Abstract: The discipline of conservation psychology is on the frontier of conservation research. In this presentation, I will briefly explain what conservation psychology is all about, followed by how I’ve addressed an important research question in this field: How do we motivate local communities in developing countries to adopt conservation behaviours? In depth psychological research in developing countries is minimal due to the challenges in doing so. I will discuss how I conducted the first in depth socio-psychological analysis on the conservation of the Sumatran orang-utan by conducting a comparative case study of three community-based conservation programs. I will explain how conservation efforts for the Sumatran orangutan could benefit from promoting greater intrinsic motivation throughout local communities and the further implications this has for the conservation movement. Finally, I will discuss how my strengths in conservation psychology could benefit the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and in particular, the research I would conduct if I were successful in obtaining a research fellow position at the Centre.
Biography: Danielle Nilsson recently completed her PhD at The University of Queensland in the discipline of conservation psychology. She has an interdisciplinary background in behavioural sciences, psychology and wildlife science and conservation. Her research interests include understanding the complex human dimensions of conservation with a focus on creating behavioural change. More specifically, her work applies social psychology to understand these complex problems, especially within the developing country context to develop strategies that change individual and community level behaviour.