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Health Sciences profile

Dr Helen Owen

PositionAssitant Research Fellow
DepartmentDepartment of Preventive and Social Medicine
QualificationsBSc(Hons) PhD (Otago)
Research summaryOlder adults’ mobility and health, GP practice performance management, social cognition and learning
TeachingHelen has previously taught undergraduate psychology in laboratory classes and has been a guest lecturer in the social cognition post-graduate psychology course.
MembershipsHelen was the former (paid) Associate Editor for Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal


Helen is an Assistant Research Fellow in the Transport, Mobility and Health Team in the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine. She is working on a Health Research Council Funded Project under the supervision of Dr Rebecca Brookland (PI) to investigate driving behaviours in older adults and, more specifically, effects of older adults’ license cessation on their mobility, autonomy, health and interpersonal relationships.

Helen is also the liaison researcher on a collaborative project between the Dunedin School of Medicine and the Otago School of Business that examines the balance between performance management strategies and the quality of patient care in GP practices and primary care organisations.

Helen has a PhD (Psychology) from the University of Otago and has undertaken interdisciplinary research within the University in the Information Science Department and the Higher Education Development Centre. Her research portfolio encompasses topics on social categorisation and person perception, linguistic cues to lie detection, expectation violation models of mobile app use, and student engagement and learning using game-based response systems.

Current projects

Assistant Research Fellow, Predictors and impact of driving cessation on older adults and whānau/families (2018-2021, funded by HRC). PI: Rebecca Brookland.

Additional details

Examples of previous media contributions (from PhD):


Owen, H. E., & Licorish, S. A. (2020). Game-based student response system: The effectiveness of Kahoot! on junior and senior information science students' learning. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 19, 511-553. doi: 10.28945/4608

Licorish, S. A., Owen, H. E., Daniel, B., & George, J. L. (2018). Students’ perception of Kahoot!’s influence on teaching and learning. Research & Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning, 13, 9. doi: 10.1186/s41039-018-0078-8

Owen, H. E., Halberstadt, J., Carr, E. W., & Winkielmann, P. (2016). Johnny Depp, reconsidered: How category-relative processing fluency determines the appeal of gender ambiguity. PLoS ONE, 11(2), e0146328. doi: 10.1371/journal. pone.0146328

Owen, H. E., & Halberstadt, J. (2014). Truth in text: The influence of language complexity and style on perceived self-reflection and truthfulness. In S. R. Nasato (Ed.), Advances in social cognition research. (pp. 199-213). New York: Nova Science.