Dr Brian Crabbe

Position: Honorary Senior Lecturer

Ph: +61 2 9351 2481

Postal Address:
School of Psychology
Brennan MacCallum Building (A18)
The University of Sydney
NSW 2006




  1. Ph.D. University of Sydney, 1969.
  2. B.A. (Honours), University of Sydney, 1961.


Research Interests

  1. Environmental Psychology.
    The effect of various aspects of the physical environment on social behaviour:
    1. National parks
    2. Prison environments
    3. Housing types (viz high rise vs detached houses)
  2. Social Psychology
    1. Social factors in jury decision making
    2. Criminal justice
    3. Friendships, Attraction
  3. Social research methods
    1. Bias in questionnaire wording

Selection of Publications, Reports & Conference Papers


  1. National Parks
    1. "Visitor Evaluation Study of Dooragan National Park", Report to National Parks and Wildlife Service, Port Macquarie District, August, 2000.
    2. "Visitor and Community Use of, and attitudes towards, a remnant rainforest" Australian Psychological Society 31st Annual Conference, Sydney, 26-29 September, 1996. Program and Abstracts, P.41. Abstract also published in the Australian Journal of Psychology (1996), 48, Supplement P.96.
    3. "What Wingham Wants: A Post Occupancy Evaluation of the Regeneration of Wingham Brush", Report to National Parks and Wildlife Service, Port Macquarie, and to Greater Taree City Council Taree, December, 1996.
    4. "Crowdy Bay National Park Visitor Evaluation", Report to National Parks and Wildlife Service, Port Macquarie, 1993.
    5. "Point Plomer Visitor Evaluation", Report to National Parks and Wildlife Service, Port Macquarie, 1993.
    6. "Weekday Use of an Urban Bushland Park" Australian Parks and Recreation, (1989) 25, 35-36.
    7. "Children's Use of an Urban Bushland Park in Australia" Second Symposium on Social Science in Resource Management, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, U.S.A., 6-10 June, 1988. (Published in Proceedings).
  2. Prison Environments
    1. "Psychological effects of the prison environment" Symposium on Penal Ideas and Prison Architecture, Faculty of Laws, Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London, 21-24 April, 1998.
    2. "The role of private and public places in inmate well-being in Prisons" Environmental Design Research Association Conference (EDRA27), Salt Lake City, U.S.A. June 12-16, 1996. (Abstract published in Nasar J.L. and Brown B. (eds) (1996) "Public and Private Places - Proceedings of the Twenty-seventh Conference of the Environmental Design Research Association, Edmond, Oklahoma: EDRA. Pages 223-224).
  3. Housing
    1. "Social Contact and Dwelling Type" (with K.M. Alexander) in "People and the Man Made Environment". Ed. Thorne, R. & Arden, S. Architecture: University of Sydney, 1980.


  1. Jury decision making
    1. "Jury simulation studies in Australia" Conference on Cross Cultural Psychology, Boca Raton, Florida, 13-16 June, 1999
  2. Criminal Justice
    1. "The Relationship Between Indicators of Failure to Adjust Amongst Nativity Groups in Australia" (with R.D. Francis). Australia and New Zealand Journal of Sociology, 1980, 16, 107-110.
    2. "Migrant Crime and other Social Deviance Indicators" (with R.D. Francis) (1981) in Francis R.D. "Migrant Crime in Australia" Chapter 8. St. Lucia, University of Queensland Press.
  3. Community health
    1. "Community awareness of health risks associated with smoking" Twenty-fourth Annual Meeting of Australian Social Psychologists, Hobart, Tasmania, 22-25 April, 1995. (Abstract published in the Australian Journal of Psychology (1995), 47, Supplement P34.)
  4. Altruism
    1. "Altruism and Helping Behaviour" Major Gifts Workshop, University of Sydney, 26/2/2009


  1. "Sources of bias in Health Commission and Tobacco Industry surveys in Australia" (with K.A. Pinkerton) Australian Psychologist, (1992), 27, 103-108.

Editorial & Review Work

My editorial and review work has included the following:

  • Editor of the "Directory of Australian Social Psychologists", seven editions and five Addenda from 1973 to 1994.
  • Consulting editor, "Australian Psychologist", 1978 to 1982.
  • Reviewed many journal articles, particularly for the "Australian Psychologist", "Australian Journal of Psychology" and the "Journal of Applied Social Psychology"


Research Grants

Some external research grants I have received have been from:

  • NSW Department of Health and NSW Department of Corrective Services, 1992-1994 $50,000
  • NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service: numerous small research grants from 1991 to present


Appointments & Professional Experience

Current and Previous Appointments

Current Appointment
Honorary Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology, University of Sydney (July 2003 to present) Previous Appointments
Previous Appointments

Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology, University of Sydney, 1981 to 2003.

