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I have an MA (Hons) in Psychology, an MSc in Human Cognitive Neuropsychology, and a PhD in Psychology, all from the University of Edinburgh. While completing my PhD, I worked as a psychometric testing officer at the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology (University of Edinburgh) and a research assistant for the Dementias Platform UK. Both these roles involved developing cognitive assessments for large-scale studies. After completing my PhD in 2019, I worked as the Questionnaire Officer and a Postdoctoral Researcher on the Generation Scotland study, a large family-health study where I lead on the design and implementation of the online questionnaires and psychological assessments given to Generation Scotland participants. I started as a lecturer in the Division of Psychology, School of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law in September 2022.


My research focuses on association between cognitive ageing and health. I investigate health factors that might partly explain why some people’s cognitive function declines faster than others, as well as exploring the impact of faster cognitive decline on managing health in older adulthood. More recently, I have become interested in investigating the relationship between chronic pain, opioid prescribing, and cognitive ageing.

A related research interest of mine is exploring the impact of poorer cognitive function and greater cognitive decline on tasks that are important for functioning independently in older adulthood, including the ability to manage money.

I tend to use large observational datasets to explore cognitive function-health associations across the adult lifespan. My research is multidisciplinary, and therefore my research is often published in journals covering a variety of fields, including psychology, epidemiology, and genetics.

View full research profile and publications


Please get in touch to discuss research supervision for undergraduate dissertation projects, MSc research projects, and PhD projects.

Current teaching includes:

  • Introductory Psychology: 1 (Level 1)
  • Individual Differences and Psychopathology (Level 3 and MSc)
  • Cognitive Ageing (Level 4 and MSc)

Media availability

I am available for media commentary on my research.

Dr Fawns-Ritchie’s research focuses on cognitive decline in ageing and the relationship between cognitive decline and physical health in ageing.

Contact Corporate Communications for media enquiries.

Areas of expertise

  • Chronic pain
  • Psychology
  • Public health