Dorthe Kirkegaard Thomsen receives the Aarhus BSS Research Award 2015
Her extraordinary research contributions and ability to attract external funding – these are some of the grounds on which Professor Dorthe Kirkegaard Thomsen from the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences at Aarhus BSS has received the Aarhus BSS Research Award.
Dorthe Kirkegaard Thomsen’s research revolves around the topic of life stories and how they affect our quality of life and general well-being. She receives the award in recognition of her extensive efforts in the area.
“Dorthe is a very skilled and highly respected researcher, and she has been very successful in communicating her research on life stories to the general public and in a number of research publications. She has also succeeded in securing large research grants from several Danish foundations with which she has contributed to consolidating the research environment at our department,” says Carsten René Jørgensen from the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences.
Dorthe Kirkegaard Thomsen is both proud and happy about receiving such a pat on the back:
“Of course I was really happy when they told me I’d won the award. It can be so hard to assess your own work on a daily basis, where your research is often just one among a whole range of other work activities. So it’s nice to hear from others that what you’ve been working on has made a great difference,” says Dorthe Kirkegaard Thomsen.
Grant to support further research
The Aarhus BSS Research Award comes with a grant of DKK 50,000, which must be spent on research-related activities. Dorthe Kirkegaard Thomsen plans to spend a great share of the money on a specific research project, which focuses on uncovering how elderly and young people interpret their past life stories and how they perceive of their futures.
“We know that a person’s well-being is dependent on how he or she interprets his or her life story – and not how that person’s life has actually been. Studies show that if you interpret negative events in such a way that you place emphasis on the positive implications, then you feel better. For instance, if you have suffered from a disease, you may choose to think that it has made you a stronger person. No one has yet considered how age influences a person’s future imagined life story and how this correlates with the level of his or her well-being – so this is what we are currently working on.The preliminary analyses suggest that elderly people are more inclined to think negatively about their futures than younger people, but actually there seems to be no correlation between this negative point of view and poorer well-being among the elderly. It’s going to be interesting to see if this holds true, when we do a follow-up on the first study,” explains Dorthe Kirkegaard Thomsen.