School of Psychology - Leading psychological science, scholarship and practice


Participate in our research

Since human psychology is the focus of most of our research projects, human participants are vital to our research. We invite you to discover the range of research being conducted and to consider volunteering to participate in one or more of these projects.

Staff, post-doctoral researchers and postgraduate students in Psychology are active in a wide variety of research projects. Since human psychology is the focus of most of these projects, human participants are vital to our research. We invite you to discover the range of research being conducted and to consider volunteering to participate in one or more of these projects.

The research not only advances our understanding of how minds work but also offers participants unique, first-hand experience of research methods and techniques.

Below is a list of current research projects seeking human participants. Contact the researchers directly if you would like more information. Note that projects vary in their focus, in the time commitments involved, and in the characteristics of the participants sought.

The research studies listed on the school website may not be eligible for course credits as per the participant pool.

 

Adult-Youth Partnerships


Relationship features that predict future youth thriving. The aim of this longitudinal research is to identify the critical ingredients of successful adult-youth partnerships. We are looking for adult-youth pairs where the adult provides support and role modelling to the young person. This may include, but is not limited to: natural/informal mentoring relationships between a non-parental adult and young person (e.g., aunty/uncle and niece/nephew; older sibling/cousin with younger sibling/cousin; coach and student, neighbours, family friends), OR formal mentoring relationships where youth workers or mentors are working with young people as part of a formal programme or service. Pairs must have known each other for at least three months. Adults must be 19 years or over and youth aged 12-18 years to participate.

The research has two phases: (1) an observational session at University of Auckland School of Psychology, and (2) questionnaires to be completed 6 months and 12 months after the first session. Koha (a thank you gift) is provided to participating dyads. For the observational session, participants receive 2 Event Cinema movie tickets each. For the questionnaires, participants receive a $10 Warehouse voucher each.

The research is being led by Dr Kelsey Deane and Associate Professor Nickola Overall. If you are interested in participating, please email the research coordinator Hilary Dutton (or phone 027 405 7191). Information may also be found at www.facebook.com/nzmentoringresearch. This research has been approved by The University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee on 04/05/2017 for 3 years. Reference Number 019064.

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Aging and Attentional Networks


The successful performance of many everyday tasks requires us to be able to selectively allocate our limited attentional resources to objects in the environment. Everything from driving a car, or walking down the street, to watching television requires the ability to ignore potentially distracting information. We are currently investigating how this fundamental ability changes as we age. But we need your help in order to do so.   

We are looking for healthy participants (no history of neurological conditions) who are between 18 and 35 years old, or are above 60 years old, with normal vision or vision corrected to normal with spectacles. Participants will be required to perform a computer-based task while we take EEG recordings. Testing will take approximately two hours of your time and you will be compensated with a $20 Countdown voucher.

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Auckland English


Auckland is a super diverse community.  In some areas there is no ethnic majority, and up to half the population is under 15. These demographics create rich variation in the way young people speak, which can lead to rapid language change. To investigate the rich diversity of Auckland English, we are currently collecting speech data from young people in various locations in Auckland. So far we have collected data from people in Papatoetoe and Mt. Roskill and are now looking for young people resident in Titirangi .  If you have a) lived or grown up in Titirangi a good portion of your life, we would like to hear from you!

Please contact Elaine Ballard e.ballard@auckland.ac.nz for more information.

 

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Autism Spectrum Disorders


Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD’s) are difficult to diagnose accurately. New methods to analyse the complexity of information contained within brain signals may provide an answer. Participants will anonymously take a brief questionnaire and have a non-invasive brain scan (Electro-Encephalograph - EEG) while performing two different computer tasks, all of which will takes about one hour. There could be some minimal discomfort involved in putting on the EEG apparatus (lightweight head-net with tiny electrodes soaked in saline solution). The data will provide a basis for developing a biomarker based taxonomy for diagnosing ASD. For further details contact Stephen Wolfson (or ext 86421).

