School of Psychological Science

Postgraduate Profiles


Timothy Ballard

Start date

Mar 2010

Submission date

Mar 2015

Timothy Ballard

Timothy Ballard profile photo


A computational and empirical investigation of prioritisation during multiple approach and avoidance goal pursuit


My research is at the intersection of organisational psychology, cognitive psychology, and behavioural economics. I use a blend of computational and experimental methods to examine how people make decisions involving risk and uncertainty. In my thesis, I develop and test a computational model that explains how people prioritise competing goals over time in uncertain environments. I also use normative models of decision making to examine how prioritisation decisions depart from optimality. A major focus of my thesis is how prioritisation differs depending on whether people pursue approach or avoidance goals.

Why my research is important

Understanding how people prioritise is important because trade-offs between goals are common in the workplace. For example, managers often have to allocate limited resources across multiple projects. Understanding how people make these decisions is the first step in identifying ways to improve decision making in the workplace.


  • Ad Hoc Postgraduate Scholarship
  • Overseas Travel Award
  • BHP Billiton Postgraduate Research Scholarship
  • UWA Establishment/Relocation Award


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Last updated:
Friday, 23 January, 2015 3:27 PM