PhD Scholarship: The Brain as a Predictive Machine

University of Hull - School of Life Sciences

Applications are invited for a three-year funded PhD Scholarship in the School of Life Sciences, Subject area Psychology, of the University of Hull.

Studentships will start on 17th September 2018

Supervisor: Dr. Tjeerd Jellema (

Further information
More information about Dr. Tjeerd Jellema and the Social Brain lab can be found here: Information about the School and Faculty is here:

Project Description
A fundamental human capacity is to construct predictive representations of upcoming events (the brain as a predictive machine). This is of special relevance within the social world, where the events that matter most are others’ actions, whose accurate prediction/anticipation critically affects social success. This project will investigate whether, and if so in what way, mirror neuron mechanisms in sensorimotor cortex play a role in the involuntary, automatic, anticipation of other’s actions, and whether this capacity is compromised in individuals with autism spectrum disorder. The project will use EEG recordings (mu rhythm), as well as behavioural and eye-tracking paradigms, and will apply tDCS/TMS (in collaboration with Dr Igor Schindler), to examine the cognitive and brain systems that underpin this ability and its possible disruptions in autism spectrum disorder. There will also be scope for the design of intervention techniques based on the results. The successful candidate will be encouraged to identify novel questions and design innovative studies.  

Candidate requirements
The successful candidate will have a good degree (or equivalent) in experimental psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience, or a related degree. Candidates should also have a relevant Masters qualification, or an undergraduate degree with significant research experience (e.g. student assistant in an EEG lab). Different backgrounds will be considered relevant if the candidate can make clear the link between their background and their current interest in psychology/neuroscience and EEG. Experience with EEG recording is desirable, but EEG training will be provided. 

To apply, please complete all online application materials and include:

A current CV.

A cover letter (maximally two-pages) explaining your motivation to apply for this PhD position. This cover letter should also contain a short (<800 words) project proposal for research relevant to this project (for example: If you would design an EEG study looking at anticipation of others’ actions in individuals with autism spectrum disorder, what would you propose to do?).

Applications that do not include all elements will not be evaluated.

To apply for this Scholarship please click on the Apply button below.


General Information
All PhD students are expected to contribute to teaching in the department. The initial appointment for the position will be for a period of one year, with an extension of two years after positive evaluation of capabilities and progress.

Full-time UK/EU PhD Scholarships will include fees at the ‘home/EU' student rate and maintenance (£14,777 in 2018/19) for three years, depending on satisfactory progress.

Full-time International Fee PhD Studentships will include full fees at the International student rate for three years, dependent on satisfactory progress.

PhD students at the University of Hull follow modules for research and transferable skills development and gain a Masters level Certificate, or Diploma, in Research Training, in addition to their research degree.

Successful applicants will be informed of the award as soon as possible and by 25th June 2018 at the latest.

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Northern England