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01 2014/15 Inside... International Award for Psychology Professor - Pg 2 Mark O’Neill Interview - Pg 3



Maximising Human Potential through ICT Innovation - Pg 4 Key Thinkers in Childhood Studies - Pg 5 Student News - Pg 6 & 7

Welcome to the inaugural issue of the School of Psychology Newsletter which aims to give our alumni and friends an update on news and developments in the School. Professor Ian Robertson, Head of the School of Psychology

Trinity Psychology this year was ranked as the top psychology school on the island of Ireland, ninth in UK and Ireland, 40th in Europe and within the top 100 worldwide, based on the QS international rankings. Our reputation and teaching played a part in these rankings but our research output was a key feature. In this newsletter I am pleased to give you a flavour of the remarkable range of research projects which are ongoing in the School of Psychology. I hope that you can share my pride at the really important contributions which the School is making to human wellbeing and safety. I would also like to tell you about a major new initiative that our School is planning in collaboration with the School

of Computer Science and Statistics in Trinity College. Our aim is to use ICT and new technologies to increase our reach and deliver on our mission to improve human potential. This will include a new joint undergraduate degree in Computer Science and Psychology which we hope to start in 2015, as well as new postgraduate programmes and more joint research projects. We would really like you to feel a part of this journey and would welcome your contributions, advice and involvement. In addition to what you read about in the newsletter, you will be able to find out more about the School’s latest news and activities on our website

Newsletter 2014 – 2015

Psychology Professor Wins the American Psychological Association’s International Humanitarian Award 2014

Professor Malcolm MacLachlan, Professor of Global Health in the School of Psychology and at the Centre for Global Health has been awarded the American Psychological Association’s International Humanitarian Award for 2014. The award recognises extraordinary humanitarian service and activism by a psychologist or a team of psychologists working with underserved populations.

Professor MacLachlan’s work focuses on applying psychology to global health, with a special focus on disabilities, and addressing the rights and potential of vulnerable and marginalised groups. His work has been published in over 230 academic publications and 20 books. On the occasion of the award, the American Psychological Association drew particular attention to Professor MacLachlan’s policy activity: “He has provided input to the world’s leading decision makers such as the Development Advisory Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; the Global Ministerial Forum on Research for Health; African Union’s Social Welfare Ministers; and the UN Commission on Social Development.” “Professor MacLachlan’s work has had a significant policy impact, for example, EquiFrame, a tool developed to analyse the extent to which health and

welfare policies address core concepts of human rights and the particular challenges faced by vulnerable groups, has been used since 2009 to analyse over 70 health and welfare policies.” Professor MacLachlan is a founding member of the Global Organisation for Humanitarian Work Psychology and has consulted with numerous global nongovernmental organisations and with the United Nations and its specialised agencies, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), and UNICEF. He currently holds a leadership role in the knowledge management of two multicountry projects promoting the rights of people with disabilities and is leading two international groups commissioned by the WHO to make recommendations on workforce and governance aspects of rehabilitation services globally.

Professor Malcolm MacLachlan, along with colleagues from the Centre for Global Health

New Fellows of the American Association for Psychological Science


Three of the School’s staff have recently been awarded the honour of being appointed Fellows of the American Association for Psychological Science. The APS Fellows are Professor Shane O’Mara, Chair of Experimental Brain Research, Professor Ian Robertson,

Chair of Psychology, and Professor Ruth Byrne, Chair of Cognitive Science. Fellow status is awarded to APS Members who have made sustained and outstanding contributions to the science of psychology. It is conferred on members in recognition of distinguished scientific advances to the field.


One-to-One with Mark O’Neill BA. TSM Psychology & Maths 1996

Tell us a little bit about your role with Axway and how you found yourself there? In the early 2000s in Dublin I co-founded a software company called Vordel, and we built a great team which quickly went global. Early on, I moved to Boston to set up our US office, and I’m still based here. Vordel was the classic startup, with many all-nighters, emotional ups and downs, and running much of the time on adrenalin (a bit like college really!). I’m happy to say that Vordel was very successful, with customers including banks, multinationals, and governments. In 2012, Vordel was acquired by Axway, a 1,800-person software company headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona. We have kept our Dublin software engineering office, and in fact we have been adding engineers since the acquisition. Now at Axway my title is VP Innovation, and I work on strategy; at conferences, with industry analysts, and with startups (now at the other side of the table though!). What excites you most about your work? Software is the classic example of “making something out of nothing”, and it is exciting to see a new idea make a difference in people’s daily lives. I also love the global aspect. My works takes me to Brazil, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, and all over Europe and North America. It is easy to complain about business travel, but in reality it’s a great way to experience other cultures. What are your plans for the future? Throughout my career in technology, I’ve always enjoyed writing and presenting at conferences. I believe that was helped by the discipline of submitting regular papers while studying psychology at Trinity, then presenting ideas and discussing them with a group. I wrote a book called “Web Services Security” and I have future plans for other technology books. What are your strongest memories of your student days in Trinity? I was lucky that my time at Trinity coincided with the early days of the Internet in Ireland. Then as now, Trinity was very much an


