I am interested in why people form misbeliefs, that is, beliefs not based on objective facts or reality. Misbeliefs are relatively common and include beliefs about pseudoscience, conspiracies or the paranormal. Misbeliefs are also observed in clinical populations, for example, delusional beliefs in people with psychosis. Part of my research focusses on the role that cognitive biases or problematic thinking styles (such as hasty decision-making and incorrigibility) play in the development and maintenance of delusions.
I have also contributed to the development of novel psychological treatments, including the metacognitive training programme (MCT). MCT targets the cognitive biases thought to cause and maintain delusions, with the aim of reducing the severity of these symptoms. I am now adapting the programme 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 bias correction' psychoeducation programmes, which may help to improve analytical thinking in the general population and reduce people's vulnerability to pseudoscience misinformation (e.g., vaccines cause autism) and 'fake news'.
BPsych (Hons), MPsych (Clin), PhD
Clinical Psychologist (PSY0001891984)
- Belief formation
- Clinical psychology
- Human development
- Eating disorders
Best Higher Degree Research Student Publication - OCT 2016
I am committed to maintaining a professional activity profile within psychology. I am a registered Clinical Psychologist with the Psychology Board of Australia (Registration Number: PSY0001891984) and am an active member of several national and international professional clinical practitioner bodies, including the Australian Psychological Society, Australian Association for Cognitive and Behaviour Therapy, Healthy Development Adelaide, and the Association for Psychological Science.
I aim to raise public awareness of how psychological science can help to explain the symptoms of mental illness (e.g., delusions in psychosis). My research and clinical work have featured in five media publications, including In Daily, Flinders in Touch, and Southern Health News, and I have been interviewed on science radio broadcasts, such as Radio Adelaide’s Orbit, particularly on the underlying theory behind the latest psychological interventions for psychosis.
I am proud to devote time promoting psychological science for several reasons. It encourages greater understanding and acceptance of severe mental illnesses, reduces stigma, and empowers consumers. This is particularly important in the ‘post-truth’ era where people can easily be misinformed.
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