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/

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Join us for a Research Presentation on Intergroup Contact and Self-deprovincializations by Jessica Boin on Tuesday 14th May, 12-1pm

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

WHAT: a research presentation by Jessica Boin, University of Padova, Italy.

TITLE: Effects of positive and negative contact experiences: The role of intergroup emotions, deprovincialization and individual dispositions

WHEN: Tuesday 14th 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

ABSTRACT: According to the contact hypothesis, positive encounters with outgroup members have the potential of reducing prejudice toward the whole outgroup (Allport, 1954). Research has widely demonstrated the effectiveness of contact in ameliorating intergroup relations (Pettigrew & Tropp, 2006) and further investigations has shown that the relationship between positive contact and prejudice can be explained by a reduction in intergroup anxiety and an increasing in empathy and trust toward the outgroup members (Pettigrew & Tropp, 2008). Another promising, yet least studied, aspects of contact involves the construct of deprovincialization, proposed by Pettigrew (1997,1998) to denote a less ingroup-centric worldview, fostering a common sense of belonging and openness to other cultures, following intergroup encounters. Although there is evidence for the mediating role of emotions on the relationship between positive contact and prejudice, further investigation is needed concerning the different effects of positive and negative contact experiences, a full test of the deprovincialization hypothesis and the possible role of individual dispositions.
In 2 cross-sectional (Nstudy1=348; Nstudy2=307) and one longitudinal (N = 668) studies, we explored the relationship between positive and negative contact and various outgroup outcomes, the mediating role of intergroup emotions (i.e., anxiety, empathy and trust) and deprovincialization on this relationships and the role of individual differences relevant to intergroup relations (ideologies, personality, cognitive styles and “hypo-egoic” dispositions).

BIO: Jessica Boin is completing her PhD at the University of Padova (Italy), under the supervision of Prof. Alberto Voci and she is currently visiting the University of Newcastle under the supervision of AProf. Stefania Paolini. Her main research interests concern intergroup relations, and prejudice reduction. Her work aims to examine how and when intergroup contact reduces prejudice, in particular, the effects of positive and negative contact experiences on prejudice with a main focus on the role of individual differences and ideologies.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Interested in the SPSSI-SASP Intergroup Contact Meeting, but cannot make it to the conference? Instructions for “Virtual” Delegates

2019 SPSSI/SASP group meeting on Intergroup contact to be held in Newcastle, Australia between Monday, 29th April and Wednesday, 1st May, 2019.

We are excited to update you on this peak international event led by UON School of Psychology and the Newcastle-Oxford Research Centre on Conflict and Cohesion.

For full information, please visit: https://sasp.org.au/2018/09/sasp-spssi-group-meeting-2019/

People who cannot make the conference in person have the option to watch and listen to the presentations live via zoom.

The conference program and ZOOM links/IDs can be found here: https://sasp.org.au/2018/12/overview-of-the-group-meeting/

To watch live, each session of the conference has a designated hyperlink (see program overview or abstract books) that you can use to join the conference (Australian Eastern Standard Time).

For instructions, please view the instructions here. You can either download Zoom or join via your browser. If you join from your browser, you will have to enter the nine digit meeting Zoom ID-Number.

When you join a session, your microphone will be muted automatically to reduce any feedback noise (from people joining and leaving the session). Questions immediately after each presentations will be taken only from the live audience at the conference venue. However, at the end of all sessions an extended Q and A will also include questions from the Zoom audience.

Hope to see many virtually then!

Stefania and the whole Scientific and Local Organising Committees

Monday, 8 April 2019

Animal psychology works to help design a drone to protect Hunter vineyards

Dr Andrea Griffin from the School of Psychology, expert in animal cognition, has been working with Sydney University School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering PhD candidate Zi Wang, his supervisor, Dr KC Wong, and Dr Andrew Lucas from Agent Oriented Software Pty Ltd to design an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that mimics the behaviour of a bird of prey.

Dr Andrea Griffin has been studying how animals learn to recognise new dangers for 15 years. Her past work has included developing conditioning techniques for training endangered marsupials to recognise predators and studying how invasive birds learn to recognise traps and humans trapping them.

But now, she has put her expertise to a new use.

