Tuesday, 5 November 2019

UoN psychology researchers tackle ageism through virtual reality technology

A social psychology research team consisting of PhD candidate Rebekah Bolton, A/Prof Stefania Paolini and Dr Michelle Kelly are investigating factors that may influence ageist attitudes through the use of virtual reality technology.

The ongoing Royal Commission into Age Care is making us all more aware that society often holds ageist attitudes toward older individuals. These ageist attitudes imply that older individuals are deteriorating and incompetent; these negative attitudes in turn have detrimental effects on the physical and psychological health of older adults.

There is however a silver lining: As ABC’s documentary “Old people’s home for 4 years olds” eloquently showed, research indicates that these ageist attitudes and their downstream consequences on senior people can be reverted through increased, positive face-to-face contact between young people and older members of society.


Photo from ABC documentary “Old people’s home for 4 years olds”: A unique social experiment that brings together elderly people in a retirement community with a group of 4-year-olds. Could this encounter transform the lives of the elderly?




UON researchers will investigate whether these benefits can be reproduced with ‘virtual (reality) contact’ between young adults and older avatars. The research will test whether this technology assisted ‘intergenerational’ contact is effective in reducing ageist attitudes. To do this, the research will use virtual reality to create an immersive and lifelike experience with an avatar that is reflective of an older person. Participants will wear a headset and will have the opportunity to interact with the virtual reality avatar and the surrounding environment. Skeleton tracking will capture their movement in the space and assess attitudinal responses that are often beyond individuals’ deliberate control.



To find out more or sponsor this research, volunteer your time to assist this research or material’s development, contact Rebekah Bolton

E: rebekah.bolton@uon.edu.au


Saturday, 26 October 2019

UON School of Psychology’s Founder, Prof Daphne Keats, Farewells Us All

It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Prof Daphne Keats. Exactly one week ago, this true Psychology Champion died peacefully in her home surrounded by her beloved family.

Daphne joined the University of Newcastle as a lecturer in Psychology in 1970 to begin a transformative legacy that continues today.

Daphne spearheaded the study of cross-cultural psychology in Australia. Alongside her husband, Professor John Keats, Daphne led the field in developing programs of cross-cultural psychology studies involving ongoing, cooperative relationships with colleagues across Asia, particularly China, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

Daphne in one of her last trips to China to check progress in community rehabilitation work post Sichuan’s earthquake

As a result of her work, the University of Newcastle and Sichuan University founded The China-Australia Centre for Cross-Cultural Studies in Chengdu which commemorated its 10-year anniversary last year. Her contribution has shaped an entire branch of research; and we are proud and grateful for her lifelong association with the University.

Daphne was, beyond doubt, a pioneer. She leaves behind a legacy of wisdom and generosity in the School of Psychology and will be greatly missed by colleagues around the globe.

---------
Professor Keats’ funeral will be held on Tuesday 29 October at 12:00pm at Pettigrew Family Funerals, 12 Harris Street, Wallsend.

Messages of condolence can be sent to donor-relations@newcastle.edu.au and will be passed on to Professor Keats’ friends and family.

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Research for the public, not just for researchers

How can we present our research in a way that makes it accessible to the public?

Recently, after attending a Research Advantage seminar on the importance of social media in the current research environment, Dr Emily Freeman from the the School of Psychology at UoN decided to try pitching an article to The Conversation. The Conversation is an “independent source of news and views sourced from the academic and research community and delivered direct to the public” (www.theconversation.com). The Conversation Australia reaches over 5 million users per month and is used by many news outlets, such as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, as a source of quality research stories and research experts when looking for people to comment on current events.


Emily explains that she "pitched an article that would ultimately summarise some of the research I’ve been doing looking at the role of father-child rough-and-tumble play on child development. The editor liked my pitch and asked for an 800 word article to be submitted the following week. I then worked with another editor over a few days to polish the article and make it more news-like rather than journal-like in terms of language. I was also asked to find some related YouTube clips and the like to make it more engaging. One thing I really liked was that they required links to journal articles to support any claims I was making and that they also checked them to ensure the scientific rigour of my article."

The article was published early September and reached over 30,000 reads in only a couple of weeks (it’s now at almost 40,000 which is pretty incredible especially given that Research Gate recently congratulated me on one of my journal articles having reached 100 reads!!). The Conversation tracks reads, social media shares, the location of people who are reading the article, the news outlets that are sharing it, and you can also add any engagements that have resulted from it. The article led to some radio interviews and Emily was even contacted by a screen writer interested in making a documentary about dad and kids.

