Psychology

The prosocial foundation: How and why do children help, share, and/or work well with others?

Supervisor

Dr.Annette Henderson

Discipline

Psychology

Project code: SCI189

Prosocial behaviours, such as sharing, helping and cooperation are critical to human survival; yet humans vary in their prosocial inclinations. Very little is known about how prosociality develops. This project addresses this gap by examining the role that experience (e.g., home-based activities, parenting, parents’ personality, etc) and other infant-specific factors (e.g., language ability, temperament, social cognition, genes) play in the development of prosociality across the first 6 years of life. This project is one component of an ongoing longitudinal study designed to track the development of cooperation by assessing how and why prosociality changes from infancy through to early childhood.
The large scope of the longitudinal study means that the student will be able to narrow the focus of their summer project based on their interests. As this study is ongoing, the student who works on this project will take part in running experimental sessions with infants and/or children in the Early Learning Lab (City Campus, School of Psychology). The student will also receive training on other research tasks such as calling and scheduling appointments, participant recruitment, conducting literature reviews, data entry, data coding, and data analysis. The student will also have an opportunity to help with other projects being conducted in the lab. Importantly, the student who works on this project will be involved in a thriving lab group over the summer months. Our group will have regular lab meetings in which we read recent articles in developmental science and have exciting discussions on topics relevant to the work in the lab. As you can see, this project will provide the student with a very unique experience; they will be exposed to every stage of research in developmental science.
Experience with infants and/or young children would be helpful. However, of most importance is that the student would be comfortable working with infants and young children. Students involved will need to complete a confidentiality agreement.
 

How to build a virtual baby? Step 1: Model early mother-infant interactions

Supervisor

Dr.Annette Henderson
Dr.Siobhan
Kennedy-Costantini

Discipline

Psychology

Project code: SCI190

Communication is essential to our everyday lives. As such, it is critical that effective communication skills develop early in life. Despite a large body of evidence surrounding the developmental trajectory of children’s communicative development, a comprehensive evidence-based model of this process has yet to be developed. This project will take critical steps towards addressing this gap.

The goal of this summer project will be to conduct detailed coding of infant and parent interactions to identify the verbal and nonverbal behaviours that shape early communication. This groundbreaking coding will enable us to deconstruct the dynamic nature of early communicative development and socialization practices at an extremely fine level that has previously not been possible due to technological limitations. The data will be attained from a series of adult-infant interactions that have been captured at five key time points across the first two years of life. This summer project will provide invaluable results that will be used to build models to support the development of an interactive virtual infant, i.e. BabyX. Once developed, we will have parametric control over this simulated baby’s verbal and nonverbal behaviour making endless possibilities for innovative empirical and practical applications. This is an exciting opportunity to be a part of the team that is building the first virtual infant! The large scope of this study means that the student will be able to narrow the focus of their summer project based on their interests.

As this project ongoing, the student who works on this project will take part in running experimental sessions with infants and/or children in the Early Learning Lab (City Campus, School of Psychology). The student will also receive training on other research tasks such as calling and scheduling appointments, participant recruitment, conducting literature reviews, data entry, data coding, and data analysis. The student will also have an opportunity to help with other projects being conducted by the students in the lab. Importantly, the student who works on this project will be involved in a thriving lab group over the summer months. Our group will have regular lab meetings in which we read recent articles in developmental science and have exciting discussions on topics relevant to the work in the lab. As you can see, this project will provide the student with a very unique experience; they will be exposed to every stage of research in developmental science.

Experience with infants and/or young children would be helpful. However, of most importance is that the student would be comfortable working with infants and young children. Students involved will need to complete a confidentiality agreement.

 

Sure I’ll work with you…: How does infants’ motivation to cooperate develop from infancy to early childhood?

Supervisor

Dr. Annette Henderson

Discipline

Psychology

Project code: SCI191

The ability to work together with other people underpins much of our everyday lives and develops within the first year of life. Despite developing the ability to cooperate early in life, there is vast variation in the extent to which people do cooperate. This project will examine, for the first time, infants’ motivation to cooperate with an experimenter and how that motivation does/does not change across early childhood. This project is one component of an ongoing longitudinal study designed to track the development of cooperation across the first 6 years of life.

