Research Assistant in the Department of Psychology (0.5FTE, temporary 6 month contract)

Post: Department: Contract Type: Grade:

Research Assistant
Fixed Term 0.5FTE for 6 months from 1
st March 2016 Grade 6

Applications are invited for the post of Research Assistant in the Department of Psychology (0.5FTE, temporary 6 month contract) to work on a project exploring music perception in children with the genetic disorder Williams syndrome. The project will involve working with children with and without Williams syndrome to examine aspects of cognitive performance (e.g. spatial processing / language) and the ability to process musical and vocal cues of emotion. Whilst some researchers have claimed that individuals with Williams syndrome have good musical abilities and strong emotional responses to music, the results from several well conducted experimental studies have revealed impairments in fundamental aspects of music perception. This project aims to resolve the current controversy by investigating music perception in the context of cognitive strengths and difficulties in Williams syndrome.

The project is funded by the Baily Thomas Foundation and the successful applicant will work under the direct supervision of Dr Debbie Riby, collaborating with Professor Pam Heaton at Goldsmiths University in London. Informal enquiries should be made to

This post is part-time (0.5FTE) and therefore the salary is pro rata.


Interact with families in a professional manner to recruited and test children with Williams Syndrome throughout the UK on a range of cognitive and music tasks.

Interact with teachers in a professional manner to recruited and test typically developing children in schools in the North East on a range of cognitive and music tasks.

Undertake training to administer the research assessments.

Contribute to the analysis of data collected from the cognitive assessments and music tasks.

Contribute to the preparation of reports and disseminate the research as appropriate.

Person Specification


The candidate should be a graduate in psychology or a related discipline. An MSc (or equivalent research experience), experience of working with young people and an interest in clinical psychology / developmental psychopathology are desirable but not essential. A DBS check will be required. Applicants should emphasise in their application any previous experience of working with children with or without developmental disorders.


  1. Relevant undergraduate degree (2.1 or above) in psychology or a related discipline

  2. Good written and spoken communication skills as required for working sensitively and effectively with children, parents and teachers

  3. Good SPSS and Excel skills

  4. Ability to work flexibly to fit around family and school preferences for testing


  1. MSc or equivalent level research experience

  2. Experience of conducting research with individuals who have developmental disorders

Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in the University.