Our projects

Our projects

A key strength of CEPET is its multi-disciplinary team and approach to issues surrounding the acquisition, maintenance, and loss of expertise. Please click on the project titles below to learn more about research at CEPET.

An eye-tracking examination of the integrative use of central and peripheral visual information during skilled Chinese reading

It is well established that proficient reading requires readers efficiently process words from both central vision (i.e., the fovea, which supports high-resolution processing of word features) and peripheral vision (i.e., the parafovea, which supports low-resolution processing of word boundaries), however, less is known about how these two types of information are using in reading languages like Chinese, where word boundaries are ambiguous due to the lack of between-word spaces (Yu & Reichle, 2017).

This project aims to conduct a series of studies to explore this very issue, that, how skilled readers use central and peripheral visual information to support efficient reading in the un-spaced, potentially ambiguous Chinese text. The proposed studies will provide a better understanding of how skilled readers effectively use information obtained from both foveal and parafoveal vision, informing theories of reading skill (Reichle & Yu, 2018).

Please contact Dr. Lili Yu (lili.yu@mq.edu.au) for more information.

Emotional regulation and physical activity

To date, no study has compared the responses of participants engaging in sedentary versus more active/aerobic activity under comparable conditions. Accordingly, the aim of this study will focus on the role of aerobic exercise in emotion regulation and selective attention in a non-clinical sample.

Building on previous research this study aims to disentangle exercise as an outcome of emotional well-being. Furthermore, for the first time selective attention will be explored as a mediating factor between physical activity and emotion regualtion.

It is predicted that moderate aerobic exercise may help attenuate negative emotions for participants initially experiencing regulatory difficulties and that improvements in executive functioning may help explain this relationship.

For more information, please contact Mr. Glenn Warry (glenn.warry@mq.edu.au) or Ms. Teresa Martin (teresa-lynn.martin@students.mq.edu.au).

Encountering floodwater and flood risk communication

In Australia, floods are the second most deadly natural hazard, following heatwaves, in terms of the total number of fatalities recorded. Many flood deaths (and rescues) are avoidable; with most being due to people entering floodwater in motor vehicles, or recreating/playing in floodwater. Although risk groups for these behaviours are identified in the fatality data, little research has been undertaken to investigate the decision-making underlying these behaviours.

This project, funded by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre (BNHCRC), in collaboration with end users from State Emergency Services (SES) across Australia, aims to investigate factors that contribute to decisions to enter floodwater (by the public and SES members) and to evaluate and adapt public flood risk communication materials and enhance SES training.

The project team will be employing a range of methodological approaches, including surveys, focus groups, group dynamic simulations, and experimental approaches to investigate the perceptual cues and the socio-cognitive and organisational factors that contribute to decisions to drive into, and recreate in, floodwater. As well as producing academic outputs, the team will be working with SES end users to develop guidance for training of SES personnel and development of community engagement approaches. We will also be comparing public and SES judgements in terms of identifying and conceptualising flood risk. The development of a set of National guidelines for flood risk communication is planned as a final project output.

For more information, please contact Dr Mel Taylor (mel.taylor@mq.edu.au).

Enhancing lifeguard performance: A multidisciplinary approach

Lifeguards are vital for maintaining public safety at aquatic venues. However despite their presence, fatal and non fatal drownings occur every year with little known about the factors that affect vigilance, scanning and sustained attention in such a complex, dynamic environment.

This Australian Research Council funded Linkage Project, in collaboration with YMCA NSW, aims to improve the timely identification of swimmers at risk of drowning by drawing on a range of theoretical, empirical, and methodological approaches from the disciplines of organisational psychology, human factors, cognitive science and computer science. Anticipated outcomes are evidence-based solutions for selecting, training and maintaining the performance of lifeguards that account for both organisational and individual factors.

For more information, please contact Associate Professor Barbara Griffin (barbara.griffin@mq.edu.au).

Modelling human perceptual-motor interaction for human-machine applications

This project aims to develop a new modelling framework for identifying the perceptual-motor processes that underlie cooperative and competitive human interaction. The project will also determine whether this modelling framework can be combined with modern machine-learning methods to develop artificial agents capable of human level performance.

Expected outcomes will include a practical methodology for rapidly generating models of effective human interaction that can be easily implemented in human-machine systems. This will provide a richer understanding of the fundamental perceptual-motor processes that support robust human interaction and enhanced the effectiveness of human-machine collaboration and training technologies.

For more information, please contact Professor Mike Richardson (michael.j.richardson@mq.edu.au).

Predicting misdiagnoses in the transition from competence to expertise

In 2018, Prof. Mark Wiggins and his colleagues were awarded an Australian Research Council Discovery Project. This project investigates whether the utilisation of cues predicts vulnerability to misdiagnoses during skill acquisition in using newly developed measures. Using a psychometric approach, we test the sensitivity of cue utilisation in differentiating novice, competent, and expert performance in airline pilots, cardiac sonographers, radiologists and pathologists.

