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  Beyond the dyad: Development of task co-representation of multiple co-actors across cultures

   Department of Psychology

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  Dr Sophie Milward, Dr Esther Herrmann, Dr Juliane Kaminski  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Applications are invited for a self-funded, 3-year full-time or 6-year part time PhD project.

The PhD will be based in the Faculty of Sciences and Health, and will be supervised by Dr Sophie Milward, Dr Esther Herrmann and Dr Juliane Kaminski

The work on this project could involve:

●    Data collection with 4-5 year-old children

●    Travel to Kenya for cross-cultural data collection

●    Novel investigation of joint action in group settings

Project description

Cooperation is so deeply embedded in human psychology that we spontaneously track a partner’s task as well as our own when acting in a pair. This automatic ‘co-representation’ of a partner’s mental representation of their task has been argued to be key to the sophisticated social coordination we see in human adults. However, our day-to-day encounters are not limited to one-to-one interactions. This will be the first study to investigate co-representation in groups, and whether there are limits on the number of partners that can be tracked at once. We will take a developmental perspective, testing 4-5 year-old children, in order to investigate the level of cognitive complexity that is involved in this behaviour. Further, we will test whether this phenomenon is a human universal, by comparing behaviours across two cultures in the UK and Kenya. Finally, we will test whether we prioritise the tracking of certain members of a group over others, depending on whether they share our group identity or not. This will provide key information about the limits of our capacity to keep others in mind, and the psychological underpinnings of how we do so.

General admissions criteria

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Specific candidate requirements

The ideal candidate will:

  • Demonstrate a passion for developmental psychology and a sensitivity to cultural differences.
  • Be willing to travel to Kenya for data collection.
  • Have experience with quantitative data collection with human participants.
  • Have experience working with children.

How to Apply

We’d encourage you to contact Dr Sophie Milward ([Email Address Removed]) to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, please follow the 'Apply now' link on the Psychology PhD subject area page and select the link for the relevant intake. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process. 

When applying please quote project code:PSYC5121023

Psychology (31)

Funding Notes

Self-funded PhD students only.
PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK students only).
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