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This is the Department of Psychology's presentation day for students' research, a public event, held in November every year. Originally started in 1982 as the department's in-house convention, it was re-named Psycolloquy in 2005.

Psycolloquy 2023

We invite you to our annual research symposium featuring short presentations by Psychology research students and special guests.

View the Psycolloquy programme (PDF)

Guest speakers

The 2023 Psycolloquy’s keynote presenter is  Dr Josh Jackson from Booth School of Business, University of Chicago. Dr Jackson will present their keynote address titled: "Moral Calculus in a Complex World"

Learn about some of the exciting research taking place across the department:

  • Cassie Ransom, “Why Do People Care About Privacy”
  • Kachina Kinley, “Cognitive Sophistication in Adults’ Memories of Childhood: Implications for Historical Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse”
  • Jai Whelan, “A Thematic Analysis of MDMA-Related Harm and Harm Reduction Experiences in Aotearoa”
  • Mamun Mia, “Do hippocampus, insula and amygdala contribute to an anxiety syndrome biomarker?”
  • Azhad Alias, “Importance of Parental Reminiscing for Children and Adolescent Development”
  • Yuxin Zhang, “Exploring the Impact of an Oral Language Intervention on Linguistic Aspects of Teacher-Child Talk”
  • Yue Wang, “Predicting children’s cognitive abilities from multimodal neuroimaging data with a high number of missing values through opportunist stacking”
  • Irina Buianova, “Exploring the predictive association between mental health and cognition: insights from the UK Biobank cohort”
  • William van der Vliet, “Bypassing Parcellations When Building Predictive Models for Capturing Cognitive Abilities from Task Functional MRI”
  • Ronan McNeill, “COVID-19 may Adversely Impact Brain Haemodynamics and Exercise-Cognition Relationships in Undergraduate Students Without Compromising Cognitive Performance”
  • Phoebe Campbell, “An evaluation of “An introductory handbook for supporting autistic people!” and its relevance for autistic and non-autistic people of Aotearoa”
  • Ashlee Berryman, “Cognition and Electrophysiological Biomarkers of Chronic Pelvic Pain in Women with Endometriosis”
  • Florencia Restivo, “Psychological Abuse in Intimate Relationships: The Process of Leaving”
  • Izzy Bloxham, “Just know posting pictures of your ill body helps others thrive in their illness”: Eating Disorder Recovery Content on TikTok”
  • Isabel Mooney, “Understanding Treatment Uptake in University Students Experiencing Mental Health Challenges in Aotearoa New Zealand”
  • Alisa Mitlash, “Disordered eating in university students - prevalence, predictors and intervention”
  • Jim Davies, “When genes go viral: Viral gene therapy for Alzheimer’s disease”
  • Shadrina Assegaf, “Skeletons in the Synaptic Closet: Metaplasticity in Frontotemporal Dementia”
  • Aliesha Kemp, “Using neuroimaging to investigate functional connectivity alterations associated with anxiety”
  • Qi Zhang, “Do children in New Zealand and China differ in their emotion recognition?”
  • Fereidoun Malaei, “The Impact of Body Engagement on Cognitive Performance”
  • Claire Liggins, “Psychopathic Personality Disorder and Interpersonal Dysfunction: A Basic Trait Perspective”
  • Thomas Cawood, “Altered Brain Morphology and Chemistry correlates with Augmented Drug Therapy for Treatment-Resistant Schizophrenia”
  • Ryan Hartman, “Dualism, Religiosity and Health”
  • Alina Tetereva, “Benchmark Machine-Learning Based Multimodal MRI to Capture Cognitive Abilities across the Lifespan: Predictability, Reliability and Generalisability”

Please join us on 12 and 13 December 2023, 9am–4.30pm
Department of Psychology
Room 2.03, Level 2
William James Building
275 Leith Walk

Psycolloquy 2022

We invite you to our annual research symposium featuring short presentations by Psychology research students and special guests.

View the Psycolloquy programme

The 2022 Psycolloquy's keynote presenter is Dr Armon Tamatea from Te Puna Haumaru New Zealand Institute for Security and Crime Science, University of Waikato. Dr Tamatea will present their keynote address titled: “An Ecologist's Guide to Prison Violence: understanding and embracing the Complexities of Institutional Aggression.”

Learn about some of the exciting research taking place across the department:

  • Yuanyuan He: "Peripheral Gene Therapy for Alzheimer's Disease"
  • Claudia Ousset: "Teen Sleep and Driving"
  • Chris Linton: "Do the Clinical Psychology Programmes Fulfil Their Obligations to Te Tiriti"
  • Navdeep Kaur: "Differential Perception of Buddha Art across Time, Culture and Location"
  • Cassie Ransom: "Psychology of Privacy"
  • Millie Johnston: "Tempus fugit: Neural correlates of time estimation in crows"
  • Ryan Hartman: "Dualism, Religiosity and Health"
  • Elizabeth Dovenberg: "Physical activity experiences of autistic individuals"
  • Yifan Zhang: "Exercise and emotion regulation"
  • Jai Whelan: "MDMA User Harm Reduction in Aotearoa New Zealand"
  • Amber Lim: “Because I am your parent and I said so!”: Examining parents' social attitudes and their parenting styles"
  • Sean Marshall: "Life Stories and Well-Being in Emerging Adulthood"
  • Isabelle Swearingen: "Educator-Child Interactions in Early Childhood Classrooms: What is the Contribution of Setting?"

Please join us on 9 December 2022, 9am–4pm
Department of Psychology
Room 2.03, Level 2
William James Building
275 Leith Walk
Meeting ID: 388 513 1131 | Password: psychology

Psycolloquy 2020

We invite you to our annual research symposium featuring short presentations by Psychology research students and special guests.

View the Psycolloquy programme 2020 (PDF)

Guest speakers

  • Associate Professor Trent Smith (Department of Economics), “Behavioural economics and dietary choice: The McDonald's equilibrium”
  • Dr Mei Peng (Department of Food Science), “Searching for a personalised index for hedonic eating”
  • Associate Professor Nicola Swain (Department of Psychological Medicine), “Psychological interventions for persistent pain“

Learn about some of the exciting research taking place across Psychology and related disciplines:

Māori Perspective:

  • Aroaro Tamati, "He Piki Raukura: Understanding and assessing Ao Māori child development constructs"
  • Ben Hanara, "Māori perspectives of the brain"
  • Rawiri Ratahi, "Pūrākau and wellbeing"


  • Alina Tetereva, "Long-range temporal correlations (LRTC): a novel fMRI-based brain biomarker"
  • Ashleigh Barrett-Young, "Retinal biomarkers of cognitive decline"
  • Zihan Fang, "EEG biomarker for anxiety disorder"
  • Yi-Sheng Wong, "Investigation of mind wandering and its relationship with task switching"

Mental Health:

  • Andre Mason, "Mental health and suicidality"
  • Tanwen Ward, "Tabletop role-playing game engagement in the autistic community"
  • Claire Liggins, "Psychopathic Personality Disorder"

Cognition + Development:

  • Amber Lim, "Children see, children learn: rich social experiences relate to mental state vocabulary of children from 12 months old"
  • Ashley Hinten, "Effect of screen media on children's cognitive development"
  • Liz Dovenberg, "Physical activity, quality of life, and autism spectrum disorder"

Please join us on 25 November 2020, 9am–5pm
Department of Psychology
Room 2.03, Level 2
William James Building
275 Leith Walk

Psycolloquy 2017

The 2017 Psycolloquy's keynote presenter is Dr Sylvia Nissen from the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Canterbury. Dr Nissen will present her keynote address titled: "The politics of disengagement: Young people, participation and the 2017 election".

