Universiteit Leiden

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Postdoc position in Cognitive Psychology

Vacancy number
19-586 6601
Function type
Academic staff
Hours (in fte)
External/ internal
Placed on
17 December 2019
Closing date
01 February 2020

5 more days to apply

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Institute of Psychology, the Cognitive Psychology Unit has available a

Postdoc position in Cognitive Psychology

Project description
Emotion processing deficits have been reported in different disorders and are reflected in disturbed emotion regulation, attentional biases, gaze avoidance, disrupted mimicry and emotion recognition deficits. However, the posed, full-blown facial expressions commonly used in emotion research do not always reflect feelings, which is particularly confusing for patients. People express emotions through emotional signals and cues. Signals are subject to intentional control: an example is smiling, communicating affiliation, tenderness and affection, or, depending on the context, subordinance or nervousness. Emotional cues lack the same degree of intentional control or awareness. For instance, pupil dilation, tears and blushing are genuine and hard to enact or fake. Although they are principally beneficial to the expressor, they do provide meaningful information to observers and reflect significant states such as arousal, attention, interest and emotion. The question of how patients with SAD and ASD perceive emotional cues, visible in the face, has not been investigated yet. Due to the high prevalence of such cues in daily life interactions, it is of crucial importance to investigate whether their known deficits in perceiving emotional signals translate to the more subtle emotional cues that are beyond the control of the expressor.

This project is supported by an NWO VIDI grant to Mariska Kret. The project will run in parallel with ongoing projects in the CoPAN lab. The research group participates in the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition (LIBC), an interfaculty center for interdisciplinary research on brain and cognition.

Key responsibilities

  • Assist in managing the VIDI project (patient recruitment, lab-space etc.);
  • Assist in the ongoing projects of PhD students (co-promotor possibility);
  • Literature study, hypothesis-driven development and execution of experimental studies in these patients;
  • Report results in at least four international peer-reviewed journals and two international conferences;
  • Participate in the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition.

Selection criteria

  • PhD in experimental or clinical psychology;
  • Experience and affinity with the supervision of students;
  • Knowledge of multilevel statistics;
  • Programming experience (Matlab, R, e-prime);
  • Knowledge of psychophysiological methods (heartrate, facial temperature, eye-tracking and pupillometry)
  • Excellent research and writing skills;

Our organisation
The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences comprises four institutes: Education and Child Studies, Political Science, Psychology and Cultural Anthropology & Development Sociology. The faculty also includes the Centre for Science and Technology Studies. The faculty is home to 5,000 students and 600 members of staff. Our teaching and research programs cover diverse topics varying from adoption to political behaviour.

The Institute of Psychology comprises six units for teaching and research: Health, Medical and Neuropsychology, Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Developmental and Educational Psychology, Social and Organizational Psychology, and Methodology and Statistics. The Institute of Psychology offers a stimulating environment that promotes collaboration within and between units.

Terms and condition
We offer a fill-time fixed-term post for 2 years. Salary range from € 2.709,- to € 3.255,-  gross per month (pay scale 10, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). A part-time position is possible, too. Preferred starting date in spring 2020, but it’s flexible.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

Enquiries can be made to Mariska Kret, email m.e.kret@fsw.leidenuniv.nl.

Please submit your application no later than 1 February 2020 via the blue button in our application system. Please ensure that you upload a CV and a full publication list, quoting the vacancy number.


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