“We know from my work and that of many others that birds are very attuned to learning about new dangers, including new predators and dangerous places. Much of their learning occurs socially. In other words, they witness the fear reactions of other birds and learn to avoid associated stimuli. Fear reactions include alarm vocalisations. But learners need to see the cause of the alarm at the same time. For example, they have to see a human handling a bird and hear it alarm calling at the same time, then they will learn to avoid the human.”

“The issue with managing birds in vineyards is that they quickly habituate to scaring techniques, such as-powered thunderclap guns. This is also a highly generalizable stimulus because it is always identical, so once birds have learnt that nothing happens in one vineyard, they will also show no response in other vineyards. So, one potential solution is to add a new bird of prey to the community in which they live. Birds don’t habituate the birds of prey.”

By carrying a bird corpse and broadcasting distress calls, a signal that birds make when they are captured by a predator, the drone is designed to look like a bird of prey that has just caught another bird.

“Some species also respond very strongly to corpses of other birds and interpret these as danger. Although we don’t know that this occurs for all species, the drone is designed to tap this ability. The idea is that a drone designed in this way will become recognised as a successful new predator in the community, which will reduce the likelihood of habituation.”

NSW Department of Primary Industries viticulture development officer Darren Fahey, estimates that birds cause $300 million-a-year crop and winegrape losses in Australia.

AOS is pursuing the autonomous drone approach, and working with Sydney University to do the research on what would scare birds, without harming them.
Early trials using the multi-rotor hexacopter predator drone are promising and results have been published in the journal Crop Protection (https://authors.elsevier.com/c/1YkrTxPFYiYDj). Further trials are underway.

The topic has been the object of a Newcastle Herald article: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5962682/vineyard-drone-on-hungry-birds-tail/

Friday, 5 April 2019

UON Social Psychologists Establish Social Cohesion Research Centre and Lead International Conference of Experts in Newcastle

A committed group of social cohesion scholars within UON’s School of Psychology has recently established NORCCC, “Newcastle-Oxford Research Centre for Conflict and Cohesion” [see NORCCC profile HERE], around the appointment of Prof Miles Hewstone as UON Global Innovation Chair in Social Cohesion to help us deepen our understanding of intergroup friction and find ways that encourage social cohesion in Australia and around the world.

 Dramatic events like the tragic Christchurch shooting, but equally ordinary experiences of daily discrimination for many of us are salient reminders of the importance of evidence-based analyses of individual-level factors and societal dynamics responsible for acts of discrimination, prejudice, and hatred. They remind us of the need to inform policies and interventions that support social cohesion along a multiplicity of social dimensions, like ethnicity, age, gender, sexuality, ill-health and disability, in Australia and internationally.

In this spirit, NORCCC is proud to announce an upcoming Newcastle-based international conference on social cohesion: The 2019 SASP-SPSSI medium group meeting, entitled “Advances in Intergroup Contact Research: Showcasing, Consolidating, Deconstructing and Innovating the Science of Social Integration” will gather 70-100 researchers and industry observers in Newcastle, between Monday 29th April and Wed 1st May, 2019.

 This exciting specialised meeting of experts will be led by UON A/Prof Stefania Paolini, an enthusiastic scientific committee that spans across three continents, including also Prof Miles Hewstone (UON/Oxford), Prof Fiona White (USydney), A/Prof Fiona Barlow (UQ), Prof Linda Tropp (UMassachusetts Amherst, USA), Prof Liz Page-Gould (Uof Toronto, Canada), Prof Rhiannon Turner (Queen's University Belfast, UK) and Prof Angel Gomez (National Distance Education University, Spain), and a tireless local committee of 20+ graduate students.  

The SASP-SPSSI group meeting on intergroup contact aspires to offer an exciting platform to consolidate our understanding and interpretation of key findings, to discuss emerging research trends and methodologies and forge the research and the researchers of the future. The expert gathering will include the delivery of conference papers (blitz / longer length / posters) by junior and senior researchers and roundtable discussions (small / plenary).

For more information about the conference, visit the conference website HERE

If you are interested in attending the meeting as social cohesion researcher, practitioner or policy maker in areas of social cohesion, make contact with the lead organizer at: Stefania.Paolini@Newcastle.edu.au to enquire. The conference includes networking segments and will allow for a number of non-presenting participants.


Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Talk by Prof David Strayer: Emerging Technologies Influencing Distracted Driving (Thur, April 11)

WHAT: Talk by Prof David Strayer, University of Utah, on Technology and Distracted Driving

WHEN and WHERE: Thursday, April 11, 2019, 12-1pm; KEATS room (Psychology building)

David Strayer is the John R. Park professor of Cognitive Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology at the University.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois@ Urbana-Champaign in 1989 and worked at GTE laboratories before joining the faculty at the University of Utah.  Dr. Strayer’s research examines attention and multitasking in real-world contexts such as driving an automobile.  He has published over 175 scholarly articles in this area and for the last 15 years has focused on understanding driver distraction stemming from multimodal interactions in the vehicle. 

Talk:  Emerging Technologies Influencing Distracted Driving
Driver distraction is increasingly recognized as a significant source of injuries and fatalities on the roadway. Driver distraction can arise from visual/manual interference, for example when a driver takes his or her eyes off the road to interact with a device. Impairments also stem from cognitive sources of distraction when attention is diverted from safely operating the vehicle.  Concern over distracted driving is growing as more and more wireless devices are being integrated into the vehicle. Working with AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, we developed, validated, and applied a metric of distraction associated with the diversion of attention from driving. Our studies show that the distraction potential can be reliably measured, that cognitive workload systematically varies as a function of the secondary task performed by the driver, and that many activities, particularly complex multimodal interactions in the vehicle, are associated with surprisingly high levels of mental workload.  Using the new technology in the vehicle may have unintended consequences that adversely affect traffic safety.

Image result for david strayer

Monday, 1 April 2019

Dr Andrea Griffin collaborates with world-leaders in climate change to communicate environmental impacts of large-scale land clearing

As a zoologist studying animals in their natural habitat, Dr Andrea Griffin is well aware of the consequences of habitat destruction for our native wildlife. But with science now demonstrating that land clearing has ratcheting effects on fire risk, droughts, and climate change, her levels of concern have increased significantly.

This is what motivated Dr Griffin to participate in two recent large collaborative initiatives: A submission to an inquiry by the House of Representatives on “The impact on the agricultural sector of vegetation and land management policies, regulations and restrictions” and a Conversation article describing the effects of land clearing on fire risk, droughts, water security and climate change. She went on to prepare and drive a Scientist Declaration to help disseminate these important scientific findings.

The Scientist declaration calling on Australian governments at all levels to pass strong legislation to curb Australia’s accelerating rate of land clearing was released by the Ecological Society of Australia and was signed by over 300 scientists—including Professors Tim Flannery, Lesley Hughes, Richard Kingsford, Chris Dickman and Martine Maron.

Within 7 days, the declaration was viewed by over 16,000 people, the Conversation article attracted nearly 100 comments, and a community petition to support the Declaration arose. The topic was the subject of a recent article in the Newcastle Herald:

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Join us for a Research Presentation on Emotion Processing and Bearded Faces by DR Craig on Tuesday 2nd April, 12-1pm

Social and Organisational Psychology Research Group Seminar

Please come and join us for:

WHAT: a research presentation by Dr Belinda Craig, University of New England.
WHEN: Tuesday 2rd April, 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
Zoom ID 979950681)

TITLE:Hairy and scary: Beards enhance recognition and detection of interpersonal threat signals

ABSTRACT: The beard is arguably one of the most obvious signals of masculinity in humans. Darwin suggested almost 150 years ago that beards evolved to communicate formidability to other males, but no studies have investigated whether beards enhance recognition or detection of interpersonal threat signals (like anger). I will present some of our recent findings demonstrating that the presence of a beard increases the speed and accuracy of recognizing anger. This effect is not due to shared evaluative or stereotypic associations between beardedness and negativity, as beards did not facilitate recognition of positive expressions (happiness) or of another negative expression, sadness, and beards increased rated prosociality of happy faces but also masculinity and aggressiveness of angry faces. Bearded faces are also detected faster in crowds than clean-shaven faces and the presence of a beard increases the magnitude of the search advantage for angry faces in crowds (anger superiority effect). Results suggest that beards may alter perceived facial structure, facilitating rapid judgments of threat on bearded men. Findings so far suggest that men’s facial hair impacts nonverbal communication and could influence social interactions beyond the lab and into men’s daily lives. This makes beards an interesting domain for further research.

BIO: Belinda Craig is currently a lecturer at the University of New England. Prior to this, she completed her PhD at The University of Queensland (2015) and a postdoc at Curtin University in Perth. She is interested in the areas of emotion and person perception. Most of her work investigates how we perceive information from the face and body (e.g., race, sex, age, emotion, eye-gaze, facial hair) and how this social information influences other cognitive processes like memory and attention.


