New ph.d. student: Müge Özbek Akçay

From Turkey to Denmark and studies about how people remember their past and imagine their future.

[Translate to English:] Müge Özbek Akçay
[Translate to English:] Müge Özbek Akçay
  • What will you be focusing on in your PhD project - in terms of both research and teaching?

Well, I am mainly interested in mental time travel ability, which allows us to mentally represent personal events in subjective time. Hence, I will be looking into how people remember their past and imagine their future and what are the similarities and differences between these two processes.

More specifically, I will investigate whether and how young and old adults differ from each other in terms of their phenomenological experience when they remember or imagine important events from their lives. I am really excited to test adults over 60 years of age because the way people interpret life events change drastically in old age. I think this might have an effect on what kind of details old people incorporate when they tell/ write about their experiences, or how they appraise events that could have happened in their past as well as events that might happen to them in the future. Any difference (or lack of it) between young and old adults with regard to these questions may give us important insights into life span development of autobiographical memory, cognition and emotion.

As for the teaching, I would like to give a seminar about this topic in which we will go through recent theoretical and empirical papers with the students who might find it interesting J However, before that I will be teaching statistics as a PhD instructor next semester.

  • What have you done prior to this?

Prior to my PhD, I completed my undergraduate and graduate studies at the Department of Psychology, Bogazici University, Turkey. As an undergraduate, I was interested in visual working memory and perception but then I was converted to the study of autobiographical memory once and for all I was a member of Prof. Ali Tekcan’s Lab in Bogazici University and we were doing research in self-defining memories and flashbulb memories. In fact, my master’s thesis was about attachment and self-defining memories. I investigated how anxiety and avoidance affect characteristics of self-defining memories across relational contexts.

  • Why did you choose to do a PhD, and why did you choose the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences?

 I have always wanted to do a PhD because I just can’t imagine myself outside academia or research milieu. Up to this point, I have been proceeding step by step and of course when my master’s was finished, next step was to continue with the PhD. I am glad that I am a PhD student here in Aarhus because it is important to have nice and supportive colleagues around you. It is also important that you feel happy and motivated as a researcher in your workplace. CON AMORE is the best place to be as a student of autobiographical memory.

  • Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Difficult question... Well, I am a 26-year old woman coming from Turkey and currently I am trying to adapt to Danish culture and lifestyle. I am a movie geek and I also like to read crime novels (I think something in the air makes you like krimi in Denmark J). I am the wife of the most supportive husband one can ever have and the aunt of a cute little 2,5-year old boy. I am also a hardworking student of Danish language and I would like to say: Mange tak!



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