PhD Position at Ku Leuven on "The Contagious Nature of Cognitive Control"
KU Leuven Brain and Cognition


Within the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of KU Leuven (, the research group of Eva Van den Bussche ( is looking for a motivated PhD candidate to work on the FWO project “Great minds think alike: The contagious nature of cognitive control”.



Pursuing a PhD within the Faculty PPW means you will be part of a young and dynamic environment. You will have to deal with some autonomy, but you will also be supported by the team of promotors and other members of the faculty.


You will prepare a PhD within the field of cognitive control. Cognitive control kicks in when our routine behavior is no longer sufficient to perform well. Without this ability to rapidly and flexibly adapt our thoughts and actions in response to difficult situations, barely any daily activity would be possible in our complex world. The current project focuses on how the behavior of others influences this exertion of cognitive control. Although the influence of the mere presence of another person on performance has been studied extensively,the influence of what that other person is thinking or doing has been largely neglected so far. Crucially, we are interested in whether and how our cognitive control exertion is affected by the cognitive control exerted by the people surrounding us. Put differently: is cognitive control contagious? In order to address this thought-provoking question, we will use an adapted version of the joint Simon paradigm. First, we will use this paradigm to investigate an absolute prerequisite for cognitive control to be contagious, namely our ability to detect cognitive control in others. Second, we will study precisely which behavioral cues we pick up from the other based on which we adapt our own cognitive control exertion. Finally, we will unravel the neural and psychophysiological mechanisms underlying cognitive control contagion.


Candidates are expected to carry out empirical work combining behavioral studies, EEG, and pupillometry.The main supervisor is Eva Van den Bussche (KU Leuven) and co-supervisors are Kobe Desender (UGent/UKE Hamburg) and Gethin Hughes (University of Essex). 



You have a Master’s degree in psychology or neurosciences. Experience with behavioral experimentation, programming, EEG, and/or pupillometry is an asset. In any case the candidate should be motivated to invest in these skills.


You obtained very good grades. Master students who will graduate in September 2019 are also invited to apply.

Given the international framework of the project, you are interested in international mobility.

You are highly proficient in English.

You have very good statistical and methodological skills.

You are motivated and eager to learn.

You are able to work independently and flexibly. You have a talent for organization and good communication skills.

Candidates’ CV should include two email addresses of academic referees. Next to their CV, candidates also have to provide a motivation letter, in which they thoroughly discuss their specific interest for this job opening. 



We offer a stimulating work and learning environment, with excellent research facilities, in which you can acquire expertise as a researcher with the aim to obtain a PhD. 

KU Leuven is a world leading university and Leuven is a lively and beautiful city. During the process, you will work together with the other members of the research group. Salary is according to standard Belgian regulations for PhD students (starting at around €2000 per month net salary).You will also have a travel/conference budget.

We offer a fulltime employment for four years (provided positive periodic evaluation).

Starting date is November 1st 2019 at the latest.



For more information please contact Prof. dr. Eva Van den Bussche, tel.: +32 16 19 31 52, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than May 06, 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

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Psychoneuroxy


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