Call for Art/Science exhibits for a Watt Space exhibition on the 'Brain' (June 2019)

Together with a team from Psychology, Creative Industries, Engineering and Architecture, Dr Michelle Kelly is curating an Art/Science exhibition to be held at Watt Space in June 2019, called 'Brain'. 
Our vision for the exhibit is to enable real engagement between the University and the general public and showcase the wonderful Brain research being conducted by UON researchers and students. It is also an opportunity for students to practice science communication skills under a Work Integrated Learning platform.

We are welcoming submissions from UON staff and students for one of the exhibits. This exhibit will include a number of artistic brain images (cellular to whole brain level) as well as artistic images of the equipment that UON researchers use to examine the brain. The goal is to communicate the science we do in a way that the general public can enjoy and appreciate. 
Images will be displayed traditionally, printed, framed and wall hung, however, should we receive a large number of submissions we will also have a digital display. If you conduct research on the brain, we’d love to see what you do!

Students and staff are eligible to submit their images. A $100 gift voucher will be awarded to the best submission (public vote).
To submit, send the following to Michelle.Kelly@newcastle.edu.au  
a)      A digital copy of your image of quality that can be enhanced in size for printing (we will organise and cover costs for printing/framing)
b)      A short (less than 80 words) description of your image in layman terms, e.g., what it is, how you get that image, and what you are using it for.
c)    Please indicate also whether you are staff or a student.

We have attached an exceptional example by Dr Stuart Marlin (who is also a professional photographer). 


Submitting an image implies agreement with a statement of Copyright you can request via email from from Michelle Kelly .

Monday, 25 March 2019

New Professor talk by Psychology's head-of-school, Prof Kristen Pammer

Last Thursday, as part of the public talk series by the University of Newcastle community events, Prof Kristen Pammer introduced a full house of eager listeners to both the promise and perils of autonomous cars.

The talk, held at the Newcastle Conservatorium, was one of the most well attended public lectures in the series, and was followed by an exciting Q&A session.

Details about past and future New Professors talks can be found here:

Thursday, 28 February 2019

School of Psychology 2019 research seminars

The following school-wide research seminars are taking place throughout semester 1, 2019.

Please save these dates and see details in flyer below

Where:  Psychology Building, Keats Room AVLG-17 and Zoom link to Ourimbah EXSA-102
When: 12:00pm - 1:00pm
·       Week 2 - 6th March
·       Week 4 - 20th March
·       Week 6 - 3rd April
·       Week 8 - 1st May
·       Week 10 - 15th May
·       Week 12 - 29th May

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

UoN students and staff present at the Australian Math Psyc

Last week, students and staff from the School of Psychology at the University of Newcastle traveled to Melbourne for the annual meeting of the Australasian Society for Mathematical Psychology. among the topics presented were  Models of Memory, Consumer Choices, Methods for Estimating Cognitive Workload, and  more.

Next year's meeting is planned to take place in Sydney. Newcastle will host the 2021 meeting of the society, and it'd be great to have locals and guests alike, so mark Feb 2021 in your calendars.

Laura Waters presenting her work on developing a 3D environment for visual search experiments (more photos available on Leslie Blaha Twitter feed, @leslieblaha)

'work hard, play hard': AMPC attendees at the end of the traditional soccer game.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

JUST PUBLISHED: new article on the relationship between between early life events and decision urgency

A new paper based on the PhD research of UoN graduate student Johanne Knowles examined the relationship between decision urgency and early life adversity. The article, co-authored with Nathan Evans and Darren Burke, can be accessed here:

The relationship between early life adversity and adult outcomes is traditionally investigated relative to risk and protective factors (e.g., resilience, cognitive appraisal), and poor self-control or decision-making. However, life history theory suggests this relationship may be adaptive—underpinned by mechanisms that use early environmental cues to alter the developmental trajectory toward more short-term strategies. These short-term strategies have some theoretical overlap with the most common process models of decision-making—evidence accumulation models—which model decision urgency as a decision threshold. In the current paper, the authors examined the relationship between decision urgency (through the linear ballistic accumulator) and early life adversity. A mixture of analysis methods, including a joint model analysis designed to explicitly account for uncertainty in estimated decision urgency values, revealed weak-to-strong evidence in favor of a relationship between decision urgency and early life adversity, suggesting a possible effect of life history strategy on even the most basic decisions.   