Overall, it was an interesting experience and she is looking forward to pitching another article soon. Emily highly recommend it to everyone to give it a try J

Article Link: https://theconversation.com/kids-learn-valuable-life-skills-through-rough-and-tumble-play-with-their-dads-119241


Tuesday, 22 October 2019

E&D SERIES: Alex O'Donnell presents findings on refugees' adaptation from the Building New Life in Australia Study on Tuesday 29th October 10-11am

The School of Psychology's Social and Organisational Psychology research group and Outreach Committee are proud of inviting you to a research presentation by Alex O'Donnel, Griffith University, as part of our Equity & Diversity Series on Tuesday 29th October 10-11am, Keats reading room, Aviation building, Callaghan (zoom video conferenced: https://uonewcastle.zoom.us/s/979950681).

PRESENTATION TITLE: Financial, Psychological, and Social Barriers to Refugee Adaptation in Australia: Findings from the Building New Life in Australia Study (BLNA)


ABSTRACT: The previous decade has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people being forcibly displaced. Lingering crises around the world have created situations where an enormous number of displaced persons cannot return home and require resettlement. Previous research has shown that humanitarian migrants face challenges that persist over time and can lead to long-term inequities in health and wellbeing even after resettlement. Recent efforts to investigate these inequities have been established in Australia. The Building New Life in Australia (BNLA) study followed a representative sample of resettled humanitarian migrant adults for several years post-settlement and provided a cross-sectional assessment of adolescents. I will present recent findings from this study, focusing on how the immediate post-settlement context can have lasting effects on humanitarian migrants’ long-term psychological and financial well-being (Finding 1), and their likelihood of experiencing stress into the future (Finding 2). Finally, I focus on the adolescent sample, and identify how positive community engagement in the form of extracurricular activities can mitigate adverse outcomes associated with post-settlement risk factors (Finding 3). These results showcase that negative outcomes are not a forgone conclusion for humanitarian migrants. Together, we should foster welcoming and accepting communities to improve the lives of vulnerable people around us.

BIOGRAPHY: Alexander O’Donnell is an advanced PhD student at Griffith University (Gold Coast, Australia). He has a broad research interest, having published in intergroup relations and adolescent leisure time. More recently he has also studied refugee adaptation. Collectively, this work seeks to identify structural (e.g., socioeconomic disadvantage) and psychological barriers preventing people from engaging in the diverse and enriching opportunities around them.


If interested in a one-to-one meeting with XX around their visit, please contact their SOPRG host at stefania.paolini@newcastle.edu.au to make arrangements.

Thursday, 17 October 2019

UON researchers to find out: A driverless shuttle bus is set to hit Newcastle’s streets; but will the public use it?

At the cutting edge of automated vehicle (AV) technology, a driverless shuttle bus will soon be trialled in Newcastle. The shuttle will have the capacity to carry 11 passengers, is battery powered, has no steering wheel, and will use sensors on each corner to read the roadway, objects in front, back or beside the vehicle. The trial in Newcastle is extra special as it will be the first time a driverless shuttle bus has been tested in normal traffic.

For new technology to be of benefit to a community, however, the public needs to accept it. So… how does the Newcastle public feel about such a vehicle, and will they use it?

                                                   The Newcastle driverless shuttle bus


Dr Cassandra Gauld, Professor Kristen Pammer, Angus McKerral and a team of researchers from the School of Psychology (Jade Williams, Lauren Gibson, and Caitlin Reeves) were awarded a Faculty of Science Strategic Investment Grant to explore these questions and more.  The research team took to the streets of Newcastle to interview the locals and found that their opinions about the shuttle were divided.  Some believed that the shuttle would provide a safer form of transportation, would increase tourism by enhancing Newcastle’s image as a modern city, and would provide an environmentally friendly public transport option. Others were cautious about the new technology, were concerned about on-board safety, and wondered how it would accommodate the elderly and the less mobile if there weren’t a driver on board to assist.

The next phase of the research, which is currently underway, will verify which of these beliefs are held by broader sample of the Newcastle public and apply theoretical models of technology acceptance to investigate other psycho-social factors which may predict acceptance of AVs.

While experts predict that it may be years until AVs are a common sight on our roads, worldwide, research regarding AVs is in full flight. It has been predicted that AVs may be able to significantly improve road safety (road crash is currently one of the biggest killers, worldwide), increase the mobility of older adults, and benefit individuals who are currently unable to drive due to a medical condition and/or vision impairment.


For more information, please contact Dr Cassandra Gauld
E: cass.gauld@newcastle.edu.au



(L to R) Dr Cassandra Gauld, Professor Kristen Pammer, and Mr Angus McKerral after their Tesla test-drive.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Prof Scott Brown named top Australian Cognitive Scientist for 2019

Prof Scott Brown from the School of Psychology at the University of Newcastle was named earlier this month the top Australian Cognitive Scientist for 2019. Scott was among six University of Newcastle researchers that have been named as top in their field in new data published in The Australian’s 2019 Research magazine. Well done Scott!

Herald article: https://www.newcastleherald.com.au/story/6407518/six-university-of-newcastle-researchers-top-their-classes-in-new-data/

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).