Dr. Ilan Dar-Nimrod

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Ilan Dar-Nimrod is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Psychology and the Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney. He completed his BA with a double major at Haifa University, his MA and PhD (social psychology) at the University of British Columbia, and his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Rochester Medical Center (2012). His research foci revolve around social cognition (primarily genetic essentialism), experimental existential psychology, individual differences, gender, and sexuality. He has addressed these topics in publications in top tier journals, such as Science, Psychological Bulletin, and Nature Human Behaviour, among others. In his career to date he has been funded by both governmental institutions (e.g., the NIH, the Australian Research Council) and private organizations (e.g., The John Templeton Foundation, The American Institute of Bisexuality). For a more elaborate, if outdated, biosketch, you, you can look here.

Post-doctoral Fellow:


Dr. James Morandini

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James is a postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Psychology here at The University of Sydney, as well as a Clinical Psychologist working in private practice. He earned a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and a PhD in Social Psychology from The University of Sydney. His research and clinical work focuses on issues related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and paraphilias. In his research he employs mixed methodologies,including self-report and psychophysiological measures (such as pupil dilation and visual attention to assess sexual interest, and objective voice analysis to examine vocal masculinity/femininity in gay and bisexual men).
His early research was in animal models of depression, examining how exposure to chronic psychological stress impacts inflammatory markers in the CNS, and impact mood and cognitive functioning. He then moved into sexuality research, with his PhD examining how biological attributions of sexual orientation impact self-acceptance and wellbeing in lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals. At present, he is examining a number questions related to sexual orientation, gender identity, polyamory, and paraphilias.
James and fellow SCID members have completed a series of studies examining visual attention in exclusively and mostly straight men and women. He has also been collaborating on a project employing eye-tracking to examine visual attention patterns in bisexual males and females, and among distinct types of transwomen. These studies will contribute to a larger body of research aiming to identify how sexual orientation is organised.
He (along with other SCID members) is also examining vocal patterns in gay and straight men to identify what types of auditory information makes a voice sound “gay”, whether bisexual men have a distinctive “bisexual” voice, and whether the “gayness” of a voice is linked to experiences of discrimination, as well as gender expression and sexual identity outcomes in gay men.
He is also working on a project that examines how framing sexual orientation in essentialist vs. non-essentialist ways influences how lay people conceive of their own sexual orientation, and the attitudes they hold about LGB individuals.
James is currently looking for motivated Honours, Msc, and PhD students who are interested in pursuing sex science. Please get in contact if you have any queries.
– “Man will become better when you show him what he is like”

PhD Students:


Rachel Menzies


Rachel is both a doctoral and masters of clinical psychology student.  For her Honours project in 2015, her research involved assessing the relationship between death anxiety and severity of psychopathology among individuals with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  Rachel also examined the effect of death thoughts on increasing compulsive washing behaviour in OCD, using a mortality salience paradigm.  Her current research focuses on the transdiagnostic role of death fears across a wide range of mental illnesses, including the effect of mortality salience on bodily checking behaviours in anxiety disorders.  Rachel’s research interests also include the evaluation and development of psychosocial interventions targeting death anxiety. She has recently co-authored a book, Curing the Dread of Death: Theory, Research and Practice (link here).



Liam Dacosta

Liam is a PhD candidate whose research focuses on casual sex and dating interactions with a particular emphasis on how the outbreak of COVID-19 has impacted these social behaviours. As part of his Honours project in 2017, he examined whether continuous or fluid representations of sexual orientation could influence how lay people view their own sexuality, and how they view minority outgroup members.



Ruth Kuntzman


Ruth is a PhD candidate whose research focuses on the school experiences of sexual minority and trans and gender non-conforming youth. The years she spent working as a preschool teacher and teacher’s aide inspired her current research, which addresses the perceived and real obstacles that prevent teachers from implementing inclusive changes in their classrooms. In addition to an undergraduate background in psychology and English literature (CSULB), Ruth has earned a Master’s in English Literature and Master’s in Sexuality Studies (receiving the department’s Distinguished Achievement Award) from San Francisco State University. As her diverse academic background and social-justice focused research suggest, she believes in an interdisciplinary and solution-oriented approach to her research.

MPhil Students:



Benjamin Gerrard


Benjamin is an MPhil candidate. He completed his Bachelor of Psychology Honours at USYD in 2016. His honours thesis looked at the benefits of solution-focused coaching questions over those that are problem-focused. As part of his master’s, he is currently developing a study that aims to address how perceptions of masculinity and femininity in gay men may impact their social status. Benjamin is also a graduate of NIDA (bachelor fine arts in Acting, 2006), working around study as both a professional actor in theatre and television, as well as an ABA Senior Behavior Therapist at the Lizard Centre.

