Psychology Colloquium: Laureate talks by A/Prof Haryana Dhillon & Prof Justin Harris (School of Psychology – University of Sydney)
Please join us for a special two-part colloquium, with Laureate talks by two grant winners in our School:
- A/Prof Haryana Dhillon (MRFF Brain Cancer Survivorship Grant, co-CI A/Prof Joanne Shaw) Title: “The BRAINS behind the money: funding a program of work in Brain cancer Rehabilitation, Assessment, Interventions for survivorship NeedS”. Project Summary: Brain cancers are an important, difficult to treat, and commonly fatal cancer. Those affected by brain cancer, both the individuals living with the diagnosis and their caregivers, experience debilitating and distressing changes as a consequence of the disease and its treatment. We have a unique opportunity in Australia to leverage existing knowledge and expertise to deliver better survivorship and supportive care to people affected by brain cancer. This program brings together the strongest teams in brain cancer, primary care, and psycho-oncology, supportive care, and survivorship across Australia to investigate five key areas in brain cancer management that could significantly improve the patient and caregiver experience and outcomes: identification of patient and caregiver needs, models of survivorship care, information and support resources, rehabilitation, and supportive care interventions. These themes permeate the disease, treatment, recovery, and end of life pathways of this population, our research team has the expertise, research, and clinical networks to successfully deliver this program of work. Our BRAINS program will deliver an care which is proactive in assessing and responding to need, in a way that is timely and proportionate to the severity and urgency, integrating the individual with brain cancer and their caregivers.
- Prof Justin Harris (ARC Discovery Project) Title: “Learning from the evidence of absence”. Project Summary: Animals and people learn about cues that predict something important and how their own actions can cause important outcomes. They stop responding (known as extinction) when the cue or action is no longer followed by the outcome. In humans, extinction is a primary goal for behaviour therapies that aim to eliminate a variety of problem behaviours that create significant social burden (e.g. addictions, gambling, anxiety disorders). However, the success of extinction treatments is limited because some environmental conditions establish responding that is resistant to extinction and responding that has been extinguished is prone to relapse. Therefore, we need a better understanding of the processes that underlie extinction. Our understanding of extinction has largely come from studying laboratory animals. Indeed, both resistance to extinction and relapse are well established effects in animal studies. The current project builds on recent theoretical developments and exploits methodological advances to reveal what is learned during extinction and what makes behaviours resistant to change or prone to relapse.