Current students

Master of Research student

Ellise Barnier

My research interests involve substance use, cognition, and neuropsychology. My honours thesis investigated the effectiveness of online cognitive training programs to determine whether improvements could transfer to neuropsychological tests of working memory, processing speed, and fluid intelligence. Currently, in the Behavioural Science Laboratory, I am working on translating research using animal models to humans. In particular, I am interested in examining the effect of context on learned behaviours, including extinction. I am also looking at how drug paraphernalia influences cravings during withdrawal. Being part of the Behavioural Science Laboratory gives me the great opportunity of conducting my research in the very first Simulation Hub. I also very much appreciate the critical discussion that occurs within the lab: it is great to be surrounded by other individuals who are passionate about research.

Master of Clinical Psychology students

Gloria Chikhani

My research pursuits have involved emotion regulation and hoarding behaviour. My honours thesis investigated the effect of manipulating music on diminishing nostalgic emotion. Currently, in the Behavioural Science Laboratory, I am working on a project examining the effect of emotion and emotion regulation on discarding behaviour. Working in the Behavioural Science Laboratory will provide me with an opportunity to conduct my research in the innovative Simulation Hub and to receive guidance from other passionate researchers.

Debbie Phillips

I am currently completing my Masters in Clinical Psychology and am using the facilities in the
Simulation Hub to research Hoarding Disorder. I am exploring what factors influence people’s decisions to discard items. The Simulation Hub is a great place to be able to conduct research that is relevant and applicable for clinical practice. My work experience as a psychologist has been in the corporate world, and I find the Simulation Hub much closer to the workplace than a classroom. Being part of the Behavioural Sciences Lab enables me to hear about and see other simulation research being carried out.  

Master of Organisational Psychology student

Natalie Mora

I am interested in studying people at work, particularly what drives individuals to remain at work even if they are experiencing anxiety due to workplace issues. My thesis examines impostorism in the workplace. Impostorism is a phenomenon that occurs when successful individuals perceive themselves as incompetent due to externalising their achievements. I hope to learn if imposterism is separate to social anxiety and whether it needs addressed in order to enhance employee wellbeing. 

Honours students

Emma Lawson

I am passionate about clinical psychology and thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the Behavioural Science Laboratory under Dr. Norberg's guidance. My honours project investigates whether certain psychological constructs contribute to the experience of aversive alcohol-related consequences after mixing energy drinks with alcohol. I hope the results of my research will inform public knowledge regarding safe drinking practises.

Yan Jiang

I have a strong interest in clinical psychology, and anxiety-related disorders in particular. My Honours research is focused on identifying the predictors of outcome after extinction training for fear of spiders.  To do so, I will assess several behavioural and emotional indicators related to fear before, during, and after an extinction procedure. These indicators include disgust, dislike, and emotional tolerance. I will explore their role in predicting fear levels after a context change. The results may inform the prevention of the return of fear for persons with impaired fear conditioning and/or extinction learning.

Research intern

Cathy (Jing) Chen

I am currently assisting on two studies in the Behavioural Science Laboratory. By working on both of these studies (cannabis and hoarding), I am able to explore my broad interests in psychology. My experience is undoubtedly a rewarding learning opportunity, as the Behavioural Science Laboratory has provided a collaborative and supportive environment. I very much appreciate being a part of this lab.

Kara Chakerian

I have been working with the Behavioural Science Lab since August of 2014. Initially, I joined the lab as part of the Professional and Community Engagement (PACE) placement program at Macquarie University. I am continuing on in the lab as a research intern. Through working on projects in the lab, and through my formal educational studies, I have become interested in the application of learning theories. My research involvement has helped me to understand the application of learning theory in both research and clinical practice. Working with the Behavioural Science Lab has specific benefits. Not only have I learned how cravings and context contribute to substance use, but Melissa also has been a great mentor. She invests time in training me, and is patient and considerate of the fact that I am working on my first research project. I also enjoy that the supportive attitude that is maintained by other students in the lab.

Past students

Honour student

Alastair Henry

Alastair Henry

My Honours’ thesis involved assessing whether co-consumption of alcohol mixed with caffeinated beverages is associated with more alcohol-related consequences than consumption of alcohol alone, and if an increased rate of alcohol-related consequences is the result of personality, motivational, alcohol consumption factors. In addition to understanding the risks associated with heavy alcohol use, I have a casual interest in neuroscience and the disentanglement of the mind/brain duality issue.

I very much enjoyed being a part of the Behavioural Sciences Laboratory. I appreciated most the free exchange of problems between similarly-minded people and the discussion of potential solutions; it was certainly a helpful problem-solving platform. Also, I think it instilled a sense of teamwork and camaraderie in what is often an individual pursuit of knowledge.

Research Intern

Jennifer Lee

Anxiety and its related disorders have always been an area of great interest to me, given their potential impact on people’s lives. Thus, my fourth year of the undergraduate psychology degree focused on learning more about this area. My Honours’ thesis examined cognitive biases in anxiety, while my research internship with the Centre of Emotional Health involved working with Dr Norberg on the Craving for Cannabis study. My role on this study taught me how extinction research on anxiety may translate to cravings for drug use.


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