PhD position in Extended Reality and Cognition

University of Twente
December 01, 2023
Offerd Salary:€ 2.770
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
Working type:N/A
Ref info:N/A

Key takeaways

Extended Reality (XR) interventions presents the potential for new ways of thinking about health, environmental awareness, disaster preparedness, and social change related problems. XR interventions make use of embodied experiences to promote long-term prosocial behavior, often through role- playing techniques that enhance empathy skills. However, we still have much to learn about the cognitive mechanisms at play in these experiences.

We are seeking a motivated and highly skilled PhD researcher to join our team and contribute to this exciting research project. The primary objective of this project is to investigate how memory , conscious experience , and sensory awareness of users are influenced by the roles they adopt in XR interventions. By examining the interplay between embodiment, immersion, and empathy, the aim of this project is to uncover the cognitive processes underlying embodied experiences and their impact on prosocial behavior.

Key Research Objectives:

  • Explore the cognitive and behavioral mechanisms underlying role- induced experiences in XR interventions.
  • Investigate the impact of perspective-taking on cognitive processes within social and environmental contexts.
  • Analyze the role of sensory elements in shaping immersion and presence in XR interventions.
  • Responsibilities:

  • Conduct empirical research using XR technologies and sensors to examine role-induced cognitive and behavioral mechanisms.
  • Collaborate with interdisciplinary teams to design and implement experiments.
  • Analyze data and contribute to the development of theories and models.
  • Disseminate research findings through publications and presentations.
  • Participate in the academic activities of the research group such as workshops, seminars and scientific interest groups.
  • The PhD candidate will receive guidance from a multidisciplinary supervisory team with extensive experience in various domains. Dr. Funda Yildirim will serve as the primary supervisor, Dr. Stéphanie van den Berg as the promoter, and Dr. Marcello A. Gómez-Maureira as the co-supervisor.

    The successful applicant will join the Cognition, Data and Education (CoDE) section of the Learning, Data analytics and Technology (LDT) Department at the Faculty of Behavioural Management and Social Sciences

    We welcome applicants from diverse backgrounds and are committed to creating an inclusive and respectful working environment. We encourage candidates of all genders, ethnicities, and backgrounds to apply.

    Your profile

    We look for a highly motivated, enthusiastic researcher who is driven by curiosity and has/is:

  • A Master's degree in a relevant field (e.g., Psychology, Cognitive Science, Computer Science, Game Technologies).
  • Affinity and/or experience in experimental research, programming, XR technologies and software (e.g., VR/AR platforms), behavioral or physiological data processing is an advantage.
  • A good team spirit and like to work in an interdisciplinary and internationally oriented environment;
  • Able to do independent research and willing to develop writing and publication skills;
  • A passion for exploring the intersection of technology, cognition, and human behavior.
  • Possess good communication skills and an excellent command of English.
  • Our offer

    We encourage high responsibility and independence, while collaborating with colleagues, researchers, other university staff and partners. We follow the terms of employment by the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement for Universities (CAO). Our offer contains: a fulltime 4-year PhD position with a qualifier in the first year; excellent mentorship in a stimulating research environment with excellent facilities; and a personal development program within the Twente Graduate School. It also includes:

  • Gross monthly salary of € 2.770 in the first year, increasing each year up to € 3.539 in the fourth year;
  • Excellent benefits including a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%, and a solid pension scheme;
  • 29 holidays per year in case of full-time employment;
  • A training programme as part of the Twente Graduate School where you and your supervisors will determine a plan for a suitable education and supervision;
  • A green campus with free access to sports facilities and an international scientific community;
  • A family-friendly institution that offers parental leave (both paid and unpaid);
  • A full status as an employee at the UT, including pension, health care benefits and good secondary conditions are part of our collective labour agreement CAO-NU for Dutch universities.
  • Information and application

    Are you interested to be part of our team? Please submit your application before December 1th and include:

  • A cover letter (maximum 2 pages A4), emphasizing your specific interest, qualifications, and motivations to apply for this position;
  • A Curriculum Vitae, including a list of all courses attended and grades obtained, and, if applicable, a list of publications and references;
  • Note that Master students who graduate in the coming months are also welcome to apply.