Friday, 8 February 2019

Psychology and Computer Games

So, Psychologists study computer games as well !

This year, Macquarie University hosted Interactive Entertainment 2019, a satellite conference of the Australasian Computer Science Week. This conference brought together researchers and developers of games and digital entertainment from around Australia. Alex Thorpe, a PhD student from the Schools of Psychology and Engineering at UoN, presented research on the cognitive workload imposition of user interfaces, and the measurement of this imposition. This research focused on the detection response task (DRT) as an online, objective measure of workload in a continuous computer-based task. Alex and his co-authors were fortunate enough to be awarded Best Student Paper for their research.

link to the paper:

Image result for space invaders

Monday, 10 December 2018

School of Psychology HDR confirmation day and other Xmas goodies

The School of Psychology had its first HDR festive confirmation day.

We thank Jaishree Jalewa, Mattsen Yeark, Gavin Cooper, and Jon Paul Cavallero, for presenting their research programs to an avid crowd of Psychology students and staff. The presentations spanned a variety of topics, from neuroscience to consumers' choices, and were of the highest quality.

The School also celebrated the end-of-year by acknowledging the hard work done over the past year, as can be seen in the photo ('work hard, play hard').

Merry xmas and happy holidays to all student, staff, and families.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

School of Psychology HDR confirmation day, Dec 10, 2018

The School of Psychology at UoN is proud to host the first HDR 'group confirmation day'.

This is going to be an exciting and intellectually stimulating event, we hope you can all attend.

Four PhD candidates will present their research plan and progress to date. I have already seen some of the content and it is quite cool.

10th December 2018, starting 9:40am

Keats Building AV-LG-17, Psychology Building and via AV link to Ourimbah Science Room

* Student presenters: Jon-Paul Cavallaro, Mattsen Yeark, Gavin Cooper, Jaishree Jalewa
* Supervisors: Lauren Harms, Juanita Todd, Guy Hawkins, Scott Brown, Bryan Paton, Deborah Hodgson, Patricia Michie

All HDR students and staff members are welcome and encouraged to attend. Morning tea and pizza for lunch will be provided.

Monday, 29 October 2018

JUST PUBLISHED: Measuring the Personality of 27,415 Children

Miles Bore and Kristen Laurens, Megan Hobbs, Melissa Green, Stacy Tzoumakis, Felicity Harrris, and Vaughan Carr. Item response theory analysis of the Big Five Questionnaire for Children Short-Form (BFC-SF): A self-report measure of personality in children aged 11-12 years. Journal of Personality Disorders.

Some 12 or so years ago Miles became involved with the NSW Child Development project which started its life at UON under the direction of Professor Vaughan Carr. The project is following a cohort of children (and their parents) who started Kindergarten in NSW in 2009 through the linkage of health, education, child protection and justice records. As part of this larger project, the research team wanted to obtain self-report data from the children in what became the NSW Middle Childhood Survey (Laurens et al, 2017). We wanted to include a measure of personality. But, could 11 and 12 year olds reliably complete a self-report personality questionnaire? And, is personality sufficiently developed at this age to be measurable?

In a nutshell – yes.

We modified the Big Five Questionnaire for Children (Barbaranelli, et al, 2003) to create an English language short-form self-report measure of extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness (the ‘Big Five’). In 2015, children across NSW completed a 30 minute online battery at 829 schools under the administration of their teacher with the final sample being n = 27,415.

The data was then cleaned (a massive task lead by Melissa Green at UNSW), analysed and the Big Five findings published in the Journal of Personality Disorders. The Results section, undertaken and written by Prof Kristen Laurens (now at ACU Brisbane), is a work of art in its own right using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis and IRT techniques.

The questionnaire has good psychometric properties and (while more evidence is needed) does appear to measure the Big Five. Future research will now be able to examine the role of personality as part of the larger NSW Child Development linkage project.

The full paper can be found at: https://guilfordjournals.com/toc/pedi/0/0

Friday, 26 October 2018

School seminar Oct 31: How to do Bayesian analysis

Dear All,

Next school-wide research seminar is on next week,  Wednesday 31st October, 12:00pm - 1:00pm.
This seminar is a special one on how to do Bayesian analyses and will include hands-on practical exercises in Bayesian analysis

If you are planning to attend the workshop you will need to take these steps BEFORE attending:
  1. Bring your own laptop computer. 
  2. Install JASP. https://jasp-stats.org/faq/how-do-i-install-jasp/
  3. Save to your laptop the  zip file with example data files. It was sent in a separate email by Angaline Atkins. 
  3b. If you're not on that mailing list email me at ami.eidels@newcastle.edu.au and i'll send you a copy
  4. Wear Halloween costume. This is optional, but it improves learning outcomes. 

