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Postdoc position in Short-term mindsets and crime: Digging into the relation between risk factors and criminal behavior using unique longitudinal data

Why are some people more likely to commit crime than others? Answers to this question can be grouped into two broad views. On the one hand, dispositional …

3 maanden geleden


Drienerlolaan, Enschede, Overijssel
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
32 - 32 uur
€ 2588 - € 3475 per maand


Why are some people more likely to commit crime than others? Answers to this question can be grouped into two broad views. On the one hand, dispositional perspectives argue that stable factors within the individual, such as lack of self-control, lie at the roots of criminal conduct. Sociogenic perspectives, on the other hand, put the locus of study outside the individual and point towards external factors such as rough neighborhoods, parental unemployment, and deviant peers, as the main causes of crime. Research into both perspectives has identified hundreds of correlates of criminal behavior, yet how these are related is still largely uncharted territory. The ERC research program aims to integrate both views based on a new theoretical perspective, which draws from criminology, social psychology and evolutionary theory. This perspective is premised on the idea that short-term mindsets encourage crime and specifies how both individual dispositions and sociogenic variables can encourage such mindsets.

Insofar as short-term thinking is a major cause of crime and not fixed, as assumed by dispositional perspectives, changes in shortsightedness can be expected to produce changes in (re-)offending. Using multi-wave data, this postdoc project will address the possibly reciprocal nature of exposure to contextual risk factors, short-term mindsets, and delinquency. This will establish the extent to which observed changes in shortsightedness are consequential for offending and what factors influence these changes. The assumption to be tested argues that there is a self-reinforcing dynamic between contextual risk factors and crime that is in part explained by short-term mindsets. That is, shortsighted individuals tend to engage in activities that make it more likely that they encounter events and have experiences that, in turn, reinforce such short-term mindsets, resulting in a ‘cycle of crime’.

The project is part of a larger ERC-funded research program in which the role of short-term thinking is central. This program’s ambition is to realize ground-breaking advances in the understanding of criminal and delinquent conduct by improving our understanding what causes people to become shortsighted and also how they can learn and be motivated to take the longer term consequences of their actions better into account and move away from (embarking on) a criminal career.

You will be working closely together with other researchers in a young and ambitious multidisciplinary research team that aims to push the boundaries of the current state of the art in crime research. PhD supervision may be a part of your tasks. You will inter alia be using data from a unique longitudinal project following a large sample of Swiss urban youth since age 7, The Zurich Project on the Social Development from Childhood to Adulthood (www.jacobscenter.uzh.ch/en/research/zproso) and collaborate with members of the zproso team at the University of Zurich, Switzerland.

The project aims to fulfill the following objectives within the larger program:

  1. Provide an encompassing test of the interaction between individuals and their social environments which will result in critical information on how criminal careers develop over time, a main feature of the proposed theoretical perspective.
  2. Contribute to the development of a new integrative theory explaining crime and delinquency.
  3. Test whether committing crime renders people more shortsighted.


  • you have obtained a PhD in a relevant field of the social sciences, preferably psychology, criminology or sociology;
  • you have a strong publication record;
  • experience in the supervision of PhD students is a plus
  • you have a clear and demonstrable interest in crime research;
  • you have a strong background in statistics, with demonstrated experience in analyzing longitudinal data and/or complex modeling techniques (e.g., autoregressive models with cross-lagged effects and latent growth-curve modeling);
  • you have excellent social and communication skills;
  • you enjoy working both independently and in teams;
  • you are proficient in English, both in writing and speaking;
  • you are creative, critical and highly motivated.

Information and application

For more information and a description of the project you can contact Prof. dr. Jean-Louis van Gelder (+31 53 489 3974 or 5279), email: j.vangelder@utwente.nl. To apply for this position, please submit a letter with your motivation, your resume including name, email, address, phone number and two or more references; and a copy of your master and PhD theses.

Your application needs to be uploaded before 1 May 2018 via the application link. Given that this website does not accept more than three documents, you can combine documents if necessary.


You are appointed as postdoc (0,8 fte) for a period of three years. Initial gross salary is € 2.588,- - € 3.475,- per month, depending on experience. Preferred starting date is July 2018. The University of Twente offers excellent facilities for professional and personal development, international and dynamic atmosphere, a green and lively campus, holiday allowance (8%), end-of-year bonus (8.3%) and diverse extra benefits.