Professor Tom Denson

Professor Tom Denson

Professor Tom Denson


B.A. Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1997
M.A. Research Psychology, California State University, Long Beach, 2002
M.A. Social Psychology, University of Southern California, 2004
Ph.D. Social Psychology, University of Southern California, 2007

Contact details

Phone: (02) 9385 1305
Email: Professor Tom Denson
Fax: (02) 9385 3641

Office: Mathews, Room 1304

Research Summary

Thomas F. Denson is a Professor in the School of Psychology at UNSW. He is an experimental social-personality psychologist. His primary research focus is on the causes, consequences, and prevention of anger-driven aggression. 

Anger and aggression are serious problems throughout the world. The research in my lab has helped us understand the causes of these phenomena and how they can be regulated. My students and I attack the problem from multiple angles including functional neuroimaging, behavioural experiments, and psychoneuroendocrinology. Our lab has investigated anger and aggression between strangers, romantic partners, and physical and sexual aggression toward women.

My lab has also extensively studied alcohol-related aggression. We are at the forefront of discovering brain systems involved in alcohol-related aggression with the help of a 3-year grant from the Australian Research Council.


PSYC1001 (Introductory Psychology)
PSYC3121 (Social Psychology)
Honours Elective (Aggression)


Click here for publication list

Awards, Fellowships & Grants

Recent Research Grants:

  • (2020-2022) Australian Research Council Discovery Project. Brain systems implicated in alcohol-related aggression. AUD$354,177.  Denson, TF, Riva, P, & Gilam, G.
  • (2015-2018) Australian Research Council Future Fellowsihp. A new pathway to self-control: Testing a social-neurocognitive model of aggressive desires. $892,507. Denson, TF.
  • (2012-2014) Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA). Anger and aggression in psychological time and space. $375,000. Denson, TF.
  • (2012-2014) Australian Research Council Discovery Project, Self-control processes underlying reactive aggression. $397,998. Denson, TF.
  • (2010-2013) Australian Research Council Linkage Project in collaboration with AAMI. Psychological factors that lead to risky, aggressive, and impaired driving. $360,000. Denson, TF, Zadro, L, & Moulds, ML.
  • (2010-2012) National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grant. Alcohol, angry rumination, and aggression: The role of acute impairment of executive functioning. $328,750. Denson, TF.
  • (2009-2011) Australian Research Council Discovery Project. Regulating anger: Cognitive reappraisal, emotional suppression, and post-event rumination. $170,000. Denson, TF, Grisham, JR, & Moulds, M.
  • (2009-2011) Australian Research Council Discovery Project. Social psychological, personality, and neural processes underlying anger, aggression, and health. $297,000. Denson, TF.

Affiliations & Memberships

Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science

Fellow of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology

Council Member of the International Society for Research on Aggression

Associate Editor for Aggressive Behavior

University of New South Wales Postgraduate Supervisor Award, University-wide, student-nominated award.

University of New South Wales, Science Faculty Staff Excellence in Teaching Award (Based on student evaluation scores).

Society of Australasian Social Psychologists’ Early Career Award

Association for Psychological Science “Rising Star”

University of New South Wales, Science Faculty Staff Excellence in Research Award

University of New South Wales, Australian Psychological Society’s Most Outstanding Lecturer in Psychology (UNSW) Award. Voted on by Bachelor of Psychology and Honours students. This was the first year the award was offered.

Current Research Students

PhD Students
Dilan Sellahewa (clinical)
Siobhan O'Dean (social)
2020 Honours Students
Danika Admanski
Stephen Chan
Briana Kouloukakis
2020 Masters Students
Libby Shuttleworth (Clinical) 
Carmen Lin (Clinical)

Former PhD Students
Dr Ewa Siedlecka
Dr Joanne R. Beames (Postdoctoral researcher, Black Dog Institute)
Dr Khandis Blake (Lecturer, University of Melbourne, School of Psychology)
Dr Timothy P. Schofield 
Dr Emma C. Fabiansson (New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption)

Personal Links

Personal Homepage:

If you were a research participant in the Denson lab during 2017 and wish to know the findings, click here