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Department of Psychology news

RoboCup Nationals in town this weekend

Thursday, 14 September 2017 3:50pm

Regional competitions of Robocup Junior New Zealand were held up and down the country between July and September this year, with the nationals taking place in Dunedin on Saturday. Robocup is a unique event that excites and motivates school students, and allows them to choose between Robot Theatre, Rescue or Soccer. Any brand of robot may be used, provided they can be programmed and are not remote controlled. Students are also encouraged to build their own robots. Now played in over 30 countries around the world it is a regular feature of the annual university run RoboCup World Finals, where it is the largest league. Come along and see what all the fuss is about!

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Concerns about language skills of young New Zealanders

Tuesday, 12 September 2017 11:48am

A new study published in the Journal of Child Language has taken a selfie of the language skills of more than 6000 New Zealand two-year-olds and found some concerning gaps.

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Challenging the mental health struggle

Tuesday, 12 September 2017 10:10am

The inaugural Silverline Festival, being held next weekend on 15-16 September, is all about exposing students to ways of wellbeing. The festival will include speakers, all passionate about what they do, and excited to share their knowledge and experiences; one of these being Dr Damian Scarf, Senior Lecturer in Psychology who suffered from severe anxiety throughout undergraduate and into postgraduate study.

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Chasing atoms, electrons and optics there and back again

Saturday, 19 August 2017 11:01am

Growing up in Dunedin, Professor Blaikie's academic career began at Otago in the late 1980s, leading to a doctorate from the University of Cambridge, and then onto an incredible position as a visiting researcher at the Hitachi Cambridge Laboratory. Deciding it was time to come home, he and his family moved back to New Zealand - firstly to Canterbury and finally back to Otago.

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And the winner is... and the winner is

Wednesday, 16 August 2017 3:06pm

Hearing her name announced as winner of the Division of Sciences Supervisor of the Year award was gratifying enough, but then when Dr Tamlin Conner, a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology heard it called again, this time for the ‘OUSA Supervisor of the Year’ award, she was stunned.

“Receiving these two awards mean the world to me,” said Dr Tamlin Conner. “I invest an incredible amount of time and effort into my students, and to receive this recognition gives me the motivation to keep up that investment,” she continued.

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University of Otago flagship research centres launched

Thursday, 3 August 2017 3:21pm


The University formally launched its reconfigured line-up of 12 flagship research centres this week at an event during which each centre concisely showcased its often world-leading activities.

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New evidence of personal and social benefits of university education for Māori and Pacific Peoples

Wednesday, 5 July 2017 10:57am

Latest research from the National Centre for Lifecourse Research (NCLR) suggests that graduating from university may not only change the individual lives of Māori and Pacific Peoples, but also positively impact on their families, communities and society in general.

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New evidence of personal and social benefits of university education for Māori and Pacific Island graduates

Wednesday, 5 July 2017 11:22am

Latest research from the National Centre for Lifecourse Research (NCLR) suggests that graduating from university may not only change the individual lives of Māori and Pacific Island graduates, but also positively impact on their families, communities and society in general.

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Early childhood education linked with better outcomes at age 35 years

Tuesday, 4 July 2017 11:31am

Attendance at early childhood education is associated with benefits for later cognitive and academic outcomes over the life course.

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Special lecture by Professor Richie Poulton CNZM, leader of the Dunedin Study

Wednesday, 28 June 2017 3:08pm

"Staying ahead of the curve: best practices in the Dunedin Study". A special free public lecture by Professor Richie Poulton CNZM on Wednesday 28 June 2017 at 6pm at the Dunedin town hall.

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Celebrating 30 years of science outreach at Otago

Tuesday, 20 June 2017 2:12pm

An article just published in the New Zealand Science Review celebrates 30- years of science outreach at Otago. It presents the reader with an historical account of the development of community delivered outreach programmes by the University of Otago - and more specifically, those through the Division of Sciences and its contributing departments, schools and centres - a relationship that began in the 1970s. Although recognition for community service has been built into academic staff promotion processes for decades, it has only been available for non-academics since 2014 – which lends this article a point of difference given it has been co-authored by both academic and non-academic staff members.

