Meet the expert: Dr Darren Dunning
Where did you study and what are your qualifications?
I completed my undergraduate and master’s degrees at Durham University and my PhD at the University of York. All in psychology.
I’ve worked as a researcher for about 10 years in several universities in the North-East of England.
What are your current projects?
A large scale randomized controlled trial of the Cogmed Working Memory Training program with children with working memory impairments.
Who have you worked with?
Most notably, Susan Gathercole and Joni Holmes.
What inspired you to get into this field?
I’m torn between wanting to sound like a legitimate psychologist and being honest. I’ll be honest. There was a police drama on the television in the mid ‘90s about a criminal psychologist called ‘Cracker’. Along with about half of my undergraduate classmates, I chose psychology because I wanted to be Cracker. It became apparent early that there wasn’t much crime fighting involved in psychology, which was fine.
If you weren’t a psychologist, what would you be?
I’m not sure. I would like to say a fiction writer but I know it’s really difficult to make a living from it.
What do you do away from work? Hobbies? Favourite bands/sports teams/holiday destinations?
I read and write fiction, listen to music, watch sports and movies, eat out, and play golf badly. I also love spending time with my family.
What’s your favourite book (and why)?
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. The book transports me back to my adolescence every time I read it.
What’s your favourite album (and why)?
I’m torn between two, O.K. Computer by Radiohead and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars by David Bowie. I think both are near perfect albums.
Who’s your favourite musician/composer/singer?
I’d probably go for either David Bowie or John Lennon.
Whom do you most admire (and why)?
Someone like Winston Churchill. Many people know that he suffered bouts of depression but he also overcame a stutter to deliver speeches that inspired a nation during World War II. He was a tremendous wit, an accomplished painter of landscapes and a prolific writer, even being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Darren Dunning is a researcher at the University of York and a trainer on the Cogmed Coach Training courses.