early-adopter of technology. I recall the excitement of the first days of the Web, beginning with the first textbased browsers. In fact, it was Prof Shane O’Mara in the old Psychology Dept building on Westland Row who first told me about Mosaic “written by two guys at the University of Illinois”. I recall trying it out on Macs in the Psychology Department, and at that time you could browse the entire Web at one sitting. Over in the Maths department, the students were the system administrators (and still are), so that also helped me learn a lot about networking and security, skills that I carried over into my career. At the same time, I recall (or don’t, as the case may be) a lot of time spent at the Buttery and the Pav. One year I volunteered to DJ on Trinity FM during Trinity Week, which was fun until I realised that the exams started immediately afterwards. Who made an impression on you while a student in Trinity? The tutorials in the Psychology Department, with small groups of students meeting, made a big impression. I recall some engaging discussions led by Dr. Howard Smith, my tutor. I also recall some great nights at the debating societies, being amazed at the quick wit and knowledge. Some of those debaters are now household-name politicians in Ireland. Who were your fellow students? Did you maintain links with any of them? Because TSM Psychology and Mathematics is a relatively rare combination, I only had one true “fellow student” who graduated in the same year with the same TSM combination. That is John O’Doherty, who is now Professor of Psychology at Caltech. Of course, I also interacted with many students across the board at Trinity, and I still maintain links with many of them electronically. Many followed the same path as me, into software startups. It is always great to come across a fellow Trinity alumnus.


Newsletter 2014 – 2015

Maximising Human Potential through ICT Innovation New Collaboration with School of Computer Science and Statistics Integrative Interdisciplinary studies in Psychology and Computer Science are a groundbreaking educational innovation. The School plans to grow Trinity’s undergraduate and postgraduate provision in new cutting-edge cross-faculty educational programs in collaboration with the School

of Computer Science and Statistics. The School has existing strengths in areas of Psychology and Information and Communication Technology (ICT), including the use of ICT in cognitive rehabilitation and in addressing mental health problems. Examples include ICT in stroke rehabilitation devices for provision of performance feedback and telerehabilitation, web based interventions in improving cognitive health in older people, human-technology interfaces in prosthetic limb use, online cognitive-behaviour therapy for depression and generalised anxiety, and the use of computer-based communication devices for children with autism. The School plans to introduce a new undergraduate degree in ICT and Psychology to be delivered jointly by the

School of Psychology and the School of Computer Science and Statistics. It will enrich the existing undergraduate experience and provide new students with joint skills in Psychology and ICT. Students will develop skills in the methods of both disciplines, computer programming and psychological laboratory experimentation and carry out an independent research project addressing integrative topics in Psychology and Computer Science. The School also plans to introduce a new taught postgraduate MSc degree jointly with the School of Computer Science and Statistics. The new degree programs will also enable staff in Psychology and Computer Science to forge new collaborations, explore innovative ideas in Psychology and ICT, and strengthen joint research proposals.

Psychology Professor Awarded Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award Professor Shane O’Mara

Professor Shane O’Mara has been awarded a prestigious Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award with Professor John Aggleton at Cardiff University entitled: ‘The cognitive thalamus: more than a relay’ - the first such award ever in Ireland. Understanding why the brain contains structures that are particularly vital for memory and determining how they might work together remains a major challenge. Research on the biological basis of episodic memory has traditionally focused on the functioning of the hippocampus, a brain structure


in the medial temporal lobe. Prof. O’Mara and his team are interested in studying how other brain areas play important roles in the formation, maintenance and recall of episodic memories, in particular the thalamus, a structure in the middle of the brain. Their recent research has shown that neurons in the thalamus signal multiple types of spatial information, providing new insight into why this area might be so critical for memory. They plan to elucidate the path that spatial information travels to reach the thalamus and to determine the impact of thalamic neurons on spatial memories. Their research will determine if spatial information in the anterior thalamus comes from the hippocampal region or

whether it represents a second, parallel spatial system in the brain. Recording studies will carefully map the distribution of this new source of spatial information while anatomical studies will determine whether different types of spatial information receive different connections. Functional studies will examine the importance of those particular nerve cells that directly link the hippocampus with the anterior thalamus. The goals are to understand how these interactions support normal memory and how, when compromised, they might contribute to disorders of learning and memory. More details about the research can be found at:



