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Modifying Biased Interpretations to reduce depression: Investigating efficacy and safety of Cognitive Bias Modification in the NZ Context

A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


Academic background
Health Sciences
Host campus
Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, Honours, Master’s
Psychological Medicine (Dunedin)
Dr Jerry Hsu, Mr Zaine Akuhata-Huntington


Depression is a common condition, with a lifetime prevalence of 20% of people in NZ.

Common approaches for treating depression include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or Interpersonal Therapy. These therapies, however, require a qualified therapist, thereby increasing cost and limiting accessibility.

A proposed novel intervention, called Cognitive bias modification (CBM-D) for depression, is highly accessible, discrete, low-cost, and can be used alone or in adjunct with existing therapies. CBM-D targets an underlying factor – erroneous biased thinking – that is known to maintain depression, by training users to interpret texts of ambiguous, everyday scenarios in a non-erroneous manner.

Early data in the UK suggests benefits, but safety and efficacy of CBM-D have yet to be tested in the NZ context.

This project will:

  • Create CBM-D materials for the NZ context
  • Demonstrate CBM-D’s safety and efficacy in a non-clinical sample


Jerry Hsu