[Eeglablist] Postdoc position in Cognitive Neuroscience at Leiden University

Sander Nieuwenhuis snieuwenhuis at fsw.leidenuniv.nl
Mon Dec 30 07:58:42 PST 2019

Postdoc Position (1.0 fte) in Cognitive Neuroscience


in the Cognitive Psychology Unit at Leiden University

Vacancy number 19-584 6625


Research project "The role of noradrenergic arousal in reward-based learning and decision-making"


In this postdoc project, we will examine the role of the noradrenergic brainstem arousal system in reward-based learning and decision-making. Recent theoretical and empirical work on reward-based decision-making in volatile environments has suggested that behavioural variability does not only reflect random variability during the choice process (i.e., exploration), but also random variability during the updating (learning) of action values. The goal of the proposed project is to examine the degree to which these two (often adaptive) sources of variability in human decision-making are regulated by activity of the noradrenergic system. 


We will use a recently developed computational (reinforcement-learning) model to decompose human behaviour into distinct learning and choice processes. We will test how a pharmacological manipulation of the noradrenergic system alters random choice and learning variability, pupil-linked arousal, and neural (EEG/fMRI) activity in decision-making areas of the brain. We will also examine the link between inter-individual differences in locus coeruleus integrity (using structural MRI) and sources of behavioral variability.


The postdoc project will be carried out in close collaboration with dr. Valentin Wyart and his lab in Paris (https://sites.google.com/site/valentinwyart/). In Leiden, the postdoc will be a member of a team of six researchers working on an NWO-Vici project. The research group will participate in the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition (LIBC), an interfaculty center for interdisciplinary research on brain and cognition (www.libc-leiden.nl <http://www.libc-leiden.nl> ).


Key Responsibilities

·              Literature study, development and execution of behavioral and neuroimaging studies;

·              Report results at conferences and in international journals;

·              Supervise BSc and MSc thesis projects; 

·              Participate in the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition (LIBC).


Selection Criteria

·              PhD degree in cognitive psychology, cognitive neuroscience or closely related field;

·              Experience or affinity with neuroimaging techniques and computational modeling;

·              Programming experience (e.g., Python, Matlab);

·              Excellent research and writing skills;

·              Excellent command of English.


Terms and conditions

We offer a full-time, fixed-term post for 2.5 years, including a 2-month trial period.  Salary range from € 3637 to € 4978 gross per month (pay scale 11, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). Preferred starting date is between April and September 2020 (but this is negotiable).



For inquiries, please contact professor Sander Nieuwenhuis, email snieuwenhuis at fsw.leidenuniv.nl <mailto:snieuwenhuis at fsw.leidenuniv.nl> .



Please submit online your application no later than 1 February 2020 via the blue button of our application system: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/vacatures/2019/q4/19-584-postdoc-position-in-cognitive-neuroscience

Applicants should submit online a letter of interest and a cv with a list of publications.

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