Clare McGuiness

Mrs Clare McGuiness

PhD Candidate

School of Psychology

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences


PhD student, 2014-7.

How does our cognitive style affect our health behaviour?Health behaviour iconsHealth behaviour icons

I am a PhD student in the School of Psychology, supervised by Professor Deb Turnbull, Professor Carlene Wilson and Dr Ian Zajac.

My research is in the area of health psychology, a field that aims to understand the way psychological, social, and biological factors interact with human health. I am interested in the concept of cognitive style, and whether it is related to participation in health-related behaviours such as cancer screening, exercise, diet and smoking.

Cognitive style and health behaviour variables

What is cognitive style?

In short, it’s your preference for using intuitive and rational thinking. Intuitive processes are rapid, associative, and effortless, like instinct or a gut reation. Rational processes are slower and more effortful, rely on working memory, and are thought to have evolved more recently.

The model I'm using [1] takes a personality approach to these types of processing: some people have more trust in their intuitions than others (this trait is called Faith in Inutition or FI) while some are more comfortable using deliberative thought (referred to as having high Need for Cognition or NFC).

Relation to health behaviour

Cognitive style has been associated with a number of personality traits, skills, and, less commonly, with behaviour. Does the influence of cognitive style in thinking or deciding about health lead to behavioural outcomes that are detectably different between groups of differing cognitive style?

Attitudes, too, are a known predictor of health behaviour (or at least intention to perform a behaviour) and can be encoded in both rational or experiential form. Do experiential and rational attitudes influence behaviour only to the extent that a person uses experiential or rational processing?

Finally, cognitive style is usually measured using participant agreement with very general statements about the way they think, but it is possible that people's cognitive style varies between different situations. I will be developing a measure of cognitive style that is specific to health, which I hope will shed light both on the way people think in relation to health, and on the concept of cognitive style itself.

Findings about the way cognitive style

  • changes with context,
  • interacts with health attitudes, and ultimately,
  • influences health behaviour

may provide us with ideas about how people can be enabled to improve their health behaviour.

Click link below to watch my Three-Minute Thesis presentation
Click here to view a three-minute presentation about my research.

 

 

Results so far

My first PhD study, in which 585 men over 50 completed surveys about their cognitive style and past cancer screening, found that men higher in NFC were slightly more likely to have had a digital rectal examination for prostate cancer (even after controlling for age, education level, socioeconomic status, and first language). A very small amount of variance was explained, but I hope to expand on this result in the research for which I have just completed data collection.

  1. Epstein S, Pacini R, Denes-Raj V, Heier H. Individual differences in intuitive-experiential and analytical-rational thinking styles. Journal of personality and social psychology. 1996;71(2):390-405
Recent posters

Modelling health behaviour: the contribution of health thinking style

Third PhD study

McGuiness, C., Zajac, I., Wilson, C., & Turnbull, D. (2016, September). Modelling health behaviour: the contribution of health thinking style. Poster presented at the Florey International Postgraduate Research Conference, Adelaide, South Australia.

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Poster: To DRE or not to DRE? Poster: Building yourself to better cope
First PhD study

McGuiness, C., Turnbull, D., Wilson, C., Duncan, A., Flight, I. H., & Zajac, I. (2015, September). To DRE or not to DRE? Poster presented at the Florey International Postgraduate Research Conference, Adelaide, South Australia.

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Honours study

McGuiness, C. E., Eliott, J., & Cancer Voices South Australia. (2014, September). “Building yourself to better cope”: A case study of a cycling team led by cancer survivors. Poster presented at the Florey International Postgraduate Research Conference, Adelaide, South Australia.

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  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2012 - 2014 Research Assistant The University of Adelaide
    2004 - 2009 Graphic Designer Various employers (communications consultancy, newspaper, freelance)
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2016 Award Award for most creative and engaging researcher profile The University of Adelaide
    2016 Award Florey Medical Research Foundation Poster Prize (All Areas) Florey International Postgraduate Research Conference
    2016 Award School of Psychology Poster Prize Florey International Postgraduate Research Conference
    2015 Award School of Psychology Poster Prize Florey International Postgraduate Research Conference $300
    2015 Achievement Health Sciences 3-Minute Thesis Finalist The University of Adelaide 3-Minute Thesis competition
    2015 Award Northern Communities Health Foundation Prize The University of Adelaide 3-Minute Thesis competition $500
    2014 Award School of Psychology Poster Prize Florey International Postgraduate Research Conference $300
    2014 Award Faculty of Health Sciences Poster Prize Florey International Postgraduate Research Conference $500
    2014 Scholarship Australian Postgraduate Award The University of Adelaide $77,529
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2012 The University of Adelaide Australia Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) /Psychology
    2011 - 2010 The University of Adelaide Australia Graduate Diploma in Psychological Sciences
    2004 University of South Australia Australia Bachelor of Visual Communication (Honours) / Graphic design
    2001 - 2003 University of South Australia Australia Bachelor of Visual Communication / Graphic design
  • Research Interests

I am supported by an APA scholarship, with a top-up provided jointly by CSIRO Food and Nutrition and the Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men's Health.

CSIRO / Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men's Health

 

  • Tutor for third-year Psychology, Science and Society in 2016.
  • Tutor for third-year Health & Lifespan Development Psychology in 2015.
  • Tutor and practical coordinator for third-year Health & Lifespan Development Psychology in 2014.
  • Position: PhD Candidate
  • Phone: 83133850
  • Email: clare.mcguiness@adelaide.edu.au
  • Fax: 8313 3770
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Hughes, floor 7
  • Room: 7 21
  • Org Unit: Psychology

Connect With Me
External Profiles