Health Sciences

PhD candidates

Cognition and Emotion Research lab

Kathryn Biernacki

Kathryn Biernacki is investigating decision making processes  in current and abstinent opiate users. Kathryn is interested whether people who  have used opiates in the past have different physiological responses compared  to people who have never used drugs whilst making decisions. Results are  expected to demonstrate that opiate users will make more disadvantageous  decisions compared to abstinent participants throughout the course of the task.

Elizabeth Pizarro-Campagna

Elizabeth Pizarro-Campagna is exploring how people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) recognise and control emotions and, and how they relate to others. She is using electromyography (EMG) in her research.

Susan Sapega

Susan Sapega is currently completing a combined Masters and PhD in Clinical Psychology. Her research focuses on the age differences in prospective memory observed in both laboratory and naturalistic settings.  She is designing and developing a smartphone application that measures prospective memory in the everyday lives of young and older adults.

David Pedder

David Pedder is currently completing a combined Masters and PhD in Clinical Psychology. His research utilises electromyography (EMG) and SCL (skin conductance level) to investigate emotion regulation in young and older adults. He is also interested in how conscious breathing can help people in emotional situations.

Tina Habota

Tina Habota is currently completing a combined Masters and PhD in Clinical Psychology Tina’s research focusses on prospective memory (the ability to remember to do things in the future) and social cognition (the psychological processes behind social behaviours) in people with Chronic Heart Failure (CHF).

Dr Kimberly Mercuri

Dr Kimberly Mercuri completed her PhD and graduated in 2015. The overall objective of this research project was to investigate the cognitive ability of episodic foresight in recreational users or cannabis and long-term users of heroin. Episodic foresight refers to the uniquely human ability to mentally project the self into the future and pre-experience an event. Overall, the results of this research project suggest that compromised episodic foresight is apparent in the context of chronic but not recreational substance use. A breakdown in episodic foresight may therefore represent an important potential mechanism that may contribute to the poor functional, social, and treatment outcomes often associated with chronic substance use.

Dr Roxanne White

Dr Roxanne White was awarded Doctor of Psychology (Educational and Developmental) in 2015.
The research project examined future-orientated functioning in children aged 8-12 years, by exploring the development of children’s abilities to imagine future events and to remember to complete future tasks. The study took a novel approach by investigating the relationship between these abilities and their impact on daily life. This provided an important contribution to our understanding of how children’s different future-orientated processes develop, and suggests different developmental trajectories within middle childhood. In addition, the findings provide insight into the cognitive processes underpinning this ability to complete future tasks, and highlighted the important role it plays in children’s successful functioning in their everyday life.