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Personal profile

Research Interests

I use experimental paradigms and theory from clinical psychology and cognitive science to understand real-life situations in which memory distortion can be maladaptive, and in which people are exposed either directly or indirectly to potentially traumatic events or content. Thus, my current research interests are in autobiographical memory for negative and traumatic experiences, intrusive and involuntary memories, anticipated trauma and the role of warnings, potential trauma exposure on social media and in the workplace, the relationship between alcohol, crime and memory, and other legal implications of memory distortion.

My early work, training with with Professor Maryanne Garry, focused on memory distortion and suggestive influences (including warnings; see Loftus, 1979) in the tradition of Professor Elizabeth Loftus (e.g., Takarangi & Loftus, 2016; Takarangi, Parker & Garry, 2006).

My later work explores suggestive influences in the context of traumatic memory (e.g., Takarangi & Strange, 2010). For example, in my lab we have demonstrated that people can come to remember seeing more of a traumatic event than they actually experienced (“memory amplification”) and that these distortions are associated with analogue PTSD symptoms (e.g., Strange & Takarangi, 2012; Oulton, Takarangi & Strange, 2016). We have shown that the way people are questioned about their history of exposure to traumatic experiences can override what they remember (Takarangi et al., 2018), the ways people recall trauma memories might produce changes in how coherent those memories feel (Taylor, Jordan, Zajac, Takarangi & Garry, in press), and that people are biased in how they remember prior PTSD symptoms (Nahleen, Nixon & Takarangi, 2019).

A related line of research—on cognitive and metacognitive features of PTSD—demonstrates that people, including people seeking treatment for PTSD, are not that accurate at monitoring when their attention is captured by intrusive trauma-related thoughts, a hallmark PTSD symptom (Takarangi et al., 2014; 2017; Nixon, Roberts, Sun & Takarangi, 2021).

Years of conducting research using trauma analogue paradigms to answer questions about the nature of traumatic memory honed my interest in how experiences of trauma that would not always clearly meet the criteria for a PTSD diagnosis—including exposure to graphic images, anticipating future trauma, and imagining aspects of trauma—can nonetheless lead to psychopathological reactions (e.g., Bridgland et al., 2021). One example of this work is my lab’s research on trigger warnings, which are warnings presented to consumers before they view, read or otherwise engage with material that is potentially upsetting. In this work (e.g., Bridgland, Green, Oulton & Takarangi, 2019; Bridgland & Takarangi, 2021; Bridgland, Barnard & Takarangi, 2021; Brigland & Takarangi, 2022; Bridgland, Bellet, & Takarangi, in press), we have shown that trigger warnings [a] prompt an anxious anticipatory period that does not seem to reflect mental preparation to cope with negative content; [b] have little effect on immediate emotional reactions towards warned-of material; [c] do little to foster the avoidance of potentially upsetting material, including viewing negative content online.

Completed Supervisions

Principal Supervisions:
  • emotional memory (2)
  • traumatic memory distortion (2)
  • prospective memory (1)
  • trigger warnings (1)
Associate Supervisions:
  • eyewitness memory (1)


  • Registered

Research Areas

  • Clinical psychology
  • Psychology

Supervisory Interests

  • Traumatic memory
  • Autobiographical memory
  • Memory
  • Cognition
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)


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