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PhD position in Organizational Neuroscience

One PhD position of four years for 1.0 fte is available at the Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology, VU Amsterdam, under the supervision of Prof. …

12 maanden geleden


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


One PhD position of four years for 1.0 fte is available at the Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology, VU Amsterdam, under the supervision of Prof. Jan Theeuwes (cognitive psychology & neuroscience) and Prof. Mark van Vugt (organizational & evolutionary psychology). The PhD position concerns a project in the new field of organizational neuroscience, titled “A neuroscience approach to charismatic leadership.” The anticipated starting date for the position is
1 September, 2018 (though some flexibility is possible). The project will be part of the Institute for Brain and Behavior Amsterdam (http://ibba.institute/). There will be a teaching requirement associated with this position (10%).

Research Project
One of the puzzles in social sciences is the power of charismatic leadership. According to sociologist Max Weber, charismatic leaders possess exceptional personal qualities that enable them to attract and mobilize followers for a joint cause. A growing body of research suggests that charismatic leaders are able to persuade followers to relinquish their personal control and set aside their self-interest for a greater cause (Grabo & van Vugt, 2016). However, despite what we know about charisma, the cognitive mechanisms underlying charismatic leadership remain elusive (Schjoedt et al., 2011; Waldman et al., 2011). The aims of this research project are (1) to study the cognitive and behavioral effects of exposure to charismatic leaders by using well-established measures of cognitive control, emotional contagion, and economic game behavior, (2) elucidate how individual differences in personality (traits like openness and suggestibility) moderate the effects of charismatic influence; and (3) investigate the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying the effects of charisma on followers. The project will use methods from both psychology (surveys, games, interaction analysis) and neuroscience (hormones, EEG, fMRI).


•Research Master in Cognitive Neuroscience, Experimental Psychology, Evolutionary, Social or Organizational Psychology (or a related field);
•Interest in and familiarity with cognitive/social/organizational neuroscience methods;
•Excellent knowledge of methodology and statistics;
•Excellent command of written and spoken English;
•Experience with programming or scripting languages (e.g., C++, open sesame, MatLab).


The appointment will be initially for 1 year. After satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, it can be extended for an additional 3 years. You can find information about our fringe benefits of employment at http://www.workingatvu.nl.

The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel.
At the VU Amsterdam, salary range from a minimum of € 2222,00 gross (salaryscale 85-0) per month up to a maximum of € 2840,00 gross (salaryscale 85-3), based on a fulltime employment.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact: Prof. Mark van Vugt: m.van.vugt@vu.nl,
Prof. Jan Theeuwes: j.theeuwes@vu.nl or Anna Brinkman, department secretary: a.g.a.brinkman@vu.nl.

Applicants are requested to send:
•a two-page personal statement describing the applicant’s research and educational experience and interest in the project described above;
•a curriculum vitae;
•a complete list of grades in the Research Master’s program;
•a list of two names (and contact information) who might provide recommendations.

Written applications should be sent before 3 May 2018 to Anna Brinkman: a.g.a.brinkman@vu.nl.

Interviews for this position will be held on Thursday 31 May or on Friday 1 June.

Please mention the vacancy number in the e-mail header.
All application materials should be submitted as one document in PDF or Word.