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Understanding the Psychology of Immersive Experiences

   School of Psychological Science

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  Prof I Gilchrist, Prof Danae Stanton Fraser  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

This is an exciting opportunity to join a large collaborative team developing and evaluating the latest advances in digital production for the creative industries.

This ambitious project called MyWorld is a new five-year programme funded by the UKRI Strength in Places fund. The £46m programme brings together 30 partners from Bristol and Bath’s creative technologies sector and world-leading academic institutions, to create a unique cross-sector consortium. MyWorld will forge dynamic collaborations to progress technological innovation, deliver creative excellence, establish and operate state of the art facilities, offer skills training and drive inward investment.

Within MyWorld our team will be focused on measuring and evaluating audience experiences. There exists a range of methods to measure these effects on audience: interviews, surveys, physiological monitoring and measuring behaviour. The team will map out these pre-existing methods, evaluate and validate them, and then add new cutting-edge methods to this battery. We will be working over a range of experiences (TV, VR, AR, Live Theater, etc.) and with differing types of content (drama, documentary, news). The aim is to have real impact in providing the creative industries with an easy to access toolkit to support audience understanding. The team will be based across Bristol and Bath Universities and work directly with the creative sector in the region.

Project description:

Being a member of an audience, either alone or in a group, can result in a wide range of changes in psychological state including: being scared, excited, fascinated, immersed, happy and sad. The experience can also have longer term impact, including changing our attitudes, behavior, and priorities. There are a wide range of experience that can lead to these changes and the next 5 years will see the development of new types of experiences and the use of new technology to deliver those experiences.   

One core method for measuring these changes is the use of questionnaires. In this PhD you will evaluate the existing questionnaires designed to measure audience experience and then develop a new set of questionnaires to capture the full range of audience responses. You will tailor these new questionnaires to be applicable to a wide range of experience and content types. You will then use a range of alternative methods to validate the new suite of questionnaires.       

The MyWorld community will give you a unique opportunity to trial these new tools in a real-world context and evaluate their usefulness to the creative industries. 

The person: We are seeking a person with an interest in the use of behavioral science to study complex real-world situations. The person will have an undergraduate or master’s degree in a relevant discipline such as Psychology, HCI or Computer Science. Experience in the design, or administration, of questionnaires would be desirable as would some programming skills or an interest in acquiring them. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of this work, applicants with a different scientific background but a strong interest in this field will also be considered. 

Further details and contact: The post will ideally start in October 2022, but there is some flexibility. Informal enquires about this post are very welcome, please contact Professor Iain Gilchrist, email: [Email Address Removed].

How to Apply:  To apply for this studentship submit a PhD application here: [How to apply | Study at Bristol | University of Bristol] Please ensure that in the Funding section you write “I would like to be considered for the MyWorld funding award in the School of Psychological Science” and specify the name of the supervisor: Iain Gilchrist.

Interviews to be held 23/24 February 2022.

Funding Notes

A fully funded (stipend and fees) PhD studentship for 3 years at the prevailing UKRI rates. The studentship is available for UK Students.
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