Friday, 12 October 2018

School of Psychology research seminar, Oct 17: ECR show and tell


TOPIC: Introducing the Psychology ECRs
Location: Keats AVLG-17 
and video conference to Ourimbah EXSA-102 Room
No rsvp required
Light refreshments will be provided

In this seminar, 7 of our very own psychology early career researchers will give you a 5-minute introduction to their research. Come along and learn more about what the ECRs do!

Here is a list of speakers and what they’ll be telling us about:
Guy Hawkins – How do we make simple and complex decisions?
Sally Hunt – Why women drink
Bryan Paton – Learning and predictions and consciousness, oh my!
Emily Freeman – Let’s play!
Sharon Hollins – Gutsy move… for a brain
Elise Kalokerinos  – Dealing with feelings      
Tara Clinton-McHarg – Changing systems – you know you want to…

Date: Wednesday 17th October 2018
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Newcastle hosts Specialised meeting on the science of social cohesion

UON School of Psychology's Social and Organizational Psychology Research Group (SOPRG) and  Newcastle-Oxford Research Centre on Conflict and Cohesion (NORCCC) are proud to announce the 2019 SASP-SPSSI group meeting, entitled “Advances in Intergroup Contact Research: Showcasing, Consolidating, Deconstructing and Innovating the Science of Social Integration” to be held in Newcastle, Australia between Monday 29th April and Wed 1st May, 2019. This exciting gathering will run as a post-conference meeting to the annual conference of the Society of Australasian Social Psychologists, running Thursday 25th/Saturday 27th April 2019 in Sydney.

This is an exciting time for research on intergroup contact. With a strong delegation of international and national delegates of varied seniority and background, this specialized gathering will showcase and advance the best research on the antecedents, dynamics, and consequences of intergroup contact across a multiplicity of research laboratories, research paradigms and methods, intergroup settings, and societies.

Through its intimate single session format, the gathering will include the delivery of conference papers (blitz / longer length / posters) by junior and senior researchers and roundtable discussions (small / plenary), this SASP-SPSSI group meeting on intergroup contact aspires to offer an exciting platform to consolidate our understanding and interpretation of key findings, to discuss emerging research trends and methodologies and forge the research and the researchers of the future.

The event will be organised by an enthusiastic committee that spans across three continents, including Stefania Paolini (the University of Newcastle, Australia), Miles Hewstone (the University of Newcastle, Australia; Oxford University, UK), Fiona White (University of Sydney, Australia), Fiona Barlow (The University of Queensland, Australia), Linda Tropp (University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA), Liz Page-Gould (University of Toronto, Canada), Rhiannon Turner (Queen's University Belfast, UK) and Angel Gomez (National Distance Education University, Spain).


For ‘burning’ questions that cannot wait, contact Stefania

Monday, 24 September 2018

School of Psychology research seminar: Real-world impact of psychological research (Prof Miles Hewstone)

Wed, 26TH SEPTEMBER, 3-4pm

GUEST SPEAKER: Prof Miles Hewstone

Title: Real-world impact of psychological research: What it is, and some tips for how to achieve it

Prof Miles Hewstone (Oxford University and UON Global Innovation Chair on Social Cohesion) will share his experience from the UK REF (equivalent to our own ERA) research assessment process, and the increasing importance attached to research impact. Research impact is the effect that research has on “the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, environment, quality of life that is beyond academia”.

Two illustrative case studies will be considered one from clinical psychology, and one from social psychology. Emphasis will be placed on how long it takes to have impact, and hence the need to identify potential impacts early, the need to work closely with people in the worlds of policy and practice, as well as government, and the need to document ‘impact’ as objectively as possible.

The seminar will be interactive, and we can hopefully discuss some of your own actual or developing impacts, and how to maximise their effectiveness.

Location: Keats AVLG-17

zoom conference to Ourimbah science room SOE.131-132 via link: https://uonewcastle.zoom.us/j/786538107

No rsvp required. Light refreshments will be provided