Job alert: PhD – Assessment of Motivational Processes

Applications are invited for a 3.5-year EPSRC DTP PhD studentship in motivation and natural language analysis at Lancaster University. Beginning October 2019, the student will be based in Psychology and supervised by members of Security Lancaster, led by Dr. Ryan Boyd.

The PhD will primarily focus on how ubiquitous motivational processes can be accurately captured, better understood, and ultimately predicted via text and language analysis methods. By applying current and innovative computational techniques to natural language data at both the individual and group level, the PhD will seek to understand how our personal and social psychological processes both reflect and are influenced by the core factors that drive human behaviour. The kinds of questions the PhD might address include:

  • Is it possible to determine a person’s core motivating factors from their language?
  • In what ways are social psychological processes able to be accurately quantified at the group, cultural, or societal levels?
  • Are there normative drivers of affective states and, if so, how can they be assessed?
  • Can stable individual differences in the above factors be reliably discerned via language analysis?

You will join a growing group of academic, postdoc and PhDs engaged in projects examining the use of analytics to inform our understanding of, and ability to measure, important psychological dynamics across levels of society. As part of this group, you will be expected to contribute to meetings, present findings at academic conferences, and publish findings in academic journals. You will also have the opportunity to be a member of Security Lancaster and its leading research centres (e.g., CREST) where you will be able to engage with relevant government and industry stakeholders, helping them understand your research and its relevance to their practice and policy.

This EPSRC DTC studentship provides annual funding to cover UK/EU tuition fees and a maintenance grant (currently £15,009). You will receive your own research support budgets (e.g., for training and to pay participants) and have access to an associated travel budget, which should be used to attend national and international conferences.

You should be motivated, ambitious, and able to demonstrate an interest in the advertised PhD area. You should hold, or expect to gain, at least an Upper 2.1 honours degree, or its equivalent, in a relevant discipline. Having or expecting to gain a Masters qualification and/or having other research experience will be an advantage. Experience with programming in a language like Python and R will also be an advantage.

To apply, please email a CV, transcript of marks, 1 academic reference, and a 500 word statement outlining why you are interested in this PhD, to, using the Subject ‘PhD application.’

After the deadline, applications will be reviewed and shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview, before award decisions are made. If you wish to discuss the studentship informally or if you have any questions about the position, please contact Dr. Ryan Boyd (

Deadline: 20th June 2019

For more information click here.

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