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Off DeWall: Wired in Australia

Submitted by njdewa2 on Mon, 03/05/2012 - 01:14 am

DeWall at Coogee Beach, Sydney, Australia (March 5, 2012)

Off DeWall: Wired in Australia

          That’s right, I’m off to Australia. This is the blog of my adventures. I will update it every day.  

Being a simple man, my first adventure takes place in the plane itself. That’s right, I’m currently at the tail end of my flight to Sydney. This leg of the journey is about 16 hours, depending on the headwind. Being an odd duck, I love the long plane ride! You always have time to do what you want. I can blog, watch movies, write, sleep, and read books – over and over again. Unlike the usual hour or two-hour jags you do flying State to State, international flights give you time to make a nest for yourself. But I didn’t fly all the way to Australia so that I could build my nest.

Australia selected me as a Visiting Fellow in the School of Psychology at the University of New South Wales. They identify scholars from universities outside the U.S., fly them to Sydney, have them give speeches, and encourage them to build connections with other faculty and students. It’s just me this time. Other times, they fly people in pairs or trios. Just as A&S Wired has the mission of connecting students with each other, with faculty, and with their community, the Visiting Fellows program has as its mission connecting international scholars with Australian faculty and students.

How did they identify me, you may ask? Social connections! Several years ago, I started collaborating with Tom Denson, who is a professor at the University of New South Wales. Tom and I share common research interests in self-control and aggression. In fact, we published a recent paper in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science on how most acts of aggression result from poor self-control. (Eli Finkel, from Northwestern University, also co-authored the paper.) When Tom emailed me last summer to see if I had an interest in being a Visiting Fellow, I jumped at the opportunity.

While I’m in Australia, I’ll give a speech about my self-control research, a writing workshop to graduate students and junior faculty members, and have many meetings with Tom and other faculty. Of course, I’ll also have time for fun and playing. My apartment is right on the beach!