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International Women's Day: Women in Research

Posted 14 March 2017

The UNSW School of Psychology celebrated International Women's Day by featuring some of our leading female researchers.

Profiles and insights into the research undertaken by Dr Sophi Li, Dr Kelly Clemens, A/Prof Jessica Grisham, Dr Kristy Martire and Prof Skye McDonald can be found here: International Women's Day - Women in Research Feature.


Workshop: Treating Arachnophobia

Posted 14 February 2017

Calling all arachnophobes! Run by clinical psychologist Dr Sophie Li, this half-day workshop leads you through the process of overcoming your fears.

Event Type: Special event
Date: 25 March 2017 to 25 March 2017
Time: 9.45 AM to 1.00 PM
Location: Australian Museum - 1 William Street
Admission: $129 - General Admisstion, $119 - Concession, $109 - Museum Members

Using cognitive behavioural therapy, including controlled exposure, and live demonstrations, the workshop will lead you through the process of confronting and overcoming your fears.

Imagine encountering a spider without feeling the urge to escape, even feeling calm and confident?

If this seems impossible for you, you’re not alone. Millions of otherwise rational people are terrified of spiders. Spiders can inspire panic, sweating, nausea, rapid heartbeat and more.

Arachnophobes are invited to participate in this specially-designed workshop run in conjunction with Australian Museum’s hugely popular Spiders exhibition.

Step through a series of simple and effective exercises in a safe and supportive environment. Participate in group activities, observe demonstrations and finally move to small-group “spider stations” for controlled exposure designed to help you face and conquer your phobia once and for all.

In this workshop you will:

  • be introduced to the rationale behind cognitive behavioural and exposure therapies;
  • identify your own thoughts and beliefs about spiders;
  • learn factual information about spiders and their safe handling;
  • observe their simple, safe handling;
  • complete exposure tasks yourself in a nurturing and supportive environment; and
  • leave with a maintenance plan for any future spider interactions and for managing your own anxiety.

Tickets include free entry to the Night Talk on Tuesday 21 March, “Should we fear spiders?”

For more information and to buy tickets:

Psychology Student Welcome 2017

22 February 2017 - 1:30pm – 22 February 2017 - 2:30pm  |  The Pavilion (Map Ref E24, behind Sir John Clancy Auditorium)

The School of Psychology will be welcoming new students at 1:30pm on Wednesday 22 February 2017 in The Pavilion (Map Ref E24, behind Sir John Clancy Auditorium), following the Faculty of Science Welcome at 12:30pm. A light afternoon tea will be provided.

For a full list of O-Week events go to

We look forward to seeing you there!

UNSW Symposium on Eating and Appetite (USEA) 2017

10 February 2017 - 9:00am – 10 February 2017 - 5:00pm  |  UNSW, Webster Theatre A (Map Ref G15)

Registration is now open for the UNSW Symposium on Eating and Appetite (USEA) 2017.

This one-day event brings together leading Australian and international researchers who will present their current research and insights on eating behaviour, appetite, and other related topics. This symposium will provide an opportunity to exchange ideas, discuss theoretical and practical issues in the field, and establish connections and possible collaborations with other researchers.

The symposium will be held at UNSW on Friday 10 February, 2017, from 9am to 5pm, Webster Theatre A (Map Ref G15) and includes lunch and refreshments.

Registration is FREE, and the symposium is open to anyone interested in attending, but space is limited and registration is required.

For more information, and to complete the registration form, please visit:

Please register by February 3, 2017.

The speakers for USEA 2017 are (in alphabetical order):

Dr Denovan Begg (UNSW Australia): Insulin signalling in the central nervous system and energy balance
Prof Clare Collins (University of Newcastle): Nutrition and weight management; What we know, and what we don’t know (but are using technology to try and find out)
Prof Dave Grattan (University of Otago, NZ): Hormone-induced adaptations to appetite and bodyweight homeostasis during pregnancy
Prof Peter Herman (University of Toronto, Canada): The social facilitation of eating or the facilitation of social eating?
Dr Tanya Little (University of Adelaide): Gastrointestinal nutrient sensing and the regulation of appetite
Dr Deborah Mitchison (Macquarie University): Eating disorder epidemiology: What we know and moving forward
Prof Janet Polivy (University of Toronto, Canada): Social comparison and eating behavior: What's that you're eating?
Dr Amy Reichelt (RMIT): Social and cognitive impact of high fat and high sugar diets in young rats
Dr Ben Schuz (University of Tasmania): Momentary influences on everyday discretionary food choices
A/Prof Lenny Vartanian (UNSW Australia): How do people explain their overeating?
Prof Tracey Wade (Flinders University): Genetic and environmental influences impacting on disordered eating from early to late adolescence

Brain Sciences UNSW Symposium 2017, Neuroinflammation: the Fire in Your Brain and belly

4 May 2017 - 8:30am – 4 May 2017 - 6:00pm  |  Leighton Hall, The John Niland Scientia Building, UNSW Kensington Campus

The annual Brain Sciences UNSW Symposium will be held on Thursday 4 May 2017 in Leighton Hall, The John Niland Scientia Building at The University of New South Wales. The theme for the 12th annual Symposium is Neuroinflammation: the Fire in Your Brain and Belly.

