In 2021, the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences (MSPS) celebrates 75 years of psychological education and research at the University of Melbourne. We look forward to exploring and acknowledging the rich history of psychological education and the impact that our alumni, staff and students have had on the world. Join us as we celebrate our community and look at what the future holds for psychological sciences.
Psychology at the University of Melbourne has a long and distinguished history. The first paper set in Psychology was in February 1888 and the Department of Psychology was founded in 1946. The School in its current structure was established in 2012, when the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences announced the creation of its fifth school: the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences.
The School is home to a vibrant community of more than 128 academic, teaching, research and professional staff, 100 honorary staff, 147 PhD students and almost 11,000 students enrolled in undergraduate subjects offered by Psychological Sciences, mainly through the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science, but also in breadth subjects in the Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Biomedicine, Bachelor of Environments and Bachelor of Music.
Do you have a story?
As a part of our 75th anniversary celebrations, we would like to hear from our community of staff, students, alumni and partners. Tell us about your experiences with the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences and what you think the future holds for the discipline of psychological sciences as we navigate through this century.
Share your stories
Message from the Head of School
This year, the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences celebrates its 75th anniversary, an occasion on which we can reflect on our proud history of psychological education and research, as well as celebrating the many achievements of our alumni, students and staff.
Since the University set its first paper in Psychology in February 1888, psychological sciences has continued to grow, with the School of Psychological Sciences now home to a vibrant community of more than 200 staff and over 11,000 students.
In celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, we recognise the collegial partnerships between staff, students, researchers and partners that is so important to our success; and we pay tribute to all our wonderful alumni who have gone on to make a significant difference to the lives of others and the health of their communities.
Professor Rob Hester
Head of School
Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences
Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences
University of Melbourne
Throughout 2021 and 2022, we are celebrating the central role that psychology plays in every major conversation in our society. We will be running a series of events featuring our experts, collaborators and our colleagues in industry.
PsychTalks is the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences' forum for ideas and discussion. We will explore contemporary and engaging topics through community-focused panel sessions, podcasts and forums across a range of disciplines, encouraging constructive debate on issues of regional and global relevance. Join us at an event or catch up with a recording.
Alongside our events will be a podcast series where we speak to experts on a range of topics including Big Data, misinformation, fear-based advertising and mindfulness, among others.
Using the hashtag #75mspsuom, we invite you to share your experience of 75 years of the Melbourne School Psychological Sciences and your thoughts on the role psychology will play in the future.
- Thursday 1 September 2022
MSPS Showcase Series
Understanding and advancing the treatment of mental and neurological disorders
Through a series of 12 short presentations, the Brain and Mental Health Hub's showcase event takes a journey through the breadth of research carried out by the Hub. Exploring themes of neuroscience and neurobiology, clinical science, basic and experimental science, and social media, each talk will cover a unique research area and methodological approach. This will be rounded out by a panel discussion and opportunity for Q&A.
- Past event: 31 May 2022
Protecting the environment from the tobacco industry
Join the Melbourne Centre for Behaviour Change for this World No Tobacco Day event. Following the World Health Organization's theme for 2022, we'll hear how every stage of the tobacco cycle – from cultivation to consumer waste – is damaging to the environment, how supposedly ʻcleaner’ products (such as electronic cigarettes) present a new threat, and how the tobacco industry uses environmental concerns to distract from the damage it causes. Objectives for public health policy and approaches to tobacco control practice will also be discussed.
- Past event: 13 May 2022
MSPS Showcase Series
How to do good and live well: Understanding human behaviour and misbehaviour.
To celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, the Ethics and Well-being Hub presented their showcase event, How to do good and live well: Understanding human behaviour and misbehaviour.
- Past event: 28 April 2022
MSPS Showcase Series
Exploring the link between the brain and mind: the past, present and future
The Decision Science Hub reflects on the monumental advancements in our understanding of the relationship between the brain and mind through the lens of cognitive neuroscience and decision science.
Event recording to come
- Past event: 11 April 2022
MSPS Showcase Series
Climate anxiety and the personal impact of a burning planet
Human life stands at a precipice: We cannot go back to previous ways of being - not completely - nor can we continue to live the way we are living. Join moderator Jacinta Parsons (ABC Radio) and a panel of experts for an exploration of the ways in which contemplative practices can help us to manage the emotional toll of climate change.
- Past event: March 28 2022
MSPS Showcase Series
Big Data: The good, the bad and the ugly
In the psychological sciences, big data is just starting to gain traction. Our panelists will discuss how big data is being used to understanding beliefs, attitudes and cognitions, as well as the ethical dilemmas that this work entails.
- Past event: November 2021
MDHS Alumni Hour
Dr Michelle Blanchard is an Honorary Senior Fellow at the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences and a Special Adviser at the National Mental Health Commission. Be inspired by Michelle's own story and learn about her quest to eliminate mental health stigma and discrimination in Australia.
- Past event: October 2021
PsychTalks: Cancer and COVID-19 – the psychological impact
People living with cancer are a particularly vulnerable subgroup during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the nature of their disease and treatments they receive which compromise their immune system.
PsychTalks panel discussion facilitated by Paul Barclay for Big Ideas
- Past event: September 2021
PsychTalks: The battle against stigma in Australia, Canada, and the UK
Understanding and responding to stigma about mental ill-health is a critical global challenge.
PsychTalks panel discussion facilitated by Dr Chris Groot
PsychTalks: Modern life explored by psychology experts
Our exciting new series ‘PsychTalks: Modern life explored by psychology experts' is a nonfiction podcast exploring social psychology and science. Hosted by the award-winning journalist Lynne Malcolm, each episode dives deep into a single thought-provoking issue in modern-day Australia. With the help of experts, we unlock the psychology behind some of society’s most crucial questions — from the effects of fear-based advertising to unravelling the undercurrent of misinformation and conspiracy theories; and from the hype and hope of mindfulness and meditation, to the complex world of big data.
Where to listen
Episodes will be released fortnightly during May and June 2022. Listen, like and subscribe on your favourite podcast platform.
Episode 1 - Why do we fall for misinformation?
Misinformation is being weaponised in the media and politics, and many fall down the conspiracy theory spiral. In what ways do our brains predispose us to believe in misinformation? How is our current information environment – especially social media – aiding the spread of ‘fake news’? And can you actually convince true believers to drop conspiracy theories?
- Associate Professor Andrew Perfors, Deputy Director of the Complex Human Data Hub at the School of Psychological Sciences
- David Milner, award-winning journalist and columnist at The Shot
Episode 2 - How scary ads change our behaviour
Government and advocacy groups want us all to make healthier and safer choices. Yet, changing undesirable behaviour is notoriously challenging. Why then are fear appeal ads – when done well – such an effective means to jump-start us into action? This episode looks at the ways the Victorian TAC — Transport Accident Commission — leverage fear appeal ads to reduce our road death tolls.
- Associate Professor Cassie Hayward, Social Psychologist, Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences
- Samantha (Sam) Cockfield, Head of Road Safety at the Transport Accident Commission
Episode 3 - Can big data unlock human psychology?
Today, big data is exploited by corporations and misused by hackers, usually to make money. And we're practically inundated with instances of online privacy and data breaches. But some experts believe we can better harness the power of big data for scientific research. By getting a fine-grained picture of individuals, big data research could vastly strengthen diagnosis and treatment of psychological conditions, such as bipolar disorder. Their technology also puts the individual user back in control of their data — and even enables them to profit.
- Professor Simon Dennis, Director of the Complex Human Data Hub
- Troy Hunt, Australian web security consultant, creator of have i been pwnd?, Microsoft Regional Director and MVP
Episode 4 - Mindfulness and meditation: the search for authenticity
Mindfulness and meditation are ancient practices that can now be accessed via your smartphone. Mindfulness is everywhere: we have mindful learning, mindful parenting, mindful business leadership — even mindful soldiers. We’re told these practices reduce stress, anxiety, depression and blood pressure. And they're being sold for billions. If capitalism has co-opted something sacred, is it still ‘good’ for us? Learn more about how to navigate the complex world of mindfulness and meditation, and what to look for if you're considering giving these practices a try.
- Associate Professor Nicholas Van Dam, Inaugural Director of the Contemplative Studies Centre
- Nerida Lennon, User Experience Designer and Social Researcher at nerida.co
The production team for PsychTalks: Modern life explored by psychology experts is:
- Host: Lynne Malcolm
- Writer and producer: Carly Godden
- Assistant producers: Amy Bugeja and Mairead Murray
- Sound engineer: Arch Cuthburtson
- Music composer: Chris Falk.
Share your story
Do you have a story about your time with the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences? As part of our celebrations, we would like to hear from our community of staff, students, alumni and partners. Tell us about your experiences with the School and where you think the discipline of psychological sciences is headed as we navigate through this century.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Share your stories
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