The effects of hypoxia on decision making, cognitive flexibility, memory, and pain


   Department of Psychology

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  Dr Nils Niederstrasser, Dr J Costello  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a fully-funded three-year PhD to commence in October 2024.

The PhD will be based in the Department of Psychology (Faculty of Science & Health), and will be supervised by Dr Nils Niederstrasser and Dr Joe Costello

Candidates applying for this project may be eligible to compete for one of a small number of bursaries available. Successful applicants will receive a bursary to cover tuition fees for three years and a stipend in line with the UKRI rate (£18,622 for 2023/24). Bursary recipients will also receive a contribution of £1,500 per year towards consumables, conference, project or training costs.

Costs for student visa and immigration health surcharge are not covered by this bursary. For further guidance and advice visit our international and EU students ‘Visa FAQs’ page

The work on this project could involve:

●    Using equipment to induce hypoxic states and assessing pain

●    Examining cognitive performance under various levels of hypoxia

●    Recording physiological and psychological reactions to hypoxia and pain

Project description

This project aims to explore the relationship between hypoxia (lack of oxygen), pain, and cognitive performance. Individuals may be placed in situations whereby they need to make important decisions while being deprived of oxygen, such as during high altitude excursions or as a result of medical conditions. While it is likely that hypoxia affects cognitive performance, the exact nature of this link is not known. Furthermore, hypoxia may affect pain perceived by individuals in these situations. Again, investigations so far have failed to shed light on the link between acute hypoxia and pain. The current project therefore aims to examine the link between hypoxia and cognitive performance and pain, as well as any interactions between hypoxia, pain, and cognitive performance.

The successful applicant will have access to modern state of the art equipment and expertise from both the department of Psychology and the School of Sports Exercise and Health.

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

Experience in quantitative data analysis and topic-related research.

How to Apply

If you have any project-specific questions please contact Dr Nils Niederstrasser ([Email Address Removed]), quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, please use our online application form. 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.

If you want to be considered for this funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code PSYC8530124 when applying. Please note that email applications are not accepted.


Medicine (26) Psychology (31)

Funding Notes

Candidates applying for this project may be eligible to compete for one of a small number of bursaries available. Successful applicants will receive a bursary to cover tuition fees for three years and a stipend in line with the UKRI rate (£18,622 for 2023/24). Bursary recipients will also receive a contribution of £1,500 per year towards consumables, conference, project or training costs.
Costs for student visa and immigration health surcharge are not covered by this bursary. For further guidance and advice visit our international and EU students ‘Visa FAQs’ page.
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