We are seeking a full-time, highly motivated PhD candidate to perform cutting-edge research in the psychology of emotional expression processing. The successful candidate will be working under the direct supervision of Professor Ottmar Lipp in the School of Psychology and Counselling. During the course of their PhD, the candidate will drive a research project that extends current knowledge about the manner in which facial expressions are processed and the factors that influence it. It is expected that the new basic knowledge generated will contribute to high-quality publications. Travel to national and international conferences will be available to the successful candidate.
About the project: The Emotional Face
Faces are a rich source of social information communicating, for instance, the sex, age or ethnicity of a person. In addition, they also inform about a person's emotional state via facial expressions of emotion. Past research has shown that social category cues, information about a person or facial cues of attractiveness affect the manner in which we perceive emotional expression information. For instance, happiness is recognised faster than negative expressions like anger on faces that are evaluated as positive (faces that are young, female or members of an in group, faces that are attractive or of persons thought to be good), whereas this difference is smaller on faces that are less positive (faces that are old, male or members of an out group, faces that are not attractive or of persons thought to be bad).
The current PhD project will extend on this work by investigating the nature of the information that can affect the speed of emotion recognition. Past research has suggested several avenues in which this question may be pursued. Details will be developed in collaboration with the successful applicant.
In all likelihood, the current project will require the collection of behavioural data from simple categorisation tasks. However, it is conceivable that physiological measures such as event related brain potentials may be assessed as well.