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Department of Psychology news

Otago study finds infection and schizophrenia symptom link

Tuesday, 21 November 2017 8:48am

If a mother’s immune system is activated by infection during pregnancy, it could result in critical cognitive deficits linked to schizophrenia in her offspring, a University of Otago study has revealed.

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Marsden success for Sciences

Monday, 20 November 2017 10:50am

Division of Sciences researchers have gained over $7.2m for 12 world-class research projects as Principal Investigators and a further $6m as Assistant Investigators working in collaboration with researchers both across Otago and in external organisations.

2017 heralds Otago as the most successful university in terms of the number of awards and total funding awarded at just short of $24m, the highest amount ever secured by Otago.

The funding secured by Principal Investigators in Sciences includes eight standard projects and four ‘Fast-Start’ projects designed to support outstanding researchers early in their careers.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Barker says that he is “delighted at the success of researchers in the Division in gaining funding from the extremely competitive Marsden Fund. The strength of fundamental research in the Sciences at Otago combined with highly innovative approaches to solving complex problems underpins our success. The breadth of Departments represented in this funding is an aspect of this success that is also highly pleasing”.

2017 heralds Otago as the most successful university in terms of the number of awards and total funding awarded at just short of $24m, the highest amount ever secured by Otago.

The funding secured by Principal Investigators in Sciences includes eight standard projects and four ‘Fast-Start’ projects designed to support outstanding researchers early in their careers.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Barker says that he is “delighted at the success of researchers in the Division in gaining funding from the extremely competitive Marsden Fund. The strength of fundamental research in the Sciences at Otago combined with highly innovative approaches to solving complex problems underpins our success. The breadth of Departments represented in this funding is an aspect of this success that is also highly pleasing”.

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Colouring-in may improve adult mental health

Wednesday, 8 November 2017 1:49pm

Children may not be alone in enjoying the therapeutic benefits of colouring-in, according to new University of Otago research.

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Marsden Fund backs Otago’s research in best ever round

Friday, 3 November 2017 10:04am

University of Otago researchers have gained around $24m for 33 world-class research projects in the latest Marsden Fund annual round – the University’s most successful round ever.

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University of Otago researcher wins HRC Liley Medal for research into oral health inequality

Wednesday, 11 October 2017 2:45pm

University of Otago researcher Dr Jonathan Broadbent was awarded the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) Liley Medal at the Royal Society Te Apārangi Research Honours in Auckland last night. The award recognised Dr Broadbent's research into oral health inequality.

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How well will a kid fare in life? Dunedin Study offers clues

Tuesday, 10 October 2017 2:35pm

Professor Richie Poulton CNZM, Dunedin Study Director and National Centre for Lifecourse Research Co-Director, is currently in Singapore to deliver the CJ Koh Professorial lecture at the National Institute of Education.

"The early years are absolutely critical for how a person's life turns out, and if you really want to make a difference to people's lives, intervening early is key. That's where governments should put their money. That is where their focus should be" Poulton says. Professor Poulton explains that the Dunedin study singles out children's self-control as a clear target for prevention policy, apart from all other influential features of children's backgrounds, such as their family life, socio-economic status or the child's intelligence. He notes that interventions early on in life can make a difference.

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Pasifika mums suffer psychological distress from housing problems

Monday, 9 October 2017 2:08pm

More than half of the nearly 1000 mothers interviewed for the AUT study reported a significant major housing problem such as cold homes, inadequate size and cost.

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2018 Zonta Science Award

Thursday, 21 September 2017 3:04pm

The Zonta Club of Wellington is calling for applications for the 2018 Zonta Science Award. Applications must be received by 5 February 2018.

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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.