PhD Position in the Role of The Hippocampus in Statistical Learning
VU University of Amsterdam Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology

Do you have a completed MSc degree in the field of experimental (cognitive) psychology, cognitive neuroscience or artificial intelligence or related areas;), and would you like to work in a multidisciplinary team of professionals in an  academic environment? Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.


FTE: 1 - 1

Job description

The Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, is offering a four-year PhD studentship position focused on “ the role of the hippocampus in statistical learning”. This project is part of the ERC advanced grant “What to expect when you are not expecting it: How implicit regularities drive attentional selection (LEARNATTEND; PI: Jan Theeuwes; co-PI Tomas Knapen). The goal of this project is to relate the learning that takes place in hippocampal areas of MTL to its effects on spatial and feature representations within putative priority maps across the visual hierarchy. The PhD position provide the opportunity to develop and conduct creative and rigorous research on learning and attention, within a stimulating and committed research group. You will (learn to) innovate laboratory tasks to study and integrate central topics regarding attentional selection, and you will (learn to) employ state-of-the-art 7-T brain imaging (conducted at the SPINOZA center Amsterdam).

Resources for attending overseas conferences, and other training opportunities, will be available. Successful candidates will become integrated in the Institute for Brain and Behavior Amsterdam (iBBA), Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology, at the Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (the Netherlands). The host institute – and Amsterdam at large – provides a vibrant international atmosphere with a strong cognitive neuroscience community conducting world-class research, and with access to state-of-the-art facilities and ample opportunities for research support and collaboration. The lingua franca is English.


  • A completed MSc degree in the field experimental (cognitive) psychology, cognitive neuroscience or artificial intelligence or related areas
  • Excellent programming skills (in Matlab, Presentation, Python, Vizard, Unity, and/or alike)
  • Experience with fMRI acquisition and analysis (preferred)
  • Good writing skills
  • Excellent command of the English Language (mandatory)
  • Good communication skills and ability to work in an interdisciplinary team

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,325 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €2,972 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 1 FTE

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 4 years.

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavour – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences
The Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences focuses on the broad domain of behaviour and health. Our teaching and research programmes are devoted to current developments in society, from healthy aging to e-health, from juvenile crime to dealing with depression, from training for top athletes to social media as a teaching tool. We are unique in that we combine three academic disciplines: psychology, movement sciences and education.

Working at Behavioural and Movement Sciences means working in an ambitious organization that is characterized by an informal atmosphere and short lines of communication. Our faculty offers tremendous scope for personal development. We employ more than 600 staff members, and we are home to around 3,400 students.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until November 15, 2020.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: dr. Tomas Knapen or prof.dr. Jan Theeuwes
E-mail: or

No agencies

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


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