Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition, & Behavior, Radboud University, The Netherlands

PhD student position: Social-cognitive Development in Infants at Risk for Autism


Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition, and Behaviour

Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Application deadline: February 25, 2015


Job description 

Researchers in the field of clinical developmental psychology have recently begun longitudinal studies with infant siblings of children diagnosed with autism. Given the relatively high heritability of autism spectrum disorder, studying (yet) unaffected siblings may reveal crucial new insights into the early development of autism.

You will conduct studies with infants and young children at risk for developing autism. After a period of training and methods development, you will collect and analyse experimental data using state-of-the-art behavioural and neuroimaging methods (such as EEG, fNIRS, and eye-tracking). On the basis of this data you will investigate various aspects of social-cognitive development in infants at risk in relation to later diagnosis.

The position is embedded in a large ongoing longitudinal project with high-risk cohorts (see, in Dutch, and The experimental work will be conducted at the Baby Research Centre (BRC) of Radboud University. You will work in an interdisciplinary team of developmental and clinical psychologists, neuroscientists and child psychiatrists. You will be a member of Dr Hunnius’ BabyBRAIN research group, which studies the developmental mechanisms and neurocognitive changes underlying early social-cognitive development (

You will be supervised by Dr Sabine Hunnius and Prof. Jan Buitelaar. Dr Terje Falck-Ytter (Uppsala University, Sweden) will be co-supervisor. You will be based at Radboud University, but you will also make research visits to our collaborators at Uppsala University and Birkbeck College London (UK).



You should have a degree in psychology or a related discipline, such as (developmental) neuroscience, developmental psychology or cognitive psychology, and a strong motivation for scientific research. Relevant research experience (in developmental science or research on neurodevelopmental disorders) and experience with testing young children will be distinct advantages. Experience with neuroscientific methods (such as EEG) or advanced data analysis or programming skills is a plus. A good command of spoken and written English is essential. 


The position is part of BRAINVIEW, a pan-European Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network. Due to the mobility constraints of Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions, it is a requirement that you have not resided in the Netherlands for more than 12 months during the last 3 years.


For more information, please go to

Informal enquires can be made to dr. Sabine Hunnius (