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Research Project "Emotional contagion in autism and social anxiety disorder”: Humans’ capacity to express, recognize and share emotions enables them to navigate their social worlds and forms a core component of what it means to be socially competent and healthy. Emotion processing deficits have been reported in different disorders and are reflected in disturbed emotion regulation, attentional biases, gaze avoidance, disrupted mimicry and emotion recognition deficits. The current project focuses specifically on the putative linkage between the mimicry of expressions and their recognition. Apart from the typically used posed, full-blown facial expressions, a much larger range of expressions are being investigated including autonomic cues (e.g. pupil dilation and blushing) and bodily expressions of emotion. These expressions are more genuine and hard to enact or fake. The question of how patients with SAD and ASD mimic and perceive emotional cues, visible in the face or from body language, has not been investigated yet. Due to the high prevalence of such cues in daily life interactions, it is of crucial importance to investigate whether their known deficits in perceiving prototypical, explicit facial expressions of emotion translate to the more subtle emotional cues that are beyond the control of the expressor. Also, the current project will combine well-controlled computerized tasks with dyadic interaction studies.
This project is supported by an NWO VIDI grant to Mariska Kret. The project will run in parallel with ongoing projects in the CoPAN lab, directed by Dr. Mariska Kret. The research group participates in the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition (LIBC), an interfaculty center for interdisciplinary research on brain and cognition.
The appointment is for four years (one year, plus a further three years after a positive evaluation) and should lead to a doctoral degree. The gross income is € 2,395.- per month in the first year, increasing to € 3,061.- per month in the fourth year, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (PhD Pay scale). A part-time position is also possible, the position will then be stretched in time. The preferred start date is between September and December 2021, but this is discussable.
Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. For more information, see the website.
The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences conducts high-quality research and offers a broad and disciplinary educational programme, focused on increasing our understanding of current developments in society. The faculty consists of five institutes: Centre for Science and Technology Studies, Cultural Anthropology and Developmental Sociology, Education and Child Studies, Political Science and Psychology. The faculty has approximately 7,000 students and 850 staff members. For more information, see the website.
Diversity and inclusion are cherished as core values at Leiden University. Also at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, we strive to create a diverse and inclusive learning and working environment, in which everyone – no matter who they are or what they do – can feel at home and develop their talents.
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