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HRC funding success for NCLR partners

Friday, 16 June 2017 2:21pm

Health Research Council (HRC) funding success for NCLR partners - the Pacific Islands Families (PIF) Study and COMPASS

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A well-matched name and face could win you votes: Otago research

Friday, 9 June 2017 9:27am

If you have a name that matches your face, you are more likely to win votes if you are a politician, and gain approval in general, says new University of Otago research.

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Two Division of Sciences staff members recipients of 2017 Queen's Birthday honours

Wednesday, 7 June 2017 12:37pm

Professors Richie Poulton (Psychology) and Sally Brooker (Chemistry) have been named as recipients of the 2017 Queen's Birthday honours list.

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Queen's birthday honours for Professor Richie Poulton, CNZM

Tuesday, 6 June 2017 1:13pm

NCLR Co-Director Professor Richie Poulton has become a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM).

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Chlamydia more common in New Zealand than thought

Tuesday, 30 May 2017 10:46am

One in three New Zealand women have had the sexually transmitted infection (STI) chlamydia by the age of 38 as have one in five men, based on estimates from a new study.

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Up-and-coming Otago scientists gain Health Research Council funding

Monday, 22 May 2017 12:05pm

Two University of Otago staff have received emerging researcher first grants in the Health Research Council’s 2017 funding round announced today.

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University-made toys the envy of many

Thursday, 18 May 2017 2:40pm

Toys made by technicians in Otago’s Department of Psychology are being sent around the world to support research into infant and children’s early learning and memory skills, a deal which is win-win for the University.

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Celebrating postgraduate success for Māori in Psychology

Monday, 15 May 2017 10:23am

This week, three Māori Master of Psychology students; Jacob Ashdown, Paris Pidduck and Penny Tipu graduated. All three students were supervised by NCLR investigator Dr Gareth Treharne, and supported by Dr Tia Neha.

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Otago: Providing a holistic life experience for graduates

Saturday, 13 May 2017 2:36pm

Max Major and Sarah Morton met as undergraduate students studying Psychology at Otago. Sarah graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology and a PhD in Psychology in 2015, and Max will graduate with the same qualifications this afternoon. Both now work in Auckland as Clinical Psychologists, Max at Adult Rehabilitation and Health of Older Persons and Sarah with the Regional Youth Forensic Service. They are currently planning their wedding.

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Māori Division of Sciences graduating students

Friday, 12 May 2017 8:28am

The Division of Sciences is extremely proud to see 48 Maori students graduate this weekend. Graduates have completed either their under- or postgraduate study covering a wide range of disciplines across the Division. See the full list of May 2017 graduates.

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Celebrating postgradute success of Māori in Psychology

Friday, 12 May 2017 2:39pm

Three Māori Master of Psychology students; Jacob Ashdown, Paris Pidduck and Penny Tipu will be graduating tomorrow. All three students were supervised by Dr Gareth Treharne, and supported by Dr Tia Neha. Dr Neha is herself a recent PhD graduate of the Department of Psychology and was the Kaiāwhina Māori in the department before taking up a lecturing position at Victoria University Wellington last year.

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New diagnostic model for psychiatric disorders proposed

Wednesday, 5 April 2017 2:27pm

University of Otago researcher Associate Professor Martin Sellbom is part of a group of 50 leading international psychologists and psychiatrists who have put forward a new, evidence-based, system for classifying mental health disorders.

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Dunedin children’s exposure to lead linked to lower IQ

Wednesday, 29 March 2017 9:15am

Extremely high levels of lead in New Zealand cities in the 1970s and 1980s appear responsible for a loss of intelligence and occupational standing among today’s adults.

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Chldren's exposure to lead linked to lower IQ

Wednesday, 29 March 2017 2:17pm

Extremely high levels of lead in New Zealand cities in the 1970s and 1980s appear responsible for a loss of intelligence and occupational standing among today’s adults.