Aideen Lawlor earned a BA in Sociology and Psychology in UCC. She then pursued a Higher Diploma in Psychology and Masters in Applied Psychology. She is currently studying for her PhD in the School of Applied Psychology, UCC. She has completed part one of the PhD project , using the novel method of analysing text communications by people with Factitious Disorder in online communities to understand their experience of the disorder, which thus far has been undocumented due to their elusiveness. The findings indicated that FD is aligned very closely with addictive behaviours and should be included as a subcategory, instead of a standalone diagnostic category which does not aid diagnosis. Part two of the project will be the development of a classifier through supervised machine learning using linguistic cues to identify online text communications by people with Virtual Factitious Disorder (VFD). The current inability to detect VFD early has led to the disruption of online communities and emotional distress for users. It also causes issues for internet mediated researchers who have no method of removing the data provided by these individuals which compromise the validity of their findings.
Broadly speaking, she is interested in how online communication shapes our identity in the ‘real world’, internet related psychopathology, online deception detection and the variety of cues used during online communication.