Mark Rubin , Mark Rubin

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Dr Mark Rubin is a senior lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of Newcastle, Australia. He obtained an MSc from the London School of Economics and a PhD from Cardiff University, UK. He is a social psychologist, and his research focuses on evaluations of deviant people, interdependent problem-solving, migration processes, perceived group variability, prejudice, stereotyping, social class, social identity, and social integration. For more information, please visit his research webpage at:

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  • October 7, 2015
  • 11:30 PM

Social Class Differences in Mental Health: Do Parenting Style and Friendship Play a Role?

by Mark Rubin in Mark Rubin's Social Psychology Research Blog

It is now well-established that social class is positively related to mental health. However, researchers remain unclear about the specific processes that underlie the relation between social class and depression. In some recent research, we investigated the potential roles of parenting style and friendship in explaining the relationship between social class and mental health.... Read more »

  • December 12, 2014
  • 03:32 AM

Party On! (If You're Middle-Class and Young): Age Differences Explain Social Class Differences in University Friendships

by Mark Rubin in Mark Rubin's Social Psychology Research Blog

In a recent meta-analytic review, I found that working-class students are less integrated at university than their middle-class peers. I offered up nine potential explanations for this working-class exclusion effect. It turns out that one of the simplest explanations in this list is also the most promising. It’s all to do with age.Working-class students tend to be older than middle-class students. Why? Most likely because they don’t tend to go to university immediately after school but i........ Read more »

  • November 24, 2014
  • 11:19 PM

JUST PUBLISHED: Not Just Pineapple and Water: How do People Integrate Information from Multiple Sources?

by Mark Rubin in The University of Newcastle's School of Psychology Newsline

When choosing a restaurant for a dinner with friends we need to combine information prior to decision, concerning the location, menu, and price range. Similarly, when crossing a busy road, we sometimes need to integrate information from multiple sources, such as horn sounds and the sight of approaching cars. A recent paper published by myself and colleagues does not tell you which restaurant to choose for your party or how to safely cross the road. Rather, it provides a means for evaluating how ........ Read more »

  • November 13, 2014
  • 03:36 AM

JUST PUBLISHED: Does Playing Action Video Games Really Improve Your Information Processing?

by Mark Rubin in The University of Newcastle's School of Psychology Newsline

Over the last decade, a number of studies have been published that suggest that playing action video games improves performance on sensory, perceptual, and attentional tasks. For instance, Green, Pouget, and Bavelier (2010) found that playing action video games led to faster information processing, reduced response caution, and no difference in motor responding. These and related findings are sufficiently hot right now that they often make it to popular science outlets like Ted talks (for exampl........ Read more »

van Ravenzwaaij, D., Boekel, W., Forstmann, B. U., Ratcliff, R., & Wagenmakers, E. J. (2014) Action video games do not improve the speed of information processing in simple perceptual tasks. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143(5), 1794-805. PMID: 24933517  

  • November 2, 2014
  • 08:27 PM

Decision Making - Monkey See, Monkey Do (But Not Like a Human)

by Mark Rubin in The University of Newcastle's School of Psychology Newsline

A great deal is known about how we make simple decisions, right down to the way neurons in our brains connect to translate the things we sense into the responses we make. Some of the most important neural studies of decision-making have used monkeys as an analogue for humans. The broader scope of methodology which can be used with primates has provided information far beyond that obtainable from human experimentation. However, conclusions based on animal experiments may not always translate to h........ Read more »

Cassey, P., Heathcote, A., & Brown, S. (2014) Brain and Behavior in Decision-Making. PLoS Computational Biology, 10(7), 1-7. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003700  

  • October 16, 2014
  • 02:03 AM

JUST PUBLISHED: Resilience and Responses to Persistent Pain

by Mark Rubin in The University of Newcastle's School of Psychology Newsline

The concept of resilience is of considerable interest in clinical practice.  The resilient person shows relatively speedy recovery from a disturbance and an ability to resume their former work practices, habits and normal life.  In addition, they are able to maintain that recovery over the long-term.The maintenance of recovery is of particular interest in patients suffering from chronic pain, since the presence of persistent pain leads to a raft of behavioural and cognitive changes all........ Read more »

Newton-John TR, Mason C, & Hunter M. (2014) The role of resilience in adjustment and coping with chronic pain. Rehabilitation psychology, 59(3), 360-5. PMID: 25019306  

