Potential PhD Projects in the Psychological Research Centre 2017

The Psychological Research Centre at Keele University is pleased to announce this year’s competition for PhD studentships to commence in September 2017. A full studentship includes an annual tax-free stipend at RCUK rate plus home tuition fee (currently £14,553 and £4,195) for three years. We may also award additional fee waivers and partial bursaries.

This year we welcome applications for five specific PhD projects, as outlined below. If you would like to apply for a specific project you need to make contact with the named supervisor to discuss the project in more detail. This will help you when writing the case for support and your 2 page research proposal (further details below). Places are limited and so we cannot guarantee funding for all of these projects.

Applicants interested in other projects are encouraged to visit our research web-pages to find out more about staff research interests. Applicants are strongly advised to discuss their potential project with prospective supervisors in advance of submitting their application. Please feel free to contact potential supervisors directly or liaise with Dr Claire Fox  (email: c.fox@keele.ac.uk) for advice on the most appropriate contact point.  For the full advert please visit the Faculty of Natural Sciences PG Research webpages

  • Dr Sarah Laurence - Face Recognition and Facial Ageing

Faces change in their appearance very slowly over time both in terms of their shape and texture: if you compare two images of the same person taken 40 years apart you will see they look quite different. We occasionally see photographs of our family and friends taken many years ago, however, in the context of our day-to-day interactions we usually have to recognise their current appearance. How does experience with a face at different ages affect our representations of faces stored in memory? The prospective PhD student will conduct a series of experiments with the aim to improve theoretical understanding of our mental representations for familiar faces and determine what happens to representations of familiar faces in healthy older adults. Interested applicants should contact Sarah Laurence to discuss the project in more detail, s.k.laurence@keele.ac.uk

  • Dr Masi Noor - Enhancing Agency Through Victimised Groups’ Own Cognitive and Affective Resources

Restoring agency is one of the chief psychological needs following the victimisation of one’s group. The objective of this research agenda is to investigate novel ways to utilise victim groups’ own cognitive and affective resources to enhance their agency. The programme of research will be conducted mainly through experimental (but also some qualitative) work. This research will employ theories and empirical paradigms based on Applied Social Psychology, Experimental Cognitive Psychology, and Political Psychology. Candidates with research experiences with real-life groups, designing experiments with behavioural indices, and programming are particularly encouraged to apply. Interested applicants should contact Masi Noor to discuss the project in more detail, m.noor@keele.ac.uk

  • Dr Donna Berry - Emotional Contagion and the Autism Spectrum

Why are emotions contagious and why they might they be less contagious for people on the Autism Spectrum? For typical adults and children, seeing and hearing someone expressing a behaviour, such as yawning, frequently leads the observer to yawn in response. According to evolutionary theories, this contagion evolved to synchronise members of our social group in preparation for collective action (Frijda, 1986; Provine, 1996). Individuals on the Autism Spectrum are generally less likely to catch emotions in this way, but the reasons and implications of this reduced contagion are not yet clear. This PhD project would involve testing biological and social measures of contagion in typical and clinical populations under the supervision of Dr Donna Berry. Interested applicants should contact Donna Berry to discuss the project in more detail, d.m.berry@keele.ac.uk

  • Dr Huseyin Cakal - Predictors of Health and Well-Being among Young Syrian Refugees in Turkey

The UNHCR global trends report shows that in 2013 there were more than 50 million forced displaced people, 86% of them in developing countries (UNHCR, 2014). The current largest source of refugees (Syria) used to be the third largest refugee host only few years ago (Quosh, Eloul, & Ajlani, 2013). According to the UNHCR, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt host the highest number of Syrian refugees (UNHCR, 2015). The project focuses on the role of social identity as well as intra and intergroup process, e.g., informal social networks and social relations, in predicting mental health and successful integration of young individuals to the host countries. The successful candidate will conduct research in real life settings in various countries that currently hosts refugees. This is an exciting opportunity to engage in potentially impactful research on one of the most important challenges that we face today. Interested applicants should contact Dr Huseyin Cakal h.cakal@keele.ac.uk to discuss the details of the project.