13 May 2013
A good news AIPA story
Paul Gray, a member of the Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association (AIPA), is one of two inaugural recipients of the Charlie Perkins Scholarship, which funds postgraduate study at Oxford University for those of Aboriginal descent. The scholarship is named in honour of Charlie Perkins, who it is reported was playing soccer professionally in the UK when he was inspired to return to Australia to undertake university study after competing in a game against Oxford University. Charlie Perkins was the first Indigenous Australian to graduate from university, the first Indigenous head of an Australian Government department, and a renowned activist for his people. Paul, a 27-year-old Wiradjuri man from the Bogan River in NSW, is undertaking a PhD in experimental psychology as an Oxford Charlie Perkins Scholar. InPsych caught up with him on his recent trip home to Australia.
What aspect of experimental psychology are you studying at Oxford? Can you describe your research project?
My research focuses on the impact of early traumatic experiences on later cognitive, affective and social processes of children in out-of-home care. After finishing my undergraduate degree I worked for Community Services in NSW supporting children in out-of-home care and their carers, and it was there that I was really encouraged to pursue postgraduate study. It was important to me that my research would benefit the children and young people in out-of-home care, and so I designed my study to be completed here despite being at Oxford University.
The research project I am hoping to complete is quite broad. A main aspect of this study is trying to understand how different maltreatment backgrounds influence the developmental trajectories of children’s cognitive, affective and social processes. We are looking at the relationship between threat-related attention bias and anxiety, as well as the role of attentional control in this relationship. Further, we are looking at social relationships and conditioned avoidance of children in care, as well as the development of theory of mind understanding. We are also exploring risk-taking behaviours, response to interpersonal rewards, and how different attitudes and attributions predict outcomes within this population.
MORE at: http://www.psychology.org.au/Content.aspx?ID=3850