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PhD position on 'reinforcement learning in the developmental and educational sciences'

The Department of Psychology of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG) is looking for an enthusiastic researcher who would like to build her/his career in the field of experimental psychology.
In typical ...

8 maanden geleden


Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 uur
€ 2222 - € 2840 per maand


The Department of Psychology of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG) is looking for an enthusiastic researcher who would like to build her/his career in the field of experimental psychology.

In typical reinforcement learning study participants have to learn, by means of reinforcement, which one of two abstract stimuli yields the most favourable feedback. In this project you will investigate reinforcement learning in contexts which are more relevant for developmental and educational research. That is, you investigate:

  1. reinforcement learning of rules (e.g. grammar);
  2. learning by reinforcement alone vs. learning by means of reinforcement and instruction;
  3. the role of confidence in reinforcement learning.

You will perform a set of controlled experimental studies in children, adolescents and adults. If you have experience in neuroimaging research, there might be a possibility to collaborate in an fMRI study as well.

Additional information:

  • The project is embedded in a larger decision making project (VICI grant awarded by the Dutch Science Foundation). In the upcoming years the project comprises, apart from the current vacancy, a methods postdoc, an fMRI postdoc, a methods PhD, and a clinical PhD. The project is led by prof. Hilde Huizenga. Cooperation within the team is encouraged;
  • the project is embedded in the psychology research institute;
  • the project consists of 0.8 fte research and 0.2 fte teaching. Teaching activities include supervision of bachelor and (research) master theses, which might yield publishable data;
  • we also have to offer acompetitive pay and excellent benefits; a very friendly, interactive and international working environment and an office located in the city centre of one of Europe's most beautiful and lively cities.


The candidate should:

  • have completed a research master (or expected graduation within 3 months) in psychology or a related discipline;
  • be interested in experimental research;
  • have excellent writing skills;
  • be very well able to work in a team;
  • have acquired sufficient Dutch oral proficiency by June 2018.

The following will count in favour of the candidate: experience with reinforcement learning, decision making or categorization research; experience with running studies in developmental populations; programming skills in R and/or Presentation.


The full-time appointment will be for a period of 12 months plus a further 36 months contingent on a satisfactory performance during the first year. The gross monthly salary will range from €2.222 in the first year to €2,840 in the final year, based on a full-time position of 38 hours per week, plus 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% end-of- year allowance, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

Additional information

You may send your application (with job number 17-597) to:

Applicants should submit a letter of interest that addresses qualifications, a current resume and a list of grades.

The first round of interviews will be held on Tuesday 19 December.


With over 5,000 employees, 30,000 students and a budget of more than 600 million euros, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) is an intellectual hub within the Netherlands. Teaching and research at the UvA are conducted within seven faculties: Humanities, Social and Behavioural Sciences, Economics and Business, Law, Science, Medicine and Dentistry. Housed on four city campuses in or near the heart of Amsterdam, where disciplines come together and interact, the faculties have close links with thousands of researchers and hundreds of institutions at home and abroad.

The UvA’s students and employees are independent thinkers, competent rebels who dare to question dogmas and aren’t satisfied with easy answers and standard solutions. To work at the UvA is to work in an independent, creative, innovative and international climate characterised by an open atmosphere and a genuine engagement with the city of Amsterdam and society.

Department of Psychology

The Department of Psychology of the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences (FMG) is internationally renowned for its high quality research, with #11 in the QS psychology worldranking, the highest of continental Europe. We are looking for an enthusiastic researcher who would like to build her/his career in the field of experimental psychology.