The Sydney University Psychology of Intergroup Relations (SUPIR) Lab is dedicated to the psychological study of intergroup relations, diversity, and stigma.
We integrate a range of empirical methodologies from social psychology, social cognition, developmental psychology, field research, and psychophysiology. While our research has an Australian focus, its scope is international, with broad applications for social policy and interventions to promote social harmony.
Heewon Michelle Lee
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The SUPIR Lab welcomes both domestic and international candidates to pursue a rewarding higher research degree (including a Doctor of Philosophy or a Master of Science) within The University of Sydney's School of Psychology. The Lab provides students with a supportive and collaborative environment that helps nurture the critical mindset and diligent research approach necessary for them to succeed as future independent researchers.
The School of Psychology offers a well-resourced and stimulating intellectual environment for research students and offers competitive top-up scholarships, teaching fellowships, and financial support to attend national and international conferences. More information.
Research projects can cover any topic in the extensive field of prejudice, diversity, and intergroup relations.
Examples of current and previous research topics include:
The SUPIR Lab encourages undergraduate students to undertake their Honours empirical project under the supervision of principal investigator, Professor Fiona White. The Lab will provide students with a great research environment and a nurturing support network to guide them successfully through their Honours year. More information.
Examples of current and previous research topics include:
The SUPIR Lab provides third-year psychology students at the University of Sydney with the opportunity to engage with psychology research first hand. VRAs attend fortnightly meetings discussing issues in social psychology research, assist PhD and Masters students with their research projects, and also gain insight into whats involved in Psychology Honours.
Examples of VRA research activities include:
Fiona's work centers around the development of effective social-cognitive strategies to reduce the many types of stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination that continue to pervade society. In doing so, her research aims to improve intergroup relations for both minority and majority groups in the short- and long-term. Of particular interest are intergroup strategies that integrate cooperative contact (i.e., imagined, extended, and E-contact) and identity recategorisation (i.e., common vs. dual identity).
Lauren is a third year doctoral and masters of clinical psychology student. For her Honours' project in 2012, she devised a novel E-contact paradigm, whereby participants were vicariously exposed to intergroup contact online. Currently, she has been assisting in devising, piloting, and testing a new E-contact paradigm. Coming from a multicultural background herself, her research interests include: the impact of stigma and immigration on mental health outcomes, online interventions to promote behavioural change, and cognitive recategorisation strategies to facilitate prejudice reduction and acculturation.
Ruth is a PhD candidate whose research focuses on the school experiences of sexual minority and trans and gender non-conforming youth. The years she spent working as a pre-school teacher and teacher’s aide inspired her current research, which addresses the perceived and real obstacles that prevent teachers from implementing inclusive changes in their classrooms. In addition to an undergraduate background in psychology and English literature (CSULB), Ruth has earned a Master’s in English Literature and Master’s in Sexuality Studies (receiving the department’s Distinguished Achievement Award) from San Francisco State University. As her diverse academic background and social-justice focused research suggest, she believes in an interdisciplinary and solution-oriented approach to her research.
Rachel completed her PhD with Fiona White and the SUPIR Lab in 2020, after initially joining as an Honours student in 2016. She started by investigating the effectiveness of intergroup E-contact at reducing public stigma against people with schizophrenia, then her focus expanded to other contact interventions, other social groups, and germane moderating factors. Rachel is also interested in whether the contact hypothesis can be extended to reduce internalised stigma, an avenue that has not been considered previously. Now, Rachel is working as a lecturer and continuing her research on prejudice at the Australian College of Applied Psychology in Melbourne.
Roberta is a first-year PhD candidate. She graduated in 2020 with a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours). For her Honours’ project, she evaluated the effectiveness of E-contact in reducing bias within the political atmosphere. Now, Roberta’s current research interest focuses on exploring the utility of virtual reality in prejudice reduction, especially towards Asian-Australians.
Eliza is a fourth-year undergraduate student enrolled in the Bachelor of Psychology (Honours). Eliza is passionate about using psychological principles to make the world a better place, whether this means treating individuals with mental illnesses, addressing intergroup conflict or reducing prejudice towards minority groups. Her current research is exploring how social psychology can be applied to reduce victim blaming attitudes towards survivors of sexual assault.
Charlotte is a fourth-year Bachelor of Psychology student. She is fascinated by how social psychology explores interactions between people, and she hopes to contribute to the area of discrimination reduction. She wants to study clinical psychology after she graduates.
Sabrina is currently undertaking her fourth year Honours in Psychology through a Bachelor of Arts degree. Her research area of interest lies in stigma-reduction strategies and factors influencing intergroup conflict.
