View all news

SCU psychology students showcase research projects


20 September 2004
Dreams and memory, the effectiveness of warning labels on cigarette packets and the effects of sound reinforcement on poker machine gambling are just some of the topics to be covered during Southern Cross University’s first Psychology Research Conference.

The conference, organised by the first cohort of final year Bachelor of Psychology Honours students, will be held on Friday, September 24, at the National Marine Science Centre in Coffs Harbour.

Lecturer Dr Rick van der Zwan said many of the fourth-year students had been working in the community to complete their research projects and the conference was an opportunity for the community to see that work.

“This is our way of making the content of the School of Psychology available to the community and to let people see the quality of work being done by our students. The conference is free and people can come along to one or all of the sessions,” Dr van der Zwan said.

SCU’s Head of School of Psychology Professor Peter Wilson said the psychology program, run from the Coffs Harbour campus, was designed to provide a real-world focus for students through a range of research projects.

Among the topics to be presented on the day are a study of dream content and memory source by Amanda Curley, and a study of music as a source of motivation, by Emily Melbourne.

Jodi Worboys, the conference organiser, will present the findings of her research into “The role of social identity and intergroup contact”. Another research project, conducted by Belinda Roche, looks at the warning labels on cigarette packets and whether or not they are effective as a deterrent.

Kerrie Dennis’ research project on anxiety has involved the use of a new Psychophysiology laboratory, set up at the Coffs Harbour campus. The laboratory includes a range of equipment including a skin conductance measurer, electroencephalograph (which measures electrical activity in the brain) and equipment for measuring heart rate and electro-muscular activity.

“We are now in a position to conduct psychophysiological research and our honours students have already been collecting data on a range of topics. This laboratory, supported by SCU’s Graduate Research College, will greatly expand our capabilities for post-graduate research,” Professor Wilson said.

“We are already expecting that some of these current honours students will go on and take up the opportunity for further research.”

The Psychology Research Conference will be held from 9am to 6pm on Friday, September 24 at the National Marine Science Centre. Bookings can be made by contacting the School of Psychology on 6659 3301.

Photo caption: Psychology student Kerrie Dennis injects gel into a special cap, worn by Todd Lattimer, in preparation for an electroencephalograph which measures electrical activity in the brain.

Media contact: Brigid Veale, SCU Media Liaison, 66593006 or m. 0439 680 748.