Researcher

Professor Tom Denson

My Expertise

  • Causes and reduction of anger and aggression in humans 
  • Biological correlates of anger and aggression
  • Brain mechanisms underlying anger and aggression

Keywords

Fields of Research (FoR)

Social and Community Psychology, Biological Psychology (Neuropsychology, Psychopharmacology, Physiological Psychology)

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Biography

I am a Professor in the School of Psychology at UNSW. I am an experimental social-personality psychologist. My primary research focus is on the causes, consequences, and prevention of anger-driven aggression.

Anger and aggression are serious problems throughout the world. The research in my lab has helped us understand the causes of these phenomena and how they can be regulated. My students, international and domestic collaborators and I...view more

I am a Professor in the School of Psychology at UNSW. I am an experimental social-personality psychologist. My primary research focus is on the causes, consequences, and prevention of anger-driven aggression.

Anger and aggression are serious problems throughout the world. The research in my lab has helped us understand the causes of these phenomena and how they can be regulated. My students, international and domestic collaborators and I attack the problem from multiple angles including functional neuroimaging, behavioural experiments, and psychoneuroendocrinology. Our lab has investigated anger and aggression between strangers, romantic partners, and physical and sexual aggression toward women.

My lab has also studied alcohol-related aggression. We are at the forefront of discovering brain systems involved in alcohol-related aggression with the help of a 3-year grant from the Australian Research Council.

I received my PhD in 2007 from the University of Southern California took a tenure-track position as a Lecturer (US Assistant Professor equivalent) at the School of Psychology. I have won several awards for my research and teaching including the Association for Psychological Science’s ‘Rising Star’ Award, the NSW Young Tall Poppy Science Award, and the Society for Australasian Social Psychologists’ Early Career Researcher Award. I am a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and a Fellow of SPSP. Since 2009, I have received approximately $4 million in funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC) and National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). I was an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award Fellow and ARC Future Fellow. I am currently an Associate Editor at Aggressive Behavior and have published over 100 articles and book chapters. I serve as an Officer for the International Society for Research on Aggression. https://www.israsociety.com/ 


My Grants

2020-2022            Australian Research Council Discovery Project (DP200101845), Brain systems implicated in alcohol-related aggression. AUD$354,177.  Denson, T.F., Riva, P., & Gilam, G.

2021-2023                  Australian Research Council Discovery Project (DP200101845), Toward an understanding of whether and how humility reduces anger. AUD$308,404. Harmon-Jones, E., Harmon-Jones, C., Denson, T. F., & Schmeichel, B.


My Qualifications

Ph.D., Social Psychology, 2007

M.A., Social Psychology, 2004

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

 

M.A., Research Psychology, 2002

California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA

           

              B.A., Psychology and Germanic Languages and Literature, 1997

University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA


My Awards

 

2018       Awarded Fellow Status in the Society for Personality and Social Psychology for “longstanding contribution to SPSP and the field of Personality and Social Psychology”.

2016       University of New South Wales Postgraduate Supervisor Award, University-wide, student-nominated award.

2015       University of New South Wales, Science Faculty Staff Excellence in Teaching Award, AUD$1,500 (Based on student evaluation scores).

2015       Elected Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science

2012       Winner New South Wales Young Tall Poppy Science Award

2012       Society of Australasian Social Psychologists’ Early Career Award

2011       Association for Psychological Science “Rising Star”

2009       University of New South Wales, Science Faculty Staff Excellence in Research Award, AUD$1,500

2009       University of New South Wales, Australian Psychological Society’s Most Outstanding Lecturer in Psychology (UNSW) Award. Voted on by Bachelor of Psychology and Honours students. This was the first year the award was offered.


My Research Supervision


Areas of supervision

Aggression and anger


My Engagement

My work has appeared in high-profile international media such as Oprah.com, the Huffington Post, the New York Post, BBC Radio 4 & 5, IFL Science, the front page of Reddit.com, the Daily Mail (UK), Gizmodo, The Sun (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Discover Magazine, Men’s Health Magazine, Psychology Today, and Shape Magazine.

I have discussed my research in Australian television and radio (e.g. SBS Insight, The Project, Australian Channel 7 and 9 television news, Channel 7’s Daily Edition, The Project, ABC Science online, ABC Radio National’s All in the Mind, Life Matters, and Conversations with Richard Fidler, Talking Lifestyle Radio, ABC Drive) and all the major Australian newspapers. ABC’s Catalyst program featured a recreation of my neuroimaging research.

I have authored 5 articles on aggression for The Conversation, which attracted over 250,000 readers.

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