Lauren is in the final year of her Graduate Diploma of Psychology. She currently works in healthcare administration. Lauren is particularly interested in understanding and researching the processes that contribute to discrimination and stereotyping within the legal system. She aspires to pursue a career in forensic psychology and social work.
Cecilia is a third year Bachelor of Psychology student, majoring in Psychology and Japanese. Being of mixed race and having travelled around Europe and Japan during her gap years, she has grown an interest in understanding and working with people of many different cultures and beliefs. Through assisting at the SUPIR Lab, she hopes to gain a better understanding of research exploring how a world full of individuals of these differences can cooperate and work with each other. She also has an interest in organisational psychology and hopes to contribute to workplaces by helping individuals and teams to boost productivity, work-life balance and overall health and well-being.
I am a third year Bachelor of Psychology student majoring in psychological science and asian studies. With my particular interest in clinical and social psychology, I am interested in examining the strategies to reduce negative prejudices towards social minority groups and the effect of different cultures in individual’s behaviours during social interactions.
Conor is a third year Bachelor of Psychology student minoring in linguistics. He has previously worked at the Child Behaviour Research Clinic and has contributed to research into autism and child psychopathology. As such he is interested in prejudice reduction towards those with ASD and other developmental disorders. He is also interested in promoting positive intergroup relations between individuals with opposing political ideologies. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time outdoors and listening to music.
Isobel is a third year Bachelor of Psychology student minoring in Ancient History. As a psychology and history student, she is interested in how our changing cultures have previously affected how we understand and research social psychology. Furthermore, how our context continues to impact areas of social psychology, such as intergroup relations. Isobel is also passionate about the importance of mental health within the uncertain circumstances of the pandemic. She looks forward to aiding the SUPIR Lab in their research this year and expanding her research skills and knowledge.
Timothy is a third year Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Advanced Studies student, majoring in Psychological Science and Data Science. He is interested in research exploring strategies that can promote harmony between different cultural groups. Timothy is concurrently completing a Diploma of Language Studies, majoring in Chinese Studies. He hopes that, by assisting with research at the SUPIR Lab, he will develop a better understanding of how the knowledge and skills he has developed through his studies can help him contribute towards social progress.
Sibyl is a final year Bachelor of Commerce and Science student, with majors in Psychology, Marketing and Finance. Sibyl loves to travel and experience different cultures, and has lived, worked and studied in Australia, China, US and Europe. She aspires to become a practicing clinical psychologist, with profound research interests in the areas of social and applied psychology. Sibyl is interested in how cultural and identity conflicts could potentially influence one’s mental wellbeing, and (social or therapeutic) interventions that could help those suffering from relevant mental health problems.
Vicky is a third year Bachelor of Psychology student who also studies Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management. She has keen interest in the clinical, research, and multidisciplinary aspects of psychology. Her primary focus includes supporting the emotional wellbeing and development of younger populations, and increasing the accessibility of mental health services in communities that still hold highly stigmatised views towards mental illness. Through her research, she aims to contribute to the reduction of stigma and prejudice regarding mental illness and intergroup relations to inform public policy and enhance the wellbeing of individuals.
Nicole is a third year Bachelor of Science student majoring in Psychology with a minor in Management. Her experience volunteering at a day care centre for children with special needs and learning disabilities changed her perspective on how she expected them to behave, thus igniting an interest in stereotypes against people with disabilities. Nicole hopes to be able to contribute to the research on intergroup relations and is passionate about strategies that will reduce bias and stereotypes. She also has high interest in how various aspects of intergroup relations can affect the behaviour of employees working in an organisation.
I am a third-year Bachelor of Psychology student minoring in neuroscience. I have a keen interest in mental health advocacy and how individuals think and behave in relation to their culture and environment. I am particularly interested in reducing the stigma around mental health and promoting a culture of acceptance for young people.
Sujin is a third-year psychology student. She spends her spare time reading books. From intermediate level of social psychology subject, she found the topic of intergroup prejudice interesting, particularly in the interventions developed based on Allport’s contact hypothesis to reduce prejudice. She is also interested in research on how social context influences our attitude and prejudice towards groups in society. She is very excited to join SUPIR lab to work alongside the team members and be able to contribute to the work SUPIR does and further her research skills.
Betty completed her PhD in the School of Psychology in 2014, with Professor Fiona White as part of her supervisory team. She has a firm research interest in understanding how the early environment can best support children’s development, and what can be done to tackle social inequality and disadvantage. She is currently a Research Fellow at the Research Centre for Children and Families within the Sydney School of Education and Social Work at the university, and is conducting applied research in the area of permanency for children and young people in out-of-home care in Australia. Her current work includes a collaboration with Professor White and VRAs in developing a systematic review of the psychological impact of stigma experienced by children and youth in foster care.