Issue 8
Monday, 07 October 2019
Charles Darwin University
From left: New psychology appointments Dr Shahd Al-Janabiand, Dr Krissy Wilson with Dean of the College, Professor Dominic Upton
From left: New psychology appointments Dr Shahd Al-Janabiand, Dr Krissy Wilson with Dean of the College, Professor Dominic Upton

Appointments boost psychology teaching, research

The College of Health and Human Sciences has further boosted its research and clinical expertise with three key psychology appointments.

New psychology lecturers, Dr Krissy Wilson, Dr Yasmine Precious and Dr Shahd Al-Janabi will help pave the way to develop leading Psychological Science programs at CDU.

The Dean of the College, Professor Dominic Upton, said the appointments brought expert communication skills and a deep knowledge and passion for their subject matter.

“Our psychology team is world-class. We are delivering excellence to undergraduate and postgraduate students and we have plans to develop our Psychology programs further,” Professor Upton said.

Dr Wilson has a PhD from the University of London and is a sought after public speaker and Psychology lecturer in the UK and Australia.

“My area of expertise is in the psychology of belief, superstitions and the creation of false memories,” Dr Wilson said.

“I am often asked what do I believe in? My answer is that I believe in our limitless capacity for self-deception; under the right circumstances we can believe almost anything.

“What interests me most is not whether psychic powers, alien abductions, clairvoyance and related phenomena are real, but the psychological and sometimes physiological reasons behind belief.”

Joining Dr Wilson is cognitive neuroscientist Dr Al-Janabi, who completed her PhD at Macquarie University in 2015 before accepting a role as a postdoctoral research scientist at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, USA.

Her research focuses on information selection and decision-making and uncovering why we can seamlessly navigate a world that is constantly bombarding us with new information.

“Our brains do a lot of work ‘behind the scenes’ to help us decide what to focus on and what to ignore, but how does it know what is important?” Dr Al-Janabi said.

“That is the question that excites me.”

Dr Al-Janabi has applied her research to understanding the way information selection affects face or object processing, how it changes as a result of brain disorder and, recently, how it can be optimised to aid a human operator working within a dynamic human-robot team.

In addition to field trials, she has used psychophysics, neuroscientific tools and immersive technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality, to conduct these investigations.

Both Dr Wilson and Dr Al-Janabi have contributed to industry and academic journals and presented at national and international conferences. Dr Wilson appears regularly on television and radio providing healthy scepticism to discussion of paranormal phenomena and superstitions.