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New postdoc: Adam Congleton

Adam will be studying how different aspects of emotion shape the structure of people’s autobiographical memory.

2014.10.29 | Tine Bagger Christiansen

Adam Congleton. Photo: AU KOM

  • What will you be focusing on in your project - in terms of both research and teaching?

During my current Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, I will be studying how different aspects of emotion shape the structure of people’s autobiographical memory.  Specifically, I will be creating discrete autobiographical episodes in the laboratory using virtual reality simulation to control what information people encounter during their experience.  Using virtual reality, I will be able to examine how factors such as emotional valence, arousal, mood, goals, and attitudes influence the types of details people remember about their experience, how accurate their memories are, how they structure their memories into coherent representations across time, and how such memories influence the beliefs people come to form about their identities.

  • What have you done prior to this?

I’m originally from the Midwestern United States.  I received my PhD in Experimental Psychology from Stony Brook University in New York in 2012.  Afterwards, I completed a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.  My earlier research primarily focused on the social influences on memory, including how collaboration among members of a group reshapes their past memories and influences their future learning.

  • Why did you choose the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences?

I came to the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences because I was drawn to research being conducted by Dorthe Berntsen and her colleagues at the Center on Autobiographical Memory Research (CON AMORE).  I had been interested in branching our from my earlier work on the social influences on memory to the role of emotion and autobiographical memory, and CON AMORE provided the perfect environment in which to conduct my new line of research.

  • Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I don’t have a partner or children, but I some hobbies/interests/etc. I love:

-hiking, whitewater rafting, and sailing

-travelling and photographing nature

-tasting and collecting wines from around the world

-writing short stories and poems

-reading philosophy (I actually almost became a philosopher)

-listening to all types of music and singing in various groups (I’ve been singing in groups since I was about 4)

-watching all types of movies (i.e., from old movies to cult classics)

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