Dorthe Kirkegaard Thomsen


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Dorthe Kirkegaard Thomsen


  • Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences
Postal address:
Bartholins Allé 9
1340, 349
Aarhus C


Phone: +4587165792


2003: Ph.d. in Psychology, University of Aarhus.
2000: MA in Psychology, University of Aarhus.
1998: BA in Psychology, City University, London

Positions held

2013-present: Professor in cognitive psychology, University of Aarhus.
2009-2013: Associate professor in cognitive psychology, University of Aarhus.
2006-2009: Assistant professor in cognitive psychology, University of Aarhus.
2003-2006: Amanuensis in cognitive psychology, University of Aarhus.

Scientific focus area

Life stories, autobiographical memory, emotion, rumination

Grants and awards

2015: Aarhus BSS research award
2013: Grant from the Velux Foundation to a project on life story chapters.
2006: Grant from The Danish Council for Independent Research, Humanities to a project on memories, narratives and goals (STERNA).
2004: Grant from The Danish Council for Independent Research, Humanities to a project on memories, life story, identity and emotional well-being.


Olesen, M.H., Thomsen, D.K., O'Toole, M.S. (2015). Subjective well-being: Above neuroticism and extraversions, autonomy matters. Personality and Individual Differences, 77, 45-49.


Pillemer, D.B., Steiner, K.L., Kuwabara, K.J., Thomsen, D.K., & Svob, C. (2015). Vicarious memories. Consciousness & Cognition, 36, 233-245.


Thomsen, D.K. (2015) Autobiographical periods: A review and central components of a theory. Review of General Psychology, 19, 294-310.


Thomsen, D.K., Jensen, T., Holm, T., Olesen, M.H., Schnieber, A., & Tønnesvang, J. (2015). A 3.5. year diary study: Remembering and life story importance are predicted by different event characteristics. Consciousness & Cognition, 36, 180-195.


Vedel, A., Thomsen, D.K., & Larsen, L. (2015). Personality, academic majors and performance: Revealing complex patterns. Personality and Individual Differences, 85, 69-76.


Steiner, K.L., Pillemer, D.B., Thomsen, D.K. & Minigan, A.P. (2014). The reminiscence bump in older adults' life story transitions. Memory, 22, 1002-1009.


Thomsen, D. K., Olesen, M. H., Schnieber, A. & Tønnesvang, J. (2014). The emotional content of life stories: Positivity bias and relation to personality. Cognition and Emotion, 28, 260-277.

Finnbogadóttir, H. & Thomsen, D.K. (2013). Review: Does maladaptive repetitive thinking affect characteristics of mental time travel? Nordic Psychology, 65, 137-165.

Thomsen, D.K., Jensen, A.B., Jensen, T., Mehlsen, M.Y., Pedersen, C.G. & Zachariae, R. (2013). Rumination, reflection and distress: An 8-month prospective study of colon-cancer patients. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 37, 1262-1268.

Pillemer, D.B., Thomsen, D.K., Kuwabara, K. & Ivecevic, Z. (2013). Feeling good and bad about past and future self. Memory, 21, 210-218.

Avlund, K., Hokland, M., Mehlsen, M., Thomsen, D.K., Viidik, A., Ekman, A. & Zachariae, R. (2012). Differential associations between white blood cell count and fatigue in young and older adults. Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, 24, 439-447.

Thomsen, D.K., Olesen, M.H., Schnieber, A., Jensen, T. & Tønnesvang, J. (2012). What characterizes life story memories? A diary study of freshmen's first term. Consciousness & Cognition, 21, 366-382.

Thomsen, D.K., Pillemer, D.B. & Ivcevic, Z. (2011). Life story chapters, specific memories and the cultural life script. Memory, 19, 267-279.

Thomsen, D. K., Tønnesvang, J., Schnieber, A. & Olesen, M. H. (2011). Do people ruminate because they haven’t digested their goals? The relations of rumination and reflection to goal internalization and ambivalence. Motivation & Emotion, 35, 105-117

Thomsen, D.K., Schnieber, A. & Olesen, M.H. (2011). Rumination is associated with the phenomenal characteristics of autobiographical memories and future scenarios. Memory, 19, 574-584.

Olesen, M.H., Thomsen, D.K., Schnieber, A. & Tønnesvang, J. (2010). Distinguishing general causality orientations from personality traits. Personality and Individual Differences, 48, 538-543.

Ebbesen, S.M.S., Zachariae, R., Mehlsen, M.Y., Thomsen, D.K., Højgaard Jensen, A., Ottosen, L.D.M., Petersen, T., Ingerslev, H.J. (2009). Stressful life events are associated with a poor in vitro fertilization (IVF) outcome: a prospective study. Human Reproduction, 24, 2173-2182.

