Home, work and recreation simulation lab

Home, work and recreation simulation lab

Macquarie University's Simulation Hub
Photo caption: Exterior of the Simulation Hub only shown to preserve the novelty of these three rooms for research participants.

These rooms were created to simulate a living room, an office, and a bar environment. We designed them to be naturalistic, with an additional emphasis on making them as different from each other as possible.

Lounge and office labs

Many learning and memory theories postulate that individuals learn an association between events and their contexts and that memory retrieval will be better if testing conditions match learning conditions. Instructional, eyewitness, and fear extinction research support this assumption. For example, if an individual studies for an exam in their living room while feeling little stress then they will have better recall of that information if tested under the same conditions. Thus, the lounge and office rooms were created so that methods to improve memory recall outside of a person's learning environment can be discovered. The lounge and office specifically were chosen since much of people's learning occurs at home and at work and we often expect learning in one of these environments will transfer to the other. The Lounge and Office Simulators are managed by Dr Melissa Norberg, the Director of the Behavioural Science Laboratory.

Bar Lab

The Simulated Bar Environment is an important research tool to understand why people drink alcohol and why some find it difficult to control their drinking when it leads to problems. By simulating an environment in which some people have trouble with alcohol we are able to better understand how that happens. The Bar is equipped with a variety of ways to measure people's responses to alcohol and related cues.  Examples of research that have been conducted in the bar include how a bad mood changes the thirst or desire for a drink, and how self-control tempers similar desires. The Simulated Bar Environment is managed by Andrew Baillie.

Other labs and rooms

The Simulation Hub also has a multi-purpose laboratory that is used to prepare solutions, store specimens, and enable participants to recover from motion sickness after a simulation experience. Additionally, the Hub has a large waiting room that showcases current projects via a slide-show presentation on large-flat screen TV. The simulation laboratories are co-located around central control rooms to facilitate both collaboration and the cross-fertilisation of initiatives.

Services and access

  • Research collaboration support
  • Consultation services
  • Contract research & development

The labs are available to internal researchers. External researchers may hire them for research purposes. Please contact our lab leaders - Dr Melissa Norberg and Associate Professor Andrew Baillie

Connect with us

Melissa Norberg

Dr Melissa Norberg

Behavioural Science Lab Leader
Senior Lecturer
Department of Psychology

Andrew Baillie

Associate Professor Andrew Baillie

Bar Lab Leader
Associate Professor
Department of Psychology


Building Y3A, Ground Floor
16 University Avenue
Macquarie University
NSW 2109
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