Dr Ryan Balzan

Research Fellow

College of Education, Psychology and Social Work

place Social Sciences North (379)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia
Qualifications

BPsych (Hons), MPsych (Clin), PhD

Honours, awards and grants
  • Australian Psychological Society Early Career Research Award
  • Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy Student Scholarship
  • High Quality Journal Incentive Award (Flinders)
  • Vice-Chancellor's Award for Early Career Researchers (Flinders)
  • Frank Dalziel Prize for Best PhD, School of Psychology (University of Adelaide)
  • Vice-Chancellor's Early Career Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (Flinders)
  • Trevor Prescott Memorial Scholarship
  • University of Adelaide Medal
  • Australian Psychological Society Prize in Honours Psychology
  • Max and Bette Mendelson Foundation Scholarship
Research expertise
Psychology
Research interests

I am a postdoctoral research fellow within the Discipline of Psychology, and a registered psychologist. My area of research is within the field of cognitive neuropsychiatry, which applies the knowledge base of cognitive psychology to the study of psychiatric symptoms, such as delusional beliefs. My research has focussed on the role that cognitive biases (i.e., problematic thinking styles) play in the development and maintenance of delusions, both in individuals with psychosis and in those identified as "delusion-prone" (i.e., people with mild delusional beliefs or tendencies).

Current projects include the investigation of novel cognitive tasks that more reliably elucidate the cognitive biases linked to delusional ideation, and studying these biases longitudinally in both clinical and non-clinical samples, to better determine whether they co-vary with delusional severity as our cognitive models predict.

I am also currently conducting one of the first randomised controlled trials to investigate the efficacy of a recently designed individually-administered treatment for psychosis entitled metacognitive therapy (MCT+). Built on the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy for psychosis, MCT+ aims to develop an awareness of the implausible content of a delusion but also targets the underlying cognitive biases that foster and maintain these beliefs. Preliminary analysis from my trial data suggests that MCT+ is an effective psychological treatment for reducing delusional symptoms.

With the developers of MCT, I am now adapting the program to target the unrealistic (sometimes delusional) beliefs characteristic of eating disorders (e.g., unrealistic beliefs regarding body image, weight and shape). I have also been investigating the efficacy of online cognitive remediation programs for psychosis, which target the cognitive deficits commonly observed in people with these disorders (e.g., memory, attention, problem solving).

Teaching interests

- Clinical psychology

- Psychosis

- Belief formation

Topic lecturer
PSYC7006 Contemporary Issues in Psychology
PSYC9009 Abnormal Psychology and Psychopharmacology
PSYC1107 Psychology of Weird and Wonderful Ideas
MHSC8025 Advanced Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Psychological Disorders
Supervisory interests
Clinical psychology
Cognitive behaviour therapy, psychosis
Cognitive biases
Cognitive neuropsychiatry
Delusions
Higher degree by research supervision
Current
Associate supervisor: Clinical psychology (1)
Completion
Associate supervisor: Clinical psychology (1)
Higher degree by research student achievements
Ben McLean

Best Higher Degree Research Student Publication - OCT 2016

Publications