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Annual Research Day

The breadth and diversity of the School's research is celebrated each year with a one-day conference that brings together faculty, research staff and graduate research students.  The event is named in honour of our former colleague and friend Aidan P. Moran. 

Research Day videos

UCD School of Psychology
2nd Annual Aidan P. Moran Research Day
December 4th 2023 UCD Student Centre Red Room 10am to 4pm         

Professor Barbara Dooley, (opens in a new window)Establishing the National Student Counselling Database to identify trends in the mental health needs of third level students     
Professor Dooley describes her work in setting up an Irish national student counselling database and the importance of gather data on the mental health and wellbeing of third level students. The paper considers the methodological and ethical issues involved in the research.

Professor Mary Hegarty, UCSB: (opens in a new window)Measuring Navigation Ability: Does Learning the Layout of Different Environments reflect Common or Dissociated Abilities? Professor Hegarty from the University of California at Santa Barbara introduces the work of her lab on individual differences in navigational abilities and how these can be measured in laboratory situations and in the real world.

Dr Brendan Rooney:(opens in a new window) Using media and entertainment to explore emotion and social cognition
Dr Rooney is an Assistant Professor in the UCD School of Psychology and in this work he introduces some of the work of UCD’s Media and Entertainment Lab.  The work of the lab focuses on emotion and social cognition and Dr Rooney speaks about the challenges his work faces to ensure that measurement is ecologically valid.  He describes two projects developed within his lab, the first a music intervention for pain and the second, the use of virtual reality to empower children to be agents in their hospital experience.

Dr Vivian Liu: (opens in a new window)GENERATION PEACE: Prosocial behaviour in conflict-affected settings
GENERATION PEACE offers a fundamentally new way to understand youth as drivers, rather than indicators of peace. Dr Liu describes a multi-site, interdisciplinary and multilevel project exploring youth (aged 14 to 24) peace building.

Professor Louise McHugh, (opens in a new window)Mental Health and Suicide Among Irish Farmers: Risk Factors and Intervention Acceptability. 
Professor McHugh describes the findings and impact of her research on the factors contributing to farmers’ distress, well-being, and suicidality. The study explored factors such as farming identity; government policies; representation of farmers in the media; perceived lack of understanding of the nature of farming; and concern over the future of farms.

Dr David Hayes: (opens in a new window)The Integrated Gameplay Entertainment Model: A framework for thinking about video game entertainment experiences   
Dr Hayes is an Assistant Professor in the UCD School of Psychology.  In this video he argues that video games are an important area of study for psychologists and that the research to date has been quite narrow in focus, primarily emphasising the potential for games to do harm.  He highlights the potential for well designed games to contribute to important positive outcomes including combatting loneliness, supporting physical and mental health.

Ian Power, SpunOut: (opens in a new window)Creating research impact in service improvement for digital youth mental health services   
Ian Power, CEO of Community Creations speaks about the work of his organisation in providing digital support for young people's mental health through online information provision and a texting service.  The supports are all deveoped in co-creative work with young people and generate large amounts of data on the mental health concerns and needs of the service users.

Keynote speaker: Dr Patricia Lockwood, University of Birmingham(opens in a new window) Prosocial Learning and Motivation across the Lifespan
Dr Lockwood’s presentation examines prosocial motivation, how willing we are to incur costs to help others, prosocial learning, how we learn from the outcomes of our choices when they affect other people, and prosocial preferences, our self-reports of helping others. She outlines the possible computational and neural bases of these behaviours, and how they may differ from young adulthood to old age.

Dr Ciara Mahon: (opens in a new window)Effectiveness of the BodyKind school-based body image intervention: A cluster randomised control trial  
Dr Mahon is a post-doctoral research funded by the Irish Research Council who works with UCD School of Psychology and Jigsaw the National Centre for Youth Mental Health.  In her talk she describes the body image issues affected young people in Ireland and internationally.  She introduces her research, which is evaluating the Bodykind intervention that has been adapted for use in schools in Ireland through a process of co-creation with young people.

Dr Malu Gomides: (opens in a new window)Exploring the impact of a digital educational game on maths performance and anxiety in 3rd and 4th graders: Preliminary results of the Arithmós project.  
Dr Gomides is a post-doctoral researcher in UCD working on the Arithmós project, which is a collaboration between UCD and TUD, funded by the Irish Research Council.  The aim of the project is to engage children, teachers and policy makers to improve children’s maths learning.  In her talk Dr Gomides describes the digital games that the children played and discusses the findings of the evaluation of the project in relation to improvements in children’s maths skills.

Dr Ciara Greene: (opens in a new window)Investigating false memories  
Dr Greene is an Associate Professor in the UCD School of Psychology and in this video she introduces the work of the UCD Attention and Memory Lab.  The work of the lab centres on investigating memory as a reconstruction of events with the potential for error inherent in that process.  The research of the lab focuses, among other topics, on eyewitness testimony, memories for fictional events, and our susceptibility to misinformation.

Dr Amanda Fitzgerald:(opens in a new window) Exploring Changing Trends in Depression and Anxiety Among Adolescents from 2012 to 2019: Insights from My World Repeated Cross-Sectional Survey. 
Dr Fitzgerald is an Associate Professor in the UCD School of Psychology.  In this talk she draws on the findings of two My World Survey studies of young people’s mental health in Ireland, carried out in 2012 and 2019 respectively.  She compares the findings for these two groups in order to explore differences in rates of anxiety and depression as well as in the risk and protective factors in the lives of young people.

Previous research days

UCD School of Psychology
2nd Annual Aidan P. Moran Research Day
December 4th 2023, UCD Student Centre Red Room, 10am to 4pm
Schedule Research Day 2023


UCD School of Psychology
Inaugural Aidan P. Moran Research Day
September 6th 2022, UCD Student Centre Red Room, 10am to 4pm
Schedule Research Day 2022

UCD School of Psychology

Newman Building, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.