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Psychology students present research findings


Brigid Veale
24 September 2014
Organ donation, understanding Facebook behaviour, why good people do bad things and assessing ultrasound based arthritis intervention, are just some of the research papers to be presented at the 11th Annual Honours Psychology Research Conference at Southern Cross University's Coffs Harbour campus this week.

The conference, hosted by the discipline of Psychology in the School of Health and Human Sciences on Thursday and Friday (September 25 and 26), will include presentations from students completing their 4th (Honours) year in the Bachelor of Psychological Science.

Conference organiser Dr Gail Moloney said 40 students would present the findings of research projects to academics, fellow students, community organisations and family and friends.

“The research projects are diverse and many have involved participation from the community. We really encourage anyone with an interest in psychology to come along and hear about the wide range of research being undertaken by our students,” Dr Moloney said.

“Their discoveries make a real contribution to our understanding of human behaviour. It is an opportunity for our students to demonstrate their research expertise and their ability to relate and defend their findings in a public forum. These are important skills as they pursue their careers.”

Among the students is Michelle Hayward, who will present the results of a study on organ donation titled ‘Organ Donation: you don’t have to be a doctor to save lives’.

“I made the decision in my first year of psychology that when I did my thesis I wanted to do research into organ donation,” Ms Hayward said.

“I knew that there was a shortage of donors and that there were obviously psychological barriers to people donating. I also wanted to make a contribution to society. I wanted to do something that potentially could have a real impact and be of benefit within the community.

“My study is examining if the interventions that my participants undertook resulted in them speaking with their family about their organ donation decision. There has been a lot of research into organ donation but very few that have actually used interventions, even less that have found successful interventions.”

Some of the other research topics include:

Michelle Sim – The Relationship Between Vitamin D, Mood and Attention.
Chrisitine Farrell – Callous, carnivore: should I trust you with my pet, Poopsie?
Hannah Georege – Why good people do bad things? The role of State Empathy.
Amie Morgan – Predicting social aggression: what makes a bully?
Belinda Favaloro – Are you more emotional in your first or second language?
Brooke Blanch – Eyewitness to the mind’s eye: truth or vivid lies?
Elizabeth Hanley – Understanding Facebook behaviour: is it compulsive or rewarding?
Josh Dooner – What Lies Beneath: assessing ultrasound based arthritis intervention.

The conference is being held at Southern Cross University’s Coffs Harbour campus, D block lecture theatre, on Thursday and Friday (September 25 and 26), starting at 9am. Members of the public are welcome to attend. Please RSVP Coffs Harbour Shared Services Hub [email protected]

Photo: Some of the psychology students who will be presenting their research findings at the Coffs Harbour campus.