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Ageing and communication: Understanding the roles of cognition, speech production, and social participation

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Very limited research has addressed the potential role of cognitive abilities in speech production in older age. Research is therefore needed to advance understanding of the relationships amongst core cognitive abilities and speech production processes, and the potential impact of these abilities on healthy older adults’ social interactions and communication in everyday life. The proposed research will comprise three key sub-projects: 1) a systematic review of the cognitive processes potentially impacting speech production in older age; 2) a correlational study investigating the extent to which specific cognitive abilities, such as information processing speed and executive (attentional) functioning, predict older adults’ speech production abilities; and 3) a correlational study investigating the extent to which objective measures of older adults’ speech production and cognitive abilities predict their self-reported social participation (e.g. social network size, hours of social activity per week) and communications in everyday life (e.g. leading conversations, keeping up with conversations, and experiences of ageist behaviours). The research findings will be disseminated to scientific audiences via conference presentations and manuscripts submitted for publication. Together with our collaborator, the Scottish Older People’s Assembly (SOPA), we will engage the public via a number of activities and events throughout the life of the project.

Funding Notes

Applicants must meet the following essential eligibility criteria:
• A good first degree (at least 2:1), and/or a masters degree, in Psychology or a closely related discipline.
• Previous experience with research design and data analysis.
• An interest in and background knowledge of cognition, linguistics, speech production, and/or the psychology of ageing.

Additionally, the following criteria are desirable:
• Previous experience of cognitive testing and/or research with older adult participants.
• Previous experience of systematic reviewing, open science practices such as pre-registration, and/or public engagement activities.

Students must meet ESRC eligibility criteria. ESRC eligibility information can be found here*:

Award Details:
The scholarship is available as a +3 or a 1+3 programme depending on prior research training. This will be assessed as part of the recruitment process. The programme will commence in October 2020. It includes
• an annual maintenance grant at the RCUK rate
• fees at the standard Home rate
• students can also draw on a pooled Research Training Support Grant, usually up to a maximum of £750 per year

Applications will be ranked by a selection panel and applicants will be notified if they have been shortlisted for interview by 25th March 2020. Interviews are scheduled to take place on 6th April 2020.

All scholarship awards are subject to candidates successfully securing admission to a PhD programme within University of Strathclyde. Successful scholarship applicants will be invited to apply for admission to the relevant PhD programme after they are selected for funding

Related Subjects

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