Further Information

Project Proposal guidelines

The post holder will be part of a team conducting a longitudinal study examining sex differences in interoception.

Many common mental health conditions (e.g. anxiety and depression) are more common in women than men and when women experience mental illness it often presents differently to men. However, what underlies sex differences in mental illness is unclear. Recent research suggests that the ability to perceive the internal state of your body (e.g. feeling your heartbeat; ‘interoception’) might be important for mental health and key abilities (e.g. emotion processing). Importantly, sex differences in interoception are well documented; compared to men, women are less accurate at perceiving interoceptive signals and yet report more attention to interoceptive signals. They may also use interoceptive signals in a different way. Given known links between interoception and mental health, questions remain regarding the extent to which sex differences in interoception relate to sex differences in mental health and why men and women differ with respect to interoception. In your proposal, please select one mechanism that may underlie sex differences in interoception (for ideas see Prentice & Murphy, 2022) and briefly describe how you might choose to empirically investigate the hypothesis that this mechanism may play  a causal role in sex differences in interoception.

Your proposal should be a maximum of 2 pages. In this proposal, please include a brief 250 word background to justify your hypotheses and a detailed plan for the first quantitative study you would like to conduct, including proposed analyses, and 2 future research questions. Please pay careful attention to the methods you intend to use, considering the limitations of existing measures and whether these methods will enable you to establish causality.

Relevant papers:

Guidance on the personal statement

personal statement completed by you (maximum 500 words): This should include information on your reasons for applying for your PhD, for our programme, and to carry out this project. Outline why you should be awarded a place on our PhD programme (and for the funding if applying for a studentship), what your career goals are, what has prepared you to undertake the PhD and proposed work, and what skill set and knowledge you have that will allow to succeed and make an impact (please highlight relevant achievements supporting why you would be a strong candidate).

Guidance on submitting your application

Your application must be submitted through the College online application system, for which you need to register at the outset of the process.You will need to nominate two referees (neither of which should be your proposed supervisor) on this online form. They will be contacted by the College directly, but it is always a good idea for you to contact referees before you submit your application to make them aware of your plans, and so they can respond to the College request swiftly.

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