Dr Jennifer Wild | University of Oxford

Dr Jennifer Wild

Associate Professor in Experimental Psychology & Consultant Clinical Psychologist

About

Dr Wild’s research focuses on three areas: memory and cognitive processes linked to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social anxiety, treatment development and evaluation, and how best to achieve clinician competency in evidence-based interventions for psychological disorders. 

She is particularly interested in developing internet-based cognitive therapy treatments for anxiety disorders.  Her group has recently developed an internet-based cognitive therapy for social anxiety disorder and now plans to develop an internet-based treatment for PTSD.

Her PTSD research primarily focuses on why people over-remember what they most wish to forget. She has a special interest in how traumatic memories are formed and how they drive symptoms of PTSD. She is studying how factors such as poor sleep and rumination may affect how unwanted memories develop and how they then become intrusive and easily triggered. She is also looking at how to transform traumatic memories with cognitive therapy. 

Since memories of distressing events appear to be linked to the onset of many anxiety disorders, she also investigates how memory of socially traumatic events, such as being bullied as a child, maintains anxiety in adults with social anxiety disorder and how to update these memories. 

Her research is relevant for people who are regularly exposed to traumatic events, such as emergency service workers, military personnel, journalists working in conflict zones, and peacekeepers because it provides clues about how we may be able to prevent the unwanted memories from developing in the first place and therefore reduce rates of traumatic stress and depression in these groups. 

She is currently leading a programme of research with the London Ambulance Service, the world’s largest emergency service, to identify risk factors that make some people vulnerable to developing PTSD or depression after experiencing a traumatic event.  

Expertise

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and trauma, particularly in relation to major events and disasters
  • Depression
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • Anxiety
  • Performance anxiety, for example in public speaking, at sports events
  • How the brain forms memories
  • Shyness
  • The psychology of winning and losing in Olympic sports

Media experience

Dr Wild has extensive broadcast experience, including appearances on BBC Breakfast, Sky News and Today (BBC Radio 4). She is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 5 Live. She has also acted as an adviser to documentary makers, and took part in the BBC's Vertigo Road Trip. She also has extensive print and online media experience, including Nature and BBC Health.

Languages

English