Key Thinkers in Childhood Studies A new book, Key Thinkers in Childhood Studies by Carmel Smith and Sheila Greene, was published in May 2014 by Policy Press in the UK and the University of Chicago Press in the USA. The book represents the culmination of the work that Dr. Smith undertook for her Ph.D. within the School under the supervision of Professor Sheila Greene. The book presents contrasting perspectives of some of the leading figures involved in shaping the field of childhood studies. During in-depth ‘elite’ interviews, 22 high profile pioneers, who represent a range of disciplines and nationalities, reflect on the significant changes that have taken place in the study of children and childhood over the last 30 years. The material gathered is unique in that, although all the participants have published extensively, they have not published their reflections on their own experiences as academics and researchers and their own views on the status and future of the field. This book offers important insights into researchers’ experiences in childhood studies and their ideas about the central issues confronting the field. It will be of interest to students, practitioners and experienced academics from all disciplinary backgrounds who are seeking to contextualise and advance our understanding of childhood, children and youth.

Getting the Best out of Supervision in Counselling and Psychotherapy: A Guide for the Supervisee

Key Thinkers in Childhood Studies by Carmel Smith and Sheila Greene

This new book published this year by Routledge was authored by Professor Mary Creaner, who runs a Masters in Clinical Supervision. Clinical supervision is an essential part of professional psychology and therapy training and has emerged as a distinct professional practice in recent years. Drawing on current research and framed within a definition of clinical supervision as a collaborative learning relationship, this book provides a variety of considerations regarding the clinical supervision experience, whether for the supervisee who is about to commence

a supervision relationship for the first time in their training experience, a continuing trainee or an experienced practitioner. Reflecting on current knowledge, it provides an overview of the current models and frameworks of clinical supervision and presents the key processes that form part of the supervisory relationship. Ethical considerations and professional practice issues are also discussed. The information and reflections provided in each chapter serve to stimulate critical reflection on how supervisees may optimally use clinical supervision to enhance their competency and professional development for the benefit of their clients.


Newsletter 2014 – 2015

Irish Canada University Foundation Facilitates Ph.D. Student Visit to University of Toronto Anne-Marie Connolly preparing for electropsychological testing

Anne-Marie Connolly, a Ph.D. Candidate in the School of Psychology, working under the supervision of Professors Jean Quigley and Paul Dockree received a Dobbin Scholarship from the Irish Canada University Foundation to visit Dr. Ellen Bialystok’s cognitive development lab in York University Toronto, one of the leading research centres in the world in the field of Bilingual studies. The work carried out in Dr. Bialystok’s laboratory has called attention to the ways in which basic cognitive abilities

develop, function and change as a result of bilingualism throughout the lifespan. AnneMarie’s doctoral research in the School is building on the findings of Dr. Bialystok to explore the process of becoming bilingual as a young adult. Emerging results suggest that the advantages of becoming highly proficient in a second language learned later in life may be more beneficial to the executive control system than being bilingual from birth. This is potentially due to the fact that it is far more difficult to learn a second language

Student Psychology Journal The Student Psychology Journal of Ireland (SPJI) is a peer-reviewed academic journal that was specifically created for and by undergraduate students. The Journal was originally set up by a group of TCD students in 2009, and continues to annually publish empirical research and literature reviews from undergraduate psychology students around the country. The Journal gives students the unique opportunity to publish their work without competition from more experienced professionals and a chance to experience the editing and review process of an academic journal. The SPJI is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year and has built on previous years by publishing an annual report, a winter newsletter and is currently in the process of creating its own independent


website. Moreover, at this year’s annual launch, which will take place in January 2015, accepted authors will have the chance to present a poster of their work. If you are interested in learning more about the journal or finding out about the launch, email or find us on Facebook.

