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PhD position ‘Parenting beyond pink or blue: What’s the brain got to do with it?’ (1.0 FTE)

Utrecht University's Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences is looking for a PhD candidate on the project ‘Parenting beyond pink or blue: What’s the brain got to do with it?’. Interested? Read more and apply here.

4 maanden geleden


Domplein, Utrecht, Utrecht
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 40 uur
€ 2325 - € 2972 per maand


Gender is one of the most important organizers of social life. From the moment a child is born, it shapes how children are parented and talked to, and parents’ reactions to the child’s behaviors, activities, and play styles; processes referred to as parental gender socialization. Gender socialization often happens unconsciously, and its underlying processes can therefore be captured best with neuroscientific measures. It is important to understand the underlying processes, because traditional gender socialization has been associated with gender-inequality and the development of traditional gender-stereotypes in children as well as gender differences in child problem behaviour. Knowledge about the underlying neural mechanisms of gender socialization can be translated into strategies for parents to treat boys and girls more equal (e.g., focusing on monitoring or control of stereotypes), which subsequently ensures optimal development of both boys and girls. More broadly, the neuroscience of stereotypes can inform interventions aimed at reducing inequality in society. Therefore, the goal of this project is to explain mothers’ and fathers’ observed gender socialization practices with their preschool-children (3-5 years old) from their neural responses to gendered child stimuli. Using a within-family multi-method design, we examine whether:

  • mothers’ and fathers’ brains respond differently to daughters versus sons;
  • mothers’ and fathers’ brains respond differently to boys and girls that confirm versus violate gender expectations regarding (a) toy preferences, (b) emotion expression, and (c) problem behavior;
  • these differences in parents’ brain responses relate to various aspects of gender socialization with their own children, and whether brain activity mediated the effect of child gender on parenting;
  • these differences in parents’ brain responses relate to differences in the behavior of their sons and daughters.
For the first and second aim, we use electro-encephalography (EEG). For the second aim, we focus specifically on those child behaviors that are known to be encouraged differently in preschool boys and girls. For the third aim, we observe gender socialization practices that are known to differ between boys and girls, i.e., encouragement of gender-typical activities, toys, and behaviors, emotion socialization, play style (e.g., rough-and-tumble play, pretend play, cognitive play), and negative control. For the fourth aim, parents report on the toy and activity preferences, emotional development, and problem behavior of their sons and daughters.

Read more about the project here (.pdf).

Job tasks/responsibilities

  • Conducting the research (literature research, recruiting parents, collecting and analyzing EEG/observation/questionnaire data, reporting the results), resulting in international scientific publications and a dissertation.
  • To present results at national and international scientific conferences.
  • Teaching (max. 10%) in the form of supervising students writing their BA and MA theses.
  • Active participation in the research group of the project and of the Department.
  • Ambition to collaborate with (inter)national partners and to pay visits to these partners.


We are looking for someone who:

  • holds (or nearly holds) a Research Master’s degree in Pedagogical Sciences, Developmental Psychology or a related field, preferably with a specialisation in Neuroscience OR holds a Research Master’s degree in Neuroscience or a related field, preferably with a specialisation in the Social Neuroscience of Parenting;
  • preferably has affinity with EEG and/or behavioral observation;
  • has good social skills;
  • is effective and efficient, and able to think conceptually;
  • is able to meet deadlines, and conduct research independently and as part of a team;
  • has good communication skills (written and oral) and statistical skills in English and Dutch.


We offer a temporary position (1.0 FTE) for one year, starting preferably September 1, 2019. Upon a positive performance, the appointment will be extended for three further years. The gross salary - depending on previous qualifications and experience - ranges between €2,325 and €2,972 (scale P according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) gross per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8 % and a year-end bonus of 8.3 % per year. We offer a pension scheme, (partly paid) parental leave, collective insurance schemes and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). More information is available at our website: Working at Utrecht University.

Additional information

Additional information concerning this position can be obtained by contacting Dr. Joyce Endendijk, via j.j.endendijk@uu.nl, or Prof. Dr. A.L. van Baar, via a.l.vanbaar@uu.nl or +31 30 253 48 96.

Please apply before June 12, 2019.

The first interviews will take place in the week of the 24th of June.