PhD in Psychology: Worldview Violation, Mindfulness and Arousal

Cardiff University - School of Psychology

Start date: 1 October 2017

Duration: 3 years

Number of studentships: 1

Our behaviours are guided by expectations for the world around us – worldviews, that are continually challenged by unexpected experiences and inconsistencies.

Whether these experiences are threatening or rewarding (or both), they arouse a sense of anxious uncertainty that motivates us to repair, reaffirm or construct new worldviews. While this process is commonly described in social, cognitive and developmental psychology, the psychophysiological mechanisms underlying these behaviours are not well understood.

This project will focus on three related questions:

  • How does inconsistency arousal motivate worldview maintenance behaviours?
  • Does an attentional state relevant to inconsistency detection–mindfulness–impact the response to worldview violations?
  • Do positive and negative worldview violations lead to distinct emotional and behavioural outcomes?

To address these questions, I am looking to collaborate with an engaged and enthusiastic PhD student on an ongoing experimental research project. This project will combine optical motion tracking and measures of pupillary dilation to specify the relationship between inconsistency arousal and worldview defence, along with the impact of emotional valence and mindful attentional states. Prior experience with relevant methodological techniques will be an asset.

This project will be supervised by Dr Travis Proulx.

Funding details

Full UK/EU tuition fees

Doctoral stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum.

Additional funding offered: As well as tuition fees and a maintenance grant, you will receive a participant allowance of £300 per annum, and conference funding (approx. £2250 in total).

Eligibility criteria

Residency: UK Research Council eligibility conditions apply.

Full awards (fees plus maintenance stipend) are open to UK Nationals and EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements.

To be eligible for the full award, EU Nationals must have been in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the course for which they are seeking funding, including for the purposes of full-time education.

EU Nationals who do not meet the above residency requirement are eligible for a fees only award, provided that they have been ordinarily resident in the EU for at least 3 years prior to the start of their proposed programme of study.

Academic criteria

Prospective students should have:

  • a first class/good upper second degree (or international equivalent), or a distinction/merit at Masters level, in a relevant subject.
  • prior, demonstrable research experience obtained during a bachelors, masters or internship project
  • programming skills and experience with experimental presentation software (e.g., Inquisit, eprime)
  • experience with current statistical software (e.g., ‘R’)
  • the ability to apply themselves and gain facility with eye-tracking and EEG methodologies.

Apply Link

For further details on how to apply, please visit:

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