Dr Nissen completed her doctorate earlier this year in student political action Aotearoa and received the Kate Sheppard Memorial Prize for her research. Her post-doctoral work is on the project CYCLES (Children & Youth Lifestyles Evaluation Study), which examines the attitudes and aspirations of young people across the world. Dr Nissen's presentation will look at some dominant approaches for explaining youth political participation, and discuss what these theories can tell us about the rise of Jacinda Arden, the fallout from Meriria Turei's confession, and an almost universally discounted $11 billion hole in a budget.

Please join us in the Main Common Room of University College at 9:00am, Thursday 23 November 2017.

Read the 2017 Programme

We would like to thank Continuing Education and the Department of Psychology for supporting Psycolloquy 2017 - the Department's presentation day for students' research.

Psycolloquy 2016

This year we are pleased to have Drs Mihi Ratima and Will Edwards from Taumata Associates / Te Pou Tiringa to give the keynote address titled “Researching with Māori: Opportunities for researchers and communities”.

The presenters will talk about maximising opportunities for researchers and communities to work together towards research excellence in Aotearoa/New Zealand in the 21st Century, taking advantage of this country's reputation as indigenous research leaders. They will describe what effective engagement with Māori communities looks like and provides for research. In addition, the presenters will challenge current thinking, drawing on practical examples from an ongoing research project, Te Kura Mai i Tawhiti – a collaboration between Te Pou Tiringa (a Taranaki Māori community body) and the Department of Psychology's National Centre for Lifecourse Research.

Please join us in the Main Common Room at Unicol by 7.50am to accompany Hata Temo, Kaitohutohu Māori from the Office of Māori Development, in formally welcoming Will and Mihi to the University of Otago promptly at 8am. As part of the mihi (welcome), there will be introductions and near the end, we will sing a waiata – the waiata that we will sing is called Te Aroha and is the third one in the list on this website: please go and have a listen – Te Aroha is very simple and beautiful.

Read the 2016 Programme

Psycolloquy 2015

This year we were pleased to have Drs Julien Gross and Emily Macleod from the Departments of Psychology and Psychological Medicine at the University of Otago give the keynote address titled “Testing the Salvation Army's Bridge Programme Model of Addiction Treatment. And where a Psychology degree can take you…”

In 2011, the University of Otago entered into a partnership with The Salvation Army New Zealand, Fiji & Tonga Territory to examine the services that The Salvation Army provides through its nationwide social programmes. The Salvation Army prioritised an evaluation of their Bridge Programme Model of Treatment for harmful substance abuse as the starting point for the partnership.

The presenters discussed the evaluation and the recommendations that came out of the evaluation that The Salvation Army will use to guide the future direction of the Bridge Programme.

In addition, as always, there were polished presentations by students from within the Department of Psychology covering a wide range of topics - from detecting deception - to improving psychological well-being with fruit and vegetables.

The winning presentation of the day was awarded to Ashley Hinten from Damian Scarf's lab with her talk 'Four out of five ain't bad: Consistency of results and helper's behaviour in schildren's social evaluations'. The judges believed Ashley's presentation clearly presented the research she had been working on.

Psycolloquy 2015 was a huge success with the student presentations reflecting the rich and diverse research being conducted within the Department.

Read the 2015 Programme

Psycolloquy 2014

Once again, the Department of Psychology were treated to a day of exceptional oral and visual presentations by our postgraduate students and keynote speaker Associate Professor Nigel Dickson, from the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, who spoke about changes in sexual attraction among the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study cohort.

IMG_20141127_164633309The winning presentation of the day was awarded to Kahla Redman (Halberstadt lab) with her talk titled Paperbacks and prejudice: Can reading fiction influence attitudes towards women?

