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Three PhD candidates in Movement Science/Social Psychology, Psychophysiology, and (Social) Neuroscience

Are you experienced in social/clinical/cognitive neuroscience and interested in how people share their emotions? Are you prepared to take on complex statistical analyses and methodological challenges? Then we would like to get to know you!

9 maanden geleden


De Boelelaan, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 - 40 uur
€ 2325 - € 2972 per maand


This project is part of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) project, The Rhythm of Relating: How Emotional Sharing Emerges from Interpersonal Synchrony in Movements, Physiology, and Neural Activations. When people engage in emotional sharing, they often display the same rhythms in movements, heart rate, and brain activity. The project will investigate how such synchronous rhythms contribute to interpersonal emotion, using complex statistical analyses (i.e., analysing EEG data, time-frequency analysis, autoregressive modelling). The project entails both experimental research and research in psychotherapy settings. The results may help to make psychotherapy more effective and improve communication, for instance, in close relationships or during negotiations

The project is organised into three sub-projects, each to be carried out by one PhD student. The three PhD students will work together during data collection. At the same time, each PhD student will be responsible for their own sub-project.

  • The first PhD student will focus on movement synchrony. This PhD student will be supervised by Sander Koole (VU Amsterdam), Peter Beek (VU), John Stins (VU), Tom Wilderjans (VU/Leiden University/Leuven University), and Wolfgang Tschacher (University of Bern).
  • The second PhD student will focus on physiological synchrony, particularly cardiovascular responses. This PhD student will be supervised by Sander Koole (VU Amsterdam), Tom Wilderjans (VU/Leiden University/Leuven University), Wolfgang Tschacher (University of Bern), and Emily Butler (University of Arizona).
  • The third PhD student will focus on brain-to-brain synchrony, using EEG hyperscanning. This PhD student will be supervised by Sander Koole (VU Amsterdam), Suzanne Dikker (New York University/VU), and Tom Wilderjans (VU/Leiden University/Leuven University).

Duration of the PhD project is four years. The PhD candidate will participate in the meetings of the Amsterdam Emotion Regulation Lab and the Graduate School of the Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences. The PhD candidate will be based in Amsterdam; however, the position requires intermittent domestic and international travel to attend conferences, training events, and for psychotherapy data collection, which will take place at the VU Amsterdam and Tel Aviv University (under supervision of Dr. Dana Atzil-Slonim).

Your duties
  • Designing and performing experiments (all steps from recruiting participants to collecting data, including statistical analysis) regarding brain synchrony using portable EEG scanners
  • Complex statistical analysis of to investigate patterns of interpersonal synchronisation.
  • Analysis of data from either movement scanners (for the Movement science PhD student), cardiological measures (for the Physiology PhD student), or portable EEG scanners (for the Neuroscience PhD student)
  • Collecting data in psychotherapy settings in Amsterdam and Tel Aviv.
  • Complete a coherent series of journal articles in English, which culminate in a dissertation, and publish the articles in leading international journals in the field
  • Work in team with two additional PhD students and international experts from the Amsterdam Emotion Regulation Lab.
  • Engage in social media and popular communication about the research results
  • Attending and presenting at international conferences
  • Taking part in Graduate School of the Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences which involves training in such relevant topics as research methods, statistics, writing and presenting.
Each PhD student will make a limited contribution each year to the Department’s teaching programme (such as leading a student workgroup, co-supervising a Master student’s thesis project, or co-teaching a lecture). There is the opportunity to obtain a basic qualification teaching certificate (shortened BKO). However, the primary focus will be on research.


  • Excellent training in design and conducting of experiments, preferably through an MSc degree in movement science or social/clinical/cognitive neuroscience in a Research Master program. Experience with movement scanners/cardiological measures/EEG scanners is a plus.
  • Strong record in quantitative research methods and complex statistical analyses.
  • Experience with advanced statistical software programs like R or MATLAB is a plus.
  • Outstanding organisational and analytical skills, flexibility (work in team), communicational skills (including social media) and perseverance, ability to work in a team and excellence in written and spoken English


The opportunity to do ground-breaking research in a team a young and inspiring international team of researchers. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,325 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €2,972 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 1 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 4 years.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment,
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus,
  • contribution to commuting expenses,
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package,
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge

Additional information

Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 25 October 2019. The job interviews are planned for October 31 (1st round) and November 7 (2nd round) when possible please take them into account when applying for the position.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Sander Koole
Position: Full Professor
E-mail: s.l.koole@vu.nl
Telephone: 06 21141018

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