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Fully-funded PhD Studentship: The Neuroscience of Voice Perception

Bangor University - School of Psychology

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Bangor
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: Full cost of tuition fees, plus a tax-free maintenance stipend of approximately £15,280 per annum for three years and a research allowance of £750 per annum.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 15th January 2021
Closes: 12th March 2021

Supervisor: Dr Patricia Bestelmeyer

Funding amount: The studentship covers the full cost of tuition fees, plus a tax-free maintenance stipend of approximately £15,280 per annum for three years and a research allowance of £750 per annum

Hours: Full-time, commencing between August and October 2021.

Applications are invited for a fully funded 3-year PhD studentship under the supervision of Dr Patricia Bestelmeyer.

Project description

The research area will be in auditory neuroscience and tailored to the interests of the successful applicant and the supervisory team. Dr Bestelmeyer’s research broadly concerns how we extract information from the sound of a person’s voice. In addition to linguistic content, voices convey other kinds of socially relevant information, for example, the identity of a speaker or their emotional state.Below are possible directions the successful candidate might want to explore:

Neuroimaging has revealed areas in the brain that are sensitive to voices compared to other environmental sounds. The function of these “temporal voice areas” remains largely unexplored. For example, are these areas truly voice-specific? And if so, is activation within these areas related to how good we are at recognising speakers from their voice alone? One avenue the successful candidate could explore with fMRI and/or TMS is whether these voice-sensitive patches are analogous to the occipital and fusiform face areas in face perception research. Another direction could be more clinical, in which focus would be on the anatomical correlates of participants who are super-recognisers versus individuals on the opposite, or phonagnosic, end of the voice recognition spectrum.

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Research Environment

Dr Bestelmeyer’s lab focuses on trying to better understand how we extract often subtle information carried by a speaker’s voice and how this signal often implicitly influences our behaviour. The lab runs several projects on diverse topics in auditory neuroscience and meets regularly to collaborate and discuss. Postgraduate researchers have access to outstanding research facilities, for example a brand new, research-only 3T Philips Elition housed in the Psychology building. The School also houses an open access sound booth (for voice recordings/filming), BioSemi EEG lab and a MagStim TMS lab.

Essential Skills include

  • A Master’s degree in psychology, cognitive neuroscience, neuroimaging, computer science, audiology or related field and a first class or good upper second-class undergraduate degree in psychology.
  • A willingness to learn programming experiments and analysing data in Matlab

Further information & Apply Now

Before applying, please contactDr Patricia Bestelmeyer. Please include your CV and a brief summary of your research interests. She will describe the topic of the research proposal that is required to apply. All applications submitted onBangor’s online systemmust include:

1.) a current CV (2 pages maximum)

2.) a 1-2 page cover letter explaining your motivation to apply for the PhD position (this should also include a description of how you meet the required and desired skill set)

3.) a research proposal (1,000 words maximum) for an experiment (Dr Bestelmeyer will explain the details of this when you contact her)

4.) 2 academic references

5.) if relevant, proof of English Language Competency (7.0 IELTS minimum).

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