Laura Melnyk, PhD
Courses that I teach
- Psychology and Law
- Forensic Psychology
- Developmental Psychology
- Cognitive Psychology
Area of research
My expertise is in forensic developmental psychology. My research combines developmental, forensic, and cognitive psychology to investigate issues in children's memory development and eyewitness memory. I am particularly interested in studying interviewing techniques to facilitate young children’s autobiographical recall and developmental changes in face recognition and lineup performance.
My field of expertise has direct implications for policy and practice. Over the last few years I have served as an expert witness and given invited talks for professionals who work with child witnesses.
Current research projects
I am currently writing up a study in which we examined adults’ estimates for the age, height, and weight of strangers. This was a fun project with really interesting data, and offers implications for person descriptions such as when a witness is asked to describe a suspect. In the developmental spectrum, my students and I are examining factors that underlie young children’s poor performance in line-up tasks and how interviewing affects children's event reports.
What I enjoy about working at King’s
King’s embraces the 'teacher-scholar' approach to university education; this means that our faculty are not only exceptionally skilled and dedicated to excellence in our classroom instruction, but we are also active researchers in our fields. Teaching and research are recognized as sharing a reciprocal relationship and both are valued at King’s; as a social scientist who loves teaching, my career at King’s is the perfect fit.
I think this balance of faculty engagement in both teaching and research is essential to the quality of education at a university: King's students directly interact with enthusiastic scholars, and faculty are able to share their work directly with students.
Interests outside of King's
I'm a big fan of the domestic life; I love spending time with my family and working around the house and garden. I'm a cycling enthusiast, logging about 2000 km each summer on the lovely (and gloriously flat) country roads surrounding London.
I have an eclectic and ever-growing music collection; students who come by during office hours are often pleasantly surprised (or amused) by the afternoon's soundtrack. I enjoy travel and have been very fortunate to travel a fair bit across North America, and to a few cities in Europe and Asia.
Our Psychology Department offers a wide variety of interesting courses at all levels of study. Our honors specialization program allows 4th-year students to complete a thesis under the supervision of a faculty member, providing a terrific capstone undergraduate experience.