Research Fellow - Psychophysics of Multisensory Touch - School of Psychology - 95715 - Grade 7

Updated: 4 months ago
Location: Birmingham, ENGLAND

Research Fellow - Psychophysics of Multisensory Touch - School of Psychology - 95715 - Grade 7 - (200000GZ)



Research Fellow - Psychophysics of Multisensory Touch - 95715

School of Psychology

Location: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham UK

Grade 7 

Full time starting salary is normally in the range £30,942 to £40,322. With potential progression once in post to £42,792 a year.

Full Time

FTC until 31st December 2020

Closing date: 9th March 2020

Summary of Role


A postdoctoral research fellow in psychophysics is required to join a BBSRC funded project led by Prof Alan Wing on Aging Touch in the Sensory Motor Neuroscience (SyMoN) Lab at the University of Birmingham. The position which runs to end 2020 is available immediately. The research team includes co-investigators Drs Max Di Luca and Roberta Roberts at the University of Birmingham, Dr Harriet Allen at the University of Nottingham and Dr Marta Arroyo at the Procter and Gamble Brussels Innovation Centre.

The Birmingham School of Psychology, ranked 5th in the 2014 REF, is a thriving department on the University of Birmingham newly-greened Edgbaston campus. It houses the innovative Computational Neuroscience and Cognitive Robotics (CNCR) Centre, co-organised with Computer Science and Electronics, Electrical and Computer Engineering) as well as the new Centre for Human Brain Health (CHBH, with 3T, 7T fMRI and MEG scanners).

The Aging Touch project is taking a multisensory approach to understanding the perception of surface texture in the sub-millimetre range. Advanced motion-capture methods are used to characterise finger movements and forces when scanning surfaces presented for roughness discrimination. Psychophysical and brain imaging results are related to peripheral (finite element models), and central (cognitive models and brain activation) accounts of multisensory integration. Aging is expected to affect each of these components. The research includes translational studies (with Procter and Gamble) of the effects of surface wetting and surfactants on roughness judgments.

The postdoctoral research fellow is required to work with the research team to collect psychophysical data to test and refine models of multisensory perception of surface texture that account for behavioural and brain imaging results and the effects of aging. The successful applicant will have completed (or at least submitted) a PhD (with relevant publications), and have experience in psychophysics (preferably including touch) and inferential statistics. An interest in computational modelling would be an advantage. He or she should have demonstrable skills in programming (eg matlab, python, C++, R). Some familiarity with brain imaging and motion capture methods would be an advantage. Being able to work independently, professionally, and ethically as part of a team is essential.

Applications through the University’s HR website are welcome - in the covering letter please specify how you consider your background and skills will contribute to the project.

Main Duties/Responsibilities


The responsibilities may include some but not all of the responsibilities outlines below.


• Work within the BBSRC research project Aging touch (Taking the rough with the smooth: aging effects on tactile surface texture perception).

• Test and refine models of multisensory perception of surface texture that account for behavioural and brain imaging results and the effects of aging.

• Develop models of the somatosensory neural transduction and coding processes underlying roughness perception.

• Design, analyse psychophysical studies of multisensory roughness perception including accuracy and timing measures and interpret research findings and results.

• Work with other team members to apply the behavioural study methods to fMRI brain imaging protocols.

• Prepare papers for publication

• Contribute to public understanding of the project

Further responsibilities may include:

• Develop research objectives and proposals for the Aging touch project, with assistance of a mentor if required.

• Analyse and interpret multisensory psychophysical data (accuracy and timing) in terms of computational models.

• Apply knowledge in a way which develops new intellectual understanding.

• Disseminate research findings in research seminars etc.

• Present research outputs, including drafting academic publications or parts thereof, for example at seminars and as posters.

• Supervise students on research related work and provide guidance to PhD students where appropriate to the discipline.

• Undertake management/administration arising from research.

• Contribute to writing bids for research funding.

• Contribute to Departmental/School research through related activities including research and administration.

• Contribute to enterprise, business development and/or public engagement activities of manifest benefit to the College and the University.

• Provide guidance, as required, to support staff and any students who may be assisting with the research.

• Deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines.

• Liaise with research staff, support staff external collaborators on research-related matters.

Person Specification


• Good honours degree in STEM or Psychology and/or Masters in Psychology or related area and a PhD relevant to the research area or near completion.

• Previous experience with coding programs in some or all of C++, Matlab, Python and other software related to waveform data analysis and synthesis.

• Experience with inferential statistics software (eg SPSS, R)

• High level analytical capability.

• Ability to communicate complex information clearly.

• Fluency in collecting multisensory (touch, visual, auditory) psychophysical data (accuracy and timing) to test computational models of sensory integration

• Ability to develop design psychophysical  techniques or methods 

• Ability to assess resource requirements and use resources effectively 

• Understanding of and ability to contribute to broader management/administration processes

• Contribute to the planning and organising of the research programme and/or specific research project

• Co-ordinate own work with others to avoid conflict or duplication of effort

For further information about the project please contact Prof Alan Wing

We value diversity at The University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community’ 


Valuing excellence; sustaining investment



Primary Location
: GB-GB-Birmingham
: Academic Non-clinical
: Psychology
: Regular
Job Posting
: 06.02.2020, 7:00:00 PM
Grade (for job description): Grade 7
Salary (Pay Basis)
: 30,942.00
Maximum Salary
: 42,792.00
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