The last decade has seen outstanding advances in our understanding of brain disorders and in the development of novel treatment strategies. Of all brain disorders, the greatest treatment advances of the last decade have been in the management of neuroinflammatory conditions, particularly multiple sclerosis. The insights gained from the treatment of MS have also had significant implications for other related disorders, including antibody and virus-mediated neuroinflammation. There has also been recent ground-breaking research which suggests a neuroinflammatory basis for psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, a finding that could potentially revolutionise treatment.

The Brain Sciences UNSW Symposium will showcase an array of outstanding national and international scientists who are at the forefront of research into neuroinflammation. The symposium will include dedicated sessions on neuroinflammation in neurological and psychiatric disease and will cover mechanisms of disease and future treatment strategies. The Symposium will also include a highly topical session dedicated to the microbiome and the possible implications of the ‘brain-gut’ connection, particularly relating to the effects of obesity and early life stress on brain function.

The invitation to attend is open to anyone with an interest in the brain sciences and neuroscience and you are welcome to extend an invitation to others who may be interested e.g. researchers from other organisations; students. Registration fee for delegates is $130; registration fee for students (PhD, Masters, Undergraduate) is $50 (talk to your supervisor!). Seating is limited and registrations will close when capacity is reached. There will be a dedicated poster session for postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Click for program details, registration, and poster abstract guidelines.

Poster Presentation: Postgraduate students and Postdoctoral fellows. Abstract submissions close on Thursday 23 March.

We look forward to seeing you at the Brain Sciences UNSW Symposium 2017.

Date: Thursday 4 May 2017

Time: 0830 – 1800 h.

Venue: Leighton Hall, The John Niland Scientia Building, UNSW Kensington Campus (Map ref G19)

Fees: $130 for delegate; $50 for university student (PhD, Masters, Undergraduate)


For those coming via public transport the best access is via Gate 2 of High Street. Parking is very limited but there are (metered) multi-level car parking stations via Gate 11 (Botany Street) and Gate 14 (Barker Street)

The Fiction of Memory: Public Lecture by Professor Elizabeth Loftus

3 January 2016 - 6:00pm  |  Eastern Avenue Auditorium, Eastern Avenue, The University of Sydney

About the speaker:
Elizabeth Loftus is Distinguished Professor at the University of California - Irvine. She has published 23 books and over 500 scientific articles on the malleability of human memory. She has been recognized for her research with seven honorary doctorates and election to the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Academy of Sciences. Her expertise in memory has profound implications for the legal system and consequently she has been an expert witness or consultant in hundreds of court cases.

In this free public lecture, Professor Loftus will talk about the Fiction of Memory.

For several decades, I have been manufacturing memories in unsuspecting minds. Sometimes this involves changing details of events that someone actually experienced. Other times it involves planting entire memories for events that never happened – ‘rich false memories’. People can be led to believe that they did things that would have been rather implausible. They can also be led to falsely believe that they had experiences that would have been emotional or traumatic had they actually happened.

False memories, like true ones, have consequences for people, affecting later thoughts, intentions, and behaviours. Can we tell true memories from false ones?

In several studies, I created false memories in the minds of people, and then compared them to true memories. Once planted, the false memories look very much like true memories – in terms of behavioural characteristics, emotionality and neural signatures. If false memories can be so readily planted in the mind, do we need to think about ‘regulating’ this mind technology? And what do these pseudomemories say about the nature of memory itself?

This lecture is sponsored by UNSW School of Psychology, The Psychology Foundation of Australia and School of Psychology, Sydney, and is in association with the conference of the Society for Applied research in Memory and Cognition (SARMAC).

Registration essential:
This free public lecture on Tuesday 3 January: 6.00pm - 7.30pm is open to all, but registration is essential.
Please follow the link below to register.

UNSW School of Psychology Offers Scientia PhD Scholarships

Posted 24 October 2016

Project Area: On the origins of data – Information Sampling, Reasoning, and Decision-Making by human learners
(Leaders: Professor Brett Hayes & Associate Professor Dan Navarro)

Expressions of interest are sought from outstanding graduates with a strong academic record including Honors Class I or equivalent for 4-year PhD scholarships that include a living allowance of $40,000 AUS per annum (tax-free) and up to $10,000 per annum in project support costs.

