Dr Ryan Balzan

Senior Lecturer

College of Education, Psychology and Social Work

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

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)

Honours, awards and grants
  • South Australian Young Tall Poppy Award
  • Australian Psychological Society Early Career Research Award
  • Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy Student Scholarship
  • Vice-Chancellor's Award for Early Career Researchers (Flinders)
  • Frank Dalziel Prize for Best PhD, School of Psychology (University of Adelaide)
  • University of Adelaide Medal
  • Australian Psychological Society Prize in Honours Psychology
  • Max and Bette Mendelson Foundation Scholarship
Teaching interests

- Belief formation

- Clinical psychology

- Counselling

- Human development

- Delusions

- Psychosis

- Eating disorders

- Pseudoscience

Topic coordinator
PSYC3011 Ethics and Professional Practice in Psychology
PSYC3012 Interviewing and Counselling
PSYC2021 Human Development
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 biases