PhD Position - Intelligence, Affect, and Creativity: Study and design of humanoid robot behavior in the health domain
Specifications - (explanation)
|Function types||PhD positions|
|Scientific fields||Department of Communication Science, Faculty of Social Sciences|
|Hours||38.0 - 40.0 hours per week|
|About employer||VU University Amsterdam (VU)|
Candidates are expected to do research and publish the results in scientific journals and at conferences throughout the project. Each candidate will complete a PhD dissertation based on the research carried out in the project. Active participation in the project (attendance to international workshops, conferences, etc.) will be a part of the PhD project as well as disseminating research results to the creative industries. PhDs are part of the Graduate School of Social Sciences and attend those courses that are relevant to their research work.
- A relevant Master's degree, preferably a Research Master’s degree or equivalent qualifications, with a background in health communication, care, communication science, health psychology, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, requirements engineering;
- a firm basis in quantitative research methods and the willingness to learn new (i.e. Bayesian) statistical techniques;
- (preferably) experience with media psychology, computer-human interaction, and with experimental research (gained, for example, in a Master’s thesis or as a student assistant);
- good written and spoken command of English, preferably also in Dutch;
- good organizational skills;
- the ability and interest to work in a multidisciplinary team.
Conditions of employment
The initial appointment for the position (1 fte) will be for a period of 15 months. Extension of the appointment after the first period to a total of three years and three months is subject to satisfactory performance and evaluation of the initial appointment. You can find information about our excellent fringe benefits of employment at www.workingatvu.nl like
- remuneration of 8,3% end-of-year bonus and 8% holiday allowance
- generous contribution (70%) commuting allowance based on public transport
- participation in Individual Choices model
- a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge.
The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel, and amounts € 2.042,- gross per month in the first year up to € 2.612,- in the fourth year (salary scale 85) based on a full-time employment.
Contract type: Temporary, 15 months
The department of Communication Science at VU University in Amsterdam is a fast growing department within the Faculty of Social Sciences (www.fsw.vu.nl/nl) The teaching program consists of a three-year Bachelor program and a one-year Master program. The Master program consists of four different tracks: 1) Public and Political Communication 2) Corporate Communication and New Media , 3) Marketing and Health Communication, and 4) Media Psychology. The department of Communication Science is closely connected to two multidisciplinary research institutes: the Center for Advanced Media Research Amsterdam (CAMeRA) and the Network Institute. Furthermore, the department is involved in the national research school for Communication Science NeSCoR.
Description of position
SELEMCA (Services of Electro-Mechanical Care Agencies) is a research project within the national Crisp program to sustain the creative industries (e.g., arts, design, video, animation, games) with academic knowledge, tools, and methods to support the development of novel product-service combinations. Research in SELEMCA focuses on three topics: Intelligence, Affect, and Creativity. Intelligence should be interpreted as both information and reasoning. Affect refers to involvement-distance trade-offs, emotion generation and regulation. Creativity focuses on the process of insight, conceptual blending, and idea optimization. The application area and population under investigation are in the health domain, where we compare adolescents with the elderly. The aim is to keep people empowered and self-supportive for as long as possible. The means are to develop technologies that behave as smart, sensitive, and ingenious humanoids (“Caredroids”). These agents, robots, avatars, coaches and so on act in interactive environments such as games, virtual reality, or inhabit augmented household objects (e.g., chairs, tables, and coffee machines). We cooperate in a consortium of academic, social, and business partners – of national as well as international origin.
The PhD focuses on the theory of requirements engineering in the health domain. On the application side, what are the user’s needs and desires and how do they respond to proposed technologies? On the fundamental side, to what extent do desires and fears with regard to new technologies predicate the features that the future system must have or won’t have? Common sense would have it that what should be on a system is demanded by goals to achieve (“I want the Caredroid to help me with my exercises”). Likewise, what should not be on a system supposedly is demanded by goal states to avoid (“I don’t want a Caredroid because the system is unstable”). However, previous research showed that the reverse is true. Requirements that must be on the system are predicted by goals to avoid. For instance, “I want a Caredroid to help me quit smoking.” By contrast, requirements that should not be on the system are predicted by goals to approach: “I don’t want Caredroids to write me a recipe.” Expectations about the positive or negative impact of requirements on goals played a moderating role. This “goals-to-requirements chiasm” explains that variability in agreement to positive or negative requirements is predicated by goals of opposite polarity. This phenomenon will be further explored in the health domain by the PhD. The PhD works with two other PhDs, studying how users may become friends with a system and certain design aspects, such as creativity, affordances, aesthetics, and realism. All PhD students work in a team with a postdoctoral fellow, who will take care of the artificial intelligence part of the project.
For additional information please contact: Dr. Dr. Johan F. Hoorn: email: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel. nr.020-598 3810. Principal investigator and project leader is Dr. Dr. Johan F. Hoorn (D. Litt., D. Sc.); promoters are Prof. Dr. Elly A. Konijn (VU) and Prof. Dr. Miriam Vollenbroek-Hutten (TU Twente). Further information about the project is available at: www.crispplatform.nl/projects/selemca
Please send a letter of application and CV before September 4th, 2012 to VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Social Sciences, attn.: Drs. M. Karssen, De Boelelaan 1081, 1081 HV Amsterdam or by e-mail to Vacature.email@example.com
Please mention the vacancy number in the e-mail header or at the top of your letter and on the envelope.