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Psychology Doctoral Research Scholarship - Predictive neural computations supporting speech processing in naturalistic conditions

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, January 20, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

PhD studentship in auditory cognitive neuroscience supervised by Dr Ediz Sohoglu

The project:

In contemporary neuroscience, the brain is increasingly seen as a ‘prediction machine’, exploiting prior knowledge to predict or anticipate upcoming sensory signals. Nowhere is this more evident than during the perception of speech: hearing the sequence of phonemes “snoo...” sets up a strong prediction for “…ker” because “snooker” is the most frequent word that follows. As a result, “snooker” is recognised more quickly than other similar sounding words such as “snooper”.

However, there are multiple ways by which predictive computations could be implemented in the brain and evidence favouring one implementation over another is lacking, particularly in naturalistic conditions (e.g. when listening to continuous speech rather than isolated words).

This project aims to establish how predictive computations are instantiated in human cortex during comprehension of naturalistic speech (from audiobooks). To achieve this, the student will use cutting-edge EEG analysis methods to relate information in the continuous speech signal to recorded brain responses. The student will be trained in the use of such methods but previous experience of programming and signal processing is desirable.

For informal discussion and to request further details about the project, please email Dr Ediz Sohoglu ()


• This award will only pay fees at the Home/EU rate.
• International students may apply but must fund the difference between the Home/EU fees and International Fees (approximately £16,000 per year).
• Candidates must have, or expect to obtain, a First or a high Upper Second Class Honours undergraduate degree, or equivalent qualification, and/or a Master’s degree in Psychology, Neuroscience or a related discipline (e.g. Neuroscience, Engineering, Computer Science).
• Previous experience of computer programming, functional brain imaging (EEG, fMRI) or signal processing is desirable.
• Candidates who demonstrate suitability for, and express interest in, the additional Doctoral Tutor role will be preferred.
• The University of Sussex believes that the diversity of its staff and student community is fundamental to creative thinking, pedagogic innovation, intellectual challenge, and the interdisciplinary approach to research and learning. We celebrate and promote diversity, equality and inclusion amongst our staff and students. As such, we welcome applications from all, regardless of personal characteristics or background.

Application Procedure:

• Please read our Psychology PhD FAQS at before you start your application.
• Please submit your application online for ’PhD in Psychology’ for entry in September 2020.
• In the ’Supervisor suggested by applicant’ section of your application, please put Dr Ediz Sohoglu.
• In the ’Proposed source of funding’ section of your application, please put ’Psychology Doctoral Research Scholarship’
• You should upload a document summarising any teaching experience you have and illustrating your suitability for a Doctoral Tutor role.
• International students who are liable to pay overseas fees should also explain their plan to cover the difference between home and overseas fees.

Funding Notes

You will be awarded a stipend for 3.25 years (tied to the UKRI studentship rates, currently £15,009 p.a.). UK/EU PhD fees and research/training costs are also covered.

You will also be offered a 3 year fixed term contract, as a Doctoral Tutor, to teach up to 165 hours per year (0.1FTE Grade 5.1 (currently £25,941 p.a. pro rata), covering contact time, preparation, and marking). You will be encouraged to study for a formal teaching accreditation and will enrol on a ‘starting to teach’ module in the first term before you begin teaching.


Research lies at the heart of the School of Psychology. Our cutting-edge research aims to enhance understanding and provide innovative approaches to key psychological challenges and issues. We are engaged in research across the broad range of the discipline.

The School of Psychology is one of the largest centres for the study of psychology in the UK. We have over 50 academic faculty, approximately 80 research students and more than 100 postgraduate students taking Master's degrees. Our undergraduate intake is over 500 a year, which gives us an academic community of well over 1000 people working in a rich and supportive learning environment.

How good is research at University of Sussex in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 41.40

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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