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  Dr Sylwia Polberg  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project


Negotiating, deliberating, discussing, persuading – we experience these every day; they are all examples of argumentation. It is a very multidisciplinary fields, and the focus of this project lies on the intersection of computer science and cognitive science.

Convincing people to do or not to do something is not easy. Consider, for example, a doctor persuading a patient to drink or smoke less, or a teacher persuading a student to organize their work and time better. The way these problems are approached often need to take into account the nature of the person we are trying to persuade to do or not to do something. Very rarely there is a one-fits-all approach. Humans are fallible and suffer from various cognitive biases that affect how they process information and how likely they are to agree or disagree with it.

Developing computational approaches that are able to engage in meaningful and convincing discussions with humans is therefore a challenging topic. It is however one with many applications in healthcare, finances, driving safety, and more. An increasing number of companies is developing various systems and chatbots with the aim of interacting with the users in order to achieve a particular goal, which is particularly important in areas such as healthcare that are facing staff shortages.

Aims, Methods and Deliverables

The goal of this PhD is to focus on developing methods that would detect biased behaviour in human agents and offer argumentation models to handle it, with the end aim of increasing success rates of persuasive dialogues. The student will employ various computational argumentation and cognitive science techniques, as well as other AI approaches as needed.

It is expected that the student will deliver new scientific methods, carry out experiments with human participants and prepare a prototype dialogue system in an application domain of their choosing. Possible examples include a system that encourages smoking cessation.

Keywords: Cognitive Biases, AI, Artificial Intelligence, Argumentation

Contact for information on the project, please contact Dr Polberg, [Email Address Removed]

Academic criteria: A 2:1 Honours undergraduate degree or a master's degree, in computing or a related subject. Applicants with appropriate professional experience are also considered. Degree-level mathematics (or equivalent) is required for research in some project areas.

Applicants for whom English is not their first language must demonstrate proficiency by obtaining an IELTS score of at least 6.5 overall, with a minimum of 6.0 in each skills component.

How to apply:

Please contact the supervisors of the project prior to submitting your application to discuss and develop an individual research proposal that builds on the information provided in this advert. Once you have developed the proposal with support from the supervisors, please submit your application following the instructions provided below

Please submit your application before the application deadline 29th April 2022 via Computer Science and Informatics - Study - Cardiff University

In order to be considered candidates must submit the following information: 

  • Supporting statement 
  • CV 
  • In the ‘Research Proposal’ section of the application enter the name of the project you are applying to and upload your Individual research proposal, as mentioned above in BOLD
  • In the funding field of your application, insert “I am applying for 2022 PhD Scholarship in Computer Science and Informatics”, and specify the project title and supervisors of this project in the text box provided.
  • Qualification certificates and Transcripts
  • References x 2 
  • Proof of English language (if applicable)

Interview - If the application meets the entrance requirements, you will be invited to an interview. 

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

A School-Funded PhD Scholarship is available for entry 2022/23.
In the Funding field of your application, insert "I am applying for 2022 PhD Scholarship" and specify the project title and supervisor of this project in the fields provided.
This project is also open to Self-Funded students worldwide. If you are interested in applying for a Self-Funded PhD, please search FindAPhD for this specific project title, supervisor or School within its Scholarships category.


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