PhD position on social cognition and literacy

PhD position on social cognition and literacy

Applications are invited for a full-time doctoral research position at the Faculty of Psychology of Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Belgium. The position is covered by an Advanced Concerted Research Actions project (ACR) titled “The Socio-Cognitive Impact of Literacy”, coordinated by Régine Kolinsky (Research Unit in Cognitive NeurosciencesCenter for Research in Cognition & Neurosciences, CRCN) and Olivier Klein (Center for Social and Cultural Psychology, CeSCuP).

We offer onsite laboratory facilities and a highly interdisciplinary and active research environment. The position will be funded and renewable on yearly basis for up to two years.

Starting date: October 2019


Combining cognitive psychology, psycholinguistics and social psychology approaches, we aim at examining the impact of literacy learning on the socio-cognitive skills that are essential for exerting one’s citizenship, allowing critical and argumentative thinking as well as information validation endowing resistance to misinformation. For this purpose we will train people with poor reading skills (adolescents attending vocational education and functional illiterate adults). We will track their progress through behavioral measures, including eye-movement recording, in order to examine whether: 

(i) literacy progress leads to increases in critical and argumentative thinking, greater skepticism and enhanced information validation capacities, including as regards fake news and conspiracy theories 

(ii) these developments are related to progress in supportive capacities such as reasoning, memory, executive and mindreading abilities 

(iii) the effects of literacy on those skills are mediated by its effects on oral language proficiency. 

Candidate requirements

We seek a candidates with a strong background in the social cognitive processes involved in language comprehension and/or belief formation, and with a very good knowledge of French (for being involved in the testing of poorly literate adolescents and adults).They must also have an excellent command of English (Minimum level B2). The successful applicant should be trained in research and data analysis methods in social/experimental psychology  Other aspects that will be taken into account are experience in eye movement recording, and in working with disadvantaged populations and/or in a school context. 

Eligibility criteria

  • Applicants of any age and of any nationality are eligible
  • Eligible applicants are Experienced Researchers will have  a master in psychology (or equivalent) by October 1, 2019 


* EU Citizens and citizens from countries that have a bilateral social security agreement with Belgium: social security coverage including medical insurance, unemployment benefit, retirement pension, maternity leave and child benefit

* Non-EU Citizens from countries that have NO bilateral social security agreement with Belgium: social security coverage including medical insurance, maternity leave and child benefit

* Insurance against accidents in the workplace

* Tax exemption

* Low-cost private hospitalization insurance

* On-site services at the ULB: medical centre, university hospital, sports centre, subsidized restaurants, cultural centre, crèche, activities for children…

How to apply

Applications should be sent by  email to by June 28, 2019

  • A CV including grades for each year of study
  • Two letters of support
  • A copy of the master thesis or equivalent
  • a short cover letter describing research interests

Please, mention that you are applying to the “DOCTORAL position ACR” in the email subject.

Feel free to contact us at should you have any questions. 

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