PhD position: portable EEG research on social dynamics in schools

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • PhD position: portable EEG research on social dynamics in schools
  • University Graduate
A full-time, PhD studentship on brain-to-brain synchrony during cooperation in childhood and its relation to mindset and social mindfulness is available at the department of Clinical- Neuro- and Developmental Psychology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The project is embedded within a larger, interdisciplinary project funded by the Ammodo Science Award 2020.

FTE: 0.8 - 1

Job description

A key challenge for investigating the development of social behavior is to capture its dynamics in a developmentally appropriate and ecologically valid way, while at the same time keeping the experimental rigor that is needed to make reliable inferences about the underlying behavioral and brain mechanisms. This PhD project aims to develop and use portable EEG paradigms to unravel neural mechanisms of cooperation in natural contexts (e.g. at school), taking into account also the natural social dynamics (e.g. social networks within classes). As new technologies can raise different expectations and fears in stakeholder groups, this project will also include a Responsible Research and Innovation study to assess stakeholder’s views and perspectives.  

As a PhD candidate, you will work in close cooperation with the Social Educational Neuroscience Amsterdam (SENSA) team. Within the SENSA team, you will be part of a multidisciplinary group, including senior and more junior faculty members. Your project will be supervised by Dr. Tieme Janssen, Prof. Dr. Nienke van Atteveldt and Dr. Jellie Sierksma. More information on SENSA can be found here:

Your duties
  • responsibility for all aspects of the data collection, including programming of the tasks and analyses, recruitment and participant testing (children in primary/secondary school)
  • analysis of EEG data and behavioral data (e.g. questionnaires and social network data)
  • manuscript preparation
  • presentation of results at national and international conferences


  • a completed MSc degree in the field of (neuro)psychology, cognitive neuroscience, social psychology or developmental psychology
  • interest in social development and portable EEG
  • affinity with programming and technical problem solving
  • good knowledge of statistical data analysis
  • strong analytical and writing skills
  • good command of English and Dutch
  • affinity to work with children and teachers
  • good communication skills and ability to work in an interdisciplinary team

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,395 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,061 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 4 years.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavour – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences
The Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences focuses on the broad domain of behaviour and health. Our teaching and research programmes are devoted to current developments in society, from healthy aging to e-health, from juvenile crime to dealing with depression, from training for top athletes to social media as a teaching tool. We are unique in that we combine three academic disciplines: psychology, movement sciences and education.

Working at Behavioural and Movement Sciences means working in an ambitious organization that is characterized by an informal atmosphere and short lines of communication. Our faculty offers tremendous scope for personal development. We employ more than 600 staff members, and we are home to around 3,400 students.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until November 1, 2020.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Please see other vacancies for this project: 
  • PhD position: cooperation and helping between groups among children
  • PhD position: development of social cognition in adolescence
Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Dr. T.W.P. Janssen
Position: assistant professor

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