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Basic and Applied Motivation science - the function and nature of human motivation

School of Psychology & Clinical Language Sciences

Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Applications are invited for a PhD student position on motivation science, a new emerging interdisciplinary area that examines the nature of human motivation. Relevant fields include cognitive psychology, social psychology, educational psychology, cognitive neuroscience, computational modelling, and psychometrics. This student will receive excellent training opportunities to acquire multidisciplinary research skills and knowledge, which would considerably enhance their future career prospects.

The student will work on an interdisciplinary project that examines the function of human motivation in the Motivation Science Laboratory in the University of Reading (PI: Kou Murayama; for details, please see The keyword of the project includes:

Curiosity and intrinsic motivation, meta-motivation, reward and learning/decision making, and social contagion of motivation. The primary methodologies include behavioural experiments, longitudinal data analysis (mainly using the data collected in educational settings), and neuroimaging.

The successful candidate will need to demonstrate existing excellence (or the potential and enthusiasm) in methodological skills required for the project, such as experimental programming, multivariate statistical analyses, neuroimaging, and/or computational modelling.

Housed in state-of-the-art facilities (e.g. fMRI, EEG), the School is a leading centre for research in the UK and beyond. The School was ranked in the top 20 (15th) in the UK in its unit of assessment in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework based on research power. The successful candidate will join a thriving postgraduate research community of more than 70 PhD students who benefit from excellent support and resources from the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences (

Funding Notes

There may be future funding opportunities. Please ask the PI.

Candidates should have a first or strong 2.1 degree in psychology or neuroscience and a distinction or high Merit in a relevant Masters qualification would be advantageous. The candidate should have a demonstrable interest in the topic and strong written and oral communication skills


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