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How does a waiter at a restaurant know what we mean when we point to an empty glass, and how did we learn to select that particular gesture? As a research assistant, you will help organise a longitudinal study in pre-school children to help understand human communication and how it develops.
This project builds on the notion that social experiences early in life are crucial for the development of human communication skills. The project uses natural variability in early life social experiences as a tool to understand how different sociocultural environments guide the development of human communicative capacities. We plan to test long-lasting effects of those experiences on the human ability to communicate. The specific goal of the project is to identify which features of children's sociocultural environment influence their ability to coordinate with other people later in development. We are looking for a MSc interested in organising an ambitious real-life longitudinal study involving pre-school children. The study will use wearable audio-recording devices to measure the interactions of 3- to 4-year-old children during their time in day care (e.g. over the course of a week). The project is embedded in the research groups of Prof. Ivan Toni, Prof. Sabine Hunnius, and Dr Marlene Meyer at the Donders Institute, combining expertise in social neurocognition, experimental semiotics, and developmental neurocognition.
Fixed-term contract: 18 months.
The Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour is a world-class interfaculty research centre that houses more than 700 researchers devoted to understanding the mechanistic underpinnings of the human mind. Research at the Donders Institute is focused around four themes: 1. Language and communication, 2. Perception, action and control, 3. Plasticity and memory, 4. Neural computation and neurotechnology. Excellent, state-of-the-art research facilities are available for the broad range of neuroscience research that is being conducted at the Donders Institute. The Donders Institute has been assessed by an international evaluation committee as 'excellent' and recognised as a 'very stimulating environment for top researchers, as well as for young talent'. The Donders Institute fosters a collaborative, multidisciplinary, supportive research environment with a diverse international staff. English is the lingua franca at the Institute.
Houtlaan 4, 6525 XZ, Nijmegen
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