Social psychology

Sample projects

We conduct a wide variety of research projects in the field of social psychology. Here are a few of them:

Couples Research Program

We aim to better understand what makes couple relationships satisfying for heterosexual and LGBTIQ couples, and to develop interventions to enhance couple relationships.​

Improving girls' body satisfaction and well-being through social media literacy

Body dissatisfaction in adolescent girls can lead to serious negative consequences including depressive symptoms and low self-esteem and eating disorders.

Anthrozoology Research

Research areas

The Social Psychology research group is an active and productive unit in the School and has been recognised as one of the top social psychology groups in Australia. Our academic staff and student members demonstrate expertise in a variety of domains relevant to the study and application of Social Psychology. The reputation of the group is enhanced by national and international research links and success in competitive grants schemes.

Maintaining a long tradition in social psychology, the research conducted by the social psychology research group examines both basic social psychological processes and their application to the study of practical problems and their solutions.

To meet both basic and applied aims, our research is conducted in the laboratory as well as in the field. Thus, some of our studies use a set of purpose-built large and small laboratories, equipped with personal computers, whereas other studies are conducted in diverse settings in the field, often in partnership with existing organisations.

Members of the group are broadly trained and their research often crosses disciplinary boundaries, both within psychology (to areas like health, clinical, or cognitive psychology) and within academia more broadly (to areas like sociology and cultural anthropology).

Our special areas of expertise centre on interpersonal, intergroup, and cultural processes, including a focus on:

  • attitudes
  • attributions
  • helping behaviour
  • prejudice and stereotyping
  • social and cross-cultural comparisons
  • social identity and self-categorisation
  • the self
  • terror management processes.

We have applied our theoretical understanding of human social behaviour to the study of:

  • volunteerism
  • risk factors for body image and eating problems
  • indigenous issues
  • organisations and groups
  • human-animal relationships
  • peace and forgiveness
  • encouraging cooperative conflict resolution and respect for cultural diversity in school communities
  • changes in the meaning of work, particularly in regional and rural areas
  • factors influencing adolescent achievement orientations for the future.

The group supports a number of Masters and Doctoral students, many of whom are pursuing clinical training in combination with their emphasis in social psychology. Our students participate in fortnightly research group meetings during which we discuss the research interests and progress of both students and staff.

Potential PhD and masters research topics

We will consider any research topic that interests potential PhD students; however, students will benefit from researching in areas that align with our research strengths. Find a relevant supervisor and topic for your research.