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Social learning: what does the brain of a good social learner look like and is social learning difficult for autistic people?

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Applications are invited for a PhD to begin in September 2016.

The successful applicant will be based in the University of Birmingham School of Psychology, and would be supervised by Dr Jennifer Cook. The School of Psychology ranked 5th in the UK for its world-leading (4*) research, making it one of the best Psychology schools in the country.

Project Description: Some people can quickly pick up new skills and learn new information by simply watching those around them, but for others such ‘social learning’ poses a difficulty. The Ph.D. student will work with Dr Jennifer Cook to find out a) what makes a good ‘social learner’ (in terms of behaviour, brain morphology, brain connectivity, genetics and neurotransmitter function), b) whether autistic people have difficulties with social learning, and c) how we can help people to be better social learners. Methodologies used in the lab include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), electrical brain stimulation (tDCS), behavioural genetics, psychopharmacology, motion tracking and kinematic recording. Analytical approaches include computational modelling and genome wide complex trait analysis. The Ph.D. student will also carry out neuropsychological testing and diagnostic interviews using DSM-5 criteria.

Applicants would ideally have, or be close to obtaining, an M.Sc. in Psychology, Cognitive/Clinical Neuroscience, Neuroimaging or a related field, with at least a 2.1 in their first degree. A high level of motivation and excellent interpersonal and organisational skills are essential.

If you would like to find out more information about the above project, please contact Dr Jennifer Cook, (Tel: +44 121 414 6937).

Prospective candidates are required to apply first using the University of Birmingham on-line application system. In order for the application to be processed quickly, candidates should submit a personal statement, CV, 2 references, and transcript of grades.

A copy of the on-line application form and guidance notes can be found at the following website: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/students/courses/postgraduate/research/psych/psychology.aspx

Please indicate in the funding section of the application form that you wish to be considered for a competitive studentship offered by the University of Birmingham and e-mail to indicate you have applied.

For any enquiries about the application process, please contact Dr Jennifer Cook ()

Funding Notes

A number of competitive studentships are available to cover home/EU tuition fees and a tax-free maintenance grant for 3 years (£13,863/ year in 2014/15). International Students from outside the EU may apply, but may be liable for the difference between UK/EU and International (Overseas) tuition fees.

Available studentships are listed here: View Website


Related Subjects

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)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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