I began my career in Psychology at Macquarie University, graduating in 1991 with a BA (Hons) and then went on to complete a PhD in Psychology (1996) at the University of New South Wales. Following postdoctoral work at the University of California, Berkeley, I returned to Australia and UNSW as an Australian Research Council (ARC) Postdoctoral Fellow and later as an ARC Queen Elizabeth II Fellow. In 2007 I moved to the Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science as an ARC Australian Research Fellow. I am now an ARC Future Fellow and Chief Investigator of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders, hosted by the Department of Cognitive Science, Macquarie University.
My research involves investigations of autobiographical remembering and forgetting, drawing on concepts and approaches from hypnosis and posthypnotic amnesia and from experimental and clinical work on memory.
For more than a decade I have collaborated with philosopher, Professor John Sutton (also in the Department of Cognitive Science, Macquarie University) to investigate individual memory, individual memory in small groups, and small-group collective memory, motivated by the observation that in everyday life we engage in many cognitive activities in the presence of, prompted by and in partnership with others. Guided by John's philosophical framework of “distributed cognition/extended mind” and the little tested cognitive theory of “transactive memory”, our interdisciplinary Collective Cognition team has used a range of memory paradigms to measure the products and processes, costs and benefits of remembering together versus alone.
Our findings are inspiring us to explore when and how “collaborative remembering” with a long-term partner might compensate for, predict and/or even reduce the risk of memory and cognitive decline as we age.
I also maintain a strong interest and experimental research program in hypnosis: how it works and how it can be used to understand everyday and clinical distortions of perception, memory, action and belief.
• Bernard B. Raginski Award for Leadership and Achievement in Hypnosis, 2013, Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis (USA); • NSW “Young Tall Poppy” Award, 2001; • The Australian Skeptics Eureka Prize for Critical Thinking, 1997, Australian Museum