Research Assistant in Comparative Psychology

Research Assistant in Comparative Psychology

Published Deadline Location
21 Nov 15 Dec Leiden
The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Institute of Psychology, the Cognitive Psychology Unit has available a

1 year Research Assistant Position (0.5 fte) in Comparative Psychology (with possible extension)

Research Project: Great ape em...

Job description

Join Our Team in Investigating the perception of emotions in great apes and humans!

Are you fascinated by the way great apes and humans communicate and manage their emotional states during social interactions? Do you have a keen interest in understanding the automatic processes underlying these emotional expressions and perceptions? If so, we have an exciting opportunity for you!

We are seeking a Research Assistant to contribute to our ongoing studies in the field of emotion perception across great apes and humans. In this role, you will play a vital part in unraveling the mysteries of how these emotional processes work, often outside of conscious awareness.

Through a series of innovative experimental studies, you will be an integral member of our team, helping to shed light on these intriguing topics. Our research is at the cutting edge of the field, employing state-of-the-art, yet fully non-invasive techniques including eyetracking and touchscreen within a multidisciplinary framework. This project takes an evolutionarily-grounded approach to delve into the origins of emotion, offering a unique opportunity to contribute to our understanding of this fascinating aspect of human and great ape behavior. Join us in exploring the depths of emotion regulation across species and make a meaningful impact on the scientific community's knowledge in this area.

The research assistant will help to set up and program computerized experiments, and collect data in chimpanzees and orangutans in different zoos in the Netherlands. Further, light administrative duties such as assisting in the coordination of the research, making plannings, and writing progress reports to the different parties involved. It is possible for the research assistant to initiate own projects and write scientific reports or even grant applications to support a PhD trajectory.

This project is supported by funding from an Aspasia grant to Dr. Mariska Kret (Leiden University). The project will run in parallel with ongoing projects in the CoPAN lab, directed by Dr. Mariska Kret (; see also our Copan Leiden Facebook page). The research group participates in the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition (LIBC), an interfaculty center for interdisciplinary research on brain and cognition (


Leiden University


Selection Criteria
  • B.Sc. or M.Sc. in experimental psychology, biology or related field;
  • Living in (or moving to) the Netherlands;
  • Organizational skills and professional work attitude;
  • Committed for at least one year, trustworthy and punctual;
  • Good social and communication skills (with zoo staff and the general public);
  • Flexible mindset, (in terms of willingness to travel to different zoos, changing plans if the situation requires it etc.).

Other preferred skills/ bonus points
  • Experience in observing and/ or working with animals;
  • Technical;
  • Statistical knowledge;
  • Programming experience (e.g., Matlab, R, e-prime);
  • Experience with eye-tracking;

The tasks in this position may involve different skills for which the candidate may need to be supported initially. Therefore, not all skills above are expected. The successful candidate is therefore expected to keep a proactive and open attitude to acquiring and developing new skills. The position is ideal to gain hands-on experience for candidates interested in pursuing a career in research.

Conditions of employment

Our faculty/Institute
The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences comprises four institutes: Education and Child Studies, Political Science, Psychology and Cultural Anthropology & Development Sociology. The Faculty also includes the Centre for Science and Technology Studies. The Faculty is home to 7,000 students and 1025 members of staff. Our teaching and research programmes cover diverse topics varying from adoption to political behaviour. For more information, see

The Institute of Psychology comprises six units for teaching and research: Health, Medical and Neuropsychology, Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Developmental and Educational Psychology, Social and Organizational Psychology, and Methodology and Statistics. The Institute of Psychology offers a stimulating environment that promotes collaboration within and between units. For more information, see

Terms and condition
We offer a 0.5 fte, fixed-term post for 1 year (with possible extension). Salary in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. Preferred starting date: flexible, but no later than March 2024. It is also possible to for example first start with one day per week. The pay scale for applicants with a master degree will be pay scale 7 (position OOM 4). For those still studying, it will be scale SA4. Students are welcome to apply and it is possible to combine this position with writing a thesis (in which case the number of paid versus unpaid hours need to be discussed).

Diversity and inclusion are core values of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive.

Additional information

Enquiries can be made to Dr. Mariska Kret, email:


  • Support staff (clerical, administrative, facility)
  • max. 20 hours per week
  • €2693—€3636 per month
  • University graduate
  • 14306



Rapenburg 70, 2311EZ, Leiden

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Application procedure

Applications (specifying the vacancy number), including a CV, can be submitted via our online recruitment system before December 15th.

Application procedure

Application procedure

Applications (specifying the vacancy number), including a CV, can be submitted via our online recruitment system before December 15th.

Make sure to apply no later than 15 Dec 2023 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).