Changing the world through changing behaviour.

The Conservation Psychology and Applied Animal Behaviour Research Group (CPAAB) at UniSA aims to address human consumption patterns and other unsustainable behaviours, comprising a critical part of conservation efforts. Without this innovative research, much of the on-ground conservation work would be in vain as climate change and pollution create dramatic changes in the landscape. Without a change in the way humans think, shop, consume and behave, the continued existence of many species, including humans, remains tenuous.

Although Conservation Psychology primarily focuses on human attitudes and behaviour, CPAAB Director Dr Carla Litchfield has supervised numerous applied animal behaviour projects conducted by Honours and PhD students at Australian zoos and sanctuaries. These projects have focused on behaviour and cognition of animals, applying principles of psychology to enhance psychological wellbeing, or ‘quality of life’, and ensuring maintenance of behavioural diversity through enrichment (food enrichment, non-food enrichment, touch screens), and to further our understanding of problem-solving abilities in animals.

With a focus on ethics, welfare and sustainability, we work closely with industry, including conservation practitioners, conservation educators, tourism operators and other stakeholders. We ensure that our applied research, evaluation of community conservation and wildlife tourism programs are relevant and offer practical recommendations for improved management and welfare of both wildlife and humans. We collaborate with researchers across disciplines, utilise a variety of methodologies (quantitative and qualitative), focus on local and global issues, and recognise that policy makers need evidence-based research for effective conservation management.

While we strive to publish our research in high impact peer-reviewed journals, we also believe strongly that our work must be easily communicated to everyone, including children, to facilitate a responsible connection to nature and participation in quality citizen science projects.

We invite prospective students, researchers and collaborative partners whose interests are aligned with ours to contact our team.

Engage with CPAAB

Find out how you can get involved with our research


UniSA Video

TEDxAdelaide: AsPr Carla Litchfield presents 'Our relationship with primates and wilderness'

CPAAB Director AsPr Carla Litchfield discusses the critical need for humans to change their behaviour in order to support animal wellbeing. 

> Watch video on YouTube


Contact us

Conservation Psychology and Applied Animal Behaviour Research Group (CPAAB)

Location Magill Campus, St Bernards Rd. Magill 5072