastle hosted the 44th annual conference of the Australasian Experimental Psychology Society at Ramada Resort, in beautiful Shoal Bay.

The conference had 187 attendees, 130 spoken presentations and 32 posters. Nearly half of the presentations were by students, and the student awards for best presentation and highly commended in each of the three streams of talks and the poster session were closely contested. Award recipients were from ANU, USyd, UQ, CurtinU, UNSW and UoN. 

The Ross Day Plenary Lecture was very well attended and delivered by Prof. Andrew Heathcote (introduced by Prof. Sally Andrews).

The success of the conference depended on the hard work of the organising committee (Darren Burke (Chair), kerry Chalmers (Treasurer), Simon Dennis, Ami Eidels, Emily Freeman and Frances Martin), and especially of the student volunteers (Kylie Campling, Jacob Dye, Paul Garrett, Zach Howard, Reilly Innes, Johanne Knowles, Joshua Makin, Allyson Ray, Laura Wall and Hyungwook Yim) and School admin staff (Sophie Percival and Danielle Storey).

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The School of Psychology Hosts a Presentation on the Psychology of Biculturalism and Mutliculturalism by Prof Benet-Martinez

The School of Psychology and Social and Organisational Psychology research group is proud of inviting you to a research presentation by Prof Veronica Benet-Martinez, Department of Political and Social Sciences Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain on Tuesday 11th of April 12-1pm, lecture theatre HB13, Hunter Building, Callaghan (video conferenced to Ourimbah Science Offices Seminar room).

PRESENTATION TITLE: Multi-cultural identities & minds: (Cross)cultural, socio-cognitive, and personality perspectives  

ABSTRACT: Cultural contact due to factors such as migration, globalization, and travel (among others) has made cultural diversity experiences an everyday phenomenon and led to unprecedented numbers of individuals who consider themselves bicultural or multicultural. What are the psychological consequences of these acculturative and identity processes? Using a framework that integrates acculturation, social-identity theory, and individual differences approaches, and that relies on laboratory experiments, and survey and social network methodologies, this presentation will review a program of research conducted to examine how multicultural individuals process and respond to dual cultural information (e.g., cultural frame-switching or CFS), how they integrate their different cultural identities into a cohesive sense of self (e.g., Bicultural Identity Integration, BII), how they maintain competing loyalties between different cultural groups, and the socio-cognitive and adjustment consequences of this type of experiences and identities. These studies, which are conducted with samples varying in culture/ethnicity, age, and generational status, enclave, reveal that: (1) cultural frame-switching effects exist for a wide range of behaviors (e.g., attributions, personality self-views, ethnic identity, self-construals, values, among others); (2) individual differences in BII moderate cultural frame-switching behavior so that biculturals high on BII respond to cultural cues in culturally-congruent ways while biculturals low on BII give contrastive responses; (3) differences in bicultural identity are linked to specific demographic, acculturation, personality, social-identity, cognitive, and wellbeing variables; and (4) biculturalism (relative to other acculturation strategies) is positively linked to (psychological and socio-cultural) adjustment.

BIOGRAPHY: Verónica Benet-Martínez is a Professor in the Department of Political and Social Sciences at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona, Spain. Her research centers on the psychology of multicultural identity and experiences across different national contexts (Europe, USA) and for different types of groups (e.g., immigrants, ethnic minorities, transnational adoptees). She is particularly interested in individual variations in bicultural identity structure and dynamics, and the interplay of social context and cognitive and personality factors in predicting both positive and negative outcomes from multicultural and intercultural experiences. She investigates these issues with experimental and correlational designs that rely on self-report, behavioral, and social-network data. She most recently published the “Oxford Handbook of Multicultural Identity,” which won the Ursula Gielen Global Psychology Award by the American Psychological Association. Before joining UPF, she held faculty positions in the psychology departments of the University of California (Riverside) and the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), and was a funded Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California (Berkeley). She obtained a Ph.D. in Social-Personality Psychology from the University of California (Davis). She is an appointed Fellow of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), was an associate editor for the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (2009-2015), and has been an editorial board member for several top-tier personality, social, and cultural psychology journals. She was a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the CUNY Graduate Center during the last spring 2016 term.

If interested in a one-to-one meeting with Prof Benet-Martinez around her visit, please contact her SOPRG host at to make arrangements.

Visit and seminar by Prof Robert Goldstone from Indiana University, Thur April 6

Prof Robert Goldstone from Indiana University is visiting the UoN School of Psychology, and will give a seminar this Thur, April 6, 12-1pm, Keats room. Please find the title and abstract below.

Prof Goldstone is Distinguished Professor in the Psychological and Brain Sciences department and Cognitive Science program at Indiana University. His research interests include concept learning and representation, perceptual learning, educational applications of cognitive science, decision making, collective behavior, and computational modeling of human cognition.  

Mathematical Reasoning as a Literally Physical Symbol System 

Robert Goldstone

Indiana University, Department of Psychological and Brain Science and Program in Cognitive Science

Much of the power of mathematics comes from its generality and ability to unify prime face dissimilar domains.  The same combinatorics formula applies to sealing wax, cabbages, and kings with no customization needed, or even permitted.  By one account, analytic thought in math and science requires developing deep construals of phenomena that run counter to untutored perceptions.  This approach draws an opposition between superficial perception and principled understanding.  In this talk, I advocate the converse strategy of grounding mathematical reasoning in perception and action.  I will describe empirical evidence for perceptual changes that accompany learning in mathematics.  In arithmetic and algebraic reasoning, we find that proficiency involves executing spatially explicit transformations to notational elements.  People learn to attend mathematical operations in the order in which they should be executed, and the extent to which students employ their perceptual attention in this manner is positively correlated with their mathematical experience.  People produce mathematical notations that they are good at reading.  Perception, attention, and action routines are tailored to fit mathematical requirements.  Thus, for reasoning in mathematics (and science, but that’s another talk), relatively sophisticated performance can be achieved not only by ignoring perceptual features in favor of deep conceptual features, but also by adapting perceptual processing so as to conform with and support formally sanctioned responses.  These “Rigged Up Perception and Action Systems” (RUPAS) offer a promising general strategy for achieving educational reform.  Based on the theoretical foundation of RUPAS, we have begun to design, implement, and assess virtual, interactive sandboxes for students to explore algebra.