Funded PhD Scholarship: Applying Evolutionary Principles of Face Perception to Improve Cosmetic Technology

Swansea University - Psychology

This scholarship is funded by Swansea University's College of Human and Health Sciences, and CyDen Limited.

Subject areas: Psychology; Evolutionary Psychology; Evolutionary Biology; Data Science

Start date: April 2018

Background: Many studies have demonstrated that our faces signal information to others about our health status, through facial shape (Jones, 2017) or skin colour (Jones et al., 2016). These physical properties of our faces lead to real world-outcomes, as observers use these qualities (either consciously or unconsciously) to make judgments about us as individuals (Tsankova & Kappas, 2016). In addition, the areas of faces that observers use to make negative judgments are also areas that cause appearance dissatisfaction in individuals (Roh & Chung, 2009).

This project aims to extend these research findings to an applied context. The successful candidate will carry out research in collaboration with an industry partner that manufactures laser skin rejuvenation devices to determine a range of outcomes that serve practical and academic significance, such as facial skin areas causing most dissatisfaction, self and other perception of appearances; and desired kinds of facial appearances. 

Typical methodologies may involve straightforward behavioural or psychophysics tasks, image analysis approaches, facial shape and texture analysis and transformation, and the application of sophisticated statistical approaches where appropriate (e.g. linear mixed effects models). A good knowledge of evolutionary face perception literature as well as computer programming and communication skills are highly desirable. The desired start date is April 2018.

The successful candidate will also be expected to contribute up to 6 hours a week to teaching and learning activities within the department.

Eligibility

Academic requirements:

Candidates should have a 2.1 or above undergraduate degree and an MSc (Merit or or equivalent) in related area (psychology, biosciences, etc).

Strong statistical and programming skills are highly desired, alongside good experimental design ability. Any experience of working with images or shape data is advantageous.

Applicants should have experience with, or be willing to learn:

  • Python and PsychoPy modules
  • MATLAB
  • R
  • Specialist face perception software, such as JPsychomorph

Applicants should also have experience of designing and running behavioural experiments, analysing the resulting data, and producing high quality written reports with the aim of publication.

Strong and flexible communication skills are essential – applicants will be required to convey research results within both academic and industry contexts.

Residency criteria:

Due to funding restrictions, this studentship is open to UK/EU candidates only.

Funding Details

The scholarship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus an annual stipend of £14,553.

There will be £1,000 for other research expenses.

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Type / Role:

PhD

Location(s):

Wales