Specialisation: Academic selection/education, professional training.
Date of Passing: 24/07/2017
Syd Lovibond was an elder statesman of Australian psychology. He trained at the Universities of Adelaide and Melbourne, and started his academic career at the fledgling Department of Psychology at Adelaide when it separated from the Department of Philosophy in the 1950s. He was an early proponent of behaviour therapy, and wrote a book on the application of conditioning methods to the treatment of bed-wetting. He was active in promoting evidence-based training and practice in psychology, and served as the fourth President of the Australian Psychological Society from 1968-9. In 1969 Syd took up a Chair in Psychology at the University of New South Wales, and over the next 15 years he established the School of Psychology as a research-active department with strengths in both experimental and clinical psychology. His own research spanned a wide variety of topics from controlled drinking interventions to mock prisons, driving behaviour and the measurement of negative affect.
Syd was elected to Fellowship of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia in 1972. He engaged in vigorous intellectual debate and collaboration with a range of colleagues in social and medical science, including Neil McConaghy (psychiatry) on behaviour therapy, Ian Webster (public health) on drug and alcohol research, and Tony Vinson (social work) on prison reform. He helped establish the National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at UNSW in 1988, and he served on the NSW Government’s Corrective Services Council for 15 years. Syd trained more than 30 PhD students who have taken up influential positions in Australian psychology. His intellect and his enthusiasm have inspired colleagues and students alike, and he helped shape the development of psychology in Australia.
Emeritus Professor (Psychology), University of New South Wales