Winter Research Program / Summer Research Scholarships / PSYC2991 and PSYC2992 / Research Internships


We invite bright, motivated, well-organised students to take part in some of the work being performed in our laboratory, for the UQ Winter Research Program, for Summer Research Scholarships, for PSYC2991 and PSYC2992 credit, or in other internship contexts.

We can support technical projects for ITEE students, and behavioural studies for Psych students. Activities are determined based on each student's skill set and interests, but some examples follow. Projects are at different stages of maturity.

Building multimodal displays and/or testing them

  • Building vibrotactile displays. Healthcare workers usually monitor the status of patients with visual and auditory displays and alarms. Recent published work suggests that vibrotactile (touch-based) displays and alarms might be exceptionally effective at attracting attention when needed. You would build a software "test" environment to explore different vibrotactile display patterns
  • Evaluating vibrotactile displays. Vibrotactile displays may be effective, but that they are not all users like them. In your project you could investigate this apparent dissociation for some users beween effectiveness and "tolerance", and see if there are ways to resolve it--or you could try to find better solutions.
  • Configuring head-mounted displays. Our group has done a lot of work on head-mounted displays (HMDs - see Liu papers on our Publications page). A new Vuzix 1200 Augmented Reality System/HMD will arrive in May and we are looking to develop scene-linked and head-linked displays for it.
  • Evaluating head-mounted displays. Our HMD explorations will range from simple laboratory tests of different displays of information on the HMD, to using an HMD in medical contexts with scene-linked and head-linked displays. You would help us run evaluations.
  • Developing multimodal displays for a patient scenario database. Work with a recently-collected database of recorded patient vital signs and find ways of attaching appropriate HMD displays, sounds, or vibrotactile stimuli to different events (eg high heart rate, low blood pressure). Technical supervision provided as needed.

Analysis of video records of medical professionals at work

  1. Review and code neonatal resuscitation team performance. Use a well-established rating scale of team performance to evaluate the team effectiveness of clinicians performing simulated neonatal resuscitations. Working with video recordings, you would learn about theories of teamwork. You'd also learn how to measure and achieve good inter-coder reliability with other analysts. (Subject to various permissions)
  2. Review and code anesthetists' attention patterns. Analyse video recordings of the visual attention patterns of anesthetists during simulated surgeries to determine how they respond to expected vs. unexpected events. You would learn about visual and auditory attention, inattentional blindness--and also a lot about how anesthetists work! (Subject to various permissions)

Work with an advanced researcher (academic, postdoc, etc) to perform literature searches on any of the following topics:

  1. Tackling the problem of distraction in multitasking work. Prospective memory, interruptions, distractions, distributed cognition, etc.
  2. Theories for how auditory displays might work. Emotions and attention, personality and noise tolerance, behavioural entrainment to environmental stimuli, etc.

FOR MORE INFORMATION. Contact Professor Penelope Sanderson on

RESEARCH GROUP AND LABORATORY. See for more information about the work of our research group. We are based in the UQ Usability Laboratory in Level 1 of the McElwain Building--see for a glimpse of our research environment.