This project has been approved by the University of Auckland Human Participation Ethics Committee (Ref 016911).

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Brain electrical responses using electroencephalography (EEG) in response to viewing faces.


" We're investigating brain electrical responses using electroencephalography (EEG) in response to viewing faces. The experiment involves a 30-minute computerised task while your EEG is recorded, followed by a short self-report questionnaire on emotion processing. The whole experiment takes about 1.5 hours. If you are aged between 18 and 45, have never had a major head injury, and have an autism diagnosis or no psychiatric condition, we need you. As a thank you for your time, you will be given a $20 supermarket voucher. If you would like to get more information, please email Ozge at okar164@aucklanduni.ac.nz    

Approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee on 19/12/2016 for three years. Reference Number 018461."

 

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Caffeine and human synaptic plasticity


Want to see your brain on caffeine? Interested in how we form memories? We are looking for participants to help us understand the effect of caffeine on the neural basis of memory formation, and the role of certain genetic variations.

Participation is easy! Sit and watch images flashed on a computer screen while we use EEG to record your brain’s electrical signal, after we give you a dose of caffeine. There are 2 such sessions, each lasting about 2 hours. We also ask for a saliva sample of your DNA.

What do you get? You will be offered $40 in vouchers and an opportunity to see your brain activity in real time!

To participate you must be 18-40 years old, with no neurological or psychological condition, no history of epilepsy or head injury, and not on psychoactive medication.

For more information please email Rohan King or phone 09 923 8421.

Approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee (Ref 013903).

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Emotional Responses to Pictures: A Pupillometry Study


We are looking for volunteers to participate in research that aims to provide insight into emotional responsiveness to pictures. In this study, emotional responsiveness will be gauged by measuring changes in the size of the eye pupils, as participants view a series of pictures.  The pictures used in the study have been selected to be emotionally arousing, and include images of naked men and women, images of babies, images of landscapes, images of everyday objects, and images of bodily injuries.  During the experiment, participants will view a series of pictures drawn from these categories, whilst seated in front of an eye-tracker. The experiment will last approximately 15-20 minutes, and all participants will receive a $10 gift voucher in compensation.

Volunteers for this study might also be interested in volunteering for a related study, which is being carried out at the same time, in the same location.  Our second study involves measuring response times to peripheral visual objects - see advertisement entitled Neural processes and neural pathways for visual attention and visual perception’.

For further details, please email Tony Lambert or phone 021 161 2980.

Approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee on 02 MAY 2016 for three years, Reference Number 017214.

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Face perception and face recognition.


A project on how people perceive and process faces. Participation will involve a session of no more than 60 min, for which a $10 voucher is offered, and will require matching or remembering faces in different conditions.  There is no discomfort involved.  For further details, contact Haiyang Jin.

The project has been approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee Ref 016078.

 

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Factors affecting recovery from mTBI or concussion.


A neuroimaging/neuropsychological study is looking at how people recover following a mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) or concussion. Most people recover well, but it is estimated that as many as 10-20% of people following mTBI may go on to experience persistent post-concussion symptoms.

People aged 18-64 who have suffered a mTBI within the last 3-6 months and have had a formal diagnosis of such an injury from a health/medical professional are invited. We are interested in hearing from individuals who have recovered well or who may still be experiencing post- concussion symptoms 3-6 months following injury, as well as control participants (i.e., people who have not had a recent mTBI). Volunteers will need to attend a brain imaging session (45 minutes) at the Centre for Advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging at the University’s Grafton Campus and undertake a cognitive assessment (110 minutes).

All participants will be provided with a full participant information sheet and an opportunity to ask questions before a written informed consent is obtained. Participants will be compensated with a $20 Westfield voucher for their time. For more information on participating in the study, contact: Dr Gjurgjica Badzakova, phone 3737599 ext. 82140, 021 1555 951 or email g.badzakova@auckland.ac.nz.

