KU Leuven
Leuven, Belgium  
23 uur geleden
source : Academic Media Group International AB

ref. AAP-2021-156)

Last modification : Friday, May 7, 2021

For your research, you will collaborate with Prof. Walter Schaeken and his collaborators, who are all part of the research group PI (Psychology of Inferences).

Our research group is an international and performant research environment, working closely together with colleagues from linguistics, logic and computer sciences.

For your contribution to teaching, you will be part of the didactical team of statistics. This team, led by Prof. Iven Van Mechelen, meets regularly and aims at a continuous improvement of the education


As an assistant you will spend 2 / 3 of your time on doctoral research and 1 / 3 on teaching.

With regard to research, you will prepare a PhD in the field of psychology of inferences or deduction. People are constantly making inferences.

Sometimes they make these inferences explicit. Consider, for example, a situation where you read the instructions when assembling a piece of furniture (Look, here it is written If you hear a click, the pin is inserted correctly.

I heard a click. So, yes, the pin is inserted correctly."). At other times making inferences is more implicit. With an ironically pronounced This is a very interesting research topic, the speaker means the reverse of what is being said literally, which in itself seems very complex, but most listeners easily manage to infer the intended meaning.

Deriving the intended meaning based on what was said on the one hand and the context in which this happens on the other hand is also called pragmatic enrichment.

Research has shown that in some circumstances people are strong on both explicit and pragmatic inferences, but these two types of inferences are very difficult in other circumstances.

However, there is no consensus about the explanation of these results in terms of underlying processes.

In this project, together with colleagues from logic, linguistics and computer sciences, we want to describe precisely these underlying processes.

Theoretical starting points are Johnson-Laird's mental models theory, Grice's philosophy of language and De Mey and Smessaert's bitstrings semantics.

In the research we will use classical experiments (with measurements of accuracy, reaction time, eye movements, working memory load, .

  • but also computational models.
  • With regard to education, as a member of a didactic team, you are responsible for providing and coordinating the practicals for the bachelor courses Statistics for psychologists.

    In addition to the practicals, you are also involved in the supervision of students (both individually and in small groups), and in the preparation and improvement of mock exams and exams.

    Starting from the already available didactic material, you will eventually have the opportunity to adjust and shape the didactic offer yourself.


  • You have a master's degree, preferably in psychology or neuroscience; master students who will graduate in September 2021 can also apply.
  • You are familiar with research methods within psychology and you have good methodological skills; experience with behavioural experiments, modeling, and programming is recommended;
  • knowledge of R, Python and / or PsychoPy is a plus.

  • You have a good knowledge of statistics.
  • You have a very good knowledge of Dutch and English and you have very good communication skills.
  • You are independent, flexible and have good organisational skills; you are driven, enthusiastic and eager to learn.
  • You are interested in and passionate about teaching bachelor students; you are precise and have demonstrable didactic qualities;
  • a completed teacher training is an asset.

    We offer :

  • in the field of research, a stimulating and dynamic work and learning environment, with excellent research facilities, in which you develop your expertise as a researcher in order to ultimately submit an individual doctoral thesis;
  • in that process you enjoy autonomy but also the support of your promoter and colleagues.

  • in the field of education, a framework by an experienced and enthusiastic didactic team, and a well-supervised training period which includes following lectures, question sessions and intervision
  • a full-time appointment as a member of the Assisting Academic Staff for 2 years, renewable twice after a positive assessment up to a total period of 6 years.
  • opportunities for further professional development through doctoral training, workshops, courses, seminars and (inter) national conferences.
  • a salary according to standard Belgian regulation (starting net salary approximately € 2000 per month).
  • Start date is foreseen for 20 / 09 / 2021.


    To apply, send us your CV (containing an overview of your detailed study results and names plus e-mail addresses of at least two academic referees) together with a motivation letter in which you thoroughly explain your interest in this vacancy.

    You can apply until 14 / 06 / 2021. After an initial selection based on the files, candidates are invited for an interview and a further examination of their candidacy at the end of June or the beginning of July.

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