  • October 15, 2014
  • 04:38 AM

How You Feel About People is Related to How You Feel About Cities

by Mark Rubin in Mark Rubin's Social Psychology Research Blog

There are numerous structural factors that influence people’s attitudes towards cities. However, these factors may be constituents of broader sociocultural “questions” that people ask about their cities.  For example, residents’ concern about the transport and entertainment venues of a city might form part of a broader social psychological concern about the potential for the city to accommodate their need to meet friends and socialize with others. Alternatively, people might focus on a ........ Read more »

  • October 2, 2014
  • 04:52 AM

JUST PUBLISHED: A Trial to Evaluate the Efficacy of an Integrated Smoking Cessation Intervention among Mental Health Patients

by Mark Rubin in The University of Newcastle's School of Psychology Newsline

Depending on diagnosis and setting, between 33 and 90 per cent of people with mental illness smoke tobacco, both in Australia and worldwide. As a result, tobacco-related diseases are one of the leading causes of mortality among this population subgroup. A paucity of research to date has examined the efficacy of cessation strategies to assist people with mental illness to quit smoking. However, limited findings have suggested that aids that have been found to be effective for the general populati........ Read more »

  • September 14, 2014
  • 06:57 PM

JUST PUBLISHED: The Dance of Communication: Retaining Family Membership Despite Non-Speech Dementia

by Mark Rubin in The University of Newcastle's School of Psychology Newsline

As the majority of people in developed countries will be touched in some way by dementia in the 21st century, current ways of interacting in dementia care may no longer be acceptable. In particular, when people with dementia appear uncommunicative, their retained awareness and ability to interact is often dismissed or overlooked. Facing social isolation and further decline, many languish with unmet needs for human interaction. However, the intimacies of family interaction in dementia care settin........ Read more »

  • March 25, 2014
  • 12:02 AM

“I am Working-Class”: Self-Identification as a Measure of Social Class in Educational Research

by Mark Rubin in Mark Rubin's Social Psychology Research Blog

Governments around the world are trying to open up higher education to working-class people. For example, in January this year, the White House released a report titled: "Increasing college opportunity for low-income students: Promising models and a call to action." In the context of this general push towards widening participation in higher education, my colleagues and I have been developing a research project that aims to investigate social class differences in social integration among student........ Read more »

  • February 8, 2014
  • 08:39 PM

Spock's Not One of Us! Exploring the In-Group Overexclusion Effect

by Mark Rubin in Mark Rubin's Social Psychology Research Blog

We all belong to many different social groups. Most of the time, it's fairly easy to work out who belongs to which group. But sometimes it's not that clear. In this post, I consider the mysterious effect that social psychologists have dubbed the in-group overexclusion effect.... Read more »

  • January 11, 2014
  • 04:29 AM

In-Group Favouritism can be used to Get Even as well as to Get Ahead

by Mark Rubin in Mark Rubin's Social Psychology Research Blog

Social identity theory assumes that we compete with other social groups in order to achieve a relatively high social status. But recent research reveals that in-group favoritism can also be used to achieve equality and fairness between groups.... Read more »

  • December 10, 2013
  • 10:14 PM

JUST PUBLISHED: Personal Qualities Assessment Across Cultures

by Mark Rubin in The University of Newcastle's School of Psychology Newsline

Myself (Miles Bore), Don Munro and David Powis have spent the last 15 years developing and testing personality questionnaires and ability tests for use in the selection of medical students. While much of the focus of our research has been the use of these tests in Australia and the UK, we have also had opportunities to trial the tests in countries where English is not the first language such as Sweden, Israel, Japan, Taiwan, Nepal and Fiji. Recently we were approached by Saharnaz Nedjat from Teh........ Read more »

  • September 23, 2013
  • 11:17 PM

JUST PUBLISHED: Your Mind is Always Spinning!

by Mark Rubin in The University of Newcastle's School of Psychology Newsline

When you see a spoon upside down you do not need to mentally rotate it back to the right way up to know it is a spoon… do you? It is more likely you remember instances when you saw a spoon upside-down and know it is still a spoon. When you see unfamiliar objects upside-down (like my face) you need to return that object to the correct orientation to know whether or not it is the same object, or slightly different.... Read more »

Provost, A., Johnson, B., Karayanidis, F., Brown, S. D., & Heathcote, A. (2013) Two Routes to Expertise in Mental Rotation. Cognitive Science, 37(7), 1321-1342. info:/

