Dr Rachel Anderson

Senior Lecturer

Faculty of Health Sciences


01482 465582

Programme Director, Psychology postgraduate research degrees (PhD, MSc by Research, MRes)/ ESRC White Rose DTP Deputy Director - Education, Childhood & Youth Pathway

Dr Rachel Anderson joined the University in 2010 after lecturing / post-doctoral positions at Leeds Beckett University and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience.

She was awarded her PhD from Goldsmiths, University of London, in 2007.


Research Interests

  • Autobiographical memory

  • Prospective (future-oriented) thinking

  • Relationship between episodic memory and simulation

  • Functions of episodic memory and simulation

  • Memory / prospection and psychological distress

  • Memory / prospection and well-being (psychological and physical)

  • Social problem-solving

  • Long-term memory processes, including memory illusions and prospective memory


Boland, J. Riggs, K.J., & Anderson, R.J. (2018) 'A brighter future: The effect of positive episodic simulation on future predictions in non-depressed, moderately dysphoric and highly dysphoric individuals', Behaviour Research and Therapy, 100, 7-16.

Anderson, R.J., Dewhurst, S.A., & Dean, G.M. (2017), 'Direct and generative retrieval of autobiographical memories: The roles of visual imagery and executive processes', Consciousness and Cognition, 49, 163-171.

Dewhurst, S.A., Anderson, R.J., Boland, J., & Grace, L. (2017), 'Survival processing versus self-reference: A memory advantage following descriptive self-referential encoding', Journal of Memory and Language, 94, 291-304.

Dewhurst, S.A., Anderson, R.J., Grace, L., & van Esch, L (2016), 'Adaptive false memory: Imagining future scenarios increases false memories in the DRM paradigm', Memory and Cognition, 44, 1076-1084.

Anderson, R.J., Boland, J., & Garner, S.R. (2016), 'Over general past and future thinking in dysphoria: The role of emotional cues and cueing methodology', Memory, 24, 708-719.

Full list


Programmes taught on (2019)

Modules list

  • Cognition and Development 2 (Level 5)

  • Psychological Wellbeing & Distress (Level 5) (Module Manager)

  • Theories of Mental Health (Level 7) (Module Manager)

Research PhDs

Dr Anderson welcomes applications in the areas of autobiographical memory and / or prospective cognition. In particular, she is interested in

  • the cognitive processes underlying memory / future thinking, their similarities and differences

  • the functional purpose of memory / future thinking, such as their relationship with a sense of self, psychological well-being / distress, and in guiding future goal-oriented behaviour and problem-solving behaviours

  • the relationship between memory / future thinking impairments and psychological distress

  • the role of memory / future thinking impairments in chronic health conditions, such as Parkinson's disease

  • the potential use of memory / future thinking as a tool for promoting psychological / physical well-being and / or alleviating distress

Completed PhDs

  • Alex Taylor (2015) Association between urge incontinence and other non-motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease. MSc by Thesis

Current PhD supervisions 

  • Lydia Grace, Autobiographical Memory and the Self in Dysphoria

  • Jennifer Boland, Hypothetical Thinking in Depression

  • David Howe (2nd Supervisor), Healthy consequences of false memories

  • Katie Oxtoby (2nd Supervisor), Patients and significant others in CFS

  • Joel Swaine (2nd Supervisor), Emotional self-regulation through music

Teaching awards and accolades

  • Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education

  • HEA Fellow

Professional highlights

Academic qualifications

  • BSc Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London (2002)

  • PhD Psychology (Real life Social Problem Solving in Anxiety and Depression) - Goldsmiths, University of London (2007)

Awards and accolades

Grants Awarded (Principal Investigator)

  • 2013-14: The role of counterfactual mindset manipulation on social problem-solving (Experimental Psychology Society, £2,500)

  • 2010-11: Comparing the cognitive processes underlying autobiographical memory retrieval and future event simulation (ESRC, £74,932)

Grants Awarded (Co-Investigator)

  • 2013-2016: Adaptive False Memories: Investigating the effect of future planning on false memory (ESRC, £265,934). PI - Dr Steve Dewhurst, University of Hull.

  • 2008-2010: Real-life problem-solving in people with Parkinson's disease (Parkinson’s UK, £70,171). PI - Prof. Richard. G. Brown, Institute of Psychiatry.