Emily’s research spans the cognitive and the medical humanities, involving methods and principles from literary studies, experimental psychology, and psychiatry. Her current research project asks how our reading habits shape our mental health, and vice versa. This question grew out of her work as a Junior Research Fellow at St John’s College, during which she investigated the cognitive-emotional effects of literary reading and published her monograph, Kafka’s Cognitive Realism (Routledge, 2014), on the strange psychological phenomenon of the ‘Kafkaesque’. The project also builds on a Knowledge Exchange Fellowship held at TORCH in 2014-15: a partnership with the eating-disorders charity Beat which generated important preliminary findings about the links between fiction-reading and disordered eating, for both good and ill.
Alongside this work on literature and mental health, she writes a blog on eating disorders for the US website Psychology Today, is co-author (with psychologist Sue Blackmore) of the world’s only textbook on consciousness, is designing an app to support recovery from anorexia, and is a keen powerlifter. Her role as Postdoctoral Training Coordinator for the Humanities Division in 2015-16 has influenced how she thinks about university welfare and the nature of careers that begin in academia, resulting in collaboration with the Careers Service on a workbook about ‘Optimising and managing a portfolio career’ and a podcast series and workbook dedicated to ‘Overcoming a sense of academic failure’. She now also coordinates the Baillie Gifford Writing Partnerships Programme for the Humanities Division.