Postdoc in Comparative Psychology

Страна: Нидерланды;

Город: Leiden

Добавлена: 15.08.2019

Работодатель: Leiden University

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Дедлайн подачи: 23.09.2019



The department of Psychology of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences is looking for a

Postdoc in Comparative Psychology

Project description 
The title of this research project is "Evolutionary Insights into Social Intelligence. A comparison between humans, bonobos, and chimpanzees”. Why do humans cooperate in large numbers to advance projects for the common good? Contrary to the conventional wisdom in biology and economics, this generous and civic-minded behavior is widespread and cannot be explained simply by self-interest. People cooperate not to benefit themselves or their close genealogical kin, but do so out of an intrinsic empathic motivation. However, humans are also familiar with betrayal, exploitation and subordination and as a consequence at times refrain from cooperation. We like to see ourselves as intelligent ‘SuperCooperators’, unique among animals. But are we? While most research emphasizes the superiority of humans over other species, increasing evidence suggests that if it comes to social intelligence, some other species have skills that are superior to those of humans. Within this research project, cooperation is treated as the ultimate socially intelligent behavior as it increases the common good, which in the end benefits all individuals within the group. Further, emotional expressions and their recognition, possibly informed by emotional mimicry and/or physiological synchrony are considered important drivers of cooperative behavior. In sum, the project challenges the view that humans are the most socially intelligent species.

This project is supported by funding from the Templeton World Charity Organization and by an ERC Starting grant to Dr. Mariska Kret (Leiden University). The project will run in parallel with ongoing projects in the CoPAN lab, directed by Dr. Mariska Kret ( The research group participates in the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition (LIBC), an interfaculty center for interdisciplinary research on brain and cognition (

See for related publications:

  • Behrens & Kret (in press)
  • Kret, M.E., Muramatsu, A., & Matsuzawa, T. (2018).
  • Kret, M.E., Jaasma, L., Bionda, T., & Wijnen, J.G.  (2016).

Key responsibilities

  • Literature study, hypothesis-driven development and execution of experimental studies in these three species;
  • Report results at conferences and in at least two international peer-reviewed journals;
  • Supervise BSc and MSc thesis projects;
  • Assist in the ongoing projects of PhD students;
  • Active in outreach, reporting results to the general public via (social) media.

Selection criteria

  • A PhD degree, preferably in experimental psychology, biology or statistics;
  • Experience with training and/or testing animals;
  • Excellent research and writing skills;
  • Excellent command of English;
  • Excellent communication skills (cooperation with zoos and zoo staff is pivotal);
  • Knowledge of multilevel statistics is preferred;
  • Programming experience (e.g., Matlab, R) is preferred.

Description faculty
The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences comprises four institutes: Education and Child Studies, Political Science, Psychology and Cultural Anthropology & Development Sociology. The faculty also includes the Centre for Science and Technology Studies. The faculty is home to 5,000 students and 600 members of staff. Our teaching and research programmes cover diverse topics varying from adoption to political behaviour. For more information, see

The Institute of Psychology comprises six units (teaching + research): Health, Medical and Neuropsychology, Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Developmental and Educational Psychology, Social and Organizational Psychology, and Methodology and Statistics. The Institute of Psychology offers a stimulating environment that promotes collaboration within and between units. For more information, see For this project, we collaborate with different zoos in the Netherlands.

Terms and conditions
We offer a 1.5 year term position, with the possibility of renewal based on need, funding and performance. Salary range from €2709.- to €4274.- gross per month (pay scale 10), in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). A part-time position is possible too and teaching opportunities can be discussed if a research/teaching combination is preferred. Preferred starting date: autumn/winter 2019, early 2020.

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3%), training and career development. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. More at

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

Enquiries can be made to Dr. Mariska Kret, email

Please submit online your application no later than 23 September 2019 via the blue button in our application system. Applicants should submit online a letter of interest accompanied by a CV, at least two recommendation letters and any additional documents such as a publication, a list of publications, the certificate of relevant courses etc.. The recommendation letters may also be directly send to the PI:

Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.

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