Individual differences in cognitive style

Investigate the relationships between cognitive and perceptual flexibility in adults and children, and determine the neural correlates of perceptual flexibility and creativity.

When viewing or listening to ambiguous stimuli (stimuli with more than one possible interpretation) people experience changes in perceptual awareness in the absence of the stimulus change. These phenomena have been used to investigate how bottom-up sensory and top-down cognitive processes interact to determine perceptual awareness. Individuals vary considerably in their switching patterns, and these patterns can be idiosyncratic. Perceptual switching has been related to cognitive flexibility and the tendency to change one’s mind. This raises the interesting question as to whether perceptual switching patterns correspond to other measures of cognitive style, such as creativity or tolerance for monotony and at what age these different predispositions can be detected.

You will explore the relationships between cognitive and perceptual flexibility and their development through childhood, and investigate the neural correlates of perceptual flexibility and creative thinking.

Planned secondments:

Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology, Hungary (9 months: EEG experiments on multistability and creativity); Philips Research Labs, Netherlands (2 months: Multisensory experiments); Uni. Of Dundee, UK (1 month: Perceptual experiments of visual ambiguity).

Requirements

Essential skills: Research experience in at least one of the following: cognitive development, cognitive neuroscience, computational modelling of brain functions, running empirical studies with children and adults, quantitative data analysis, collecting, processing and analyzing observational data. Good programming skills and familiarity with technologies such as eye tracking and EEG. Please note this position will require a full CRB check for work with children (i.e. formal vetting by the Criminal Records Bureau)..

Desirable skills: Experience of MATLAB programming and statistical analysis techniques. A good understanding of auditory and/or visual perception, and sensory neuroscience. Experience in modelling dynamical systems.

Qualifications: Honours first degree (minimum upper second) or equivalent in Psychology, Neuroscience, or Computational Neuroscience or related fields. Candidates who also have a Master’s degree in these fields are especially desirable.