This project has been approved by the Health and Disability Ethics Committee Ref: 13/STH/177

 

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Fractal Analysis of Autism Spectrum Disorder


Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD’s) are difficult to diagnose accurately. New methods to analyse the complexity of information contained within brain signals and genetics may provide an answer. Participants will anonymously take a brief questionnaire, provide a cheek swab and have a non-invasive brain scan (Electro-Encephalograph - EEG) while performing two different computer tasks, all of which will takes about two hours. There could be some minimal discomfort involved in putting on the EEG apparatus (lightweight head-net with tiny electrodes soaked in saline solution). The data will provide a basis for developing a biomarker based taxonomy for diagnosing ASD. For further details contact Stephen Wolfson (ext 88421).

This project has been approved by the University of Auckland Human Participation Ethics Committee (Ref 016911).

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Infant and child studies in the Early Learning Lab (ELLA).


If you, or someone you know, has a child under 7 years of age, or is expecting a new child we'd love your help! ELLA is interested in what children (0 to 7 years of age) understand about people and objects in the world around them and how this understanding influences their learning. ELLA runs several studies at any particular time, so when your child is the correct age for participation in one of our studies, we will contact you to make an appointment to come into ELLA. Our studies generally involve one visit lasting one hour – although most of our studies only require 20-30 minutes of your child’s attention. Free parking and small gifts for the children are provided. To find out more visit our website www.earlylearning.ac.nz or feel free to contact us directly at earlylearning.nz@gmail.com or phone (09) 923 4236.

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Memory and imagination study


We are investigating how we remember the past and imagine the future. In this study, you will recall simple memory details and think about future events. The study involves 2 behavioural sessions -- each about 2 hours long -- and takes place in the Science Centre (City Campus). You will be compensated with two $25 Countdown vouchers ($50 in total; one for each session completed).

To be eligible you must be fluent in English, aged between 18 and 35 years, and have no history of head injury or neurological conditions. The project is being carried out by PhD student Kristina Wiebels, under the supervision of Dr Reece Roberts, Prof Donna Rose Addis, and A/Prof Lynette Tippett.

For more information and to confirm your eligibility, contact Kristina at k.wiebels@auckland.ac.nz.

Approved by the University of Auckland Human Participation Ethics Committee (Ref 020728).

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Participants needed for investigation of new depression treatment


We are looking for individuals with treatment-resistant depression to participate in an investigation of a new depression treatment. You may qualify for the study if you are 18-45 years of age and have found that two or more types of antidepressants haven’t worked for you. The study involves one screening visit and two study day visits to the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. The study day visits will involve blood samples, and neuropsychological, MRI, and EEG tests. All participants will receive a single dose of a new treatment for depression.

For more information please contact our study team.  

This study has received ethical approval from Northern B Health and Disability Ethics Committee Ref No.15/NTB/53

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Perception of Texture and Textural Complexity in Food


We are investigating how people percieve texture characteristics and textural complexity in food. For this study we are looking for people to taste model food stimuli and describe their textural characteristics, the intensity of those characteristics and how they change during oral processing, using a range of sensory evaluation techniques. You will be required to attend 3 sessions on the UOA city campus or Newmarket campus (your choice), of about 30 minutes each.

Participants will receive a $30 supermarket voucher to thank them for their participation.To hear more about the study and/or participate please contact Niamh at npat281@aucklanduni.ac.nz.

This project has been approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee (ref: 020760).

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Personality and emotional responsiveness: A pupillometry study


I am looking for volunteers to participate in research that aims to investigate the relationship between certain personality traits (empathy) and a non-conscious measure of emotional responsiveness (pupil activity).

The experiment involves the completion of two short questionnaires, and viewing a series of emotionally arousing pictures while seated in front of an eye-tracker. The experiment will last approximately 20 minutes, and all participants will be reimbursed with a $10 supermarket voucher.

