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.

 

  1. » Adult-Youth Partnerships
  2. » Aging and Attentional Networks
  3. » Autism Spectrum Disorders
  4. » Balancing Aspirations: Māori Parents’ Experiences in University
  5. » Caffeine and human synaptic plasticity
  6. » Capturing attention
  7. » COMMUNICATION, PARTNER DYNAMICS AND MEMORY WITHIN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS.
  8. » Do you think you could tell the difference between similar tasting stimuli? Want to find out?
  9. » EEG Indices of the competition between memory and attention.
  10. » Emotion recognition in aging
  11. » Emotional Responses to Pictures: A Pupillometry Study
  12. » Face perception and face recognition.
  13. » Factors affecting recovery from mTBI or concussion.
  14. » Infant and child studies in the Early Learning Lab (ELLA).
  15. » Juiced-up synaptic plasticity and cognition
  16. » Language maintenance and attitudes of the 1.5 generation Korean and Chinese New Zealanders.
  17. » LTP: Mind the gap?
  18. » Participants needed for investigation of new depression treatment
  19. » Personality and emotional responsiveness: A pupillometry study
  20. » Recognition of Expression
  21. » Speech Science study on voice perception
  22. » Spread of object-based attention
  23. » Teaching Symbols Using Different Rewards
  24. » The electrophysiology of expression production and recognition: An EMG and ERP investigation
  25. » The Roots of Resilience
  26. » Visual cognition without awareness
  27. » Women’s experiences of long-term antidepressant use
  28. » Young men and consent
  29. » #Queer #HIV: The Personal Pedagogies Of Queer Young Men in Āotearoa New Zealand in the Online Age.

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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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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Balancing Aspirations: Māori Parents’ Experiences in University


Are you a Māori mother or father who is currently enrolled in tertiary study at the University of Auckland? This can be at any campus, undergraduate or postgraduate, and either full-time or part-time study. I’m looking for people to participate who are interested in sharing examples of their experiences and knowledge.

Participation will involve a one hour interview that will focus on support systems within the university and challenges that may arise from being a parent while studying. As a thank you in recognition of your time and contribution, you will receive a koha in the form of a $20 supermarket voucher.

For further details, please contact Cinnamon-Jo Lindsay (Ngāti Porou/Ngāpuhi/Ngāti Whatua/Pākehā).

The project has been approved by University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee (Ref 019297).

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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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Capturing attention


Shifting one’s attention from object to object and location to location is absolutely crucial for purposeful navigation of our complex environments. In the present project, Dr Nathan Ryckman and Associate Professor Tony Lambert are interested in examining factors thought to influence rapid attentional orienting to items positioned in the periphery of our vision, and we intend to do this by comparing responses made by the eyes with responses made by the fingers.

Involvement in our study will require approximately 45 minutes, and for this you will be given a $10 voucher as a token of our gratitude for your help. The procedure itself will require no more of you than to view a series of simple visual stimuli and make similarly simple responses to them, both by moving your eyes and by pressing certain keys on a keyboard. If interested in assisting us, please send an email letting us know what day and time you would be available to help.

For further details please contact Dr Nathan Ryckman.

This project has been approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee on 26 September 2015 for three years (until 26 September 2018). Reference Number 7835.      ​

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COMMUNICATION, PARTNER DYNAMICS AND MEMORY WITHIN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS.


Couples who have been together for at least one year are invited to participate in research investigating communication, partner dynamics and memory within intimate relationships. This research involves three parts.

Part 1: Before coming in for a research session at the University of Auckland, couples will be asked to complete a 30 minute initial online questionnaire about their wellbeing, and relationship.

Part 2: Couples will then visit the social psychology and close relationships lab at the University of Auckland and be asked to complete questionnaires about their relationship, and discuss with their partner (1) an area of conflict in their relationship as well as (2) areas of strengths in their relationship while being recorded. Participants will then report on their thoughts, feelings and behaviours during the discussions. This lab session will take around 2 hours, and couples will receive $100 ($50 each, petrol or grocery vouchers) as reimbursement for their time and effort.

