PhD Active and passive states in human working memory (1.0 FTE)

University of Groningen
March 31, 2023
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Offerd Salary:€ 2,541
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PhD Active and passive states in human working memory (1.0 FTE)

(V23.0143)

Job description

The University of Groningen is a research university with a global outlook, deeply rooted in Groningen, City of Talent. Quality has had top priority for four hundred years, and with success: the University is currently in or around the top 100 on several influential ranking lists.

The Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences excels in teaching and research in the fields of human behaviour, thinking, learning, and how people live together. The Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences employs over 800 staff members. Within the Faculty, the Department of Psychology offers Bachelor's and Master's programs in both Dutch and English to over 3,000 students. Our department's student population is very international; more than half of our students are non-Dutch.

The group of Experimental Psychology pursues a research program focused on the cognitive underpinnings of human behaviour, as well as their neurophysiological correlates. We teach in the Psychology Bachelor program, and also in the top-rated Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences (BCN) Research Master, the Computational Cognitive Science Master, and the Applied Cognitive Neuroscience Master.

This PhD project focuses on how the brain maintains information in working memory. This short-term store of information is vital to adaptive, intelligent behaviour. For long it was assumed that working memory is implemented by persistent neural activity; by neurons that keep firing in order to keep the maintained information active. However, more recent work has demonstrated that information can also be maintained in an activity-silent way involving short- term synaptic plasticity. Yet, the functional role of these silent mechanisms is unknown. In this project, using a novel impulse-perturbation technique that is able to illuminate activity-silent states using EEG, you will investigate 1) whether there are functional differences to information that is maintained using persistent-activity or in an activity-silent way, and 2) what the advantages are of having two different ways to code memories. These studies will provide a more detailed account of how working memory supports intelligent behaviour in- and outside the laboratory.

The tasks of the PhD candidate are:

• conduct research that results in a dissertation, in line with the objectives and requirements of the project • organize and execute the data collection for the different studies • publish the results of the research in international scientific journals • present the research findings to fellow scientists and developers • collaborate with other team members • provide a limited amount of teaching at the Psychology department, such as small-scale tutorials, guest lectures and student supervision, in collaboration with the supervisors.

Qualifications

For this position you are expected to:

• have a (Research) Master's degree in neuroscience, cognitive psychology, artificial intelligence, or a related discipline • have a good academic track record • a high degree of English proficiency • experience with conducting research involving human participants • experience with coding, ideally in Python • have good social and communication skills and willingness to work with other team members.

Organisation Conditions of employment

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

  • a salary of € 2,541 gross per month in the first year of the appointment, rising to € 3,247 gross per month in the fourth year for a full-time position
  • a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance
  • attractive secondary terms of employment
  • the position is classified in accordance with the University Job Classification (UFO) system; the UFO profile is PhD candidate
  • a temporary position of 1.0 FTE for a period of four years. You will first be appointed for a period of 12 months. After a positive evaluation, the contract will be extended for the remaining period.
  • Intended starting date: preferably on 1 September 2023

    Application

    You can apply by submitting:

    • a motivation letter stating your motivation to apply for the position and your key qualities relevant for this position (max 1 page) • a brief, up-to-date curriculum vitae that focuses on aspects that are directly relevant to the position • a complete record of Bachelor and Master courses (including grades) • contact information of two academic references. Please do not submit letters of reference. If necessary, we will contact the referees ourselves.

    You may apply for this position until 30 March 11:59pm / before 31 March 2023 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website. Only submissions via the application form will be considered.

    The selection interviews will take place in week 16.

    The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage: https: // www. rug.nl/about-ug/policy-and- strategy/diversity-and-inclusion/

    Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): https: // www. nvp-hrnetwerk.nl/nl/sollicitatiecode and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers: https: // euraxess.ec.europa.eu/jobs/charter/code

    Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

    Information

    For information you can contact:

  • Prof. Elkan Akyürek, e.g.akyurek rug.nl
  • Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.

    Additional information
  • Experimental Psychology
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