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PhD position in the Department of Cognitive Neuropsychology

The Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, investigates the attentional, cognitive, and affective mechanisms of aesthetic perception and evaluation.
The Department of Cognitive Neuropsychology invites applications for a
PhD position
fixed term (36 months), salary scale 13 TVöD 65%
Headed by Prof. Dr. Fredrik Ullén, the Department of Cognitive Neuropsychology at the MPI for Empirical Aesthetics uses music as a model to analyze the brain mechanisms underpinning human expertise, skill learning, and creativity. We provide a dynamic and enthusiastic research environment in which a broad range of techniques are employed, from structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging to psychological and physiological experiments to behavior genetic analyses of gene–environment interplay. For more information about the department, please visit our website.

Your tasks:

Primal world beliefs (i.e., primals) are a newly identified set of basic perceptions about the general character of reality (e.g., “the world is boring”), which are thought to have many psychological implications (Clifton et al., 2019). To date, primals research is still limited and based entirely on cross-sectional phenotypic data, making it difficult to address causality and familial confounding. This project is the first to explore the underlying etiology of primals and the nature of their relationships with different variables: (1) personality, (2) life stress, (3) mental and physical health, and (4) musical, cultural, and social engagement. The project will utilize a large (N > 30,000), longitudinal, and genetically informative cohort of twins and address associations between primals and a variety of phenotypes, including central questions about causality and the importance of and interplay between genetic and environmental factors.

Our requirements:

Requirements for this position are a master’s degree in behavior genetics, psychology, public health, biostatistics, or related field, as well as a high proficiency in spoken and written English. A solid methods background in statistics, including structural equation modelling, twin and family designs, and/or molecular genetics, as well as experience with the handling of registry or big data are highly desirable.

Our offer:

The position will begin at the earliest on March 1, 2023, and is initially limited to three years. The selection process will continue until the position is filled. Salary is based on the pay scale of the Max Planck Society.
The research will be conducted at the MPI for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt am Main in close collaboration with the Swedish Twin Registry and Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. The MPI is a highly interdisciplinary, international scientific environment, with English being used in the laboratory. It is located in an attractive location with excellent infrastructure in Frankfurt’s Westend neighborhood. You can expect a modern workplace with flexible working hours and a pleasant working atmosphere. Regular travel to Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm is required.

Your application:

The Max Planck Society strives for gender equality and diversity. We are also committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in our workforce. Therefore, applicants of all backgrounds are welcome.
Your application should include: your detailed CV; a cover letter that explains why the lab’s research and the pursuit of a doctoral degree interest you and how your skills and abilities are suited to both; copies of relevant degrees and/or certificates; a short (one-page) summary of your master’s thesis; and the names and contact information of two references who have previously agreed to be contacted.

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