    We aim to treat your application as soon as possible. The first round of interviews will be conducted in the beginning of January. Upon a positive evaluation, you will be invited for a second interview, scheduled for mid- January.

    For any inquiries about this position, you can contact Funda Yildirim ([email protected]) or Stéphanie van den Berg ([email protected]).

    About the department

    The CoDE section consists of teachers and researchers with backgrounds in psychology, educational science, mathematics, or computer science. We teach courses on methodology, data-analysis, and cognitive psychology. Our research focuses on data-based solutions for societal problems related to education, health, and human factors. In our teaching and research we make use of the latest developments in measurement and (large-scale) assessment, such as neurophysiology, extended reality, eye-tracking, psychometrics, and machine learning.

    About the organisation

    The Faculty of Behavioral, Management and Social sciences (BMS) aims to play a key role in understanding, jointly developing and evaluating innovations in society. Technological developments are the engine of innovation. As a technical university that puts people first, we tailor them to human needs and behavior and use social engineering to integrate them into society. We also ensure adequate governance at public and private level, and robust, inclusive and fair organizational structures. We do this by developing, sharing and applying high-quality knowledge in Psychology, Business Administration, Public Administration, Communication Sciences, Philosophy, Educational Sciences and Health Sciences. Our research and education in these disciplines revolves around tackling and solving societal challenges. The research programs of BMS are closely linked to the research of the UT institutes Mesa+ Institute for Nanotechnology, TechMed Center and Digital Society Institute.

    As an employer, the Faculty of BMS offers work that matters. We equip you to create new possibilities for yourself and for our society. With us, you will become part of a leading technical university with increasing, positive social impact. We offer an open, inclusive and entrepreneurial atmosphere, in which we encourage you to make healthy choices, for example through our flexible, adaptable benefits.

    Want to know more? Yildirim, F. (Funda)

    Assistant Professor

    Yildirim, F. (Funda)

    Assistant Professor

    Do you have questions about this vacancy? Then you can contact Funda for all substantive questions about this position and the application procedure. For general questions about working for the UT, please refer to the chatbot.



    Email:[email protected]

    How to apply Step 1

    Apply. When you see a vacancy that appeals to you, you can apply online. We ask you to upload a CV and motivation letter and/or list of publications. You will receive a confirmation of receipt by e-mail.

    Step 2

    Selection. The selection committee will review your application and you will receive a response within 2 weeks after the vacancy has been closed.

    Step 3

    1st interview. The 1st (online or in person) meeting serves as an introduction where we introduce ourselves to you and you to us. You may be asked to give a short presentation. This will be further explained in the invitation.

    Step 4

    2nd interview. In the second interview, we will further discuss the job content, your skills and your talents.

    Step 5

    The offer. If the conversations are positive, you will be made a suitable offer.

    Your Colleagues
  • Berg, S.M. van den (Stéphanie)
  • Personal page

  • Gómez Maureira, M. A.
  • Personal page

  • Our mission Human Touch
  • At the UT it's all about people, in line with our university's High Tech Human Touch philosophy. In everything we do, the well-being and future of our students and staff are paramount. From research and teaching to personnel management, campus management and the use of new technologies.

  • Our mission We are a university of technology
  • Our university is a public institution that serves society. We are accountable to society for the ways in which we use our academic freedom. We are responsible for ensuring that the power of science and technology is harnessed to achieve the best possible impact in a changing world. We cherish our rich tradition of combining technical and social sciences in our five profiling themes: Improving healthcare by personalized technologies; Creating intelligent manufacturing systems; Shaping our world with smart materials; Engineering our digital society; and Engineering for a resilient world.

  • Our mission We help to strengthen society
  • We help society meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. But we are also transparent about what science and technology can and cannot do in finding sustainable solutions. And help translate these solutions into everyday life.

  • Our mission We are sustainable
  • We want our communities to flourish and show resilience, so we seize opportunities for innovation. We are knowledgeable and have an eye for what society needs. Our students and staff receive all the guidance they need in their quest for ecological, social and economic sustainability. “The University of Twente is all about people. Our sustainable technologies help to strengthen society.”

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