PhD position in Narrative Cognition and Decision-making in Mixed Reality Systems (7-18085)

Updated: 7 months ago
Deadline: The position may have been removed or expired!

At the Technical Faculty of IT and Design – Department of Architecture, Design and Media Technology – Aalborg University Copenhagen – a PhD position is available within the general research programme Media, Architecture & Design. The PhD stipend in Narrative Cognition and Decision-making in Mixed Reality Systems is open for appointment for a 3-year period starting from 1 May 2019 or soonest thereafter.

Job description

The position:

The PhD project will be part of the multidisciplinary Marie-Sklodowska Curie Innovative Training Network – RHUMBO –, which aims at modelling and predicting human decision-making by characterizing subconscious brain processes using mixed reality technologies (MRT) and advance biometric signal processing. RHUMBO will host 11 Early-Stage Researchers (ESR) to develop their PhDs at the frontiers of cognitive neuroscience, transparently immersive experiences and artificial intelligence with a focus on neuro-business. The network brings together seven European universities and three private companies that will provide extensive support to the research and academic goals of the PhD fellows, providing opportunities for stays in several specialized research environments, courses, workshops and conferences. 

The concrete PhD project:

With the rapid implementation of mixed reality technologies (MRT) in different domains, there is an increase usage of narratives and interactive digital storytelling (IDS) techniques as rhetorical devices for persuasion (e.g. in advertisement, marketing, politics, sustainability, motivational strategies, etc.). Together with MRT and advanced biometric signals processing, IDS constitutes a powerful tool for investigating human decision-making processes in specific situations. The PhD candidate will investigate key aspects of narrative cognition that may have an implicit influence in decision-making processes when story elements are mediated through MRT with the purpose of advising, prompting or persuading subjects into particular courses of action, choices and decisions. In particular, the candidate will dig into decision-making processes that may be affected by conditions such as (but not limited to) moral dilemmas, paradoxes, causal inferences, emotional involvement, ambiguity, uncertainty and stress. The interdisciplinary methodology will combine tools and techniques from MRT/VR/AR and interactive digital storytelling, a suite of integrated psychophysiological methods (EEG, HR, GSR and eye tracking) and phenomenological-subjective approaches in order to study key cognitive processes and affective states elicited by narrative rhetorical devices in immersive technologies.

The appointed candidate will benefit from the combined expertise of the RHUMBO network, and is expected to spend at least three short-term (1-2 months) research stays at other partners’ research environments. 


The ideal candidate has a Master of Science degree, and is either a media technology engineer with background in neuroscience and a strong interest in IDS/narrative, or a neuroscientist with strong interest in mixed reality technologies and good technical skills. In this direction, the candidate should possess a combination of overlapping skills, knowledge and/or interest in at least two of the following three main areas:

  • Technical/Engineering skills (for example any combination of mixed reality and immersive technologies, programming, machine learning or multivariate statistics).
  • Experience, familiarity or strong interest in cognitive sciences, neurosciences, psychology or affective sciences.
  • Experience, familiarity or strong interest in narratology or interactive digital storytelling.

The applicant is required to document that the Master’s degree, skills and interests correspond to the profile for the post. The final degree needs to be confirmed by the time of appointment.

Given the conditions of the MSC-Innovative Training Networks, the candidate must be an Early-Stage Researcher (ESR) with less than four years of research career (counted from the date of culmination of the Master’s degree) and not having obtained a doctoral degree. By the time of recruitment, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Denmark for more than 12 months in the three years immediately prior to the recruitment date. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account.

The application must include:

  • a) A cover letter thoroughly explaining and elaborating on the motivations and qualifications for applying (1-3 pages).
  • b) A Curriculum Vitae setting out your educational qualifications as well as any additional scientific achievements, publications and any relevant work experience.
  • c) Proof of English language proficiency and writing skills (e.g. IELTS or equivalent, sample articles or academic work).
  • d) A copy of the Bachelor and Master’s diploma (or equivalent) or certificate of graduation.
  • e) An official transcript of the completed subjects and grades in the Bachelor and Master studies.
  • f) Two academic references from researchers familiar with your academic activities, e.g. the advisor, supervisor, professor. The referees must e-mail their recommendations directly to .
  • An assessment committee will assess the qualifications of the applicant. Selected candidates may be invited for an interview. Based on the recommendations of the assessment committee, the Dean of the Technical Faculty of IT and Design will make a decision for allocating the stipend.

    AAU wishes to reflect the diversity of society and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background or belief.

    For more information please contact Associate Professor Luis Emilio Bruni, email or phone: +45 9940 2474.

    The PhD will be carried out in the Augmented Cognition Lab, which is placed in the Copenhagen Section of the Department of Architecture, Design and Media Technology – an innovative cluster of engineering-based environments for education and research, integrating creativity, engineering and technology within the fields of interactive media technology, digital design, architecture and industrial design. The Augmented Cognition Lab in particular conducts research on perception, cognition, affective states and aesthetic experience in multimodal, immersive and interactive media systems.

    Furthermore, it is a prerequisite for allocation of the stipend that the candidate will be enrolled as a PhD student at the Technical Doctoral School of IT and Design in accordance with the regulations of Ministerial Order No. 1039 of August 27, 2013 on the PhD Programme at the Universities and Certain Higher Artistic Educational Institutions. According to the Ministerial Order, the progress of the PhD student shall be assessed at regular points in time. It is a prerequisite for continuation of salary payment that the previous progress is approved at the time of the evaluation. PhD stipends are allocated to individuals who hold a Master's degree. PhD stipends are normally for a period of 3 years.

    For further information about stipends and salary as well as practical issues concerning the application procedure contact Ms. Sofie Pia Jensen, The Technical Doctoral School of IT and Design, email: , phone: +45 9940 3478

    For more information of The Technical Doctoral School of IT and Design:

    The application is only to be submitted online by using the "Apply online" button below.


    Appointment and salary as a PhD fellow are according to the Ministry of Finance Circular of November 10, 2015 on the Collective Agreement for Academics in Denmark, Appendix 5, regarding PhD fellows, and with the Ministry of Finance current circular on the employment structure at Danish Universities.

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