The Developmental Dynamics Laboratory in the School of Psychology at the University of East Anglia is looking for outstanding PhD students to join our world-class faculty. Students have access to a 3000 square foot developmental research facility with optical neuroimaging (fNIRS), multiple eye-trackers, advanced computing, and behavioural observation suites. MRI, EEG, TMS, and virtual reality technologies are also available. Students would join a dynamic research group investigating a broad range of topics in early neural and cognitive development including visual working memory, language, executive function, and the role of dyadic interactions in cognitive development.
We have 2 fully-funded studentships (stipend = £14,296 per year), including studentships for our integrated Masters/PhD program. The deadline for applications is February 20th. Research topics are described below.
The Dynamics of Visual Attention and Word Learning
Professor Larissa Samuelson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This project focuses on the interaction of words and visual stimuli in early name learning. Typically infants demonstrate a preference for novel stimuli. However, the presence of a word slows infants’ formation of a novelty preference in the context of two visual stimuli. Likewise, the mere visual presence of a familiar object that has been linked to a word can exert an attractive force on infant attention and reduce novelty biases.
We seek to understand these complex interactions between words and attention and their implications for early word learning via empirical work with infants and computational simulations with a dynamic neural field model.
Probing the neural bases of visual working memory in early development
Professor John Spencer (email@example.com)
An intense period of brain growth begins in fetal development and extends into early childhood with brain size doubling in the first year of life. During this period of growth, functional brain networks emerge, creating new behavioral, cognitive, and social skills. Significant adversity can have a major impact on these emerging brain networks, yielding deficits that extend into adulthood.
The goal of this project is to use a neurobehavioral toolkit to assess the impact of significant adversity in India on the emergence of a key functional brain network in early development—the network that underlies visual working memory (VWM)—and to compare brain development between UK and Indian samples. The project involves a host of innovative technologies including fNIRS, structural MRI, eye-tracking, and neural network models.
Please visit https://www.uea.ac.uk/psychology/research-degrees for more information.
Before sending your application, we would advise you to contact individual faculty to discuss your specific interests in our program and to develop a short research proposal.
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