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Are you interested in the impact of storytelling on prosocial behaviour? Do you want to contribute to gaining new insights in the field of narrative persuasion that might help charities develop stories that move hearts and support the ones the most in need? As a PhD candidate in the field of communication and information science, you will participate in a research project assessing the effectiveness of prosocial narratives.
Over the past years fewer and fewer households in the United States have been donating money to charities (CBS News, 2021). Similar trends have been recently observed in the Netherlands (Koopal, 2023) and Canada (Carrick, 2023) where recent inflation resulted in lower donations to charities. Moreover, it is only people high in altruism (Simpson & Willer, 2008) who consistently support charities. One of the ways to engage people more in helping behaviour involves prosocial narratives (stories in favour of prosocial actions, for instance donating to a charity, Hillenbrand & Verrina, 2022). Surprisingly, such strategic use of prosocial narratives to increase helping behaviour has not yet been systematically investigated (Merchant et al., 2010).
In this project, you will explore how people can be enticed to support good causes through the strategic use of prosocial stories (stories in favour of prosocial actions). You will use innovative measures to investigate the effectiveness of prosocial narratives for specific target audiences and the processes that drive these effects.
This project will consist of three subprojects. In the first subproject, you will conduct a content analysis of current practices in prosocial storytelling. In the following two subprojects, you will design and set up experiments, the data of which you will statistically analyse and interpret. You will be expected to present the research outcomes at national and international conferences and write at least three articles for internationally respected journals to be included in your doctoral thesis.
Your research will be embedded in the Centre for Language Studies (CLS) and you will be part of the Graduate School for the Humanities (GSH). You will devote 75% of your time to the research for and writing of your PhD thesis. The remaining 25% will be spent on training and academic service to the Faculty of Arts, including teaching.
We offer you the opportunity to develop and carry out your own PhD project within the areas of expertise of your supervisors, Dr Sebastian Sadowski and Dr Kobie van Krieken. Your thesis supervisor will be Prof. Jos Hornikx. The project will be funded by a Starters grant from the Faculty of Arts awarded to Dr Sebastian Sadowski.
Fixed-term contract: You will be employed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract) or 3.5 years (5 year contract).
The Faculty of Arts is committed to knowledge production with a significant scientific and social impact. With over 500 academic and support staff, we teach and conduct research in the fields of history and art, languages and cultures, and linguistics and communication, using innovative methodologies and working in close collaboration with each other. Our research is embedded in two research institutes: the Centre for Language Studies (CLS) and the Radboud Institute for Culture & History (RICH). We currently have approximately 2,500 students, enrolled in three departments: the Department of History, Art History and Classics, the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, and the Department of Language and Communication. We aim to contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive world, which is why we especially seek applications from candidates who bring diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and skills that will be assets to our study programmes and research profiles.
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