Deadline: 2016-01-25
Value of Scholarship: £14,254
Level Of Study: PhD

PhD Studentship in Cognitive Neuroscience: The Science of Literary Reading

Funding Amount: The PhD Studentship in Cognitive Neuroscience covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a maintenance stipend in line with RCUK rates (provisional £14,254 for full time award holders in 2016/2017) per annum for 3 years and a research allowance of £750.

Hours: Full Time, commencing October 2016.

Fully funded 3 year PhD Studentship in Cognitive Neuroscience: The Science of Literary Reading.

Dr. Manon Jones

Bangor’s School of Psychology was established in 1963 and now has one of the largest student cohorts in the UK and a cosmopolitan feel due to the presence of staff and students from over 20 countries. It has consistently performed exceptionally well in the UK’s annual National Student Survey and is currently ranked in the top 20 in the 2014 REF. Bangor is a friendly and affordable university town, with good transport links, located in one of the most beautiful parts of the UK.


The ability to absorb oneself in a book is considered by many as one of the greatest pleasures of human existence, and by most as the sine qua non condition of academic achievement. Avid readers report a range of responses to literary works, ranging from intense emotions to transformative or life changing effects. Each year, an estimated 100,000 new English-language works of long-prose fiction are published, attesting to the public appetite for literary works. Yet, several decades of psychological research has largely ignored reading in its successful ‘end state’, despite its value as an indicator of educational success. A major challenge for both reading scientists and literary theorists is to understand how literary reading engages reader attention to such a degree.

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The aim of this PhD project is to:

1) Examine the neurocognitive foundations of literary reading, including its effects on longer-term consolidation of information.

2) Chart differences in reader responses as a function of reading ability.

3) Use new neurocognitive methods involving co-registration of pupil dilation and event related potentials as indices of cortical arousal, attention and cognitive processes.

The project will specifically involve testing fluent adult readers’ responses to systematic, experimental manipulation of literary writing. Information recall will be probed one month hence. Fluent reader responses will be compared to poorer reader responses, for which we will recruit a sample of age- and IQ-matched adults with a diagnosis of developmental dyslexia.

Identifying the cognitive underpinnings of literary reading represents a vital theoretical breakthrough in reading science. In the longer term, it also presents a powerful tool from which to develop effective reading interventions for poorer readers and to guide reading development in young children.

Requirements: Applicants for the PhD Studentship in Cognitive Neuroscience are expected to have a first or upper second-class degree in experimental psychology or neuroscience and a relevant Masters qualification. The applicant should be highly motivated and creative with strong written and oral communication skills.

Further information:

Informal enquiries about the PhD Studentship in Cognitive Neuroscience may be directed to Dr Manon Jones:

Residency requirements: This studentship is open to UK/EU students only. Interested students from outside the EU should contact Dr Jones to discuss other possible routes for funding.

General information: PhD students are expected to contribute to teaching in the department.

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General enquiries: For administrative advice about how to apply and eligibility, please contact Everil McQuarrie:
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