Thomsen, D.K. & Brinkmann, S. (2009). An interviewer’s guide to autobiographical memory: Ways to elicit concrete experiences and to avoid pitfalls in interpreting them. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 6, 294-312.

Thomsen, D.K. (2009). There is more to life stories than memories. Memory, 17, 445-457.

Thomsen, D.K. & Berntsen, D. (2009). The long-term impact of emotionally stressful events on memory characteristics and life story. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 23, 579-598.

Avlund, K., Mehlsen, M.Y., Thomsen, D.K., Viidik, A., Zachariae, R. (2008). Physical functioning and use of health services in a young and old sample. The influence of fatigue. Danish Medical Bulletin, 55, 147-151.

Thomsen, D.K. & Berntsen, D. (2008). The cultural life script and life story chapters contribute to the reminiscence bump. Memory, 16, 420-436.

Thomsen, D.K. & Jensen, A.B. (2008). Memories and narratives about breast cancer: Exploring associations between turning points, distress and meaning. Narrative Inquiry, 17, 349-370.

Thomsen, D.K., Johansen, M.B., Pedersen, A.F., Jensen, A.B., Zachariae, R. (2007). Breast cancer patients’ narratives about positive and negative communication experiences. Acta Oncologia, 46, 900-908.

Thomsen, D.K. (2006). The association between rumination and negative affect – a review. Cognition and Emotion, 20, 1216-1235.

Berntsen, D. & Thomsen, D.K. (2005). Personal memories for remote historical events: Accuracy and clarity of flashbulb memories related to World War II. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 134, 242-257.

Mehlsen, M., Thomsen, D.K., Viidik, A., Olesen, F. & Zachariae, R. (2005). Cognitive processes involved in the evaluation of life satisfaction: Implications for present well-being. Aging and Mental Health, 9, 281-290.

Thomsen, D.K. & Berntsen, D. (2005). The end point effect in autobiographical memory – more than a calendar is needed. Memory, 13, 846-861.

Thomsen, D.K., Mehlsen M.Y., Viidik, A., Sommerlund, B. & Zachariae, R. (2005). Age and gender differences in negative affect – Is there a role for emotion regulation? Personality and Individual Differences, 38, 1935-1946.

Thomsen, D.K., Jørgensen, M.M., Mehlsen, M.Y. & Zachariae, R. (2004). The influence of rumination and defensiveness on negative emotions in response to experimental stress. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 45, 253-258.

Thomsen, D.K., Mehlsen, M.Y., Hokland, M., Viidik, A., Olesen, F., Avlund, K., Munk, K. & Zachariae, R. (2004). Negative thoughts and health: Associations among rumination, immunity, and health care utilization in a young and elderly sample. Psychosomatic Medicine, 66, 363-371.

Thomsen, D.K., Mehlsen, M.Y., Olesen, F., Hokland, M., Viidik, A., Avlund, K. & Zachariae, R. (2004). Is there an association between rumination and self-reported physical health? A one-year follow-up in a young and an elderly sample. Journal of Behavioural Medicine, 27, 215-231.

Thomsen, D.K. & Berntsen, D. (2003). Snapshots from therapy: Exploring operationalisations and ways of studying flashbulbs for private events. Memory, 11, 559-570.

Thomsen, D.K., Mehlsen, M.Y., Christensen, S. & Zachariae, R. (2003). Rumination – relationship with negative mood and sleep quality. Personality and Individual Differences, 34, 1293-1301.


Research methods (undergraduate)
Research methods (graduate)
Seminars in narrative psychology, personality & well-being, and emotion-memory interactions (undergraduate)
Lectures in implicit memory and cognition-emotion interactions (undergraduate)
Supervison of >30 master's thesis
Supervision of >80 bachelor's thesis

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Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences
School of Business and Social Sciences
Aarhus University
Bartholins Allé 9
8000 Aarhus C

CVR no: 31119103
P no: 1003402932
EAN no: 5798000419605
Budget code: 5411

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About Aarhus BSS

Aarhus BSS is a broad business school and one of the four faculties at Aarhus University.

With approx. 14,000 full-time students, several thousand part-time students, almost 225 PhD students and more than 500 academic staff members, Aarhus BSS ranks among the largest business schools in Europe. Furthermore, it is the largest business and social sciences unit in Denmark at university level with a broad academic scope.

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Aarhus University
Nordre Ringgade 1
DK-8000 Aarhus C

Tel: +45 8715 0000
Fax: +45 8715 0201

CVR no: 31119103

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