Talks that earned a special mention were:

  • Thom Elson (Bilkey lab) - A dual loop hypothesis of schizophrenia
  • David Barton (Halberstadt lab) - The effect of liking on having a good or bad first name
  • Anna Barham (Treharne lab) - Living with an invisible neurological condition: an interpretative phenomenological analysis
  • Bruno Aldaz (Treharne lab) - The experience of cancer treatment: A qualitative study of patients' experiences during adjuvant treatment in New Zealand
  • Bridget Irvine (Zajac lab) - “Of course I lied, mum asked me to!” The effect of cross-examination on children's responses when they have been coached to lie

Other talks covered research areas such as:

  • school readiness, and intervention programmes that train parents how to talk to their children in ways that consolidate pre-academic skills
  • whether or not reading violent literature produced the same effects as exposure to other violent media
  • Using gene transfer to combat Alzheimer's Disease
  • Whether pigeons' choices are affected by the number of alternatives available
  • How the fit between the shape of your name and your face shape determines your likeability, or even success in life
  • We were told how a qualitative study into how traumatic brain injury (TBI) and prosopagnosia - both invisible neurological conditions - impacts on family life from the patient's point of view
  • Alcohol appraisals and their impact on remembering and predicting emotional response to alcohol
  • The relationship between discrimination and belonging
  • Two talks focussed on (1) how sleep-disordered breathing in children can affect their academic performance; and (2) how their achievement may be improved after adenotonsillectomy
  • According to past studies, bilingualism can be a cognitive advantage. Here we were told about evidence to suggest otherwise
  • We were told about a study in progress where intermediate age children used drawings rather than words in their quest to learn, and how effective it was in comparison to written notes

Read the Psycolloquy 2014 programme

We would like to thank Continuing Education and the Department of Psychology for supporting Psycolloquy 2014 - the Department's presentation day for students' research.

Psycolloquy 2013

Psycolloquy received some well-deserved media attention with a story appearing in the Uni News section of the Otago Bulletin Board and the Otago Daily Times, the latter perhaps being due to our keynote speaker, Dr Paul Trotman giving a very entertaining address entitled Story, Emotion and Science.

Paul is a GP and a Documentary Film-Maker. He is possibly most well-known for his documentary series, Donated to Science, in which he follows the complete story of body donation for medical science, beginning with interviews with the donors and then with participating medical students at the University of Otago School of Medicine.

Otago Bulletin news article about Psycolloquy

ODT article about Dr Paul Trotman: Storyteller sells science

Psychology students give outstanding presentations

The high standard of presentations from students was once again impressive, and the judges found it incredibly difficult to choose an out-right winner.  They finally decided - after a lot of discussion - on two winners:

Thumbnail Anna Barham

Anna Barham

What's it like to be Brad Pitt or George Clooney? A qualitative study of living with an invisible neurological condition


Thumbnail Sam O'Sullivan

Sam O'Sullivan

The “right” name feels right: The influence of stimulus “fit” on affective experience

Both Anna and Sam gave fluent and entertaining presentations - Sam's 'Prezi' show was almost as innovative as his research and Paul was impressed by the way Anna 'teased' the audience into her talk - a practise Paul uses himself.

Finally, a special mention must go to the Psycolloquy Committee,  Drs Jules Gross, Fiona Jack and Helena McAnally. Every year, they ensure this special day runs without a hitch, with a tremendous amount of organisation taking place both leading up to and during the day.

See you next year!

Read the Psycolloquy 2013 programme

We would like to thank Continuing Education for supporting Psycolloquy 2013 - the Department of Psychology's presentation day for students' research.

Psycolloquy 2012

In 2012, we were pleased to have Dr Donna Rose Addis, from the School of Psychology and Centre for Brain Research at the University of Auckland, give the keynote address, titled Making the Future Memorable.

Using the 'Ghost Chip' advertisement as an analogy, Dr Addis gave a riveting talk on how we can draw on past experiences when constructing possible future events – at times creating very detailed simulations in our minds of future activities.  Although future simulations can enhance wellbeing, problem solving and decision making, to do so, they must be successfully encoded and maintained in memory.

Postgraduate Presentations

Psycolloquy 2012

Presentations of research by students from within the Psychology Department were complemented by stimulating visuals.  Our two winners of the day were:

  • Paula Magalhaes - The Sunk Cost Effect in pigeons, and
  • Bridget Irvine - Preparing children for cross-examination: Can children generalise from practice questions to the real deal?

Back to Postgraduate Research

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