Dr Elizabeth Anne Broadbent

Bachelor of Engineering degree with Honours (Electrical and Electronic) Canterbury University. Graduate Diploma in Arts (Massey). MSc and PhD in Health Psychology, University of Auckland.


Elizabeth initially trained as an electrical and electronic engineer at Canterbury University to pursue her interest in robotics. She then worked at Transpower, Électricité de Tahiti, and Robotechnology. After becoming interested in the psychological aspects of robotics and in psychoneuroimmunology, she obtained her MSc and PhD in health psychology, supported by a Bright Futures Top Achiever Doctoral Award.

She received an Early Career Award from the International Society of Behavioural Medicine and Early Career Research Excellence Award from the University of Auckland. She was a visiting academic at the school of psychology at Harvard University and in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, USA. In 2017, she returned to Boston with a Fulbright award to study companion robots for four months.

Her current research interests include how stress affects our health, how our body posture affects our mood, interventions to help patients make sense of and cope with illness, and human-robot interaction in health contexts. Elizabeth is well known for the development of the Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire, drawing assessments, and the development of illness perception interventions. In the technology space, Elizabeth is particularly interested in the emotional connections we form with robots, and how we can build emotional intelligence and empathy skills in robots, to help support patients. This research extends to Digital Humans, an advanced form of computer agent with artificial intelligence. 

Elizabeth's work has been supported by grants from many agencies including the Health Research Council, Auckland Medical Research Foundation, Heart Foundation, Oakley Mental Health Research Foundation, Maurice and Phyllis Paykel Trust, and the Foundation of Research Science and Technology.

Her research has featured in the New York Times, Scientific American Mind, the Guardian, Time magazine, the BBC World Service, and other media.

Research | Current

Research interests

  • Stress and wound healing
  • Coping with chronic illness
  • Illness perceptions
  • Patients’ drawings of their illness
  • Human-robot interactions
  • Embodied cognition
  • Digital humans

Please visit my google scholar page to see recent publications 

Teaching | Current

HLTHPSYC 715 Research Methods in Health Psychology (course coordinator)

HLTHPSYC 716 Psychoneuroimmunology (course co-ordinator)

HLTHPSYC 714 Health Psychology (guest lecturer)

HLTHPSYC 758 Technology and Health (guest lecturer)


Postgraduate supervision

Current students:


Kate Loveys, Mohsen Alyami, 


Aidan Messenger, Isabella Pickering, Shennelle Muller, TIngting Zhu, Chamilka Punchihewa, Mariam Karhiy

Areas of expertise

Health Psychology


Human Robot Interaction

Digital Humans

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Editorial Boards: Technology, Mind & Behavior; Psychology & Health


Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Law, M., Jarrett, P., Nater, U. M., Skoluda, N., & Broadbent, E. (2020). The effects of environmental enrichment on skin barrier recovery in humans: a randomised trial. Scientific reports, 10 (1)10.1038/s41598-020-66687-2
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Paul Jarrett
  • O'Donovan C, Ingles, J., Broadbent, E., Skinner, J. R., & Kasparian, N. A. (2020). How Patient Perceptions Shape Responses and Outcomes in Inherited Cardiac Conditions. Heart, lung & circulation, 29 (4), 641-652. 10.1016/j.hlc.2019.11.003
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jonathan Skinner
  • Johanson, D. L., Ahn, H. S., Sutherland, C. J., Brown, B., MacDonald, B. A., Lim, J. Y., ... Broadbent, E. (2020). Smiling and use of first-name by a healthcare receptionist robot: Effects on user perceptions, attitudes, and behaviours. Paladyn, 11 (1), 40-51. 10.1515/pjbr-2020-0008
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Ho Seok Ahn, Craig Sutherland, Bruce MacDonald
  • Law, M., Minissale, G., Lambert, A., Nater, U. M., Skoluda, N., Ryckman, N., ... Broadbent, E. (2020). Viewing landscapes is more stimulating than scrambled images after a stressor: A cross-disciplinary approach. Frontiers in Environmental Science, 1010.3389/fpsyg.2019.03092
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Gregory Minissale, Anthony Lambert
  • O'Donovan CE, Skinner, J. R., & Broadbent, E. (2019). Reference frame and emotions may contribute to discrepancies in patient and clinician risk estimates in Long QT syndrome. Patient education and counseling, 102 (12), 2296-2301. 10.1016/j.pec.2019.06.021
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jonathan Skinner
  • Broadbent, E., Schoones, J. W., Tiemensma, J., & Kaptein, A. A. (2019). A systematic review of patients' drawing of illness: implications for research using the Common Sense Model. Health psychology review, 13 (4), 406-426. 10.1080/17437199.2018.1558088
  • Alyami, M., Serlachius, A., Mokhtar, I., & Broadbent, E. (2019). Illness perceptions, HbA1c, and adherence in Type 2 Diabetes in Saudi Arabia. Patient Preference and Adherence, 13, 1839-1850. 10.2147/PPA.S228670
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Mohsen Alyami, Anna Serlachius
  • Johanson, D. L., Ahn, H. S., MacDonald, B. A., Ahn, B. K., Lim, J., Hwang, E., ... Broadbent, E. (2019). The Effect of Robot Attentional Behaviors on User Perceptions and Behaviors in a Simulated Health Care Interaction: Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of medical Internet research, 21 (10)10.2196/13667
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Ho Seok Ahn, Bruce MacDonald, Craig Sutherland


Contact details

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 507 - Bldg 507
Level 3, Room 3010
New Zealand

Web links