Part 3: One-week later and then six-months after completing the initial research session, couples will be asked to complete a questionnaire via post or online. Each questionnaire will take around 35-40 minutes. Couples will be reimbursed another $60 ($30 each, petrol or grocery vouchers) for completing these follow-up questionnaires. All responses and recordings will remain completely confidential at all times.

If you are interested, please email Dr Nickola Overall, Valerie Chang, Shaunki Jayamaha, and Camille Reid for more information. This research has been approved by The University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee on 25/07/2017 for 3 years. Reference Number 019522.

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Do you think you could tell the difference between similar tasting stimuli? Want to find out?


It’s a bit like asking whether you could tell me if a sample was Coke or Pepsi, low-fat or full-fat milk – you get the picture.

Hi, my name is Miriam Stocks and I am a Research Assistant in the School of Psychology. I am running some experiments to determine the degree to which people can tell the difference between similar sample types.

If you would like to take part in this research, please email mail me. Testing takes place in:

Sensory Evaluation Lab: Building 302, Room 374

Level 3, School of Psychology

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EEG Indices of the competition between memory and attention.


I'm looking for volunteers who are willing to perform a simple visual search task while holding objects in their short term memory. During these tasks the activity of your brain will be recorded using electroencephalography (EEG). Therefore electrodes will be placed on your head by means of an elastic cap. Testing will take approximately 2 hours of your time and you will be compensated with a $10 Westfield voucher. To be eligible you must be aged between 18-35 years and have no history of epilepsy or migraine.

If you wish to participate, or have any questions, please email Dion Henare or phone (09) 373 7599 ext 85969.

The project has been approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee Ref 8201.

 

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Emotion recognition in aging


We are seeking volunteers for a project investigating how our ability to process emotions changes with age. This study involves 2 sessions (each 2 hours) and some questionnaires to fill out at home. One session involves an MRI scan. Your time will be compensated with a $50 voucher, and you can receive a picture of your brain scan.

To be eligible to participate, you must be aged 18-35 OR 65-80 years, and have no history of head injury or neurological conditions.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Laura Ewens, phone: 09 373 7599 ex 83072 or mobile: 022 677 2855).

This project has been approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee (Ref 2015/016024).

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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

 

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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Juiced-up synaptic plasticity and cognition


We are looking for participants for an electroencephalography (EEG) study of a drink that may improve brain function.

Participation will involve daily consumption of the drink over 2 periods of 5 weeks, and 4 EEG sessions. EEG sessions last about 2 hours (comprising setup, the experiment, and wrap-up), and will require looking at and responding to images on a computer screen.

Vouchers are offered for each pair of EEG sessions. There are no known side effects or risks associated with EEG.

To participate you must be 23 to 65 years old, with no neurological or psychological condition or history of head injury, not currently on psychoactive medication, and have no relevant food allergies.

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

Approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee (Ref 013988).

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Language maintenance and attitudes of the 1.5 generation Korean and Chinese New Zealanders.



This project investigates the language attitudes and language maintenance of Korean and Chinese migrants who arrived in new Zealand as children. We are seeking students who are of Korean or Chinese ethnicity, arrived in NZ as children and have been through the NZ education system. Participation will involve a single interview  of no more than 60 minutes where you will be asked for your experiences of growing up in NZ and your attitudes towards the languages that you speak. To compensate you for your time you will receive a $20 gift voucher.

For further details, email Dr Elaine Ballard or phone (09) 373 7599 ext 87502. 

This project has been approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee Ref 015812.

 

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LTP: Mind the gap?


Interested in how our brain forms memories? We are looking for healthy individuals who are willing to contribute 3-4 hours of their time over 2 sessions to help us understand the neural basis of memory formation.

