PhD position on Reinforcement Learning and Implicit Prejudice

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences – Department of Psychology

4 juni 2018
Master's degree
€2,222 to €2,840 gross per month
1 juli 2018
38 hours per week

The Department of Social Psychology is supported by approximately 15 tenured faculty members, and currently hosts 13 PhD and postdoctoral researchers. We offer a dynamic environment in an internationally recognized department, ranking among the best in Europe for research and teaching. This is paired with an informal and supportive atmosphere, in a beautifully-situated building with modern facilities. Amsterdam is an international city, consistently ranked as one of the world’s best places to live.

The Psychology Department is located centrally in Amsterdam, and hosts program groups focusing on social, organisational, developmental, clinical, statistical, and cognitive psychology. It offers excellent facilities for undertaking research in a broad range of areas, including EEG, ERP, TMS, and fMRI, cognitive behavioural testing suites, eye-tracker, and a social observation lab.

Our Department is a part of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG), which is the largest educational and research institution in the social sciences in the Netherlands. The Faculty serves 7500 students in numerous Bachelor and Master programs in Psychology, Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, Communication Science, Social Geography, Planning and International Development Studies, and Educational Sciences.

Project description

As PhD student you will examine the psychological and neural processes through which implicit prejudices are learned. Specifically, this project tests an interactive memory systems model of how prejudices are internalized, using a combination of behavioural experiments, computational modelling, and neuroimaging.

You will conduct your research under the supervision of Dr David Amodio at the University of Amsterdam and engage with his research group as part of Dr Amodio’s NWO-funded VICI project, How do prejudices become implicit? A social cognitive neuroscience account. You will join a vibrant and supportive research group in the Department of Social Psychology, with opportunities to interact with other programs and organizations at our university (e.g., the Amsterdam Brain & Cognition Centre) and to visit Dr Amodio’s New York University lab, in New York City, among other international collaborations.

This position includes allowances for research expenses, including computer and recording materials, participant costs, experimental materials, and travel and subsistence costs towards project-specific travel, including conferences. The positions also offer an opportunity to gain experience with teaching, subject to availability and qualifications.


  • You have or are about to finish a Research Master degree in Psychology or related discipline, with a focus on social psychology and/or cognitive neuroscience;
  • you have an interest in social cognition and prejudice from a neuroscience perspective;
  • you have experience conducting social psychological and/or neuroscience research, such as with designing and programming experiments (e.g., using Matlab, Python, E-Prime, or Inquisit), recruiting participants and running experimental sessions, collection and analysis of data (e.g., SPSS or R), or writing of manuscripts/grants;
  • your written and spoken English are excellent and you have a strong interest in pursuing a scientific career;
  • you also have strong research project management skills and the ability to manage workload and resources and to meet deadlines;
  • you are willing and able to travel internationally (costs will be covered by the project grant).

Experience with neuroimaging or computational modelling would be advantageous

Further information

You may direct informal inquiries to:

  • Dr David Amodio
    Please quote 'Inquiry PhD position Implicit Prejudice Project' in the subject line. A summary of the research proposal can be made available for interested candidates.


The starting date of the position is set for 1 September 2018, but a later date may be considered. The position is initially for 1 year. Extension of the contract after the first year to a total of 4 years is subject to satisfactory performance.

The gross monthly salary will be in accordance with the salary scales for PhD candidates at Dutch universities, i.e., ranging from €2,222 in the first year to €2,840 in the final year. Conditions are based on the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities.

Job application

The University of Amsterdam is striving for a better balance in its staff whereby, by equal suitability, the appointment of a female candidate will have our preference. Women are, therefore, strongly encouraged to apply.

You may send your application by email to Ms Annemiek Hoffer before 2 July 2018, and include a CV, a letter of motivation (max. 500 words), and the names and email addresses of three potential references. Please quote the project title on your application and include all the required documentation when applying. As this appointment is to work on an already specified project, there is no need to provide a complete research proposal. However, you should include in your motivation letter a research statement that specifies how your interests, skills, and experience to date are relevant to the project. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

Gepubliceerd door  Universiteit van Amsterdam