The Department of Psychology and Counselling has a history of excellence in research including a high level of success in attracting peer reviewed project grant funding, and significant output in the form of publications and conference presentations. For some years the Department has had one of the largest postgraduate enrolments in Australia.

The Department is closely aligned with the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre (OTARC), which was established to advance knowledge on the nature and causes of Autism Spectrum Disorders, as well as to develop and study evidence-based strategies for supporting individuals and families affected by these conditions.

Psychology-specific research areas

Within the field of psychology we have strengths in broad areas such as:

Take a look at examples of our projects in these areas, and see some of the current areas staff are supervising doctoral and other projects.

Interdisciplinary areas of research

Consistent with La Trobe University values, we strive to produce research that  translates into important outcomes in the world. Our researchers have strong links to all five of the La Trobe Research Focus Areas, including:

  • Building Healthy Communities
  • Securing Food, Water and the Environment
  • Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation
  • Transforming Human Societies
  • Understanding Disease

We have members on the executive committees of these discipline groups and have formed interdisciplinary teams to support the research focus areas, as illustrated below.

Building Healthy Communities

  • Community coproduction in community health and planning.
  • Facilitating the early identification of autism through a mobile application.
  • Hewlett Packard Australia: Successful employment outcomes for people with ASD.
  • Improving girls' body satisfaction and well-being through social media literacy.
  • PlayConnect: Specialist playgroups for families of children with autism.
  • Managing memory in older age.


Dr Josephine Barbaro, A/Prof Pauleen Bennett, A/Prof Cheryl Dissanayake, Prof Glynda Kinsella, Prof Susan Paxton, Dr Kristelle Hudry, Mr Wojciech Nadachowski, A/Prof Amanda Richdale, Prof Margot Schofield, Prof Eleanor Wertheim.

Securing Food, Water and the Environment

  • Developing a non-invasive method to record olfactory event-related potentials in dogs.


A/Prof Pauleen Bennett

Sport Exercise and Rehabilitation

  • Sport and physical activity participation among young people in regional Victoria.

Transforming Human Society

  • Effects of genetic predispositions on cultural adaptation of international students.
  • Global citizenship and social justice: exploring higher education discourse​.

Understanding Disease

  • A Randomised-Controlled Trial of very early intervention for infants at risk for autism: Establishing a Melbourne-based site​.
  • Investigating the genetics of co-morbid anxiety and insomnia in Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Restoring normal function in a mouse model of autism spectrum disorder.
  • Serotonergic systems, anxiety and insomnia in a model of autism spectrum disorder.
  • Understanding the role of oxytocin in shaping social affiliation and social processing in young children with autism and Williams syndrome.
  • Understanding the neural basis for atypical visual perception in autism.