Dr Denise Dillon is the Associate Dean Research Education at the JCU Singapore campus and Chair of the JCU Singapore IACUC. After serving as Head of Academic Group for psychology, arts and education for almost 10 years, Denise now facilitates and promotes the strategic direction of research within JCUS, improvements in the quality and impact of that research, and the growth of local, national and international research collaborations. Additionally, Denise provides leadership to academic staff and HDR students. 

Her primary research focus is biophilia (love for life and lifelike processes) pertaining to both natural and built environments, and Denise is a certified Forest Therapy Guide and is active in the community as one of three pioneers of forest therapy guiding in Singapore. In March 2016 Denise presented a public lecture on the broader background of research in her area, titled The Peace of Wild Things: Attention Restoration Through Biophilic Design. In May 2017, Denise, as leader of the biophilia research cluster at JCU Singapore, hosted Sue Thomas as a Visiting Scholar. During her visit, Sue (author of Technobiophilia: Nature and Cyberspace) presented a public lecture on her key topic:  Living well with nature in a wired world: an introduction to technobiophilia

Recent Projects include the following:

  • Connect, Respect and Reflect: Nature Connectedness in Singapore
  • Connecting the Dots: Do Context and Connectedness Influence Pro-environmental Behaviours? (JCU Singapore Cross-collaboration Grant $4424; McShane, Dillon, Koh, Green)
  • On a Trajectory Towards Zero Waste: Changing Behaviours Through Active Citizenry (JCU Singapore Cross-collaboration Grant $3000; Dillon, Swinbourne) 
  • Virtual reality greenspaces: Does level of immersion affect directed attention restoration in VR environments?
  • A Preliminary Validation of Guided Forest Therapy as an Effective and Beneficial Practice in a Healing Setting (co-funded by an internal research grant from JCU Singapore and SkillsFuture SG and with the in-kind support of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital through the use of their 'garden in a hospital') 
  • Impact of nature imagery and mystery on attention restoration in young adults
  • Community gardening: Stress, well-being and resilience potentials 
  • Parental connection and attitudes toward nature and children’s time spent in nature
  • Exposing the bear in the woods: an exploratory analysis on animal metaphors  
  • A room with a view: Do nature views influence moral compassion? 

Denise is seeking expressions of interest from motivated individuals in potential PhD projects in the area of environmental psychology. 

Enquiries about PhD, Masters, honours and minor projects are welcome. Please submit a short (1 page max) cover letter detailing your suitability and interest, academic transcript and a CV with contact details for two referees by email.

Community Outreach

Denise contributed an essay (Bathing in the benefits of nature immersion) in 2021 book detailing the many forms of life residing in Singapore's little-known but ecologically diverse Pang Sua Woodland. A collaboration between Nature Society (Singapore) and Cicada Tree Eco-Place, Pang Sua Woodland: Sanctuary Unveiled Along the Rail Corridor combines biodiversity surveys and community voices to reveal the wealth of benefits to be had from urban green spaces. 

From 2019-2021, Denise served as Research Chair for the Singapore Psychological Society Council 2019-2021, and was responsible for organising the annual SPS Student Research Awards in October 2019 and 2020. She is now Editor-in-Chief for the Singapore Psychologist magazine and has contributed a number of items to the magazine in addition to regular editorials.  

  • Issue 15, Aug-23 Ephemeral Fascination
  • Issue 14, Apr-23 A Lesson Learned from a Careless Coaching Catastrophe
  • Issue 12, Sep-22 Edifying Education. Craving Contentment & Dabbling with Despair
  • Issue 10, Mar-22 Okayness. I’m Okay If Earth Is Okay 
  • Issue 9, Dec-21 Human-Machine Interactions. Eerie Resemblances in The Uncanny Valley
  • Issue 8, Sep 21 Human-Animal Interactions. Learning to Fear or Fostering to Flourish?; Nonhuman Animal Contributions to Psychology 
  • Issue 7, Jun-21 Human-Environment Interactions. Coping With the Experience of Ecological Loss; Experiential Environmentalism; Nature without a name: Noticing nature in Singapore 

