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Two postdoctoral positions in Exposure to Dissimilar Views in the Media

The Amsterdam School of Communication Research ASCoR currently has a Postdoc vacancy as part of the ERC Starting Grant entitled 'Citizens exposed to …

9 maanden geleden


Spui, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
30 - 34 uur
€ 3475 - € 4757 per maand


The Amsterdam School of Communication Research ASCoR currently has a Postdoc vacancy as part of the ERC Starting Grant entitled 'Citizens exposed to dissimilar views in the media: investigating backfire effects' directed by Dr Magdalena Wojcieszak.

In the current polarized climate, understanding between those who hold different views is needed more than ever. Exposure to dissimilar content that challenges one’s beliefs is hoped to foster tolerance. However, exposure to difference can also increase polarization and conflict among citizens with different opinions.

We do not know when and why exposure to dissimilar views amplifies or attenuates hostilities. This project addresses this question. We investigate (1) individual, social, and system factors that together drive exposure to dissimilar views in mass media and online, and (2) the effects of exposure to dissimilar views polarization, while (3) accounting for various political issues and intended and incidental exposure.

The key themes included in this project are:

  • Under what conditions does exposure to dissimilar political views occur?
    • What factors – including individual-level characteristics, political discussion, and media and political system – encourage people to see dissimilar content offline and online?
    • Do these factors vary depending on a political issue?
    • Under what conditions does exposure to dissimilar political views backfire?
      • What are the immediate and overtime effects of dissimilar exposure?
      • What are the individual-level, meso-level, and system-level factors that enhance or minimize polarization?
      • For whom, when, and why does dissimilar exposure lead to polarization and for whom it generates understanding toward citizens with different views?

We combine three methods and advance the use of behavioral data:

  • Panel Surveys – we will conduct panel surveys on systematic samples in three countries (the Netherlands, Poland, and the United States).
  • Online behavior tracking - concurrently, we will track the actual online exposure among the same participants to identify the specific political content that each participant sees on determined political issues.
  • Automated Content Analysis – we will use existing software and/or supervised machine learning to assess the content’s tone, positive or negative toward each issue. When combined with information on individual attitudes, the content data will tell us whether the content is like-minded or dissimilar with regard to each individual’s attitudes.


For both positions, you should:

  • have research interest in the topic of the project, and knowledge of new technologies, platforms and capabilities;
  • have a background in communication science, political science, and/or computer science;
  • have proven expertise in quantitative research methods;
  • have experience with Computational Social Sciences and/or Data Science, including proven knowledge of Python and R for data collection and analysis;
  • have expertise in designing, executing and analyzing complex research designs that combine self-reports (experiments/surveys) with digital trace data (e.g., tracking data);
  • have knowledge of - and proven experience with - collecting and analyzing online tracking data and online content;
  • have the willingness and commitment to work in a small, multi-disciplinary team;
  • have an excellent written and spoken command of English, as demonstrated by publications in English-language journals;
  • have excellent organizational, communicative, and presentational skills;
  • hold a relevant PhD degree in behavioral or social sciences or in disciplines relevant to the project. Candidates who are due to submit their dissertation manuscript in Spring 2018 are welcome to apply.

Preferred starting dates are Fall 2018 (position 1, 0.90FTE) and Winter/Spring 2019 (position 2, 0.80 FTE). The possibility of complementing the positions with 0.1 and 0.3 FTE by teaching or working at other projects within the Department of Communication Science is negotiable.

You will be part of the Amsterdam School of Communication Research, University of Amsterdam (and of the AmDigital Communication Methods Lab and the Personalized Communications Project), and lead the development of innovative infrastructure, tools and methods that can advance Communication Science research about exposure to information in online settings.


Position 1 preferably starts in the Fall 2018 and position 2 in the Winter/Spring 2019. Both concern, in principle, a three-year period after an initial test period. The final implementation positions is pending contractual approval.

Your monthly gross salary will range, depending on your knowledge and experience, between €3,475 and €4,757 (Scale 11) based on a full-time basis.

We offer a pension scheme, a holiday allowance of 8% per year, and flexible employment conditions. Conditions are based on Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

Additional information

You may address questions about the application procedure and other general questions to:

Questions about the project content you may address to:

To apply for this position, please send at least the following documents in English by email to ascor-secr-fmg@uva.nl:

  • motivation letter, including a brief discussion about how you fit with the topic and objectives of the ERC project lab;
  • curriculum vitae, including publication list and overview of academic activities and achievements thus far (e.g., conference visits, courses taken, awards);
  • proof of your PhD degree. If you have not completed your degree at the time of application, please provide a statement from your supervisor confirming the expected date of completion of your degree.
  • an academic writing sample in English (e.g., journal article, PhD dissertation).
  • a list of names that could be consulted by the RPA as a reference for the candidate (no reference letters required).

The deadline for applications is 1 June 2018. Please state vacancy number 18-211 in the subject line of your application, and indicate whether you are applying for position 1 or 2.

Please send all your documents in PDF or doc(x) format. We will only consider complete applications.