Lecturer, Department of Psychology, University of Sydney, 1973 to 1980.

Senior Tutor, School of Behavioural Sciences, Macquarie University, 1972.

Lecturer, Department of Psychology, University of Keele, England. 1970-1971.

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Pennsylvania State University, U.S.A. 1969-1970.

Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Social Psychology Program, Department of
Psychology, Ohio State University, U.S.A. February-July, 1969.

Teaching Fellow, Department of Psychology, University of Sydney, 1964-1968.

Tutor, Department of Psychology, University of Sydney, 1961-1963.

Visiting Appointments

Visiting Scholar, Department of Psychology, University of Wyoming, U.S.A. August - October, 2001 and June - July, 2002.

Visiting Scholar, Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Attorney General's Department, Sydney.   December, 1997 - January, 1998.

Visiting Scholar, Department of Justice, Law and Society, School of Public affairs, American University, Washington DC, USA. September to December, 1997.

Visiting Scholar, Department of Psychology, School of Behavioural Sciences, Macquarie University.   November - December, 1994.

Visiting Scholar, Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Arlington, USA.   September - November, 1994

Visiting Scholar, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, U.S.A.

July-August 1994; June-July 1988;  February 1979-February 1980;


I have had almost 50 years teaching experience, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, mainly at the University of Sydney, but also at Macquarie University and at universities in the U.S.A. and England. 

The areas I have taught have principally been in:
      Social Psychology, at all undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
      Environmental Psychology, to Senior level students.
      Field Research Methods, to Psychology 4 (Honours) and to   
               Masters/Graduate Diploma in Science (Psychology) students.
Particular teaching initiatives have included:
      Introduced unit on Field Research Methods.
      Field research projects with Environmental Psychology students.
      Research Projects for Study Abroad students.

I have also been the unit co-ordinator (in most semesters) for all the units in which I have taught, other than First Year. 

Supervision of research projects by Psychology 4 (Honours), Masters/Graduate Diploma in Science (Psychology) and PhD students. 

Teaching Administration

Over many years, I have been a major contributor to Psychology Department administration and policy development for undergraduate teaching. My main positions have included:

  • Associate Head of Department (Teaching), 1997-2000
  • Acting Head of Department, short periods in 1998
  • Chair, Teaching Committee, 1996-2000
  • Chair, Undergraduate Planning and Policy Committee, 1977-1988
  • Co-ordinator, Bachelor of Psychology degree, 1996-1999
  • Co-ordinator, Second and Third Year Psychology, 1989-1994
  • Co-ordinator, Diploma of Arts (Psychology) and subsequently the Psychology for Graduates Non-degree program, 1989-1999
  • Co-ordinator, Study Abroad Program, 1995 to 2003
  • Co-ordinator, Talented students program, 1998, 2000
  • Co-ordinator, Courses and Careers Information Day, 1990-1991, 1996
  • Member, Head of Department Advisory Committee, 1995 to 2003
  • Schools Publicity, 1990 to 1999

At University level, my most active recent involvement has included the following:

  • Member, Faculty of Science Publicity Committee, 1990-1994
  • Faculty of Science Enrolments Advisor, 1991-2000
  • Convenor, Faculty of Science Working Party for Bachelor of Psychology degree, 1995
  • Member of University Staff Selection Committees
  • Member of Committees for selection of Exchange students
  • Faculty of Science representative at US conferences of International Educators, 1995, 1996
  • Member, Faculty of Arts Undergraduate Matters Committee, 1990-1991

Applying Environmental Psychology

Examples of submissions, based on my research, on behalf of the City of Willoughby Federation of Progress Associations, Artarmon Progress Association or Willoughby Council aldermen to:

  • N.S.W. Minister for the Environment
    Dual occupancy housing, 1993
  • N.S.W. Department of Environment and Planning
    Urban Consolidation Policy, 1983 and 1989
  • Willoughby Council
    Draft Housing Policy, 1984
    Group Housing, 1983 and 1989
  • Department of Main Roads
    Proposed Gore Hill Freeway Construction, 1987
  • Department of Communications
    Replacement broadcast tower at Gore Hill.

Positions held in community organisations relating to my professional interests

  • Trustee, Lane Cover River State Recreation Area, 1982 to 1989. (Honorary Appointment by Minister for the Environment, N.S.W. government).
  • Representative and Treasurer, Association of State Recreation Area Trusts, 1985 to 1989.
  • President (1987-1997), Vice President (1984-86), Secretary (1982-83), Artarmon and District Progress Association.
  • Vice President, City of Willoughby Federation of Progress Associations, (1993 to 1995).
  • Program Director (2010) and Presenter (2008 to present), Community Radio station 2RRR 88.5 FM, Sydney