PhD position in Extended Reality and Cognition

PhD position in Extended Reality and Cognition

Published Deadline Location
2 Nov 1 Dec Enschede

Job description

Key takeaways

Extended Reality (XR) interventions
presents the potential for new ways of thinking about health, environmental awareness, disaster preparedness, and social change related problems. XR interventions make use of embodied experiences to promote long-term prosocial behavior, often through role-playing techniques that enhance empathy skills. However, we still have much to learn about the cognitive mechanisms at play in these experiences.

We are seeking a motivated and highly skilled PhD researcher to join our team and contribute to this exciting research project. The primary objective of this project is to investigate how memory, conscious experience, and sensory awareness of users are influenced by the roles they adopt in XR interventions. By examining the interplay between embodiment, immersion, and empathy, the aim of this project is to uncover the cognitive processes underlying embodied experiences and their impact on prosocial behavior.

Key Research Objectives:
  • Explore the cognitive and behavioral mechanisms underlying role-induced experiences in XR interventions.
  • Investigate the impact of perspective-taking on cognitive processes within social and environmental contexts.
  • Analyze the role of sensory elements in shaping immersion and presence in XR interventions.

  • Conduct empirical research using XR technologies and sensors to examine role-induced cognitive and behavioral mechanisms.
  • Collaborate with interdisciplinary teams to design and implement experiments.
  • Analyze data and contribute to the development of theories and models.
  • Disseminate research findings through publications and presentations.
  • Participate in the academic activities of the research group such as workshops, seminars and scientific interest groups.

The PhD candidate will receive guidance from a multidisciplinary supervisory team with extensive experience in various domains. Dr. Funda Yildirim will serve as the primary supervisor, Dr. Stéphanie van den Berg as the promoter, and Dr. Marcello A. Gómez-Maureira as the co-supervisor.

The successful applicant will join the Cognition, Data and Education (CoDE) section of the Learning, Data analytics and Technology (LDT) Department at the Faculty of Behavioural Management and Social Sciences

We welcome applicants from diverse backgrounds and are committed to creating an inclusive and respectful working environment. We encourage candidates of all genders, ethnicities, and backgrounds to apply.


University of Twente (UT)


We look for a highly motivated, enthusiastic researcher who is driven by curiosity and has/is:
  • A Master's degree in a relevant field (e.g., Psychology, Cognitive Science, Computer Science, Game Technologies).
  • Affinity and/or experience in experimental research, programming, XR technologies and software (e.g., VR/AR platforms), behavioral or physiological data processing is an advantage.
  • A good team spirit and like to work in an interdisciplinary and internationally oriented environment;
  • Able to do independent research and willing to develop writing and publication skills;
  • A passion for exploring the intersection of technology, cognition, and human behavior.
  • Possess good communication skills and an excellent command of English.

Conditions of employment

We encourage high responsibility and independence, while collaborating with colleagues, researchers, other university staff and partners. We follow the terms of employment by the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement for Universities (CAO). Our offer contains: a fulltime 4-year PhD position with a qualifier in the first year; excellent mentorship in a stimulating research environment with excellent facilities; and a personal development program within the Twente Graduate School. It also includes:
  • Gross monthly salary of € 2.770 in the first year, increasing each year up to € 3.539 in the fourth year;
  • Excellent benefits including a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%, and a solid pension scheme;
  • 29 holidays per year in case of full-time employment;
  • A training programme as part of the Twente Graduate School where you and your supervisors will determine a plan for a suitable education and supervision;
  • A green campus with free access to sports facilities and an international scientific community;
  • A family-friendly institution that offers parental leave (both paid and unpaid);
  • A full status as an employee at the UT, including pension, health care benefits and good secondary conditions are part of our collective labour agreement CAO-NU for Dutch universities.


The CoDE section consists of teachers and researchers with backgrounds in psychology, educational science, mathematics, or computer science. We teach courses on methodology, data-analysis, and cognitive psychology. Our research focuses on data-based solutions for societal problems related to education, health, and human factors. In our teaching and research we make use of the latest developments in measurement and (large-scale) assessment, such as neurophysiology, extended reality, eye-tracking, psychometrics, and machine learning.

Additional information

Are you interested to be part of our team? Please submit your application before December 1thand include:
  • A cover letter (maximum 2 pages A4), emphasizing your specific interest, qualifications, and motivations to apply for this position;
  • A Curriculum Vitae, including a list of all courses attended and grades obtained, and, if applicable, a list of publications and references;

Note that Master students who graduate in the coming months are also welcome to apply.

We aim to treat your application as soon as possible. The first round of interviews will be conducted in the beginning of January. Upon a positive evaluation, you will be invited for a second interview, scheduled for mid-January.

For any inquiries about this position, you can contact Funda Yildirim ( or Stéphanie van den Berg (


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1508


University of Twente (UT)

Learn more about this employer


Drienerlolaan 5, 7522NB, Enschede

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 1 Dec 2023 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).