Funding approved for new research in psychology

27 June 2018
ARC Discovery Project grants awarded for 2018
Five researchers from the School of Psychology have been awarded a total of more than $1 million in grant funding from the ARC this year.
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ARC Discovery Project funding for 2018 has very successful for the School of Psychology this year with three projects each receiving over $300,000 each.

The successful projects include:

The nocebo effect: the dark side of placebos

Funding: $339,018

An investigation by Dr Ben Colagiuri; Professor Louise Sharpe; Associate Professor Luana Colloca that aims to understand the nocebo effect - when negative information triggers adverse outcomes - and how to reduce it.

Despite a wealth of evidence for the existence of nocebo effects across various settings, there are critical gaps in our current understanding of how these effects occur and whether we can reduce them. To address this, the current project develops and experimentally tests a new model of the nocebo effect that will uncover its underlying mechanisms as well as strategies to inhibit it.

The expected outcomes from this project can contribute to minimising the substantial individual and societal harm caused by the nocebo effect and associated health and economic costs.

Comprehending text: A natural laboratory for investigating cognitive ageing

Funding: $343,974

This project, lead by Professor Sally Andrews aims to determine whether the cognitive processes required for reading comprehension change in old age.

Reading is a complex skill that requires precise co-ordination of perception, cognition and attention but appears relatively immune to age-related declines that impair performance in other complex cognitive tasks.

Sophisticated eye tracking and electrophysiological studies will be analysed to specify how older adults adapt to the sensory and neural impairments associated with age. The outcomes will advance theories of cognitive ageing and reading comprehension and contribute to development of novel interventions to predict and enrich cognitive capacities in old age.

Testing posterior parietal cortex contributions to human episodic memory

Funding: $358,912

This project being undertaken by Associate Professor Muireann Irish; Professor John Hodges and Associate Professor Hana Burianova aims to determine the involvement of parietal brain regions for episodic memory.

Using novel experimental tasks and multimodal neuroimaging techniques in young and healthy aging, this project expects to clarify the role of posterior parietal structures, and their interactions with core memory structures, during memory retrieval.

Expected outcomes include advanced understanding of how we remember the past in rich contextual detail, and how such processes are altered in healthy aging. This potentially provides significant benefits in predicting and treating memory dysfunction due to brain injury or neurodegeneration.