later in life, that is to say that the more solidified Language 1, the more cognitively challenging it becomes to suppress Language 1 and select Language 2. This, the team assumes, therefore requires more extensive training in inhibition and selection for the executive control system, which in turn reaps greater benefits. For more information, contact Anne-Marie (  


Congratulations to our Ph.D. Students Congratulations to the following Ph.D. Students within the School who successfully secured scholarships for their research this year:


New One-Year Masters Psychology Conversion Course

Sadhbh Byrne and Iseult Cremen (Irish Research Council) Tiago Almeida (John Templeton Foundation) Shane Timmons (School of Psychology, TCD) MĂŠadhbh Brosnan and Adrien Martel (INDIREA - Individualised Diagnostics and Rehabilitation of Attention Disorders; an EU Marie Curie Initial Training Network) The School is developing a one-year postgraduate conversion course (M.Sc. Psychology)

Congratulations to our Prizewinners Congratulations to the following students who were awarded prizes for their academic achievements this year:

Aisling Colclough won the George White Memorial Prize for best research paper published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Cal-Ryan McDonagh won the Graduate Prize in Psychology, for highest overall mark in the final year.

Rachel Conlon, Orla Connolly, Holly Hanlon and Nicola Taylor won the Ray Fuller Prize for best group project.

Fiona Lawlor won the Derek Forrest prize for receiving the highest mark for her Final Year Project.

Also, congratulations to recent graduates Nathan Dowling and Niamh Doyle who made the Highly Commended shortlist for the 2014 Undergraduate Awards. The 2014 awards programme received nearly 5,000 applications from over 200 Universities around the world and the Highly Commended list represents the top performing 10% in each category.

Niamh Doyle won the Alice McAvoy prize for the best Poster Presentation. Cal-Ryan McDonagh won the Una Burke prize for the best Final Year Project that was conducted with children.

Graduation Day, Class of 2014

The School is developing a one-year postgraduate conversion course (MSc Psychology) that will provide a preprofessional first qualification in psychology, confer eligibility for Graduate Membership of the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) on graduates of the course and will enable graduates to proceed to postgraduate training, including higher degrees by research, and to specialise in an area of professional psychology. Students graduate from universities all over Ireland and internationally with a minor degree in psychology (i.e., having taken psychology as a minor subject alongside another subject) or having earned a substantial number of psychology or cognate credits. This one year Masters Psychology conversion course will enable their progression to postgraduate training in psychology. Students will cover the 6 mandatory areas of psychology required for professional accreditation: Cognitive Psychology, Biological Psychology, Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Individual Differences and Advanced Research Methods. Among the distinctive features of this programme are: research-led teaching by active researchers across the entire range of subdisciplines in psychology, access to a wide range of facilities in active and productive laboratories, and in depth-research training. A core feature of the programme is the comprehensive coverage of advanced and up-to-date research design, methodology and statistical analysis. Core modules are designed to deliver and develop a range of highly transferrable research skills and to foster an expertise in the wide range of approaches to research that are used across the subdisciplines of psychology. For more information, contact Professor Jean Quigley (


School Welcomes Two New Academic Staff Professors Olive Healy and Frédérique Vallieres take up lectureships within the School. Professor Healy takes on the role as Director of the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Behaviour Analysis in the School. She is a founding director of the Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research and her research focuses on early behavioural intervention, functional assessment, treatment of challenging behaviour and co-occurring conditions in Autism and

related developmental disorders. She also works on disseminating focused behavioural interventions to impact on educational outcomes within marginalized communities. She has authored over 60 academic publications, and her research has been widely cited impacting national and international policy including The American Academy of Pediatrics. Professor Vallieres undertakes the role as coordinator of the International Doctorate in Global Health (INDIGO) programme. Based in the Centre for Global Health, INDIGO’s primary focus is on strengthening health systems in low and middle-income countries. Having completed her Ph.D. as part the same programme, Frédérique’s doctoral work focused on validating motivation theories and organisational psychology psychometric tools for their application to community health worker (CHW) programmes in Sierra Leone. In addition, her work examines how factors within a CHW’s work environment (i.e. supervision) influences CHW job satisfaction

and work engagement and how these are related to changes in CHW motivation. over time. She has also worked on global health projects in Tanzania, Kenya and Peru, through her role as Director of the Canadian charity, Reach Out To Humanity.

Professor Olive Healy

Professor Frédérique Vallieres

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Trinity School of Psychology Alumni Newsletter 2014-15  
Trinity School of Psychology Alumni Newsletter 2014-15