The large scope of the longitudinal study means that the student will be able to narrow the focus of their summer project based on their interests. As this study is ongoing, the student who works on this project will take part in running experimental sessions with infants and/or children in the Early Learning Lab (City Campus, School of Psychology). The student will also receive training on other research tasks such as calling and scheduling appointments, participant recruitment, conducting literature reviews, data entry, data coding, and data analysis. The student will also have an opportunity to help with other projects being conducted in the lab. Importantly, the student who works on this project will be involved in a thriving lab group over the summer months. Our group will have regular lab meetings in which we read recent articles in developmental science and have exciting discussions on topics relevant to the work in the lab. As you can see, this project will provide the student with a very unique experience; they will be exposed to every stage of research in developmental science.

Experience with infants and/or young children would be helpful. However, of most importance is that the student would be comfortable working with infants and young children. Students involved will need to complete a confidentiality agreement
 

New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study: How does Benevolent Sexism shape gender inequality?

Supervisor

Chris Sibley

Discipline

Psychology

Project code: SCI192

This specific project will examine Ambivalent Sexism in the New Zealand population using data from the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study.

The New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (NZAVS) is a 20-year longitudinal national probability study of social attitudes, personality and health outcomes. Read more about the study on the NZAVS webpage. On the webpage you can watch videos from past summer scholars and graduate students summarizing their research.

This summer research scholarship will give you a chance to get involved with the NZAVS. Students will have the opportunity to be involved with preparing, and being included as an author, on scientific reports and journal articles published using data from the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study
 

New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study: How do morals and values change over the lifespan?

Supervisor

Chris Sibley

Discipline

Psychology

Project code: SCI193

This specific project will examine Ambivalent Sexism in the New Zealand population using data from the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study.

The New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (NZAVS) is a 20-year longitudinal national probability study of social attitudes, personality and health outcomes. Read more about the study on the NZAVS webpage. On the webpage you can watch videos from past summer scholars and graduate students summarizing their research.

This summer research scholarship will give you a chance to get involved with the NZAVS. Students will have the opportunity to be involved with preparing, and being included as an author, on scientific reports and journal articles published using data from the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study.
 

New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study: How does body image change over the lifespan, and does this depend on social anxiety?

Supervisor

Chris Sibley

Discipline

Psychology

Project code: SCI194

This specific project will examine Ambivalent Sexism in the New Zealand population using data from the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study.

The New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (NZAVS) is a 20-year longitudinal national probability study of social attitudes, personality and health outcomes. Read more about the study on the NZAVS webpage. On the webpage you can watch videos from past summer scholars and graduate students summarizing their research.

This summer research scholarship will give you a chance to get involved with the NZAVS. Students will have the opportunity to be involved with preparing, and being included as an author, on scientific reports and journal articles published using data from the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study.
 

An audit of communication impairments in patients admitted to Auckland City Hospital Acute Stroke Unit

Supervisor

ClareMcCann
Alan Barber

Discipline

Psychology

Project code: SCI195

As many as 67% of people admitted to hospital following a stroke will have some communication impairment (aphasia, apraxia of speech, dysarthria). The 2010 New Zealand Clinical Guidelines for Stroke outlined a number of evidence-based recommendations for the assessment and management of communication difficulties. To our knowledge, no studies of New Zealand stroke units have consistently collected information which would enable these guidelines to be followed.
The proposed collaborative study with Professor Alan Barber (in FMHS) who is NZ’s leading stroke specialist, is an audit of patient files admitted to the Auckland City Hospital Stroke Unit (over a six month period). It aims to identify the incidence of assessment and/or treatment of communication impairments. This will provide a starting point for further more in-depth research regarding communication impairments in New Zealand stroke units.
An interest in patient outcomes and skills in creating a dataset are desirable. Having excellent attention to detail is essential.
 

Examining the causes and consequences of sexism in New Zealand

Supervisor

Danny Osborne

Discipline

Psychology

Project code: SCI196

Despite being the first country in the world to grant universal suffrage to women, gender inequality continues to be a problem in New Zealand. Indeed, recent evidence suggests that women still earn approximately 10% less than men per hour of work. The aim of the current project is to examine the causes and consequences of sexism in New Zealand society. Students who receive a scholarship to work on this project will be involved in various tasks that help us address this research topic. Specifically, students’ responsibilities will include data entry, scanning of completed surveys, and other aspects of the data collection process. At the end of the semester, the successful student will be involved in the creation of an empirical report. Students will gain skills in the following areas: (a) data analyses, (b) data entry, (c) the composition of scientific reports, and (d) the management of a large database.

