Post-doc "The Effect of Comparative Optimism and Message Framing Effects on Women's and Men's Divergent Pension-relevant Career Decisions'

Country: Belgium;

City: Leuven

Vacancy added: 23.12.2018

Employer: KU Leuven

Vacancy type: PostDoc vacancy;

Resumes due: 01.03.2019


The position is part of the grant ‘Mind the Gap in Pensions: Simulation and knowledge dissemination on gender gaps, their underlying causes, and how they could be reduced’ (MIGAPE)’, funded by the European Commission Program Rights, Equality and Citizenship. On this project, KU Leuven collaborates with the Belgian Federal Planning Bureau (Brussels), the Institute for Economic Research (Ljubljana), the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (Luxembourg), the Centre for European Policy Studies (Brussels), and the Universities of Lisbon, and Liechtenstein collaborate to understand and reduce the gender gap in pensions. The successful candidate will work with Prof. Vera Hoorens on the psychological part of this project. More specifically, s/he will examine the role of comparative optimism in women’s career decisions that adversely affect their future pensions (survey) and the role of message framing on pension-relevant choices (experimental research). Candidates who have recently obtained a doctoral degree in psychology are particularly encouraged to apply, but applications from candidates with doctoral degrees in social sciences will also be considered. Knowledge of Dutch is no prerequisite. The Center for Social and Cultural Psychology is part of the university’s Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences. It studies how people interact and how they think and feel about one another and about the world, both as individuals and as groups. Its research spans a wide range of different methods and contexts, varying from controlled laboratory experiments that provide insight into the effects of specific contexts on psychological functioning , to real-life research in schools, organizations, and society as a whole. Among the specific research themes in the center are socio-cultural processes related to social identity, emotions, and the self; social inequality and intergroup relations, gender roles, and diversity in school and work organizations. The Center, which currently includes 5 PIs, 3 post-docs, and 15 doctoral students, has an excellent international reputation and extensive research collaborations with social and cultural psychology groups nationally and abroad. It provides excellent research facilities, including a state-of-the-art psycho-physiological lab.

Website unit


The successful candidate will:

  • Prepare,conduct, and report an online survey study on comparative optimism and career decisions of men and women

  • Prepare,conduct, and report an experiment on the effect of message framing on pension-relevant decisions in men and women

  • Co-supervise a limited number of master’s students (1-2) working on the project in the context of a research internship or master’s thesis

  • Actively take part in the scientific activities of the Center for Social and Cultural Psychology

  • Participate in meetings with the members of the MIGAPE consortium

  • Present the results of the research at international conferences and publish them in international outlets in collaboration with members of the MIGAPE consortium



  • A recent doctor in psychology or social sciences with both an applied and a theoretical interest

  • A vivid interest in research fields and topics of relevance to the project (e.g., social inequality, gender gaps, decision making, risk perception, future perspective, framing effects in verbal communication)

  • Experience with experimental and/or survey research, data analysis with SPSS

  • Fluent in English

  • Excellent writing skills


  • Experience with survey and/or experimentation software (Limesurvey, Inquisit)
  • Knowledge of Dutch and/or French
  • International publications


We offer a fully-funded, full-time post-doc position in the Center of Social and Cultural Psychology at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) in Belgium.  
CSCP is a challenging and supportive, diverse and internationally embedded research and training environment with excellent facilities including inter alia shared lab space (fully equipped with workstations), library access, a participant pool and participant management system, and up-to-date statistical and other software packages.  
KU Leuven – University of Leuven is a research-oriented institution and is consistently ranked among the top research universities in Europe. Leuven is one of the oldest university towns in Europe, about 30 km from Brussels. It has a rich history and culture, and a unique and friendly atmosphere.
The MIGAPE consortium combines expertise in a variety of fields (psychology, economics, statistics, sociology) and provides ample opportunities for multidisciplinary collaboration with other researchers. 
The duration of the position is at least 22 months, but can be extended to up to 24 months depending on the successful candidate’s years of experience (as the position is being funded with a fixed sum and years of experience count toward salary calculation).


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Vera Hoorens, tel.: +32 16 32 60 28, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than March 01, 2019 via the online application tool

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at

Where to send resume: