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2017 Laureate Profile: Professor Colin MacLeod

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Professor Colin MacLeod headshot, standing outdoors.

Professor Colin MacLeod

Administering Organisation: The University of Western Australia
Discipline Area: Social, Behavioural and Economic Sciences

Fellowship project summary

Differentiating the cognitive basis of unproductive versus productive worry (FL170100167)

This project aims to delineate the individual differences in cognitive functioning that distinguish between the tendency to experience unproductive versus productive worry. For some people, worry severely compromises well-being, while for others worry yields significant benefits by fostering preparatory behaviours that protect against misfortune. Using innovative and compelling hypotheses, as well as laboratory and fieldwork approaches, this project will deliver the capacity to assess, predict, and explain the individual differences in unproductive and productive worrying that underpin variability in resilient responding to situations in which adaptive action can mitigate real-world risk. This project will have major scientific impact, generating influential publications concerning the cognitive distinctions between productive and unproductive worry that will position Australia as a global leader in this field.

Australian Research Council funding: $2,295,215

About Professor MacLeod

Professor Colin MacLeod is based at The University of Western Australia’s School of Psychological Science where he is Director of the Rutherford Memorial Centre for the Advancement of Research on Emotion (CARE). Professor MacLeod is one of Australia’s most cited psychologists, and has received international recognition from his work illuminating the types of cognitive biases that underlie emotional vulnerability and resilience, and most recently from the Cognitive Bias Modification (CBM) techniques he has developed to directly alter these biases in ways that can therapeutically alleviate mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. His research focuses on the patterns of selective attention, interpretation and memory that give rise to emotional resilience and emotional dysfunction.

Find out more about Professor MacLeod and his research by visiting his profile page on The University of Western Australia website.

For further information about this funding scheme, please visit the Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme page on the ARC website.


2017 Australian Laureate Fellowships gold footer.
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