A number of APS Interest Groups offer awards each year that encourage and recognise excellence in the psychological area relevant to the Interest Group.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and Psychology Interest Group 

Indigenous Student Conference Attendance Award

Marika Cox

Marika Cox is a Wiljakali descendant from Ivanhoe, western NSW and is a third-year Arts student, majoring in psychology at the Institute of Koorie Education, Deakin University. Marika is described as an enthusiastic student, who is achieving distinctions and is actively contributing to the learning of other students. Marika views psychology as a means of helping Indigenous communities and sees attendance at the APS Annual Conference as an opportunity to meet and contribute to others in the field of psychology.

Gay and Lesbian Issues and Psychology Interest Group

Gay and Lesbian Issues and Psychology Award

Natalie Matthews

Thesis title – ‘I don’t believe in discrimination but… this is just too far’: Political management of the Australian same sex marriage debate

Natalie’s thesis engaged in a complex exploration of theory and provides an interesting and creative analysis that highlights the role of politician’s rhetoric in the maintenance of anti-gay attitudes. A synthetic discourse analysis, combining aspects of both conversation and critical discourse analysis, was used to study the direct speech of 44 politicians who opposed same-sex marriage legislation in Australia. Natalie was commended for tackling such a contemporary and vital issue, and for presenting a balanced and carefully considered analysis. 

Psychoanalytically-Oriented Psychology Interest Group

Psychoanalytic Essay Prize

Dr Damien Riggs

Essay title – The Rat Man case and the obsessional fantasy

Damien’s essay represented an original contribution to psychoanalytic theoretical knowledge, which was clearly written and creative, enabling access to complex Lacanian theory which would be of interest to students and clinicians working in the Lacanian framework. The essay examined that whilst considerable attention has been paid from Freud onwards to the structure of obsessional neurosis, little attention has been given to the obsessional fantasy. The essay may assist those in psychoanalytic practice in developing a more complex understanding of obsessional neurosis. 

Psychologists for Peace Interest Group

Biennial Peace Art Award for Secondary Students 

Matthew Davies, Peter Moyes Anglican Community School 

Title – Warped reality of peace 

The award judges stated that “although the piece is paradoxically visually disturbing, the visual metaphor of symbols (Ying and Yang, black and white) indicate a universal sense of the quest for peace both personally and unilaterally”. The artist commented that our lives are surrounded by a warped reality that we think is peace, but we have to go deeper in order to discover our own peace that we have within ourselves.

Children's Peace Literature Award 

Arnie Avery by Sue Walker 

(published by Walker Books)

What could be worse than fighting Jacko? Being in big trouble at school? Your friends deserting you? Your family acting like a bunch of aliens? Lately, nothing’s going right for Arnie. Then one day everything changes ... The story is told with a strong, young male voice and deals with issues that young readers will easily relate to in the years to becoming a teenager. Issues such as coping with grief, family support and bullying are dealt with, and values of ‘care and compassion’, ‘respect’ and ‘doing your best’ are touched upon. 

Peace Project Award

Lisa Yu 

Project title – The dark side of self-control: Can self-control training decrease and increase aggressive behaviour?

Lisa’s research centred on self-control training and how it might influence other forms of aggression that do not transpire from anger and self-control failure, such as controlled and unprovoked forms of aggression (e.g., premeditated aggression). The present study showed that improving one’s self-control may not be an infallible method towards reducing all forms of aggression. It suggested that differentiating between different forms and functions of aggressive behaviours might in turn improve the effectiveness of current treatment efforts that are centred upon fostering harmonious, peaceful and non-aggressive resolutions.

Psychology and Ageing Interest Group

Elsie Harwood Award

Piers Bayl-Smith 

Thesis title – Ageism in the workplace: The indirect effect of identifying as a late-career worker upon engagement and intended retirement age

For his thesis, Piers examined how perceived experiences of ageism in the workplace relate to work engagement and retirement decisions. The study examined relationships between ageism and work engagement, and ageism and age of retirement. A model was developed based on job decisions and social identity theories, and tested on a sample of late career workers. As Australia is currently tackling the issue of an ageing population and workforce, this investigation was timely and provided clear insights into a somewhat unexplored area.

Psychology of Relationships Interest Group

Psychology of Relationships Thesis Award 

Dr Jeremy Goldring

Thesis title – Development of an implicit association test for measuring forgiveness

Jeremy’s thesis aimed to address shortcomings in psychological research on forgiveness, by developing a viable non-self-report measure of forgiveness: the Forgiveness Implicit Association Test (IAT). Psychological research on forgiveness has relied almost exclusively on self-report instruments to collect data, an approach which has well documented limitations. The research assessed the validity of the Forgiveness IAT against several criteria: the words and categories used to represent/compare with forgiveness; resistance to self presentation; convergence with self-reported forgiveness measures; and utility in predicting actual behaviour. 

In Psych June 2012