Participation is easy! Sit and watch images flashed on a computer screen while we use EEG to record your brain’s electrical signal.

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

To participate you must be 18 to 35 years old, have no history of epilepsy or head injury, no psychological or neurological condition, and no use of psychoactive medication.

For more information, email Rohan King or phone 09 923 8421

Approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee (Ref 8969)

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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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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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Recognition of Expression


We will record the electrical activity of your brain using EEG while you perform an emotion-recognition task.  You will watch a series of images containing a range of expressions of emotion.  Your task will be to identify the expressions displayed. You will also be requested to finish a questionnaire to report how “real” you think the images are. $20 voucher will be given to thank you for your participation.

For further details, contact Jingwen Mao.

This project has been approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee (ref. 010593) from April 08 2014 until April 08 2017.

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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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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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Teaching Symbols Using Different Rewards


This study explores different methods for teaching people to classify information, symbols, and stimuli.  We are recruiting adults between 18 and 40 years to take part in three 1 hour sessions.  Participants will be taught to classify different stimuli using a computer programme featuring different rewards. Participant will be reimbursed $20 in petrol vouchers. 

The present study compares two different reward methods, and looks at difficulty as a moderator of their effectiveness.  This study will help us learn more about how rewards can be used in learning, and develop effective teaching procedures for individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism.

For further information please contact Jessica McCormack or go to: https://sites.google.com/aucklanduni.ac.nz/aba-teaching-symbols

This project has been approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee (Ref 018548).

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The electrophysiology of expression production and recognition: An EMG and ERP investigation


The objective of the project is to investigate the recognition of expressions of emotion. The project involves the use of electroencephalography (EEG) to monitor the activity of your brain (EEG) while you do a simple task on the computer. EEG involves placing electrodes on the surface of your scalp by means of an elastic ‘cap’. The electrodes are encased in sponges, which are soaked in an electrolyte solution (consisting of baby shampoo, salt, and water).

Participation will involve a single session of about 90 minutes (30 minutes to set up and up to 60 mins for the task – this includes short breaks). Your participation will help us to gain a better understanding of human emotional expression processing and you will be offered a $20 voucher. 

For further details, contact Sreekari Vogeti

This project has been approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee (Ref 010593).

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The Roots of Resilience


A new research project is looking for Kiwis to fill out an anonymous online survey on negative childhood experiences, resilience and current well-being. Participants should be aged 18 to 35, and have spent the majority of their life before 18 growing up in New Zealand.

Participation will involve a 15 minute online questionnaire which is completely anonymous. After your data has been submitted to protect your anonymity, you can choose to go in the draw to win one of 10 $100 Countdown vouchers. For further details contact Jessie Mee. You can read more about the project on Faceboook or go directly to the survey

Approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee on 10th January 2017 for three years, Reference Number 018403.

 

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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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Young men and consent


We are looking for young men, aged 18-23, who have completed at least two years of their secondary schooling in New Zealand, to participate in a focus group discussing their views on consent and sexual violence prevention. We are interested in your ideas about these issues; we will not be asking you to talk about your personal experience. Participation will involve a single session of 1.5-2 hours.

For further details contact Jessica Fredricsen.

This project has been approved by University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee (Ref 019456).

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#Queer #HIV: The Personal Pedagogies Of Queer Young Men in Āotearoa New Zealand in the Online Age.


We are seeking same-sex attracted, gay-, bisexual-, takatāpui- or queer-identified males (trans guys welcome) aged 16-29, who are living in Auckland, to take part in a study examining how young queer men in New Zealand seek, find, understand and make meaning about themselves in the context elevated HIV vulnerability.

A better understanding of both online and face-to-face aspects of these men’s lives will allow for more targeted and purposeful support and health promotion campaigns to minimise HIV transmission.

For further details contact the principal investigator, Dr. John P Egan

This project has been approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee 02 July 2015, Reference Number 014912

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