I have a general research interest in processes of associative learning. In particular, I have examined the contribution of associative learning to the way in which complex stimuli are represented in memory. I have also examined the neural systems which mediate associative and perceptual learning, and recently, have extended this analysis to examine neurochemical and anatomical mechanisms of the attentional deficit in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). More recently my research activities have moved into collaborative work with medical and allied health staff at Sydney Children’s Hospital, examining the effects of sleep problems on the cognitive development of children. I also have an interest in the beliefs that clinicians and other health-related professionals have of the causes and characteristics of psychological disorders (such as ADHD and eating disorders), and how these might affect their choices about treatment.
- ARC Large Grant ($107,000 for 1994-1996) with Assoc. Prof. R.F. Westbrook and Dr. J. Cranney (both UNSW) to undertake basic research exploring the role of key brain structures in the formation of representations of complex stimuli and environmental events (“perceptual learning”).
- ARC Large Grant in 1996 ($120,000 for 1997-1999) with Prof. R.A. Boakes (Sydney University) (Boakes & Kiernan) to examine the contribution of associative processing of odours and tastes in the perception of flavour.
- ARC Large Grant in ($132,000 for 1997-1999) with Assoc. Prof. Malcolm Allen, Dr. Andrew Livermore and Mr. Steven Cumming (Kiernan, Allen, Livermore & Cumming) to examine the interaction of wine flavour components (chemistry) on the perception of wine flavour (perceptual learning).
- ARC Small Grant (CSU) with Dr. Rachel Dryer and Lynne Mason (Kiernan, Dryer & Mason). The effects of medication on executive function and indices of frontal lobe and basal ganglia function in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children ($12,000 for 1999).
- CSU Small Grant with Dr. Rachel Dryer and Assoc. Prof. Graham Tyson (Dryer, Kiernan & Tyson). Implicit theories of ADHD: Explanatory models used by health professionals, parents, teachers, children, and the general population ($4794 for 2000).
- ARC Large Grant (Boakes, R.A., Stevenson, R., & Kiernan, M.J.) An associative model of human olfaction. (A10009028); $121,500 for 2000-2002.
- ARC Large Grant (Westbrook, R.F. & Kiernan, M.) Role of subiculum-accumbal pathways in contextual learning in the rat. (A10007151); $112,500 for 2000-2002.
- CSU Competitive Grant with Dr. Rachel Dryer and Assoc. Prof. Graham Tyson (Kiernan, Dryer & Tyson). Implicit theories of Bulimia Nervosa: Explanatory models used by health professionals and university students ($12,000 for 2003).
- CSU Competitive Grant with Dr. Rachel Dryer (Dryer & Kiernan). Development of a Screening Instrument for the Detection of Sleep problems in Children Aged 2 to 5 ($12,000 for 2006).