PhD Researcher in Cognitive Psychology and Causal Modeling

Updated: 3 months ago
Deadline: 21 Feb 2022

Do you like/are you looking for a challenging job in a dynamic setting? The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation is looking to fill one PhD postion in the research project The biased reality of online media – Using stereotypes to make media manipulation visible of Katrin Schulz and Leendert van Maanen.

The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) is a renowned research institute at the University of Amsterdam, in which researchers from the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Science collaborate. The research carried out at Humanities forms one of the six research schools  within this faculty .

ILLC’s central research area is the study of fundamental principles of encoding, transmission and comprehension of information. Research at ILLC is interdisciplinary, and aims at bringing together insights from various disciplines concerned with information and information processing, such as logic, philosophy, linguistics, musicology, mathematics, computer science, artificial intelligence and cognitive science.

What are you going to do?

The PhD position is part of Katrin Schulz & Leendert van Maanen’s research project The biased reality of online media – Using stereotypes to make media manipulation visible , funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO). In this interdisciplinary project we combine knowledge from linguistics, psychology, and natural language processing to study the impact of (online) media on stereotypical beliefs people hold. In order to do so, we measure which stereotypes are expressed by computational language models and how such biases relate to stereotypical beliefs that individuals may hold. The goal is to develop a computational model to understand how media sources affect stereotypical beliefs.

The project involves two PhD students and a programmer. While the other PhD student will work on extracting bias from text corpora, you will focus on comparing these biases with experimental data from human participants. This might involve improving on existing experiment measures of stereotypical beliefs in humans. You will also be involved in the psychometric validation of the bias measures for text corpora. Finally, you will develop a causal cognitive model for the influence of media coverage on stereotypical beliefs. Your project will be jointly supervised by Dr Leendert van Maanen and Dr Katrin Schulz.

Tasks and responsibilities:

  • completion and submission of a PhD thesis within the period of appointment;
  • working in close cooperation with the other team members on executing the described research project;
  • regularly presenting research results at international workshops and conferences, and to publish them in conference proceedings and journal;
  • participating in and to contribute to the organisation of research activities and events at the ILLC, such as workshops and colloquia;
  • participate in the ILLC and Faculty of Humanities PhD training programmes;
  • teach courses at Bachelor’s and Master’s level in the 2nd and 3rd year (0,2 FTE per year).

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