For more information or to express interest in participating, please contact Kelsey Schaumann.

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Physical Activity and Brain Function


We are looking for volunteers of all physical fitness levels, who are willing to participate in computer tasks and a short exercise session. You will be required for two sessions of one hour each for this study and you will be compensated with a $20 voucher (groceries). To be eligible you must be over 18 years old. The study was approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee (Reference number: 017243). If you wish to participate, or have any questions, please email Stefanie at Stefanie_elsner@web.de and we will provide you with further information about the study.

 

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Reading Comprehension


The purpose of this project is to assess reading comprehension and understanding of written text, as well as responses to that text. Your time and participation would be greatly appreciated. This study will take place online. If you choose to participate in this study, you will be presented with a newspaper article which you will be required to read. Your task during this portion of the study will be to read, and understand the contents of the article presented to you. After completing this task, you will be asked a number of questions about i) the contents of the article, ii) your attitudes towards the content of the article. This will take approximately 25 minutes to complete.

If you have any questions before, or after completing the study please contact Carly Townrow (Email: ctow014@aucklanduni.ac.nz).

This study has been approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee on 07-05-2018 for (3) years. Protocol Number: 021190 To take part in the study, please click on the following link: https://auckland.au1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_agG1FUwgdqv1BOt

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Siblings and Substances


Title: Experiences of young people whose brothers’ or sisters’ drug or alcohol use causes problems 

This project is interested in hearing from 16-to-30-year-olds about what it’s like to have a brother or sister whose drug or alcohol use causes problems. Participation involves a confidential face-to-face interview for approximately 60 minutes at a location that suits you. Participants will be thanked for taking part in the research with a $20 voucher. If you would like more information please contact Hannah Swinton or check out www.facebook.com/siblingsandsubstances/

This project has been approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee (Ref 019370).

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Speech Science study on voice perception


You are invited to participate in a research project being conducted in the School of Psychology, exploring whether and how listeners perceive the age of an unknown and unseen speaker, and whether this perception changes between listeners with varying knowledge and training on the voice (e.g. linguistics students, speech-language therapy students).

The study will involve an anonymous online ‘survey’ which will take about 20 minutes. Those who choose to participate will answer a few demographic questions (e.g. age, gender, ethnicity, knowledge and experience relating to voice use), and then listen to short recordings of speakers and judge their age.

If you would like to participate, please go to the survey

If you have any questions or concerns about this study, please contact Dhanya Herath or her supervisors (Clare McCann in Speech Science or Catherine Watson in Electrical and Computer Engineering).

Approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee on 13 June 2016 for three years. Reference number: 017035.

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Spread of object-based attention


A small and fairly simple project investigating how visual attention spreads along the boundaries of objects in a way (theorised to be) not unlike the flow of water through cracks in a sidewalk. Participation will involve a short 30 min session where participants respond to a very fast succession of visual prompts on a computer screen. Participants will be compensated with $10 dollars for their time, in addition to the option of having a lovely chat about brains and cognitive science with the researcher (Tasi). There is no discomfort involved, although the experiment does play like a simple but intense video-game. The data will help us to understand mechanisms of vision and how it relates to neighbouring receptive fields in the visual system.

For further details, email Tasi Watson.

This project has been approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee (Ref 2016/017271)

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SURVEY ON CANNABIS USE AND DECISION-MAKING STYLES


In a collaborative project, Jim Phillips (AUT) and Barry Hughes (University of Auckland) invite users and nonusers of cannabis, over 16 years of age, to participate in a survey on cannabis use and decision-making.

Participation in this project is strictly anonymous and will involve the completion of an online questionnaire which will take about 15 minutes to complete.

In order for your views to be registered, you will need to complete the questionnaire before 30 September, 2017.

The link to the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VWC89ML

If you would like more information about any aspect of the project, please contact Associate Professor Jim Phillips, AUT; james.phillips@aut.ac.nz.