The effects of inequality on wellbeing

Supervisor

Danny Osborne

Discipline

Psychology

Project code: SCI197

Inequality in New Zealand has reached an unprecedented level and is likely to increase in the upcoming years. Although a number of studies have examined the consequences of unequal wealth distribution on people's health and well-being from a sociological standpoint, the psychological processes through which these effects emerge is unknown. To these ends, the aim of the current project is to address this oversight by identifying the effects that inequality has on the attitudes and values of New Zealanders. Students who receive a scholarship to work on this project will be involved in a variety of tasks that help us address this critical research question. Specifically, students’ responsibilities will include data entry, scanning of completed surveys, and other aspects of the data collection process. At the end of the semester, the successful student will be involved in the creation of an empirical report. Students will gain skills in the following areas: (a) data analyses, (b) data entry, (c) the composition of scientific reports, and (d) the management of a large database.

Examining the motivational basis of system-challenging and system-supporting collective action

Supervisor

Danny Osborne

Discipline

Psychology

Project code: SCI198

Social injustices are rife in human society, but collective action is rare. Though existing models of collective action show that protesters must (a) identify with a social group, (b) perceive injustice(s) against that group, and (c) believe that they are capable of facilitating social change before engaging in collective action, past research assumes that all collective action is the same. The purpose of the current summer scholarship is to differentiate between protests that aim to challenge the social system, and those that seek to reinforce/defend it. To these ends, we will use system justification theory as a way to explain why some people are willing to fight for social change, whereas others are willing to protest on behalf of the social system. At the end of the semester, the successful student will be involved in the creation of an empirical report. Students will gain skills in the following areas: (a) data analyses, (b) data entry, (c) the composition of scientific reports, and (d) the management of a large database.

Influence of mindset on neural and behavioral correlates of cognitive training

Supervisor

Dr. David Moreau

Discipline

Psychology

Project code: SCI199

In this project, you will be involved in a study designed to further our understanding of the neural and behavioral correlates of cognitive training. The project will focus on the collection and analysis of neural and behavioral data in a population of children with learning difficulties. An interest in developmental disorders, data analysis and neuroscience more generally is desirable, but no specific background is required.  

An exploration of New Zealand child and youth offending

Supervisor

Ian Lambie

Discipline

Psychology

Project code: SCI200

Note: Can include skills required, pre-requisites, timings, etc.

The work of this summer scholarship will form part of a larger research project on the characteristics of New Zealand children and adolescents engaged in offending behaviour.

I am currently supervising a doctoral project on preventing the entry of children into the prison pipeline and we are looking for someone to assist with this research. While the specific tasks the summer student will undertake are yet to be finalised, they may involve a literature review, assistance with data collection and/or data analysis. The scholarship offers an opportunity to get insight into the postgraduate research process and will provide valuable support to a project seeking to make a difference to the lives of New Zealand youth.

We will consider applicants who have achieved excellent grades throughout their undergraduate studies with excellent communication and time management skills, and a keen interest in this topic.
Skills in excel, SPSS and data analysis would be an advantage.
 

Role of generalisation in behavioural persistence

Supervisor

Dr John Bai
Dr Sarah Cowie
A/Prof Douglas Elliffe

Discipline

Psychology

Project code: SCI201

The persistence of behaviour is influenced by the context in which it occurs, and the reinforcement which follows it. This project focuses on the contextual control of behaviour, specifically examining how behavioural persistence might generalise across similar contexts.

Students involved with this project will review related literature, help run animal (pigeon) subjects, analyse data, and help with maintenance and/or setup of the equipment.
 

Running on Autopilot: how can we take control of our habits?

Supervisor

Dr Jude Buckley
Assoc. Prof. Paul Corballis

Discipline

Psychology

Project code: SCI202

Note: Can include skills required,
pre-requisites, timings, etc.

Every day we are often locked in a wrestle between resisting the allure
of going to a party, so we can study for exams, not overeating, drinking too
much, or smoking so we can achieve our health goals. The strategies we used to
regulate our behaviours such as, keeping our goals in mind, letting ourselves
off the hook, or justifying indulgence, e.g., ‘I deserve a treat’- become
automatic (habits). This project is part of a larger research project
investigating how a sense of control over our habits arises from automatic
self-regulation.

During this
project, the Summer Scholar will gain skills in research design, literature
review, mental chronometry methodology, measurement development data collection
and/or data analysis and reporting. The scholarship offers an opportunity to
get insight into the postgraduate research process.

It is desirable
that the successful applicant has knowledge of experimental psychology, data
analysis and has a keen interest in this topic.

We anticipate that the project will take place
during December 2018 – February 2019.

Wellbeing and quality of life in individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment – the role of identity.

