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Department of Zoology



I am a PhD Candidate based at the University of Western Australia, based in the Psychology Department. I have a Master of International Law from Sydney University (2014) and two bachelor degrees Science (Ecology) and Arts (Comparative Development) from the University of New South Wales (2008). I worked in fisheries management and compliance for 7 years for Fisheries Victoria, Australia. 


I am interested in how interventions, based on evidence from experimental psychology, can be better applied to deal with complex societal problems, such as reducing demand for unsupported health remedies and addressing the illicit wildlife trade. One focus of my PhD is to develop a structured approach to designing and implementing behaviour change interventions. Another focus of my research is to apply this structured approach to designing new interventions and then to test the effectiveness of such interventions using an experimental auction mechanism. Using this new approach, my first PhD manuscript provides evidence for the effectiveness of a simple, but innovative, behavioural intervention that can help consumers make better health-related choices.

I am also interested in the intersection between human trafficking and environmental degradation, and in particular, finding solutions to these two complex issues. 


Key publications: 
  • MacFarlane, D., (2015) “The Slave Trade and the Right of Visit under the Law of the Sea Convention: Exploitation in the Fishing Industry in New Zealand and Thailand” Asian Journal of International Law, 7(1), 94–123. doi:10.1017/s2044251315000235
  • MacFarlane, D., Hurlstone, M. J., & Ecker, U. K. H. (2018). Reducing Demand for Ineffective Health Remedies: Overcoming the Illusion of Causality (in press). Psychology & Health. doi:10.1080/08870446.2018.1508685
Other publications: 

In Preparation

  • MacFarlane, D., Hurlstone, M. J., & Ecker, U. K. H. Reducing Demand for Unsupported Health Remedies: A Taxonomy for Overcoming Psychological Barriers (in preparation). University of Western Australia, Perth.
  • MacFarlane, D., Hurlstone, M. J., & Ecker, U. K. H. Countering Demand for Unsupported Health Remedies: Do Consumers Respond to—Risks, Lack of Benefits, or Both? (in preparation). University of Western Australia, Perth.


Contact Details

Room 3.01 David Attenborough Building


Collaborator profiles: 
Person keywords: 
Illicit Wildlife Trade
Behaviour Change
Human Trafficking