PhD position on Social learning in social networks


Offered by:

University of Amsterdam

Research / Academic


The Department of Psychology is looking for an enthusiastic researcher who would like to build her/his career in the field of experimental psychology.

Adolescents are known for their reckless behavior, such as substance abuse, school absence, and unprotected sex. Peer influence has long been established as an important factor in adolescent risk taking, a process that seems to be amplified by recent developments in social media (e.g. viral risk-taking challenges). The primary goal of this proposal is to gain insights in the role of social information in risk-taking. The project is based on a social learning perspective, which suggests that adolescents are not just the passive receivers of social information, but they themselves play an active role in searching for social information

In this project you will study social influence on risk taking in context of real social networks, and social network analyses will be used to elucidate the impact of different types of peers. The project revolves around a series of controlled longitudinal experimental studies in classroom settings. During the project you will also develop computational models of social information processing and link these to developmental changes in brain, behavior and hormones.

Additional information:
  • The project is embedded in a larger project on the development of social learning. In the upcoming years the project comprises, apart from the current vacancy, two more PhD positions, and three Post docs (funded by VIDI and ERC starting grant). The project is led by dr Wouter van den Bos. Cooperation within the team and the broader faculty is encouraged.
  • Teaching activities include supervision of bachelor and (research) master theses, which might yield publishable data.
  • Further things we have to offer: competitive pay and excellent benefits; very friendly, interactive and international working environment; office located in the city centre of one of Europe's most beautiful and lively cities.
  • Given the scope of this longitudinal project the PhD position is for 5 years. 


You should:

  • have completed a research master (or expected graduation within 3 months) in psychology or a related discipline;
  • be interested in experimental research;
  • have excellent writing skills;
  • be very well able to work in a team.

The following will count in favour of you: experience with reinforcement learning, social learning or social network research; experience with running on-line studies and in developmental populations; programming skills in R, python and/or Javascript. Mastery of the Dutch language is very helpful.

Salary Benefits:

The appointment will be for a period of 12 months plus a further 48 months contingent on a satisfactory performance during the first year.

The gross monthly salary will range from €2,266 in the first year to €2,897 in the final year, based on a full-time position of 38 hours per week. We also have an 8% holiday allowance and an 8,3% end-of- year allowance, in conformity with the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities.Favourable tax agreements may apply to non-Dutch applicants.

Work Hours:

30.4 hours per week


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