Media Mentions 

Peer Review 

  • Judge for 2018, 2020 & 2022 Psychology panels, Undergraduate Awards 
  • In 2015 my Honours supervisee, Paul Victor Patinadan, received a Highly Commended award for his UA entry based on his thesis, "Friends, Food or Worth Fighting For? A Proposed Stereotype Content Model for Nonhuman Animals" 
  • PY2109: Environmental Psychology (Level 2; SIN)
  • Denise's key teaching focus is environmental psychology, with additional teaching experience in the areas of personality and individual psychology, statistics and research methods, memory & cognition, health and social psychology, lifespan development, and effective writing.
  • 2023 to present - Acting Dean Research, JCU (Singapore)
  • 2021 to present - Associate Professor Psychology, JCU Singapore (Singapore)
  • 2021 to present - Editor-in-Chief, Singapore Psychologist Magazine (Singapore)
  • 2020 to present - Chair IACUC, JCU Singapore (Singapore)
  • 2018 to present - Associate Dean Research/Research Education, JCU (Singapore)
  • 2019 to 2021 - Research Chair, Singapore Psychological Society (Singapore)
  • 2017 to 2021 - Member of Academic Board, JCU (Australia)
  • 2015 to 2021 - Senior Lecturer, JCU (Singapore)
  • 2016 to 2018 - Research Cluster Leader: Biophilia Research Cluster, JCU (Singapore)
  • 2015 to 2018 - Head of Academic Group Psychology and Education, JCU (Singapore)
  • 2015 to 2017 - Managing Editor, Journal of Tropical Psychology
  • 2008 to 2014 - Lecturer, JCU (Singapore)
  • 2008 to 2014 - Associate Dean of Psychology, JCU (Singapore)
  • 2007 - Contract data analysis consultant, Self-employed (Cairns, Australia)
  • 2007 - Contract research assistant, JCU (Cairns, Australia)
  • 2003 to 2007 - Lecturer/Associate Lecturer/Subject Coordinator, JCU (Cairns, Australia)
  • 2004 - Contract interviewer, QADREC, School of Population Health, UQ (Cairns, Australia)
  • 2003 - Child Protection Officer, Dept of Families (Cairns, Australia)
  • 2001 to 2003 - Volunteer Supervisor on Call, Lifeline (Cairns, Australia)
  • 2000 to 2002 - Volunteer Telephone Counsellor, Lifeline (Cairns, Australia)
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2017 - JCU Singapore Academic of the Year
  • 2002 - War Widows Guild of Australia (QLD) Cairns Sub Branch prize for highest achievement in English Literature in a 1st, 2nd & 3rd year sequence
  • 2000 - Ross Smith prize for highest mark in a third-year English Literature subject
  • 2023 - Excellence Awards. Special Commendation for Outstanding Support & Leadership
  • 2021 - Singapore Association for Laboratory Animal Science
  • 2021 - International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP)
  • 2021 - International Association for People-Environment Studies
  • 2020 - Chair, JCU Singapore Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
  • 2020 - Accredited Research Manager (Foundation)
  • 2017 - Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs Supporting Member
  • 2013 - Wallace Stevens Society
  • 2013 - Association for the Study of Literature & Environment (ASLE)
  • 2012 - Singapore Psychological Society (Full Member No. FM01241D)
  • 2019 to 2021 - Research Chair, Singapore Psychological Society Council
  • 2017 to 2021 - JCU Academic Board
  • 2015 to 2017 - Managing Editor, Journal of Tropical Psychology
  • 2012 - Visiting Scholar, Harvard (Cambridge, MA)
  • 2012 - Visiting Scholar, Northwestern University (Evanston, ILL)
  • 2005 to 2008 - HCSNet Scholarship (annual conference travel)
  • 2003 to 2008 - JCU Faculty postgraduate scholarship (annual stipend)

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Book Chapters
Conference Papers

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 42+ research outputs authored by Dr Denise Dillon from 2005 onwards.


Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Exploring Spirituality’s Mediating Effect on Self-Transcendent Influences on Prosocial Behaviour (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Breaking down the mindfulness construct and examining factors influencing mindfulness (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • A Virtual Reality Approach to Improving Public Speaking Skills (PhD , Advisor Mentor)
  • The development and validation of a Buddhist religiosity scale using a combined emic and etic approach (PhD , Advisor Mentor)
  • Social Media Use and Prosocial Behaviour (PhD , Advisor Mentor)
  • Morality's Nudge on Creative Action (PhD , Advisor Mentor)

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