PhD Student Position in Cognitive and Behavioral Decision Research

Updated: 3 months ago
Department of Psychology,
Cognitive and Behavioral Decision Research (CBDR)

PhD Student Position in Cognitive and Behavioral Decision Research
60 %

At CBDR (led by Prof. Dr. Renato Frey) we aim to contribute to a better understanding of how people make decisions in the modern world full of risk and uncertainty. To this end we study the psychological mechanisms (e.g., cognitive, social, affective processes) underlying people's risk perceptions and risk-taking behaviors. We employ various empirical methods including data collection in real-life contexts (e.g., by means of app-based measurements) and field experiments (e.g., to test behavioral interventions and the effects of different forms of risk communication). Moreover, we make use of the latest data-science methods for cognitive and statistical modeling, and we strongly endorse open and reproducible research practices. Last but not least, we are committed to a culture of diversity and inclusion in our various activities as a research group.
Your responsibilities
As a PhD student at our lab you will face manifold and interesting tasks and responsibilities.
You will:
  • immerse yourself in the key theories of the behavioral sciences on judgment and decision making.
  • design and implement lab as well as field studies on risk perception and risk taking
  • use the latest data-analytic methods to analyze and report behavioral data in a transparent and reproducible way.
  • write review and empirical research articles to be published in the top journals of the field.
  • present research results at national and international conferences online or on site.
  • be an active team member and contribute to our scientific, teaching-related, and social activities.

Your profile
The requirement for the positions is a Master's degree, ideally in an empirical behavioral science (e.g., cognitive, economic, or social psychology; cognitive science, etc.). Moreover, the ideal candidate has a strong enthusiasm for and preferably already some knowledge of / skills in:
  • theories on judgment and decision making, particularly in the domains of risk perception, risk preference, and risk taking.
  • planning study designs and implementing them using web-based technologies such as PHP / MySQL.
  • implementing data-analytic methods by means of the programming languages R and / or Python.
  • writing up and communicating research plans, methods, and empirical results in a clear and concise manner.

All of the above will be essential for the advertised position, but not all of these skills have to be fully developed at the onset – provided that you are highly motivated to adopt them during your training.
What we offer
Our group offers a vibrant work environment: We are enthusiastic about human decision making and behavioral science more generally and love to debate about theoretical, practical, and methodological developments as well as meta-scientific questions in an open and active discussion culture. The lab has generous funding to implement ambitious projects and to travel to conferences and summer schools. Moreover, the University of Zurich as an employer offers great resources and a competitive salary. Finally, we strive for scientific excellence and work hard to push the boundaries of science, but at the same time we are open to flexible work routines to accommodate for individual needs and duties.
Place of work
Psychologisches Institut der Universität Zürich, Universität Zürich-Nord, Binzmühlestrasse, Zürich, Switzerland
Start of employment
The position is available as of now and can be started at the earliest possible date.
Please contact Prof. Dr. Renato Frey ( ) at should you have any questions concerning the position. Review of applications will start immediately and continue until the position is filled. The application should entail (all within a single PDF file) a cover letter with a description of your background, particular skills that you have already adopted, and motivation to work at CBDR; a CV including a list of references; as well as your Bachelor's or Master's thesis (if available).
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