PhD Position: "From Social Learning to Engagement: Influence of Dopamine Dysfunction"

PhD Position: "From Social Learning to Engagement: Influence of Dopamine Dysfunction"

Published Deadline Location
24 Jul 12 Sep Amsterdam

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Job description

Learning about and from other people is important for making decisions about whom to trust and whether to engage with people in the future. Do changes or dysfunction in learning and memory affect how we learn from people and how we decide to engage in activities with others?

We are looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate with an interest in pursuing fundamental experimental psychology in populations with neurological damages and/or psychopathology.

The PhD position is embedded in the Brain and Cognition program group (department of Psychology) at the University of Amsterdam and will be supervised by Dr. Karin Foerde, Dr. Tim Ziermans, and Prof.dr. Jaap Murre.

The aim of the project is to understand: 1) What are the effects of dopaminergic dysfunction (e.g., among individuals with Parkinson’s disease or psychopathology) on social learning and decision making? 2) How does anticipated effort and enjoyment of social and non-social activities affect decisions to engage socially and can episodic memory-based interventions ameliorate potential deficits? These questions will be addressed using a combination of large-scale online testing and in-person testing of individuals with dopaminergic disturbances, (individuals with Parkinson’s disease, individuals with psychosis, and older adults).

What you are going to do
  • Complete and defend a PhD thesis within the official appointment duration of four years
  • Gain knowledge of the field through literature survey, discussion with team members, and internal lab meetings
  • Conduct online studies and in-person studies with patients
  • Present data at scientific meetings
  • Assist in teaching undergraduates and Master’s students and co-supervise junior scientists (technicians, MSc/BSc students)


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


You are passionate about understanding basic mechanisms of learning, memory, and decision making and their application in neuropsychological populations. You enjoy working collaboratively in addition to individually. You are a good colleague with excellent communication skills.

Your experience and profile
  • MSc in Experimental Psychology, Clinical Neuropsychology, (Cognitive) Neuroscience or related fields
  • Good analytical, writing, and presenting skills
  • Good project and time management skills, enabling you to meet project deadlines
  • Eager to learn new things, high conscientiousness, flexibility, a collaborative attitude
  • Fluency in English, both written and spoken
  • Fluency in Dutch / willingness to learn sufficient to communicate with participants (in Dutch), explaining/evaluating exclusion criteria etc., ensuring proper administration of assessments and tasks
  • Experience with / affinity for neuropsychological testing in clinical populations
  • Skills in coding (e.g., in Python, R, or Matlab) or willingness to learn
  • Interest in computational modelling is a plus

Conditions of employment

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 4 years (the initial contract will be for a period of 12 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended to a total duration of 4 years). The preferred starting date is between 1 October 2023 and 1 January 2024. This should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings.

PhD candidates are usually involved in 5% teaching, which helps prepare optimally for the academic job market.

Your salary will range between €2.770 in the first year to €3.539 gross per month in the last year of employment, on the basis of a full working week of 38 hours. This sum does not include the 8% holiday allowance and the 8.3% year-end allowance. A favourable tax agreement, the 30% ruling, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU) is applicable.

Besides the salary and a vibrant and challenging environment at the Psychology department and specifically the program group Brain and Cognition, we offer you multiple fringe benefits:
  • 232 holiday hours per year (based on fulltime)
  • multiple courses to follow from our Teaching and Learning Centre
  • a pension at ABP for which UvA pays two third part of the contribution
  • the possibility to follow courses to learn Dutch
  • help with housing for a studio or small apartment when you’re moving from abroad


Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

The University of Amsterdam is the largest university in the Netherlands, with the broadest spectrum of degree programmes. It is an intellectual hub with 42,000 students, 6,000 employees and 3,000 doctoral students who are all committed to a culture of inquiring minds.

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Want to know more about the Psychology Research institute? Read more here.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • max. €2770 per month
  • University graduate
  • 11961


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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Nieuwe Achtergracht 166, 1018WV, Amsterdam

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