Research area: Developmental and Personality Psychology
Avril Thorne studies the development of a sense of self and identity
in the context of telling one's life to others, especially to family members
and friends. She also studies the impact of family story telling on parents'
and children's developing sense of self, and the narrative co-construction
of personality, identity, and intimacy.
One ongoing project examines self-defining memories in adolescence and
emerging adulthood, when the life story is beginning to blossom. We have
found that memorable moments of telling such memories teach important
lessons about what can and cannot be shared with others. Another project
examines why parents tell and don't tell their youthful experiences
to their children, and how constructing one's past to children informs parents'
sense of self.
Avril Thorne serves on the steering committee of the Society for Personology,
and has been Associate Editor of the Journal of Personality. She is a
member of Society for Research on Adolescence, the Association for Research
in Personality, and the Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition.
Narrative Research Group
The Narrative Research Group meets the second Friday of each month in room 237 Social Sciences 2, from 12:15 pm to 2:00 pm. Anyone who is
captivated by narratives that emerge in diaries, interviews, or conversations is welcome to participate. Recent discussions
have centered on how to quantify narratives while preserving their integrity, contextual influences on narratives, bicultural and
intergenerational narratives, positioning and masculinity, and the plausibility of an authentic or “backstage” self. Current
members include Ted Sarbin, Cath Byrne, Avril Thorne, Neill Korobov, Vickie Nam, Denise Su, Moin Syed, Joel Gills, Elizabeth Morgan, and Steve Bearman.
Personality and the Study of Lives
This interdisciplinary group is interested in understanding the development of individual persons--as represented by traits, motives, behavioral trends,
life stories, personal identities, or autobiographical memories--in particular social and cultural contexts. The group functions as a forum for the exchange of
ideas and to faciliate collaborative research. Members include Per Gjerde, David Harrington, Avril Thorne, Margarita Azmitia, Mara Mather, Eileen Zurbriggen, and