Tuesday, August 24, 2010

3-year PhD Studentship: Investigating the embodied nature of mental representations ...

FYI.  I know nothing about this other than what is printed here, but it is, perhaps, of interest to some readers of this blog.

Investigating the embodied nature of mental representations involved in production and comprehension of co-speech gestures

The objective of this 3-year PhD studentship is to investigate the embodied nature of mental representations involved in the production and comprehension of co-speech gestures. The project is due to commence January 2011 and provides full support for tuition fees, associated research costs and an annual tax-free stipend of £13, 590. Applicants must be UK/EU nationals due to the nature of the funding, which is provided by the Leverhulme Trust.

Recent theories have revolutionised our understanding of cognition by proposing that mental representations involve embodied simulations which are based on our past experiences of perception and action. By examining theories of embodied cognition in conjunction with gesture, this study will test the assumption that conceptual knowledge is grounded in experience of our bodies and the space around us.

The successful candidate will carry out experiments on gesture production (involving the handling of video- and computer-based recording equipment). They will be responsible for recruiting and testing participants, speech transcription, gesture coding (requiring annotation in ELAN), qualitative and quantitative statistical analysis and academic writing (for the thesis and publication). They will also have the opportunity to present their findings at prestigious conferences and seminars.

Applicants must hold, or expect to obtain, a minimum upper-second class honours degree (or equivalent) in psychology, linguistics, cognitive science or any cognate discipline. A Masters degree (merit or distinction) in any of the above named disciplines, and previous research training is desirable but not essential. In addition, applicants should have some experience of carrying out research independently. Previous experience in either gesture or embodied cognition research, or in the use of behaviour observational methods (e.g., video recording and editing equipment), would be another advantage.

Upon completion, a career in psychology, linguistics, cognitive science or any related cognate discipline would be anticipated.
Please direct expressions of interest in the following format to the project lead, Dr Louise Connell (louise.connell@manchester.ac.uk):

• A CV, including full details of all University course grades to date.
• Contact details for two academic or professional referees.
• A personal statement (750 words maximum) outlining your suitability for the study, what you hope to achieve from the PhD and your research experience to date.

Any enquiries relating to the project and/or suitability should be directed to Dr Connell at the address above. Applications are invited up to and including Wednesday 22 September 2010. Interviews will take place on Friday 1 October 2010 with shortlisted applicants invited to interview no later than Friday 24 September.


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