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Dr Elissa Pearson 

Position: Lecturer: Psychology Dr Elissa Pearson
Division/Portfolio: Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences
School/Unit: School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy
Campus: Magill Campus
Office: C1-21
Telephone: +61 8 830 24843
Fax:
Email: Elissa_dot_Pearson_at_unisa_dot_edu_dot_au
URL for Business Card: http://people.unisa.edu.au/Elissa.Pearson
(Elissa Pearson is currently on leave - last day on leave is Monday, 3 November 2014)


I am a lecturer in psychology and teach several undergraduate courses. Recently, I also completed my PhD thesis. My PhD research was in the area of Conservation Psychology and focused upon orangutan conservation and the palm oil issue. In particular I looked at the role of zoos in contributing to conservation through environmental education and opportunities to experience and connect with other species. I also evaluated the innovative 'Don't Palm Us Off' campaign at Melbourne Zoo and examined how new forms of media may complement traditional environmental education to facilitate greater conservation action. I am passionate about psychological research that has real-world implications and am especially interested in future projects pertaining to sustainability, conservation behaviour, or human-animal interactions.

I also have a Graduate Certificate in Education (University Teaching) and really enjoy teaching psychology!


Links to other sites



Australian Psychological Society


Conservation Psychology


Australian Animal Studies Group


Australian Orangutan Project


The Great Ape Project


Zoos SA


WWF Australia


Teaching interests

  • I have a strong interest in all aspects of psychology and enjoy teaching a broad range of subject matter within this field.

I teach the following courses

BEHL 1005Introductory Psychology 100
BEHL 3020Psychology Experiential Learning Placement
WELF 1013Professional Development: Counselling and Psychology
BEHL 2012Biological and Learning Psychology
BEHL 3022Conservation Psychology
BEHL 3012Health Psychology


Professional associations

Member- Australian Psychological Society (APS)

APS Interest Group: Psychology Education

APS Interest Group: Psychology and the Environment

APS Interest Group: Psychologists for the Promotion of Animal Welfare

Member- Australian Orangutan Project

Member- Australasian Primate Society

Member- Zoos SA

Member- Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour

Member- Golden Key International Honour Society


Qualifications

PhD (Psychology), University of South Australia

Grad Cert. Education (University Teaching). University of South Australia.

B.Psych. (Honours, First Class), University of South Australia

B.Psych., University of South Australia


Research interests

  • Conservation Psychology
  • Teaching and learning in Psychology
  • Human-animal interactions
  • Environmental education
  • Animal behaviour
  • Applied psychology

Research publications

Conservation Psychology & Human-Animal Interactions

Pearson, E.L., Dorrian, J., & Litchfield, C.A. (2013). Measuring zoo-visitor learning and understanding about orangutans: Evaluation to enhance learning outcomes and to foster conservation action. Environmental Education Research. Advance Online Publication, DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2012.763112

Pearson, E.L. (2013). Conservation Psychology: A gap in current Australian undergraduate psychology education. Sustainability. Advance Online Publication available: http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/5/3/1266/pdf

Pearson, E.L., Dorrian, J., & Litchfield, C.A. (2012). Harnessing visual media in environmental education: Increasing knowledge of orangutan conservation issues and facilitating sustainable behaviour through video presentations. In J. Blewitt (Ed.), The media, animal conservation and environmental education. UK: Routledge.

Pearson, E.L., Dorrian, J., & Litchfield, C.A. (2011). Harnessing visual media in environmental education: Increasing knowledge of orangutan conservation issues and facilitating sustainable behaviour through video presentations. Environmental Education Research, 17, 751-767. DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2011.624586

Pearson, E.L., Dorrian, J., & Litchfield, C.A. (Revisions in preparation). Zoo experiences to restore connectedness to nature and motivate conservation action? An exploration of visitor responses to experiencing orangutans. EcoPsychology.

Pearson, E.L., Dorrian, J., Lowry, R., & Litchfield, C. (under review). Evaluating the conservation impact of an innovative zoo-based educational campaign: 'Don't Palm Us Off' for orangutan conservation. Zoo Biology.

Pearson, E.L., Davis, J.M., & Litchfield, C.A. (2010). A case study of Orangutan and Siamang behaviour within a mixed-species zoo exhibit. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 13(4), 330-346.

Teaching and Learning in Psychology

Goodwin-Smith, I., Pearson, E.L., Ranzijn, R., Campbell, A., & Lushington, K. (In press). Interdisciplinarity and undergraduate psychology education. Psychology Learning and Teaching.

