School of Psychology

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European Research Council (ERC) MSc Studentship 2017

School of Psychology, University of Kent

Applications are invited for a £2,000 MSc scholarship, funded by a European Research Council (ERC) grant on the project: Tracking the cognitive basis of social communication across the life-span (see The successful applicant will undertake their Dissertation under the supervision of Dr Heather Ferguson at the University of Kent's School of Psychology, starting in September 2017. Also collaborating on the research project are Dr Victoria Brunsdon and Dr Lizzie Bradford (University of Kent).

A vital part of successful everyday social interaction is the ability to infer information about others (e.g. their emotions, visual perspective, and language). Development of these social skills (termed Theory of Mind, ToM) has been linked to improvements in more general cognitive skills, called Executive Functions (EF). The MSc student project will explore whether ToM ability can be enhanced through training specific EF skills. The project links theory and practice from cognitive, social, developmental, and clinical (neuro)psychology. It will employ cognitive techniques (reaction times, eye-tracking and EEG) and paradigms, alongside sophisticated statistical methods. Through this project we hope to develop an intervention programme to enhance the quality of social communication, which has the potential to be applied in other individuals with social communication deficits (e.g. autism).


UK citizens with settled status, EU citizens resident in Britain for three or more years, and other nationalities who meet a more restrictive UK residency requirement, are eligible to apply.

Applicants should have completed, or be about to complete, an undergraduate degree in Psychology or Neuroscience. Experience in conducting experimental psychological research, data analysis, and scientific writing is essential. The applicant's academic excellence, and other indicators of motivation for a research career, will also be strongly considered.

The scholarship will be administered as a discount on tuition fees paid upon registration.

Enquiries and requests for further information should be directed to:

Dr Heather Ferguson, School of Psychology, University of Kent
(email: Tel, +44 1227 827120.

How to apply

Deadline for completed applications (including references) is 31 July 2017.

*this is a taught programme based around a series of modules and delivered through a timetable of seminars, lectures and practical work.
**this is a research programme which involves independent study. You do not have a structured timetable (aside from the Statistics and Methodology module) outside of the agreed work schedule with your supervisor.

School of Psychology - Keynes College, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NP

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Last Updated: 19/05/2017