POSTDOC POSITION IN COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE OF THE PREDICTIVE MIND AND MEDITATION

Do you hold a PhD in cognitive neuroscience (or directly related fields) and would you like to pursue a post-doc investigating the predictive nature of our brain and altered states of attention and awareness using meditation? Please apply for the 3-year post-doc position in the Cognition and Plasticity Lab (www.heleenslagter.com) headed by Dr. Heleen Slagter at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam.

Location: AMSTERDAM
Duration: 3 years
FTE: 1

Job description

A Postdoc position for three years for 1.0 fte is available at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Cognition and Plasticity Lab (www.heleenslagter.com) headed by Dr. Heleen Slagter.

The Research Project
The project aims to determine the plasticity of the predictive mind using meditation. It starts from the notion that our brain is fundamentally an organ of prediction, continuously predicting or constructing a view of the world based on past experience and statistical regularities in the environment in service of (future) action. It builds on the proposal (Laukkonen & Slagter, 2021) that certain meditation practices can reduce predictive processing through physical and mental in-action: by bringing the practitioner in the present moment, unaffected by what just happened or may happen in the future. Adopting this perspective of meditation not only inspires a new understanding of the effects of meditation on brain, mind (e.g., attention, the sense of self, awareness), and well-being, but also opens many interesting research questions about the plasticity and automaticity of predictive processing. The postdoc would uniquely contribute and drive research on this topic.
In the Cognition and Plasticity lab, we take an integrative focus, aiming to bring together research on perception, consciousness, and attention with that on action and active inference. We use multiple methodologies, with a current focus on EEG, eye-tracking, and virtual reality, but also some fMRI.

Requirements

  • A PhD degree in cognitive neuroscience (or related field, such as cognitive/experimental psychology)
  • A background in meditation (research)
  • A background in the study of attention, predictive processing, and/or related topic
  • Experience with M/EEG and/or fMRI
  • Good programming and data-analysis skills
  • Experience in designing and interpreting cognitive-neuroscience experiments
  • Demonstrated ability to engage in effective scientific writing (publications)
  • Demonstrated ability to think and work outside-the-box (creativity)
  • Excellent command of English
  • Preferably be able to start before February 2023

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of € 3703 (scale 10.5)
and a maximum € 4670 (scale 11.5), depending on your education and experience. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 1 FTE.

The appointment will be initially for 1 year. After satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, it can be extended for an additional 2 years.

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge
  • discounts on collective insurances (healthcare- and car insurance)

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 30,000 students. We employ over 5,500 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

Diversity
We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences
The Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences focuses on the broad domain of behaviour and health. Our teaching and research programmes are devoted to current developments in society, from healthy aging to e-health, from juvenile crime to dealing with depression, from training for top athletes to social media as a teaching tool. We are unique in that we combine three academic disciplines: psychology, movement sciences and education.

Working at Behavioural and Movement Sciences means working in an ambitious organization that is characterized by an informal atmosphere and short lines of communication. Our faculty offers tremendous scope for personal development. We employ more than 600 staff members, and we are home to around 3,400 students.

Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences
The Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences focuses on the broad domain of behaviour and health. Our teaching and research programmes are devoted to current developments in society, from healthy aging to e-health, from juvenile crime to dealing with depression, from training for top athletes to social media as a teaching tool. We are unique in that we combine three academic disciplines: psychology, movement sciences and education.

Working at Behavioural and Movement Sciences means working in an ambitious organization that is characterized by an informal atmosphere and short lines of communication. Our faculty offers tremendous scope for personal development. We employ more than 600 staff members, and we are home to around 3,400 students

Application

Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 01/09/2022. In your cover letter, please devote (at least) one paragraph stating what you have investigated so far, and another paragraph outlining what you would hope to investigate if you would be hired for the advertised position. Also devote one paragraph in your cover letter on your previous experience with meditation (research). Please also include the contact information of two references in your letter.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Dr. Heleen Slagter
E-mail: h.a.slagter@vu.nl


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Job area: Postdoc
Educational Level: Postdoc
VU unit: Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences
Contract type: Temporary
Minimum FTE: 1
Maximum salary scale: €5,439 (scale 11)
Minimum salary scale: €2,960 (scale 10)
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