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  • Academy News

  • #IAmNYAS: Anne Inger Helmen Borge

    Research psychologist Anne Inger Helmen Borge, PhD, applies her analytical expertise in a number of ways—some of which may surprise you.

    Posted 3/29/2016

    As the Head of Research for the Department of Psychology at the University of Oslo in Norway, Anne Inger Helmen Borge, PhD, has focused her own research on developmental psychology where she conducts longitudinal studies on behavioral and emotional development from childhood through adulthood. An internationally recognized expert with Horizon 2020 and a mentor to others, Anne cites early experiences with a mentor of her own as the source of major science inspiration.

    Learn more about Anne and her work below.

    What are you currently working on?

    The Matter of the First Friendships, a longitudinal study that examines whether friendships protect against the development of psychopathology among very young children. Data collection originally took place between 2006 and 2009. It was surprising to observe how early children, ages 1-2 in daycare, establish friendships and show preferences among peers in the groups. This spring, ten years after we started, we will follow up with the children who are now are 12-16 years of age.

    What's a fun fact about you that might surprise your friends or colleagues?

    I can predict crime plots. I apply my competence in developmental psychology which includes knowledge about predictions and clinical psychology where motives are essential to grasp. Furthermore, I try to understand the author's mind and try to read the spirit of the time and context in which the crime story was written. If the plot is not yet solved, I take a closer analysis of the fact that most crime plots include complicated human relationships, conflicts across generations and characteristics of a, most probably, sad childhood.

    Who has been your biggest science inspiration?

    In the early 1990s, The European Science Foundation arranged Summer Schools for young aspiring PhD students. We were about twenty-four students from twelve countries and Sir Michael Rutter was one of the main lecturers during the fourteen days we were at the Summer School in Champher, Switzerland. He inspired us to go along with our research ideas in our home countries and for the first time we gained a belief in ourselves. When we were there, he took the whole group out hiking every day. He played tennis and taught us how important sport and outdoor activities were for becoming a successful academic and keeping a clear mind. After we left, he offered to be a mentor and [invited us to] come visit him and his colleagues in London. He conveyed a new synergy of psychiatry and psychology which was very meaningful to me.

    Have you served as a mentor yourself?

    The University of Oslo invited female professors to be mentors to female post docs and PhD students from different disciplines. I had two from the humanities: the History of Religion and Cultural Studies. The young women always had a lot on their mind: they had different unsolved issues and challenges which they could not easily express in their own contexts. Sitting together at one of the campus cafés, I felt I could combine my competence as a listener with my own experiences as a researcher.

    Why did you become a Member of the New York Academy of Sciences?

    I attended one of your excellent conferences and I understood international organizations were important. I like very much the Academy's balance of understanding young scientists as well as those of us who are older.

    Anne is a Member who understands the value of mentorship and international networks. Does that sound like you? Why not take a cue from Anne and become an Academy Member! Our virtual STEM mentoring programs connect you with students located all over the world. Sign up today!

    Read other #IAmNYAS profiles here.

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