The Cognition, Language and Development Lab at ULB is looking for an excellent and motivated candidate for a PhD research position in the field of numerical cognition, as part of a four-year research project funded by the FNRS on visual numerosity extraction.
The notion of a dedicated mental system devoted to extraction and representation of numerosity is a central concept in contemporary cognitive science. Yet, both behavioral and ERP evidence have been put forward to suggest that with visual collections of dots, rather than extracting numerosity per se, the perceptual mechanisms use continuous visual cues that covary naturally with numerosity. The project aims to produce new behavioral and neurophysiological evidence on this issue by disentangling perceptual mechanisms of extraction from general purpose decision processes. The PhD research will mainly focus on one line of the project, devoted to exploring inter-individual differences and modeling individual performance across several tasks that involve non-symbolic numerosity processing.
We offer a fulltime position for four years, starting October 1st 2015, remunerated according to Belgian Ph.D. standards (approx. 22K € / year net, as well as social security benefits).
The successful candidate must hold a Master Degree in psychology, cognitive science, cognitive neuroscience, or related disciplines. Experience in behavioural research, including experimental design and data analysis skills, is essential. Although there is no requirement for knowledge of specific programming languages, familiarity with computational methods in general (both in terms of theory development as well as for data analysis), and with languages such as Python, R, and MatLab is an advantage. Good communicative abilities and spoken and written language skills (French & English), creativity, autonomy, enthusiasm and cooperation are also essential qualities.
The Laboratoire Cognition Langage et Développement (LCLD, directed by Alain Content) is one of the five research units constituting the Center for Research in Cognition & Neurosciences at the Faculty of psychology of the ULB. Together, the five teams represent about 60 full-time researchers who collectively explore a wide range of topics, among which numerical cognition in children, adults and the elderly is a currently active theme of investigation. The CRCN works in close collaboration with the ULB Neuroscience Institute (UNI), of which it is a component. In many cases, our approach combines behavioural experimentation, imaging methods, and clinical research. The CRCN benefits from a state-of-the-art technical platform which, in addition to numerous individual or collective testing booths dedicated to behavioural experiments, includes (1) two electroencephalography (EEG) and electromyography (EMG) rooms, (2) a Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) platform, (3) a dedicated babylab, (4) an eye-tracking platform, and (5) a dedicated sleep lab. Thanks to the ULB Neuroscience Institute, the CRCN also enjoys privileged access to the imaging platform of the Laboratoire de Cartographie Fonctionnelle du Cerveau (LCFC) at the Erasme University Hospital. This includes a 3T fMRI scanner, a magnetoencephalography (MEG) platform, TMS equipment and a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner.
Interested candidates may apply by sending a CV, a short statement of interest/motivation and one or two reference letters to Alain Content, preferably before July 10.