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  PhD in Decision Neuroscience - neurocomputational mechanisms of social behaviour

   School of Psychology

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  Dr P Lockwood  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

About the project

Applications are invited for a 3.5-year funded PhD studentship in Decision Neuroscience, based at the Centre for Human Brain Health at the University of Birmingham, UK ( The project is supervised by Prof. Patricia Lockwood and is based in the Social Decision Neuroscience Lab ( The start date is 1 October 2024. The project is open to applications from international students and is fully funded with fees covered and a stipend at UKRI rates.

Project details

From helping out a colleague with their work, to distancing to stop the spread of infectious disease, many of our decisions impact other people. These prosocial behaviours – decisions that help others – are essential for well-being, mental and physical health, and the economic success of societies. However, our willingness to help others can change profoundly across typical development and in neurodevelopmental disorders. In this ERC/UKRI funded 3.5 year PhD project ,you will have the opportunity to lead research on prosocial and social behaviours more broadly to understand their computational, developmental or neuroscientific basis. We seek a highly motivated and curious individual to join our team. Possible project techniques include the design of novel experimental paradigms testing prosocial or social behaviours, neuroimaging including fMRI and MEG or OPM-MEG, focused ultrasound brain stimulation and developmental studies across adolescence, or in adolescents with conduct disorder. These possibilities will be discussed with the successful applicant based on their preferences. Several datasets have already been collected.

Entry requirements

Applicants must have a Bachelors degree (high 2.1 minimum, or equivalent). A Masters in Psychology, Neuroscience, Computer Science or a related discipline (merit minimum, or equivalent) is desirable. The applicant should exhibit strong coding skills. Experience in conducting neuroimaging experiments and analyses, and participant recruitment and testing is desirable. Deadline 10th May, 5pm BST. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed in late May.

How to apply

Applicants should submit (1) a 2-page (max) CV, (2) a 2-page (max) cover letter summarising why they are particularly interested in this position, what they bring to it, and their plans for the future, (3) a 2-page (max) description of a research project they have conducted, and (4) contact details of two referees. Please submit this as one PDF document using the following form Please address informal enquiries to Prof. Lockwood ([Email Address Removed]).

Computer Science (8) Economics (10) Psychology (31)

Funding Notes

This PhD project is UKRI/ERC funded for 3.5 years.


Pauli, R., Brazil, I., Kohls, G., Klein-Flugge, M., Rogers, J. C., Dikeos, D., ... & Lockwood, P. L. (2023). Action initiation and punishment learning differ from childhood to adolescence while reward learning remains stable. Nature Communications.
Lockwood, P. L., Wittmann, M. K., Nili, H., Matsumoto-Ryan, M., Abdurahman, A., Cutler, J. L., Husain, M. & Apps, M. A. J. (2022). Distinct neural representations for prosocial and self-benefitting effort. Current Biology.
Cutler, J. L., Nitschke, J. P. Lamm, C. & Lockwood, P. L. (2021). Older adults across the globe exhibit increased prosocial behaviour but also greater in-group preferences. Nature Aging.
Lockwood, P. L., Apps, M. A. J., & Chang, S. W. (2020). Is there a ‘social’ brain? Implementations and algorithms. Trends in Cognitive Sciences.

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