Supervisor

A/P Lynette Tippett

Discipline

Psychology

Project code: SCI203

The world's population is aging, and with it an increasing number of people are living with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Most people who experience AD go through a transitional stage known as Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) in which they experience a decline in cognition without significant impairment in everyday functioning. While not all people with MCI go on to develop AD, people with MCI are at a much higher risk of developing AD, and live with considerable uncertainty. Despite extensive efforts, there is no cure for AD, resulting in a new focus on lifestyle factors that may influence disease progression and on improving quality of life (QoL) and wellbeing in people living with MCI. To do this, first it is important to identify factors that enable some people with MCI to maintain positive well-being and a QoL despite the challenges.

One prediction is that maintenance of a strong identity or sense of self may be essential for maintaining wellbeing and QoL in the face of memory impairments. This research project aims to establish whether changes in the strength or complexity of identity are associated with QoL and wellbeing in individuals with MCI. To do this, individuals with MCI and healthy controls will be asked to complete the Twenty Statements Test where they must answer the question "Who am I" using 20 statements. Their responses will be coded in a number of ways to establish the strength and complexity of their identity. The participants will also complete a number of questionnaires to measure their level of wellbeing and QoL.

The summer scholar involved in this project will contribute to the coding of the Twenty Statements Test and with support will analyse the resulting data. They will receive training on other research tasks such as conducting literature reviews, data entry, data management, data coding, data analysis and the possibility of attending interviews with participants. They will have the opportunity to attend laboratory meetings with the broader lab group associated with A/P Tippett. The student will also be provided with the opportunity to interact with research participants with MCI by assisting at the Dementia Prevention Research Clinic (DPRC) which comprises a multidisciplinary team. This project will provide the student with a unique combination of experiences at multiple stages of this research project and the longitudinal research project with which it is associated. They will be closely supported by other research students and clinicians involved in this project.

A stage 3 or Honours level student is preferred.
 

Virtual Reality & Vision

Supervisor

Dr. Nathan Ryckman

Discipline

Psychology

Project code: SCI204

Note: Can include skills required, pre-requisites, timings, etc.

Skills required: some programming experience (any, but Unity preferred)

Course experience: any computer science/programming course

In this project, we will examine how visual attention is influenced in virtual reality compared to a standard experiment presented via traditional desktop computer.

The summer scholar for this project will gain skills in eye-tracking methodology, both within virtual reality and on a standard desktop computer setup. Further, the project will garner experience in Unity programming, data analysis, and data reporting.

This project will take place during December 2018 to February 2019
 

Psyber Security: Human behaviour the key to stopping/ thwarting cybercrime

Supervisor

Dr Jude Buckley
Assoc. Prof. Paul Corballis

Discipline

Psychology

Project code: SCI205

Note: Can include skills required, pre-requisites, timings, etc.

We spend much of our daily personal and business life on the internet. Cyber-attacks on personal information and business infrastructure pose one of the biggest threats facing today’s world. Most efforts in cyber security are focused on technology. Yet, human behaviour just as much as technology, is at the crux of cybersecurity. The work of this summer scholarship will form part of a larger research project aimed at devising new methods to bolster cyber security. In this project we will explore the human factors/ situations such as, multitasking, fatigue and distraction that make people vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

During this project, the Summer Scholar will gain skills in research design, literature review, measurement development, data collection and/or data analysis and reporting. The scholarship offers an opportunity to get insight into the postgraduate research process.

It is desirable that the successful applicant has knowledge of experimental psychology, data analysis and has a keen interest in this topic.

We anticipate that the project will take place during December 2018 – February 2019.
 

Reinforcement: Past, present, potential?

Supervisor

Sarah Cowie

Discipline

Psychology

Project code: SCI206

This project involves using data from basic animal models to understand how control by the environment depends on past, present, and potential reinforcers. The project will involve assisting with the daily running of the laboratory, data analysis (mostly in Excel), and a literature review. Full training will be provided, but having completed PSYCH203, PSYCH309, or PSYCH711AB would be an asset.

Eye movements and peripheral vision

Supervisor

Assoc. Prof. Tony Lambert

Discipline

Psychology

Project code: SCI207

Note: Can include skills required, pre-requisites, timings, etc.

In this project we will explore the idea that eye movements can be influenced and controlled by information in the visual periphery that is never represented in conscious awareness.

It is desirable that the successful applicant has taken courses in experimental psychology (especially PSYCH 201 and/or PSYCH 202).

In the course of carrying out this project, the Summer Scholar will gain skills in eye-tracking methodology, research design, data analysis and reporting.

We anticipate that the project will take place during December 2018 – February 2019.