Early stage researcher (PhD position) in Cognitive Neuroscience of sound-induced emotions and...

Updated: 8 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 10 Jun 2020


The ARTSOUNDSCAPES project deals with sound, rock art and sacred landscapes among past hunter-gatherers and early agricultural societies around the world. The potential of sound to stimulate powerful emotions makes it a common medium for conferring places with extraordinary agency. Ethnographic and ethnohistorical sources indicate that these sites are often endowed with a sacred significance and, in many cases, they also receive special treatment, including the production of rock paintings. Despite aural experience being an integral component of the human condition and a key element in ritual, archaeology has largely been unable to study it systematically. Rock art landscapes are no exception and, although some studies have been made, they have largely been reproached for their lack of scientific rigour and subjectivity. ARTSOUNDSCAPES will fully address this weakness by investigating the perception of sound in rock art landscapes from an interdisciplinary approach reflected in its five Research Lines:

  • Research Line 1 (RL1): Characterising the acoustic properties of rock art landscapes. Aim: to undertake a comprehensive analysis of the acoustic properties of a series of rock art landscapes around the world in order to acquire scientifically accurate data for surveying relationships between sonic effects, soundscape perception and the positioning of rock art.
  • Research Line 2 (RL1): The psychoacoustics of rock art landscapes. Aim: to examine the sensations evoked in people by sounds and how they relate to auditory interpretations and physically measurable quantities; to explore auditory perceptions such as echolocation and the augmented audibility and intelligibility of distant sounds.
  • Research Line 3 (RL3): Neuropsychology and emotion in rock art landscapes. Aim: to test whether stimulation of the brain with the sound recorded in RL1 can induce patterns of brain activity related to particular emotions such as those provoked by altered or mystical states
  • Research Line 4 (RL4): Ethnographic and ethnohistorical sources. Aim: to critically revise ethnohistorical and ethnographic records related to music and sound among hunter-gatherers and early agriculturalists and/or also, if agreed with the PI, of other type of societies in the world, and to look at the ethnographic variation in sacred beliefs associated with sound in these same societies.
  • Research Line 5 (RL5): Phenomenological analysis of sacred emotion and rock art soundscapes. Aim: to combine the results obtained in the previous lines and to attempt a phenomenological understanding of sacred soundscapes among late hunter-gatherers and early agriculturalists around the world.


  • Work closely with the project PI, the Senior Scientist (Prof. Carles Escera), the Project PI (Prof. Margarita Díaz-Andreu), the Senior Post Doctoral Researcher(s) and the other team members;
  • Carry out research on Research Line 3 (RL3) and Research Line 2 (RL2) in the areas and subjects agreed with the PI and the Senior Scientist (Prof. Carles Escera) and in collaboration with other team members;
  • Collaborate with and technically assist the PI and team members working in RL1 and RL4;
  • Unless on fieldwork, attending meetings and conferences allowed by the PI and the Senior Scientist. A key responsibility of the researcher will be to work in the Brainlab-Cognitive Neuroscience Research Group, Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology, University of Barcelona.


Related to the whole project

  • Collaborate with the PI, the Senior Scientist (Prof. Carles Escera), the senior PD and other team members for all required tasks and RLs in the project.

Related to Research Line 3

  • Work towards a PhD related to RL 3 under the supervision of Prof. Carles Escera and the Project PI
  • To search for and review interdisciplinary literature regarding the goals of RL3 and of the project as a whole.
  • To setup all the technical equipment, devices and systems necessary to carry out experiments in RL3.
  • To help designing and implementing the EEG experiments related to RL3.
  • To carry out the experimental work (laboratory experiments in controlled conditions in human participants) related to RL3 under Prof. Carles Escera’s supervision.
  • To carry out the data analysis and reporting of the data resulting from experiments of RL3 under Prof. Carles Escera’s supervision.

Related to Research Line 2

  • To provide the necessary links between results from RL1 and RL3 and those of RL2 to ensure the conceptual continuity of the work being carried out.
  • To assist the PI and the Senior Scientist in the interpretation of the data from experiments related to RL2.
  • To assist the setting up and the running of experiments in the field psychoacoustics and virtual reality in collaboration with team members working in RL2.

Related to Research Line 1

  • Actively join fieldwork seasons if needed by the project and required by the PI and/or the Senior Post-Doctoral Researcher(s);
  • Assist the PI (Prof. Margarita Díaz-Andreu), the Senior Scientists (Prof. Angelo Farina and Prof. Carles Escera) and the other members of the project to ensure there is a continuous, fluid and effective communication between RL3 with RL2 and RL1 and RL4 aiming to, among other goals, produce joined-up academic work.


  • PhD thesis
  • Actively work in academic dissemination by leading the writing of at least one article per year to be published in international peer-reviewed publications.
  • Actively participate in conferences agreed by the PI and the Senior Scientist representing the ARTSOUNDSCAPES project with a paper at least once a year
  • Actively participate in non-academic dissemination for wider audiences agreed by the PI and the Senior Scientist.


  • Perform other related duties as required.

Gross salary per year

Negotiable between 16000 and 18500 €

Required documents

Application letter, Curriculum vitae, 2 international publications if available, 2 academic reference letters to be sent to cescera@ub.edu by the deadline

Send your application to:


cescera@ub.edu ; m.diaz-andreu@ub.edu


Prof. Carles Escera; Prof. Díaz-Andreu

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