Universiteit Leiden

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Postdoc on the neural mechanisms of hedonic compensation 1

Wetenschappelijke functies
Omvang (fte)
1.0 FTE
Intern, Extern
Geplaatst op
16 december 2018
18 januari 2019

Vacature gesloten

The section Social and Organisational Psychology of the institute Psychology of the Faculty Social and Behavioural Sciences is looking for a Postdoc on the neural mechanisms of hedonic compensation 1 (1.0 FTE).

Project description

Applications are invited for a three-year postdoctoral fellowship under the mentorship of Dr Lotte van Dillen and Dr Henk van Steenbergen. We are looking for an enthusiastic researcher who would like to build her/his career in the field of experimental psychology and affective neuroscience. 

In the current project, we advance a new framework to understand the phenomenon of hedonic compensation. We posit that mental load, induced by concurrent tasks or concerns, interferes with reward processing from consumption. Because people strive to obtain pleasure from the goods they consume, they employ compensatory behaviors to up-regulate hedonic value. In our project, we combine the expertise of three research labs to gain more insight in the relationship between mental capacity, hedonic experience, and consumption, and in the problems resulting from an imbalance between these factors. This, in turn, may lead to new tools to help people live a fulfilling and healthy life.
In this project you will use lab-based behavioral and neuroimaging  (fMRI) experiments to examine how reduced hedonic processing under mental load leads to compensatory consumption. By extending the findings across various consumption domains, you will study the general nature of hedonic compensation.

Additional information:
This post-doc position is embedded in a larger project called “Work hard, play hard. Neuropsychological correlates and behavioral implications of hedonic compensation”.
The project lasts for three years and is funded under the Open Research Area (ORA) scheme, and will be carried out in collaboration with Prof. Wilhelm Hofmann (University of Bochum, Germany). Apart from the current vacancy, one additional Post doc (in Germany), and two research assistants (one in each country) will be hired. The post-doc will play an active role in cooperation within the ORA team and the broader faculty. In addition, the postdoctoral researcher will have the opportunity to visit the German project team for shorter work visits and/or an extended period of time.

Selection criteria

  • A completed PhD in psychology or a related discipline;
  • Excellent skills in experimental research;
  • Excellent writing skills;
  • Experience with FSL software to analyse functional MRI data;
  • Programming skills in R, matlab, or comparable;
  • Be committed to experimental research;
  • Be very well able to work in a team;
  • The following will count in your favor: experience with multivariate fmri analyses, model-based fmri analyses, mixed-model statistical analyses, knowledge of reward/value theory, knowledge of working memory theory

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 programmes cover diverse topics varying from adoption to political behaviour. 

The project is embedded in the Institute of Psychology (https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/social-behavioural-sciences/psychology/research) which is internationally renowned for its high-quality research.

Terms and conditions

We offer a  one year term position, with the possibility of a renewal up to a total period of 3 years. Salary range from €3,545 to €4,852 gross per month (pay scale 11 in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses(8.3 %), training and career development. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. More at https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/working-at/job-application-procedure-and-employment-conditions.


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


Enquiries can be made to Dr Lotte van Dillen, email dillenlfvan@fsw.leidenuniv.nl.
If you have any enqueries about the procedure, please contact Mrs. Conny Binnendijk, email binnendijkc@fsw.leidenuniv.nl, telephone +31 71 527 3824


Please submit online your application no later than the 18 January 2019 via the blue button in our application system. Applicants should include:

  • A cover letter stating your motivation and qualifications to fill the position;
  • A CV;
  • Two referees names and contacts. Referees will be contacted directly by the search committee in case of shortlisting;
  • One sample publication.

Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.

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