New Ph.D Student: Omar Sinue Salgado Leyva
Omar Sinue will be exploring the ability that people have to mentally reconstruct personal events from the past and to mentally construct possible events in the future.
What will you be focusing on in your PhD project - in terms of both research and teaching?
My PhD project will be focusing on exploring the cultural and physiological mechanisms that facilitate or constrain Mental Time Travel (MTT) (the ability that people have to mentally reconstruct personal events from the past and to mentally construct possible events in the future). We usually think of MTT as something that goes on solely in the mind, but could it be, that our physiology also plays a role in these cognitive processes? Knowledge about these processes might provide useful insights to current research on impairments in memory (e.g., amnesia, dementia, depression). As for the teaching, I will focus on the relation between MTT and the Self. I will put especial attention to explore the different concepts we have of the self and how our biology interacts with high cognitive processes (e.g. the sense of self).
What have you done prior to this?
I came to Denmark to study my Master Degree in Cognitive Semiotics here at Aarhus University. After graduating I have been working as a research assistant at the Center on Autobiographical Memory Research (CON AMORE). I have been part of a large cross cultural project, led by Alejandra Zaragoza, aiming to investigate the cultural norms that guide our recollection of Autobiographical Memories in Mexico, Greenland, China and Denmark. Under the direction of Dorthe Berntsen, I am helping in the elaboration of a scale aiming to investigate the frequency of Involuntary Memories and Future Thoughts. The project is framed in relation to emotional distress, daydreaming and aging. Finally, I am part of a group aiming to do research of memory in Virtual Reality settings.
Why did you choose to do a PhD, and why did you choose the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences?
I had been interested in doing research since I did my bachelor project, and the PhD offers the possibility to pursue a career as researcher. Being interested in human behavior and the majority of the high cognitive processes, the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences and the research done by Center on Autobiographical Memory Research (CON AMORE) offers a unique opportunity to continue my earlier work and to contribute to research in new fields.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born in Mexico. Since I was little I have shown great interest in learning new things all the time; be those things a new language, the explanation of things that we take from granted in the everyday life, to play an instrument, a new sport, etc. In my spare time I like reading, science fiction and epic novels are my favorites. My passion is discovering new people and places, that is why I love traveling. I enjoy defining myself as part of the new generation that has the entire world as its citizenship.