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PhD Studentship: In the Heat of the Moment: Examining Past Experience's Influence on Time-Pressured Decisions

Cardiff University

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Cardiff
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: £18,662 p.a.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 22nd December 2023
Closes: 1st March 2024

A growing body of evidence shows that past experiences can bias decision making in ways that lead to errors in safety critical environments, including healthcare, responses to emergencies, and national defence. Despite the clear importance of such errors, our understanding of how they arise is limited. The relevant theories from the field of applied psychology (e.g., naturalistic decision making) often make little contact with those developed in experimental psychology, even though both fields need to address many of the same key questions.  For example, is knowledge acquired incidentally through experience or explicitly through instruction more or less likely to result in decision making errors in time-critical contexts?  What are the mnemonic processes that mediate errors in such contexts?  Developing and testing theoretical models that bridge the gap between applied and experimental contexts would result in clear benefits.

During this studentship, the student, alongside a leading team of experts, aims to bridge this theoretical and practical gap. Focussing on systematically investigating the influence of prior knowledge on decision-making in naturalistic high-stakes environments. The objective is to develop a framework guiding our understanding, helping to identify error-prone situations, and creating tools to minimize these errors. To achieve this goal, the student will develop and test computational frameworks and toolboxes that will transform our understanding and practice regarding the role of past experience in time-critical decisions.

In this studentship, the student will have the opportunity to acquire cutting-edge computational techniques, state-of-the-art programming skills, experimental design, and statistical training. Being part of HuFEx, the student will join an inclusive community of leading researchers, gaining access to key stakeholders. This inclusive experience ensures adequate representation and informed perspectives. Overall, the studentship will provide a comprehensive skill set, enhancing communication and writing abilities. It offers opportunities to learn advanced techniques while making meaningful scientific and practical contributions to society. We are seeking a motivated candidate who is enthusiastic about research and eager to acquire new skills. While experience in experimental psychology and programming skills would be advantageous, they are not mandatory requirements.

Home students are UK Nationals and EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements (students must have been in the UK for >3 years before start of course). As only a limited number of studentships are available across the Open School competition and a very high standard of applications are received, the successful applicants are likely to have a very good first degree (a First/Upper Second class BSc Honours or equivalent) and/or be distinguished by having relevant research experience.

Studentships are awarded on a competitive basis in competition with other projects in the Open School competition. The studentship commences in October 2024, covers 3 years tuition fees and maintenance, with submission deadline of 4 years. The 2023/4 full-time maintenance grant was £18,662 p.a. Psychology students receive conference and participant money (~£2,250), computer, office space, access to courses and become members of the Doctoral Academy. Please select most appropriate advert for your Research and specify that you’re applying for this project and supervisor.

For any queries about this studentship, please contact the supervisor by email - Rob Honey Honey@cardiff.ac.uk.

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