Fully funded PhD Student Position: A Model-Based Approach to Infant Cognition

Fully funded PhD Student Position: A Model-Based Approach to Infant Cognition

Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour

Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Application deadline: May 16, 2018


Applications are invited for a 4-year PhD position at Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands. We are looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate to examine early developing differences in learning and cognition using a combined behavioural and modelling approach. By combining developmental psychology experiments with a computational modelling approach, we aim to gain new insights into the abilities of the developing brain and how these are predictive for future development. We aim to explain what lies at the core of stable inter-individual differences in how young children seek out and process information about the world. The PhD candidate will formulate a formal computational model that explains the emergence of these differences, which will then be tested in a series of behavioural and neurocognitive experiments with infants. The experimental work will be conducted at the Baby and Child Research Center (www.babyandchild.nl) of Radboud University.


The PhD student will be supervised by Dr Sabine Hunnius and Dr Rogier Mars. This research is a collaborative project of the BabyBRAIN Group and the Cognitive Neuroecology Lab of the Donders Institute. The BabyBRAIN Group examines the developmental mechanisms and neurocognitive changes underlying early social-cognitive development. The aim of the Cognitive Neuroecology Lab is to understand how brains differ and are adapted to their environment, no matter whether it concerns the brains of different species, different individuals, or at different stages of development. The Donders Institute is a state-of-the art cognitive neuroscience institute with a multidisciplinary approach. It offers excellent research facilities, including a large infant lab, as well as outstanding PhD supervision and technical support.


Preference will be given to candidates with an MSc in cognitive neuroscience, psychology, biomedical science, engineering science, or a related field who are highly motivated to conduct challenging interdisciplinary empirical and model-driven research at the intersection of developmental psychology and cognitive science. The successful candidate will have a proven affinity with experimental psychology and/or mathematical modelling of behaviour. Demonstrable experience with techniques for quantitative data analysis (e.g. Matlab) is highly desirable. Due to the international and interdisciplinary nature of the research group, good collaborative and communication skills are essential.


The PhD student will be enrolled in the Donders Graduate School for Cognitive Neuroscience. Anticipated starting date is September 1, 2018.


For more information, please visit http://www.ru.nl/werken/details/details_vacature_0/?recid=601366

Informal enquiries can be made to Prof. Sabine Hunnius (S.Hunnius@donders.ru.nl) or Dr. Rogier Mars (r.mars@donders.ru.nl).