  • August 3, 2013
  • 03:01 AM

Boys Don’t Cry, But They Can Be Sensitive! Behavioural Descriptions of Counterstereotypical People Cause Greater Prejudice than Personality Descriptions

by Mark Rubin in Mark Rubin's Social Psychology Research Blog

Stereotypes are pretty useful things! We use them to help us to understand and respond to people from a large and diverse array of social groups. But how do people feel about individuals who buck the trend and contradict stereotypes? For example, how do people feel about a man who is crying or a woman who is smoking a cigar!... Read more »

  • June 26, 2013
  • 08:01 PM

JUST PUBLISHED: Context Effects in Decision-Making - Do You Really Want that Extra Large Popcorn?

by Mark Rubin in The University of Newcastle's School of Psychology Newsline

For those of you have children who watch the "Brain Games" series on Foxtel you may remember an episode about how our decisions can be manipulated by marketing. They described a scenario where movie goers were offered a small popcorn for $2 or a large one for $7. Everyone chose the cheaper option until a third one was introduced, a medium popcorn for $6.50, which caused people to prefer the large popcorn with comments like "We may as well get it because it is only 50c more".

This is an exampl........ Read more »

Trueblood, J., Brown, S., Heathcote, A., & Busemeyer, J. (2013) Not Just for Consumers: Context Effects Are Fundamental to Decision Making. Psychological Science, 24(6), 901-908. DOI: 10.1177/0956797612464241  

  • June 22, 2013
  • 08:32 PM

JUST PUBLISHED: Posttraumatic Growth: Conflicts, Disasters, War, Genocide and Humanitarian Aid Workers

by Mark Rubin in The University of Newcastle's School of Psychology Newsline

Increasingly in the 21st century, humanitarian work is carried out at the front line of modern global conflicts and disasters, which may include experiencing genocide. The consequences of finding oneself caught in the swift and complex forces of genocide are phenomenologically beyond psychoanalytic conceptualization. Psychological challenges for humanitarian aid workers who experience such events are therefore complex. How do they make sense of that dual threat to self and those they seek to ........ Read more »

  • June 17, 2013
  • 01:47 AM

JUST PUBLISHED: Early Life Determinants of Reproductive Success

by Mark Rubin in The University of Newcastle's School of Psychology Newsline

Infertility is a rising problem around the world. Coupled with a current tendency to delay childbearing, the growth in the population of many countries has come to halt. Bacterial infections are an often overlooked cause for infertility. This is particularly relevant to the recent increase in Chlamydia infections among young people. When untreated, Chlamydia in pregnant women can be transmitted to the newborn. As a result, up to 15% of newly born babies are currently known to be infected with Ch........ Read more »

Sominsky, L., Sobinoff, A., Jobling, M., Pye, V., McLaughlin, E., & Hodgson, D. (2013) Immune regulation of ovarian development: programming by neonatal immune challenge. Frontiers in Neuroscience. DOI: 10.3389/fnins.2013.00100  

  • June 11, 2013
  • 12:03 AM

JUST PUBLISHED: Sexuality and Suicide - Call for a More Nuanced Approach

by Mark Rubin in The University of Newcastle's School of Psychology Newsline

The evidence that sexual minorities (e.g., lesbians, gay males, bisexuals, and those questioning their sexuality: LGBQ) are at increased risk of suicide is fairly robust. This study (anonymous, online survey, N = 1,016), as several others, found LGBQ participants were more likely to meet standardized assessment criteria for suicide-risk.

Knowing which groups are at increased risk of suicide provides great help for outreach, treatment and prevention. Unfortunately, some may view at-risk groups........ Read more »

  • May 29, 2013
  • 01:40 AM

JUST PUBLISHED: Treating Anxiety by Modifying Negative Cognitive Biases

by Mark Rubin in The University of Newcastle's School of Psychology Newsline

Dr Sirous Mobini and colleagues have recently published a integrative review of the literature investigating the treatment of anxiety using cognitive bias modification.

Cognitive theories of social anxiety indicate that negative biases in thinking play a key role in causing and maintaining social anxiety. On the basis of these cognitive theories, research has shown that individuals with social anxiety interpret ambiguous social situations in a negative (or less passive) manner.

Cognitive Bi........ Read more »

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