Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences researchers success in ARC Discovery grants

Dr Peter Koval has been awarded an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) and Dr Katharine Greenaway, Dr Pascal Molenberghs, Associate Professor Piers Howe and Associate Professor Charles Kemp have been awarded Discovery Projects.

Dr Peter Koval was awarded a DECRA to fund research on understanding the relationship between emotion dynamics and wellbeing.

This fellowship, funded by the ARC, aims to advance the science of emotion by resolving a fundamental paradox regarding the relationship between emotion dynamics and wellbeing, namely that both emotional flexibility and stability have been identified as important for healthy functioning.

This project aims to resolve this paradox by applying cutting-edge statistical techniques to model emotion dynamics in daily life, as captured using smartphones.

Dr Koval heads up the Functions of Emotions in Everyday Life (FEEL) Lab, which aims to discover how emotions function in the rich and complex environments we encounter in our daily lives.

Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences researcher Dr Katharine Greenaway and associates Dr Elise Kalokerinos (University of Newcastle), Dr Michael Slepian and Professor Adam Galinsky (Columbia Business School) have been awarded an ARC Discovery Project

This project aims to undertake the first systematic investigation of secrecy in everyday life. Secrecy is often vital in professional and personal life, but current scientific understanding of secrecy – its processes and outcomes – is limited.

This project proposes using experience sampling methodologies to study how people keep secrets in daily life and through this estimate the psychological costs of secrecy. The project will also aim to develop interventions aimed at reducing those costs.

Dr Pascal Molenberghs and a team headed by Professor Winnifred Louis from the University of Queensland have also been awarded an ARC Discovery Project. Their project seeks to understand the role of norms and empathy in palliative killing.

This project aims to test the processes through which people learn socially supported palliative killing to avert suffering and their neural underpinnings, with a focus on norms and empathic distress. The project will focus on two core samples: veterinarians, who must euthanize animals, and health practitioners in Victoria, where legal changes will introduce ‘voluntary assisted dying’ in mid-2019.

The project will generate new understandings of social influence around life and death decisions, provide an evidence basis to inform policy makers, and help institutions and practitioners seeking to manage distress and respond to fast-moving, controversial policy changes.

Dr Koval, Dr Greenaway and Dr Monlenberghs are members of our Ethics and Wellbeing Hub.

Associate Professor Charles Kemp and a team headed by Professor Brett Hayes from the University of New South Wales have been awarded an ARC Discovery Project for a project focussed on a Bayesian account of reasoning from censored data.

The project aims to develop and test a new computational theory of inductive reasoning. The project intends to test the model through an extensive program of experimental investigation and computational modelling.

The anticipated benefits include an enhanced understanding of human inference, especially in domains such as the evaluation of forensic or financial evidence, where data censoring is common.

Associate Professor Piers Howe, who with CI Prof Frank Vetere were awarded a Discovery Project on ‘Explanation in Artificial Intelligence: A human-centred approach’.

This project aims to produce validated methods for creating human-centred explanations of decisions made by artificial intelligence (AI). The expected outcomes of this project are new methods, models and algorithms for explaining different types of AI models to people. This project should result in improved understanding and trust of decisions made by AI systems, mitigating some societal concerns about AI-based decision making.

Associate Professor Kemp and Associate Professor Howe are members of our Complex Human Data Hub.

Congratulations to Peter, Katharine, Pascal, Piers and Charles!