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Joint international PhD student positions: Decision making and error processing in elderly people

Advertising institute: INM-3 - Cognitive Neuroscience
Reference number: D011/2018, Psychology, neuroscience, computer science

We are offering two 3-year PhD positions (TVöD 13, 65%) for a project aimed at understanding decision-making and error processing in elderly people. The project will provide the opportunity to conduct behavioural experiments, to learn analysing response time and response force data, and to build computational models of decision-making, decision reversals and cognitive control processes required for error processing. The doctoral researchers will further be trained in recording electroencephalography (EEG) data as well as standard and advanced EEG analyses techniques, such as event-related potentials (ERPs), curve fitting and multivariate pattern analyses (MVPA).

The projects are conducted as part of an international collaboration involving the University of Melbourne in Australia (supervisor PD Dr. Stefan Bode), the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-3) at the Research Centre Jülich (supervisors Prof. Peter Weiss-Blankenhorn; Dr. Eva Niessen), and the Department of Psychology at the University of Cologne, Germany (supervisor Prof. Jutta Stahl). Both PhD students will spend half of their candidature in Australia and the other half in Germany, and they will obtain a degree from both the University of Melbourne and the University of Cologne. Travel funds are available to facilitate the transition at half time of the candidature.

The successful candidates must have a Masters or Honours degree (or equivalent) in psychology, neuroscience, computer science, or a related discipline. We are searching for outstanding students with excellent analytical and verbal skills, and who are highly motivated, fluent in written and spoken English, have strong interpersonal skills, and can work efficiently independently as well as in a team. Students must show strong interest in most of these topics: aging, motor cognition, and/or decision making, error processing and related cognitive processes. Experience with statistical analysis techniques, MATLAB programming, and neuroimaging methods are desirable but not expected; however, a strong interest in acquiring these skills is mandatory.

Submissions should include

a) a cover letter addressing the motivation for the application and the selection criteria,
b) a curriculum vitae with the relevant data (including previous publications),
c) a transcript of recent university marks and certificates of previous degree(s).

The deadline for submissions is 28 February 2018.

For any questions or for submission of applications please email Stefan Bode ( or Peter Weiss-Blankenhorn (