Graduates with a strong background in cognitive psychology, cognitive science, cognitive development, decision science, or other relevant discipline are particularly encouraged to apply. Graduates with additional past experience working as a research scientist or assistant are also strongly encouraged to apply.

Project Description: Learning how to generalize from data is a fundamental inductive task facing any intelligent agent. Psychologists have traditionally focused on how human reasoning depends on similarity. Our work has shown, however, that human reasoning can be remarkably subtle. Using recent developments in computational cognitive modelling, this project will develop new models of human inductive reasoning. Our focus is on how people rely on intuitive theories about the world and other minds, and how such reliance shapes the generalizations we make.

The School of Psychology at UNSW is recognised nationally and internationally for its excellence in research and teaching. It is a leading Australian Psychology department on quality measures such as research publications and competitive grant funding (currently 16th in the world on QS World ranking of Psychology Departments).

If you are interested in learning more about this unique PhD scholarship, please send an email (including current academic transcript and curriculum vitae) to Professor Hayes:

Download PDF

Closing date for expressions of interest: November 11, 2016

Senior Research Fellow Dr Muireann Irish wins Premier's Award

Posted 24 October 2016

The NSW Premier's Prizes for Science & Engineering seek to recognise excellence in science and engineering, and reward leading researchers for cutting-edge work that has generated economic, environmental, health, social or technological benefits for New South Wales.

Senior Research fellow in UNSW Psychology Dr Muireann Irish, based at Neuroscience Research Australia, was joint winner of NSW Early Career Researcher of the Year. She shared the award with Dr Elizabeth New from the University of Sydney.

Irish is internationally recognised for her innovative research on memory dysfunction in dementia. Her work has transformed how we understand and manage cognitive dysfunction in dementia. Motivated by her grandmother’s suffering with Alzheimer’s disease, Irish has mapped the neurobiological changes which underlie the devastating loss of memory.

There are nine award categories in the NSW Premier's Prizes for Science & Engineering whereby winners of each category receive a trophy and $5,000.

For more information on the Premier's Award and to view other UNSW winners, view the article by the UNSW Newsroom: UNSW Reseachers Win Premier's Awards.

UNSW Grand Challenges Meetups - Mental Health of Refugees

27 October 2016 - 4:00pm – 27 October 2016 - 5:00pm  |  Michael Crouch Innovation Centre (Map E10)

Mental Health of Refugees: How Do We Help Millions of People? Professor Richard Bryant, AC

Scientia Professor Richard Bryant will provide an will overview of the current mental health conditions experienced by refugees, and the challenges faced in dealing with the massive numbers of refugees currently residing across the globe.

How do we develop new affordable methods of addressing mental health problems in refugees, whilst recognising that mainstream treatment services will not suffice in the current context of millions of refugees residing in countries that lack the health infrastructure to treat mental health conditions.

Professor Bryant will introduce a program that has been developed by UNSW and the World Health Organization, and is soon to be tested in a range of settings across Europe and the Middle East with Syrian refugee adults and children.

The Meetups are designed to connect UNSW staff and students interested in the Grand Challenges program. The Meetups will feature a different presenter and topic on a fortnightly basis, around current Grand Challenge themes and possible future Grand Challenges, such as 21st Century Technology, Artificial Intelligence and Inequality. After the presentations there will be time to connect with colleagues for discussion and to plant the seeds for future collaborations.

When: Thursday, 4pm – 5pm, fortnightly
Where: Michael Crouch Innovation Centre (Map ref E10)
RSVP: You can join the UNSW Grand Challenges Meetup Group via email
or Facebook

UNSW Psychology Clinic Offers New "Overcoming Anxiety Group"

Posted 6 October 2016

The Psychology Clinic at UNSW is offering a 8-session group program that will help you learn more about anxiety, and how to manage anxious thoughts, feelings and behaviours in step-by-step manner.

General Information:
This program uses Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) techniques which have been proven to be the most effective psychological treatment for anxiety. It will be led by Provisional Psychologists under the supervision of senior Clinical Psychologists.

Group Dates, Times and Location:
The group consists of eight 2-hour sessions, and will be held at the Psychology Clinic, Level 8, Mathews Building, UNSW Kensington Campus between 4-6pm on Tuesdays. Session dates are below:

•  25 October 2016
•  1 November
•  8 November
•  15 November
•  22 November
•  29 November
•  6 December
•  10 January 2017
(one-month follow-up)

What does it cost?
The total cost for the 8-session group program is $70.

How do I know if I am eligible?
You will be offered a free assessment session with our clinic staff before the group program to determine whether this program may be helpful for you.

Where can I get more information?
If you have any questions, please contact the Psychology Clinic on 9385 3042.
You can also contact us online at

The UNSW Psychology Clinic also offers treatment for individuals with depression, and other difficulties.