PhD Studentship: Verbal-Nonverbal Behaviour Integration and Cooperation

Lancaster University - Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST)

Applications are invited for a 3 year PhD studentship in the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST), based in Psychology at Lancaster University. The studentship will be supervised by Professor Paul Taylor and Dr Stacey Conchie, and will begin in October 2018.

Understanding how cooperation emerges from the behavioural ‘building blocks’ of interaction provides insights that can help practitioners develop their interpersonal skills. This PhD will examine the role of verbal and nonverbal mimicry in the emergence of dyadic cooperation. How is behaviour from each channel synthesised (made sense of) in an interaction and what happens when one channel appears to contradict the other? Although the PhD studies may make use a range of methodologies, it is expected that some will draw on Lancaster’s full-body motion capture paradigms using XSens MVN, and a new virtual reality paradigm that allows the study of people’s verbal and nonverbal reactions in an ‘immersive’ police interview simulation. By understanding the behavioural underpinning of cooperation in this new way, the PhD will progress the development of training and expertise in information elicitation.

You will join a growing group of academics, postdocs, and PhDs engaged in projects examining social interaction in law enforcement settings. As part of that group, you will be expected to contribute to meetings, present findings at academic conferences, and publish findings in academic journals. You will also be a member of the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST) and will be encouraged to engage with relevant stakeholders in the security and intelligence agencies, helping them understand the research and its relevance to their practice and policy.

The studentship provides annual funding to cover UK/EU tuition fees and an ESRC equivalent maintenance grant (currently £14,777). The student will receive their own research support budgets (e.g. for training and to pay participants) and have access to an associated travel budget, which is to be used to attend national and international conferences. Students who would be required to pay international tuition fees are eligible to apply, but they must make appropriate arrangements to cover the difference between the overseas and UK tuition fee.

You should be motivated, ambitious, and able to demonstrate an interest in the advertised PhD area. You should hold, or expect to gain, at least an Upper 2.1 honours degree, or its equivalent, in a relevant discipline. Having or expecting to gain a Masters qualification and/or having other research experience will be an advantage.

To apply, please email a CV, transcript of marks, 2 academic references, and a 750 word statement of interest to, using the Subject ‘PhD application.’ After the deadline, applications will be reviewed and shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview, before award decisions are made. If you wish to discuss the studentship informally or if you have any questions about the position, please contact Paul Taylor (

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Northern England