Approved by the Auckland University of Technology Ethics Committee (AUTEC) for three years from  16 May 2017.  REF 7/83

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Tactile perception, cortical activity and visual impairment


We seek participants for research on touch sensitivity to raised dots, of the type found in braille. This experiment involves one session of approximately 90 min duration. Participants will be asked to scan lines of raised dots and report their number. The spatial distribution and density of the dots will vary. We guarantee confidentiality of participation. We offer reimbursement for participation and incentives for accuracy. Participants cannot be braille readers. 

Please contact Pritika Sharma via psha519@aucklanduni.ac.nz. Ethics Approval 019220. 

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Tactile perception, cortical activity and visual impairment


We seek sighted participants for research project on touch sensitivity, of the kind necessary to read braille. Participants will be asked to scan braille-like lines (blindfolded) and make judgment of raised dot numbers. There are three individual sessions, each one using a different finger combination. We guarantee confidentiality. We offer reimbursement for completion of all sessions, and incentives for accuracy. 

Please contact Akansha Pio Britto via abri703@aucklanduni.ac.nz. Ethics Approval 019220. 

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The Link Between Hedonic Ratings and Discrimination for Gustatory Stimuli.


Taste Hedonic and Degree of Satisfaction-difference Testing

• You are invited to take part in a taste study.

• This involves tasting different types or brands of cheeses, giving examples of what factors are important to you in terms of cheese (e.g., creaminess), and reporting whether those factors are present in the samples you have been asked to taste.

My name is Miles Gibson I am a BA (Hons) student in the School of Psychology and I am investigating what factors are important to people when purchasing and consuming cheese. Please email me at mgib648@aucklanduni.ac.nz if you would like to participate.

Approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee on 10 April, 2018, for three years, Reference Number 020979.

 

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The Imagination and Well-being Study


Imagination can be highly adaptive for healthy functioning in everyday life—for example, we might envision our future goals, and how to reach them. We will examine your ability to imagine the future by asking you to imagine and describe some events related to your own goals. We’ll ask you to complete questionnaires that assess your level of well-being and mood (including depressive symptoms), as well as some cognitive tasks. After two months, we’ll also ask you to complete a short online follow-up survey to check-in with your well-being and mood.

To participate, you must be 18-50 years old, a fluent English speaker (i.e., native or near-native level), and have no history of neurological or psychiatric disorder (other than depression and/or anxiety disorders). Testing will take around 2.5 hours (usually a little less). You’ll receive a $25 Countdown voucher for your time. Participants who complete the follow-up survey also enter the draw to win one of two $250 Countdown vouchers.

The project is being carried out by Beau Gamble, a PhD student in the School of Psychology at The University of Auckland, under the supervision of Prof Donna Rose Addis and A/Prof Lynette Tippett. For more info and to confirm your eligibility, contact Beau at b.gamble@auckland.ac.nz. Approved by the University of Auckland Human Participation Ethics Committee (Ref 019029.). 

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Visual cognition without awareness


Our research investigates the extent of visual perception and cognition when items are difficult to see. You will be asked to discriminate or respond to computer-displayed stimuli. Your participation will help us to understand how humans process visible and non-visible things in the environment. Experiments generally take about one hour with frequent opportunities to rest, and you can receive a $10 or $20 voucher.

For further details, contact Matt Oxner.

The project has been approved by University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee (Ref 013154).

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Women’s experiences of long-term antidepressant use


This study aims to understand the experiences of benefits and challenges  of using antidepressants long term for the treatment of depression, and how these experiences change or develop over time. If you are between the ages of 25-65 and have taken antidepressants continuously for  five years or more you are eligible to take part in this study. Participation will involve taking part in a face to face interview. If you wish to consider taking part in this study and would like more information please contact researcher Ondria Cowan

Approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee on: 01/03/16 for three years, Reference Number: 016163.

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