Psychology Faculty

Avril Thorne

Summary of Expertise

Identity development through personal memory telling; the development of meaning in memory narratives; family story telling and the development of a sense of self; narrative co-construction of self, personality, and identity.

Research Interests

Avril Thorne studies the development of a sense of self and identity in the context of telling one's past to family members and friends. She views identity as being reconstructed, practiced, tested, resisted, and transformed in the process of exchanging personal stories. She is especially interested in how individuals’ identities develop in relation to each other, not unilaterally.

One ongoing project examines what develops when life stories are exchanged between elders and youth. Another project examines how close friends who are either very similar or very different in personality conversationally manage self-consciousness, privacy, and romantic desire.

She finds that conversations and reflections on one’s conversations offer an especially rich view of what develops through storytelling. She prefers to work with graduate students who are familiar with narrative research and with observational, qualitative, and quantitative methods.

Biography, Education and Training

Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
M.A., Arizona State University
B.A., University of Utah

Selected Publications

  • Thorne, A. & Shapiro, L. (2011). Testing, testing: Everyday storytelling and adolescent identity development. In E. Amsel & J. Smetana (Eds.), Adolescent vulnerabilities and opportunities: Constructivist developmental perspectives. NY: Cambridge University Press.
  • Morgan, E. M., Thorne, A., & Zurbriggen, E. (2010). A longitudinal study of conversations with parents about sex and dating during college. Developmental Psychology, 46 (1), 139-150.
  • Korobov, N., & Thorne, A. (2009). The negotiation of compulsory romance in young women friends’ stories about romantic heterosexual experiences. Feminism and Psychology. 19(1), 49-70.
  • Thorne, A., Korobov, N., & Morgan, E. (2007). Channeling identity: A study of storytelling in conversations between introverted and extraverted friends. Journal of Research in Personality, 41, 1008-1031.
  • Korobov, N. & Thorne, A. (2006). Intimacy and distancing: Young men's conversations about romantic relationships. Journal of Adolescent Research, 21, 27-55.
  • Thorne, A. (2004). Putting the person into social identity. Human Development, 47, 361-365.
  • Thorne, A., McLean, K.C., & Lawrence, A. (2004). When remembering is not enough: Reflecting on self-defining memories in late adolescence. Journal of Personality, 72, 513-541.
  • McLean, K. C., & Thorne, A. (2003). Adolescents' self-defining memories about relationships. Developmental Psychology, 39, 635-645.
  • Thorne, A. (2000). Personal memory telling and personality development. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 4, 45-56.