Fully funded PhD Studentship Empathy development during the first years of life



Closing date for applications: 10th May 2013

Applications are invited for one, full time, 3.5 years PhD studentship to investigate empathy development during the first years of life, commencing in October 2013.
The tendency to empathize with others consolidates as a trait, characterizing the individuals during their entire life, and several pathologies like autism or conduct disorders are characterized by deficits in this ability. Knowing the mechanisms generating empathic responses during the early years of life will have a great impact on creating efficient strategies for early diagnosis and prevention/intervention for the children at risk or with atypical social development.

This scholarship will provide the exciting opportunity to investigate the extent to which emotional mimicry, perspective-taking, and socio-emotional context play a role in eliciting empathic responses in infants and young children. The project will rely on a multi-method approach, including various behavioural, psychophysiological (electromyography, pupilometry, galvanic skin response) and brain imaging methods (electroencephalography/event related potentials) specific for this age.

The research will be based within the Centre for Research in Human Development and Learning (CRHDL) under the supervision of Dr. Elena Geangu. CRHDL is equipped with latest psychophysiology (BIOPAC), eye-tracking (Tobii), and brain imaging (Netstation EGI) equipment suitable for infants and young children research. The student will benefit throughout from the structure and support of a highly successful PhD training programme at Lancaster University, which includes the provision of hands-on training in advanced research methods. In addition, the candidate will be part of a large and enthusiastic team of undergraduate and postgraduate researchers, providing a dynamic and supportive working environment.

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The successful applicant will have a strong interest in developmental psychology and neuroscience. Knowledge and experience with any of the above methods, particularly if with infants and young children, would be advantageous. The successful applicant will need to have a First or 2.1 degree in Psychology at the start of studentship, in October 2013. Strong preference will be given to applicants with post-graduate qualifications (e.g. an MSc) or some postgraduate research experience.

The studentship will cover Home (UK/EU) fees, plus a stipend equivalent to current Research Council grants. Overseas students can apply for the studentships but will be expected to fund the difference between Home/EU and Overseas student fees.
Informal enquiries can be made to Elena Geangu ([email protected]).

Further details concerning postgraduate study in psychology can be found at:
http://www.psych.lancs.ac.uk/postgraduate/

Details on the application procedure can be found by clicking ‘Apply’ below.

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