Marlon Woods


Marlon is undertaking an MPhil in Psychology. His research is focused on the mental health outcomes of gay and bisexual males, with a focus on implicit homophobia. He plans to go on to complete his PhD at Sydney Uni in hopes of becoming a professor of psychology and traveling academic.

Undergraduate Students:

Research Assistants:

Josh Corbett


Josh is an undergraduate student with a wide range of interests in social psychology, perception, and neuroscience. He is excited to be engaged with current research in developing fields.

Indi Dissanayake


Indi is an undergraduate psychology student who is volunteering with the SCID lab to gain research experience before completing his Honours year.

Sophia Iwao


Sophia is a second year undergraduate majoring in psychology and marketing, and is volunteering with the SCID lab to gain experience in the field of social psychology. She is interested in genetic essentialism and cultural psychology.

Jack Perry


Jack is working on a Graduate Diploma of Psychology. He has a background in mathematics. He is interested in the treatment of paraphilias, and the psychology of cults and victimhood. In his spare time he likes to go hiking or spend time at the beach.



Dr. Asha Ganesan

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Asha was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where she also did her undergraduate degree in Psychology. From there, her path led her to her Master’s in Social Psychology at the University of Northern Iowa (under the Fulbright program). That brought her to her PhD candidacy at The University of Sydney in Australia.
Her research interests focus on an inter-disciplinary approach to gender inequality, encompassing an evolutionary framework in addressing modern-day gender inequalities, with consideration for diverse groups of women. This intersectional approach focuses on how power and privilege dynamics as well as related social cognition (e.g., gender essentialism, system justification) impact individuals, groups, and systems. ​Over the years, she has also been involved in research touching on prejudice, power, as well as social and health-related cognition.
In her free time, she enjoys cooking, reading sci-fi and fantasy, gaming, and working out. Check out her website (link above).


Iana Wong, MPhil


Iana was a master’s student who graduated in 2018. Her research was the first to investigate the perception of ADHD among diagnosed adolescents and the divergent perceptions with their parents, using the Leventhal’s Illness Representation Model. By demonstrating the links between the perception of ADHD and the coping strategies with the disorder, she is hopeful that the research findings will encourage more research and clinical attention to the subjective perception of ADHD, which can eventually improve the youth and parents’ coping with the disorder.



Monica Trezise

Monica was an honours student and member of the SCID lab in 2017. Monica wrote a thesis examining stigma towards people in consensually non-monogamous relationships.



Christine Wong

Christine completed her honours in 2017. Her research project examined whether spending time being idle would influence ones’ affect, state mindfulness, or creativity. She is currently en route to becoming a psychologist through completing a Master of Professional Psychology at Western Sydney University.



Lauren Stavropolous


Lauren is currently completing the Honours year of her Bachelor of Psychology. She has a keen interest in social and human rights issues and the ways in which they can impact mental health. Her current research examines the factors that contribute to political polarisation, with particular focus on the influence of media reports of genetics research. She aims to go on to study clinical psychology and hopes to work in settings in which she can make a difference in marginalised communities.



Jess Strudwick

Jess did a Talented Student Program (TSP) research project in the SCID lab. Her project examined differences between bisexual and pansexual identities in terms of; (i) minority stressors (stigma consciousness and openness about sexual identity), (ii) connectedness to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ+) community, (iii) psychological distress and well-being, and (iv) identity variables (superiority and confusion). Overall the research identified the existence of different underlying mechanisms in sexual minority experience between bisexuality and pansexuality, highlighting the merit in investigating within-group differences in nonmonosexuality.


Stella Dodds


Stella is currently in her Honours year of a Bachelor of Psychology. She is interested in research related to sexual and gender minorities, and hopes to work with and give back to the LGBTQIA+ community. Stella’s research project will examine the effects of genetic essentialism and gender binarism on attitudes towards transgender people.


Damien Beckman-Scott


Damien is currently completing his Honours year at the SCID lab as a part of the psychology component of his combined Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Arts (philosophy) degree. His empirical thesis investigates whether lay people can discern sexuality from listening to men’s voices, focusing on the often neglected influence of bisexual voices. His other research interests include the ontology of sexual orientation, epistemological issues in psychological research, the etiology of paraphilia, and the phenomenology of gender identification. When he’s not stressing over the validity of psychological research, he is a musician and is hoping to release his self-recorded, mixed and mastered demo by the end of the year.


Portia Gooch


Portia is a second year Bachelor of Psychology student completing an individual research project with the SCID lab via the Dalyell Scholars Program. Her research interests include sexuality, gender identity, and their effect on wellbeing, as well as the diagnosis and treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Her current research project investigates the effects of minority stress on sexual functioning in gay men and lesbian women. In the future, Portia hopes to practice clinical psychology.