[FieldTrip] PhD position on "Intonation in speech" at MPI-CBS in Leipzig, Germany

Daniela Sammler sammler at cbs.mpg.de
Tue Feb 19 13:33:55 CET 2013

The Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (MPI-CBS) in Leipzig and its newly established Otto Hahn Group on the "Neural Bases of Intonation in Speech", led by Daniela Sammler, are now offering a

PhD position for 3 years

in a research project on social aspects of prosody perception in speech using fMRI, MEG and/or TMS.

There is much more to human communication than the (de)coding of the explicit, propositional meaning of a vocal speech signal. Between the lines, the vocal output reveals a lot about the speakers’ believes, attitudes (e.g., sympathy, dominance), and communicative intentions (e.g., to warn, to request, to command, to tease). Much of such implicit, illocutionary meaning is conveyed by the “manner of saying”, i.e. the speech prosody, and the interpretation of those subtleties involves a lot of pragmatic inference. There is growing evidence that this latter faculty is distinct from our language abilities such as phonology, syntax and semantics, making it reasonable to assume the involvement of brain areas beyond the well-known fronto-temporal language network in human vocal communication. The goal of the PhD project is to investigate the neural bases of decoding communicative intentions conveyed by prosody (i.e. HOW something is said) in contrast to and in interaction with the decoding of propositional meaning (i.e. WHAT is said).

Applicants must have a master degree (or equivalent) in psychology, cognitive sciences, neuroscience, medicine, linguistics, or a related field. Proficiency in oral and written English is necessary. A solid methods background (statistics and programming) as well as prior experience with either fMRI or EEG/MEG are highly desirable. Most importantly, the successful applicant will share our enthusiasm in research questions on prosody and the social brain in vocal communication.

Preferable starting date is July 2013. Salary is dependent on experience and based on MPI stipends or equivalent salary according to German Public service regulations.

The research will be conducted at the MPI-CBS in Leipzig, Germany, an internationally leading center for cognitive and imaging neuroscience equipped with a 7T MRI scanner, three 3T MRI scanners, a 306 channels MEG system, a TMS system and several EEG suites. All facilities are supported by experienced IT and physicist staff. Our institute (just 190 km or 70 minutes by train, south of Berlin) offers a very international environment, with English and German being the languages spoken in the laboratory. It offers a friendly and generous environment of researchers with diverse backgrounds and with an excellent infrastructure.

In order to increase the proportion of female staff members, applications from female scientists are particularly encouraged. Preference will be given to disabled persons with the same qualification.

Applications should be sent to the email below as a single, appropriately named pdf email attachment. It should enclose a cover letter (max. 2 pages) that also specifies your future research interests; a CV; up to three representative reprints; and contact details of two personal references. This call remains open until the position is filled. The application should be kindly sent to personal at cbs.mpg.de using the code "PhD 3/13" in the subject.

For further details please contact Dr Daniela Sammler, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany, sammler at cbs.mpg.de

Daniela SAMMLER, Ph.D.
Max Planck Institute for 
Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences
Stephanstr. 1a
04103 Leipzig
phone: +49 341 9940 2679
fax:   +49 341 9940 2260

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