Pearson, E., Ranzijn, R., Goodwin-Smith, I., Campbell, A., Hayward, R., & Jackman, G. (2012). Strengthening teaching and learning in Psychology through looking beyond disciplinary boundaries: A case-study from the University of South Australia. In V. Karandashev & S. McCarthy (Eds.), Teaching Psychology Around the World (Vol. 3, pp. 55-71). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Hayward, R., Ranzijn, R., Bryan, J., & Pearson, E. (2012). Developing program learning objectives to enhance the work readiness of Australian Psychology graduates. In V. Karandashev & S. McCarthy (Eds.), Teaching Psychology Around the World (Vol. 3, pp. 87-104). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Bryan, J., Ranzijn, R., Balfour, C., Tuckey, M., Hayward, R., Pearson, E., Jackman, G., Lushington, K.(2012). Increasing the work readiness of Australian Psychology undergraduates through curriculum change. In V. Karandashev & S. McCarthy (Eds.), Teaching Psychology Around the World (Vol. 3, pp. 166-181). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Pearson, E. (2010). ‘Strengthening teaching and learning in the social sciences through looking beyond disciplinary boundaries: A case-study from the University of South Australia’. Paper 9, 2010 Occasional Papers on Learning and Teaching at UniSA. University of South Australia, Adelaide.

Developmental Psychology and Ageing Research

Pearson, E.L., Windsor, T.D., Crisp, D.A., Pilkington, P.D., & Anstey, K.J. (2012). Normative data and longitudinal invariance of the Life Engagement Test (LET) in a community sample of older adults. Quality of Life Research, advance online publication DOI: 10.1007/s11136-012-0146-2

Windsor, T., Pearson, E., & Butterworth, P. (2012). Age group differences and longitudinal changes in approach-avoidance sensitivity: Findings from an 8-year longitudinal study. Journal of Research in Personality, advance online publication DOI: 10.1016/j.jrp.2012.07.002

Fiori, K.L., Windsor, T.D., Pearson, E.L., & Crisp, D.A. (2012). Can positive social exchanges buffer the detrimental effects of negative social exchanges? Age and gender differences. Gerontology, advance online publication DOI: 10.1159/000339747

Pearson, E., Windsor, T.D., Crisp, D.A., Butterworth, P., & Anstey, K.J. (2012). Neighbourhood characteristics: Shaping the wellbeing of older Australians. NSPAC Research Monograph 2, National Seniors Productive Ageing Centre: Canberra. Available from: http://www.productiveageing.com.au/userfiles/file/NeighbourhoodCharacteristics.pdf

Conference Presentations

Pearson, E.L. (2012). 'Conservation psychology: A gap in current undergraduate psychology education'. Paper presented at the South East Asia Psychology Conference, September 26th-28th, Kota Kinabalu, Borneo, Malaysia.

Windsor, T.D., & Pearson, E.L. (2012). 'Resilience and wellbeing in older adulthood: The role of purpose in life, goal pursuit, and flexible goal adjustment.' Paper presented at the Science of Wellbeing Conference, February 24, Adelaide, Australia.

Pearson, E., Ranzijn, R., Goodwin-Smith, I., & Campbell, A. (2010). 'Strengthening Psychology through venturing beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries'. Paper presented at the 4th International Conference on Psychology Education, July 8-11, Sydney, Australia.

Pearson, E. (2010). ‘Research after honours: My PhD experience and applying Psychology to a real-world conservation issue’. Keynote address at the University of South Australia Psychology Honours Conference, September 28-29, Adelaide, Australia.

Pearson, E.L. (2008). ‘Orangutan conservation: The role of captive populations and the need for human attitude and behaviour change’. Paper presented at the Australasian Primate Society Conference, October 4-5, Adelaide, Australia.

Pearson, E.L. (2008). ‘Behavioural analysis of a mixed-species exhibit for Orangutans (Pongo abelii) and Siamangs (Symphalangus syndactylus)’. Paper presented at the Australasian Primate Society Conference, October 4-5, Adelaide, Australia.

Pearson, E.L., & Litchfield, C.A. (2008). ‘Analysis of a mixed-species exhibit for Orangutans (Pongo abelii) and Siamangs (Symphalangus syndactylus) at Adelaide Zoo’. Poster presented at the Australian Psychological Society Conference, September 23-27, Hobart, Australia.


Research Degree Supervisor

I have previously supervised a conservation psychology honours project focused upon shark conservation and this year am working with several fantastic honours students on projects regarding meat-consumption; evaluating zoo-based education about the issue of marine wildlife entanglement; and studying media influences on public perceptions of endangered species (e.g. Great Apes).

I am interested in supervising future honours and PhD projects in the areas of conservation psychology; environmental education; human-animal interactions; or teaching and learning in psychology.





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