Post-doctoral researcher position in neuroscience of meditation and self-consciousness

Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL)

Switzerland

May 29, 2022

Description

EPFL, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, is one of the most dynamic university campuses in Europe and ranks among the top 20 universities worldwide. The EPFL employs more than 6,000 people supporting the three main missions of the institutions: education, research and innovation. The EPFL campus offers an exceptional working environment at the heart of a community of more than 16,000 people, including over 12,000 students and 4,000 researchers from more than 120 different countries.

Post-doctoral researcher position in neuroscience of meditation and self-

consciousness

Your mission : Since the dawn of meditative practices and across many different forms of meditation, ego-centered and cognition-based definitions of the self have been criticized by contemplative traditions. Moreover, it has been argued that such a focus on an ego-centered/cognitive self may be at the root of much suffering in society. Instead, meditation practice often encourages practitioners to engage with a different self: a bodily and non-cognitive self, accessed by deemphasizing and disengaging from the cognitive self, and by engaging with the moment-to-moment fluctuations of one's bodily self (minimal phenomenal selfhood, MPS).

The project aims at investigating the role of the bodily self in meditation practice, integrating previous work from our Lab on the bodily self (for reviews see Blanke, 2012; Park and Blanke, 2019) with principles from meditation practice and meditation neuroscience. The project also aims at adapting and integrating new VR technology to support meditation practice. You will join a team consisting of three researchers and engineers working on this project. We plan to test groups of meditation novices, meditation experts, and non-meditators. A recently developed platform integrating virtual reality (VR), automatized movement and bodily stimulations, real-time tracking and sensing technologies will be used and further developed for the experimental study of the role of MPS in meditation. Blanke, O. (2012). Multisensory brain mechanisms of bodily self- consciousness.Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 13(8), 556–571. Park, H.-D., & Blanke, O. (2019). Coupling Inner and Outer Body for Self- Consciousness. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 23(5), 377–388.

Main duties and responsibilities include : The researcher will conduct the research, develop the experimental designs, recruit participants, and work in close collaboration with the other engineers/researchers of the project and the Blanke Lab. The researcher will be responsible for systematic literature reviewing, data analysis, writing scientific articles, presenting results at meetings and conferences. Some minor administrative tasks might be required.

Your profile : The ideal candidate should hold a PhD in neuroscience, cognitive science or psychology with a strong track record in meditation neuroscience or closely related fields. A strong background in cognitive-systems neuroscience, human testing, brain imaging (fMRI or EEG), experimental design, and data analysis is a plus, as well as excellent spoken and written English.

We offer : An opportunity to work on cutting-edge projects in neuroscience research within a world-class community of engineers, neuroscientists and medical doctors. A dynamic, multidisciplinary, international and collaborative working environment based at the Campus Biotech in Geneva.

EPFL is an international and world-class engineering institution that hosts state-of-the-art experimental and computational facilities, and a rich and vibrant scientific and entrepreneurial community.

EPFL is an equal-opportunity employer. We offer competitive salary and benefits, defined by EPFL scales and regulations.

Start date : July 1st 2022 The position will remain open until filled.

Term of employment : Fixed-term (CDD)

Work rate : 100%

Duration : 1 year contract, renewable

Contact : Interested candidates should send their application to Dr. Fosco Bernasconi fosco.bernasconi@epfl.ch

Only complete applications will be considered.

Shortlisted candidates will be contacted and scheduled for an interview. Letters of recommendation will be requested from shortlisted candidates only.

Application material:

• CV • Publication list • 3-minute video stating motivations and qualifications • Degree certificates (scanned copies of PhD. and M.Sc. degree certificates or equivalent) • Contact details for two academic referees who have been contacted by the applicant and agreed to write a letter of recommendation on behalf of the applicant

Reference : Job Nb 2351

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