Karen Salmon web

Principal Investigator – Associate Professor Karen Salmon

Karen is interested in autobiographical memory, which is memory for our personal experiences. She also has a particular focus on children and adolescents. Our autobiographical memory serves important functions in our lives, including maintaining a sense of identity, guiding future actions, and helping us build relationships with others.

Within this broader area, her research (with students and collaborators) asks several questions. First, what is the relationship between how we remember our personal experiences and our psychological functioning (e.g., depression, anxiety, or wellbeing)? Second, how does the nature (style, content, amount) of children and adolescents’ conversations with others (parents, other adults) influence their personal memories, their understanding of their world, and their psychological functioning?


PhD Candidates:

Charlotte Gutenbrunner

Charlotte completed her BSc, majoring in Psychology and Statistics, and Honours degree in Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington. Charlotte is currently completing her PhD and training as a clinical psychologist. Her research interests concern relationships between autobiographical memory retrieval and the emergence of psychopathology during adolescence. For example, one research question focuses on whether level of specificity of remembered events predicts development of depression and anxiety across the adolescent years.

Tim Ganly

Tim is a PhD candidate and is investigating the relationships between avoidant coping, stress, and autobiographical memory specificity.

Lauren Bryce

Lauren is currently completing her PhD and is part of the Clinical Psychology Programme at Victoria University. Lauren’s PhD has a focus on childhood anxiety, and specifically how greater levels of anxiety influence how children interpret and remember ambiguous situations. An additional strand of this research relates to the relationships between childhood anxiety and different aspects of parent-child conversations about past events.

Ruth Glynn

Ruth completed her BSc and Honours degree in Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington. She is training as a clinical psychologist and is currently completing her PhD. Ruth’s research is focused on autobiographical memory development during childhood and adolescence. Specifically, her PhD investigates the influence of selective discussion on children’s recall of autobiographical memories across development and how the features of narratives may influence what is forgotten and remembered over time.

Mary Dewhirst

Mary completed her undergraduate study in psychology and sociology at Victoria University, where she earned a BSc with honours in psychology in 2014. She is currently working on her PhD and training as a clinical psychologist. Within the broad area of developmental and clinical child psychology, Mary has a specific interest in the concept of autobiographical memory and its role on socio-emotional development in childhood and adolescence.

Claire Mitchell

Claire is currently visiting from the University of Otago to work in the Clinical and Developmental laboratory at VUW. She completed her BSc (Hons), majoring in Psychology at the University of Otago, and is currently completing her PhD and training as a clinical psychologist, through the University of Otago. Her research interests involve a concept called “narrative identity” and its relationship with depression, and psychological well-being in adolescents.