Sleep problems are commonly reported by individuals with psychosis. There is evidence that disrupted sleep plays a causal role in the occurrence of psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations (hearing voices in the absence of a speaker or seeing things others cannot) and paranoia, and this may have important implications for the development of novel interventions. However, little is known about why sleep problems are related to the development of psychotic symptoms. One possibility is that the cognitive biases associated with psychosis (e.g., failure to inhibit irrelevant memories; altered top-down processing; failure to monitor the correct source of information) may be exacerbated by disrupted sleep. It is also not clear whether disrupted sleep is related to specific forms of hallucination (e.g., in the auditory or visual modality), or whether sleep problems may increase the risk of hallucinations in all modalities.
Across a number of studies, the aim of this PhD will be to investigate, in both the general population and in psychosis patients, links between disrupted sleep, hallucinations, paranoia, and cognition. This will be accomplished through collaboration with Northumbria Centre for Sleep Research (e.g., assessing the effects of sleep deprivation on relevant aspects of cognition) and will form a key part of establishing a Psychosis Research Unit with current collaborators across the North East. This includes a team of local NHS clinical psychologists, who have recently secured large-scale funding to run three trials of psychological interventions for psychosis in the region, and who will facilitate recruitment of clinical participants as part of this PhD.
Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.
For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/research/postgraduate-research-degrees/how-to-apply/
Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF20/…) will not be considered.
Deadline for applications: Friday 24 January 2020
Start Date: 1 October 2020
Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.
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