A Postdoctoral position is available at University College London to investigate visuomotor decision-making during childhood. The post will be based at the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences and at the Dept. of Visual Neuroscience, Institute of Ophthalmology. The post-holder will work on a project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council with Dr. Tessa Dekker. The post is for 24 months, with scope for a 6-month extension, and involves international collaborations, e.g., with New York University, and The Free University, Amsterdam. Click here for job description and to apply.
Scientific aims of project: Successful execution of everyday risky actions such as crossing a road or catching a ball requires risk-assessment. This involves a complex interplay between the perceptual- and motor system, and cost-factors in the environment. Some of our lab’s recent work suggests that these processes are still suboptimal in children aged 6-11 years, potentially placing these children at unnecessary risk (Dekker & Nardini, 2015). This research will help increase understanding of children’s suboptimal visuomotor choices, and how, when, and why they improve with age.
Tasks/Techniques: The successful candidate will help develop, run, analyse, and report studies involving (a) new child-friendly tasks that emulate real-life risky actions (e.g., using life-size installations, motion capture technology, and touchscreen displays), (b) neuroimaging paradigms (fMRI) that track change at the level of neural representation, and (c) fitting behavioural and fMRI data with quantitative models of neurocognitive processing (such as Bayesian ideal observer models), to investigate which factors may explain developmental change. The research focus can be determined in part by the successful candidate’s expertise and interests, and there is scope for extending the work to clinical groups, such as patients with visual impairments at Moorfields Eye Hospital.
Personal Requirements: The successful candidate will have a PhD in cognitive neuroscience or a related field, be technically competent, have affinity with maths and good programming skills (e.g., in Matlab). They also must have excellent communication skills in English to interact effectively with child participants, parents, and the scientific community. Experience in behavioural psychophysics, movement science, and/or developmental science are desirable.
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