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PhD Studentship in Visual Search for Faces

Liverpool Hope University - Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science

Project Scope

The School of Psychology is offering a PhD studentship in ‘The cost of searching for more than one face’. Understanding the challenge of simultaneously searching for more than one face for the speed and accuracy of face detection has theoretical and applied significance. The successful applicant will explore the underlying cause of the difficulty in simultaneously searching for more than one face, using behavioural and eye movement measures, with explanations couched in terms of relevant theories from visual cognition. By relating performance on experimental measures of search to measures of individual differences, the student will explore if it is possible to predict who will be good at simultaneously searching for more than one face. The outcome of these studies will be of profound interest to the police and other security services.

While the general scope of the project is set there are opportunities for the successful student to shape the project as the thesis progresses.

Applicant criteria

The successful applicant will

  • Have an excellent understanding of experimental psychology, research methods and statistical analysis.
  • Have excellent written and oral communication skills in English
  • Have a Masters degree with Distinction from a UK university (or EU equivalent) OR; a Masters degree with Merit from a UK university including a Distinction grade for the Dissertation in a relevant subject area
  • Experience with eye tracking and knowledge of visual search and face processing would be desirable

Research Supervisors

This PhD studentship will be conducted in the Department of Psychology, Liverpool Hope University ( Professor Nick Donnelly, head of department, will be the lead supervisor of the project, though at least one other supervisor will join the supervisory team.

How to apply

Eligible applicants should apply via the Online Application System located on University’s postgraduate research web pages at: – please refer to the ‘Apply Online Now’ tab.

Written sample of no more than 3,000 words will be required to demonstrate the applicant’s skills as a researcher and/or shows skills in organising and presenting research findings. Please see the attached guidelines.

Expression of Interest is a formal stage of the online application. Applicants are advised to do this at the earliest opportunity as the full application form is not released until this stage of application process is complete. Applicants will be able to upload copies of official academic achievements in undergraduate degree classification and master degree award, plus copies of official transcripts of all degree subjects taken. Please refer to University’s Postgraduate Research page for guidelines.

The deadline for full applications is midnight on Friday 15th March 2019. When completing online application form, please insert ‘PhD Studentship: Searching for more than one face’ into Research Type (‘I would like to apply for admission to the following’) section.

On the closing of the specified deadline for online application submission, all applications will be reviewed and scrutinised by a panel and interviews will be accordingly scheduled in April 2019 for those shortlisted.

Funding notes

The studentship is for a Home (UK/EU) student for a period of three years, subject to satisfactory progress. The studentship will support the University’s PGR tuition fee, On-Campus Accommodation or a contribution towards private accommodation, and monthly maintenance allowance of £6500pa (paid monthly in fixed 36 instalments). There may be an opportunity for the successful candidate to undertake some ‘teaching support’ for up to 6 hours per week over 25 ‘teaching weeks’ paid at normal hourly rate. This will depend on teaching support cover requirement in the Department/Faculty and the requirement is to be confirmed/approved by the Faculty Dean.

Further details on application procedure

Further details can also be obtained by contacting Professor Nick Donnelly ( or Chair of Research Degrees Sub-Committee Professor Atulya Nagar ( quoting ‘PhD Studentship: Searching for more than one face’ in the subject line.

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Liverpool
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: Please see details below
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 5th February 2019
Closes: 15th March 2019
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