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Theory of Mind in Early and Middle Childhood: Predictors, Correlates and Consequences.

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  • Full or part time
    Dr R Devine
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Applications are invited for a fully-funded (fees + stipend) Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology to begin in October 2018. This exciting opportunity allows talented scholars to develop a research project focusing on individual differences in children’s understanding of others’ minds or ‘theory of mind’ under the supervision of Dr Rory T. Devine at one of the United Kingdom’s Top 5 Psychology Departments (REF, 2014).

How children reason about others’ thoughts, emotions and desires or ‘theory of mind’ has become one of the most widely-studied topics within developmental psychology. This is not surprising given that recent studies have highlighted the importance of children’s mindreading for later social adjustment. Dr Devine’s research focuses on individual differences in children’s theory of mind. Specifically, his work seeks to identify the developmental predictors, correlates and consequences of normal variation in children’s theory of mind from early through to middle childhood. Information about Dr Devine’s research and publications can be found at:

The Project:
The candidate is expected to develop a proposal that directly complements or extends this research program and should therefore focus on one of the following topics: (1) social influences on children’s mindreading (e.g., influences of interactions with parents, teachers or peers); (2) cognitive correlates of individual differences in mindreading (e.g., executive function); (3) developmental associations between mindreading and children’s social and behavioural adjustment (e.g., peer relationships, social competence, psychopathology symptoms). Projects can focus either on early or middle childhood. Projects incorporating short-term longitudinal studies (i.e., 1 to 2 years in duration) or intervention studies are particularly encouraged. Dr Devine collaborates with researchers based at other British universities and universities in Italy, Hong Kong and the USA presenting possibilities for candidates to undertake collaborative work with researchers in these settings.

Essential Attributes:
- At least an upper second class degree in Psychology (or a related discipline) or on track to be awarded such a degree before October
1st 2018.
- A least an upper second class grade in a research dissertation conducted as part of an undergraduate or masters degree.
- A strong interest in and aptitude for statistics.
- Excellent written communication and interpersonal skills.
- English language proficiency.

Desirable Attributes:
- Completion of a masters degree.
- Evidence of academic excellence as indicated by prizes or achievements.
- Personal or professional experience working with children and/or families.

A copy of the on-line application form and guidance notes can be found at the following website:

Please indicate in the funding section of the application form that this is a College funded studentship and email: [Email Address Removed] to indicate you have applied.

Further Information:
Please contact Dr Rory T. Devine ([Email Address Removed]) for further information and informal questions about research proposals.
For any questions about the application process please contact the Graduate School Administrative Officer (Tel: +44(0)121 414 2864/4906; Email: [Email Address Removed])

Funding Notes

Funding Notes:
This award provides annual funding to cover UK/EU tuition fees and a tax-free stipend. International Students from outside the EU may apply, but may be liable for the difference between UK/EU and International (Overseas) tuition fees.
The studentship will be awarded on the basis of merit for 3 years of full-time study to commence on 1st October 2018.

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

FTE Category A staff submitted: 40.80

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

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