jeudi 7 avril 2016

PhD Position in Primate Cognition - University of Neuchatel, Switzerland

We seek to fill a 3-year position for a PhD student in the area of primate social awareness and behavioural economics, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.
Humans are not perfectly rational, as the literature and its traditional theories predict. Humans are notoriously impatient and ‘bad’ at decision making when decisions are hard to make. Psychological biases, hence, act upon decisions. The nature of the bounds of rationality in non-human animals is largely unknown. The main interest is in the origins of common psychological denominators in humans and non-human primates when making cost/benefit decisions in social contexts.
The project will encompass research with chimpanzees, orangutans and gorillas in Zoo Basel. Behavioural data will be collected from these animals in controlled experimental conditions using touch-screen technology. The combination with computational analysis and modeling techniques, simulating the observed behaviour/processes, breaks the findings down from unique species-specific characteristics to the common denominator which is shared among species.
The successful candidate will have a strong academic background in a relevant discipline (psychology, biology, neurosciences, physics, economics), high level of motivation and interest in the above topics. Further, some prior experience in programming and data analysis using MATLAB is essential; working knowledge in German language is a plus (for easier communication with care takes at Zoo Basel). She/he will by supervised by Christoph Dahl and join a strong team of Master and PhD students and postdoctoral researchers at the Laboratory for Comparative Cognition at the University of Neuchatel ( Importantly, most of the work will be done at Zoo Basel ( The position is fully funded for three years with an annual gross salary of around CHF 48,500.
We seek to fill the position by June 2016, although the starting date is negotiable. We aim to generate a work programme that maximally fits the candidate’s own interest - within the limits of the project’s goals – so personal initiative, independent work ethics, and a strong interest in theory will be essential prerequisites.
If you are interested in this position, please email a cover letter, your CV and the names of three referees to Dr Christoph Dahl (