In the quest for expertise, errors are inevitable, as learners test, discard or revise previously learned associations. However, while in some environments the impact of these errors is relatively innocuous, the consequences in other environments, such as medicine, hold much greater significance. Across many domains, including medicine, successful diagnosis depends on pattern recognition or features-events/object associations in memory that form ‘cues’. Although cues are clearly associated with expert performance, their utility amongst novice and competent practitioners is less clear. Expert Intensive Skills Evaluation 2.0 (EXPERTise 2.0) is a generalised measure of cue utilisation based on cue-based domain-specific tasks. It is based on the capacity of the operator to identify, recognise, compare, discriminate and prioritise task-related cues. Tasks are performed online and the results are aggregated and analyses are within-group allowing for the capacity for comparative assessment via the development of normed performance.

The outcomes are designed to inform individual practitioners, as well as groups and organisations, to enable targeted training and educational initiatives and/or diagnostic support to increase the efficiency and the effectiveness of learning. The overall aim is to provide personalised opportunities for lifelong learning.

For more information, please contact Dr Ann Carrigan (ann.carrigan@mq.edu.au).

Predicting the diagnostic performance of individuals and organisations

Organisations currently rely on the specific diagnostic skillsets of employees within their teams and these qualifications are rarely assessed once gained. As a result, methods that can prevent diagnostic errors from happening are not carried out efficiently.

This project is tailored towards testing a new approach that allows for the assessment of diagnostic skills, based on how a response is given by the individual skilled operator. This analysis will give insights on how to prevent these occurrences in the future, and how organisations can improve operational productivity as a result.

For more information, please contact Professor Mark Wiggins (mark.wiggins@mq.edu.au).

Understanding creativity in movement-based expertise

Movement-based expertise is an important aspect of elite performance in domains such as sport, music, and dance. Actions in these domains are all bound by constraints such as the physics of the human body or musical instrument and the pre-determined rules that govern lawful behaviours. However, within such constraints lies vast room for creative actions that can provide functional and aesthetic benefits to the performer and perceiver.

This project aims to systematically investigate and understand shared mechanisms underlying one specific aspect of movement-based expertise: creative action. In this context we ask: are there common mechanisms that explain expert creative action across multiple domains, and can knowledge of such mechanisms be used to predict the likelihood of future elite creative performers?

This knowledge will ultimately be used to develop a diagnostic tool designed to assess individuals’ capacity or propensity for creative action, implemented across domains where creativity in movement-based expertise is key to elite performance.

For more information, please contact Dr. Kirk Olsen (kirk.olsen@mq.edu.au).

Uptake of protective behaviours during the COVID-19 pandemic

The aim of this research project is to understand the protective behavioural response to the current COVID-19 pandemic and the factors underlying people’s uptake of social distancing and hygiene measures, and their intention to receive (future) vaccination. To achieve this aim, two related theories - Protection Motivation Theory (PMT) and Health Belief Model (HBM) - are employed.

Variables from these models are used to understand what psychological factors are motivating individuals to engage in protective action during the pandemic. Additional measures (e.g. psychological capital, social influences) are also employed to account for the influence of other factors that are not included in these models.

There is a focus on protective behaviours during the earlier stages of the pandemic when behaviours were strongly recommended rather than mandated or enforced. This early uptake of recommended behaviours has the greatest potential to influence the trajectory of community transmission of COVID-19.

For more information, please contact Associate Professor Mel Taylor (mel.taylor@mq.edu.au).

Violent music: Social, psychological, and neurological implications

Addressing the various forms and trends of violent music, this project will assess short and long-term effects on both mental and emotional states. Touching on aggression, cognitive functions and neurological capabilities, the research will delve into the correlation between these aspects and themes situated in violent music.

The project intends to establish an empirically driven model that outlines the specific connections between listening, thought patterns, actions, and the behaviours that come as a result.

For more information, please contact Prof. Bill Thompson (bill.thompson@mq.edu.au).

Virtual and augmented reality in accounting

How will VR and AR technologies disrupt or benefit the accounting profession?

As opportunities across virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) emerge, industries are experiencing a shift in the way they operate. There has also been a significant contribution from our team towards applying VR to disaster planning and data visualisation across a number of professions. However, there has been limited amounts of research aimed at identifying the implications of this technology for the business community. There is also a gap in regards to how accountants are affected by these technological advancements.

This research project will deliver an insight into how VR and AR contribute to the accounting industry. Experiments will be undertaken by relying on demonstrations of current technology in MQ’s VR lab. The project will develop an in-depth commentary surrounding the extent to which primary accounting responsibilities – such as auditing, mergers, and management accounting – can be changed by VR and AR.

For more information, please contact Associate Professor Manolya Kavakli (manolya.kavakli@mq.edu.au).

Visual search of medical images

Dr Ann Carrigan is investigating medical image perception to explore the factors which affect diagnostic accuracy in radiology. A previous collaboration with Anina Rich, Kim Curby and Denise Moerel explored the types of information that influenced the allocation of attention in a medical image. Currently, she is working on a collaborative project with Anina Rich (MQ), Lauren Williams and Trafton Drew from the University of Utah. Here, they are investigating how radiological expertise develops in volumetric medical images as well as inattentional blindness.

For more information, please contact Dr Ann Carrigan (ann.carrigan@mq.edu.au).

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