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ATTENTION: This job expired May. 30, 2014 and is no longer linked from the job list. If you are the job poster and would like to renew the listing, please access it through "My Job Listings" (available when logged in only).

PhD position in socio-cognition

Hiring Organization:
University of Vienna

Date Posted:

Position Description:
The department of Cognitive Biology, research group of Prof. Thomas Bugnyar, has funding available for a three year PhD position in Socio-Cognition. The PhD candidate will be part of a small team lead by Dr. Jorg Massen studying the evolution of pro-social concern.

The evolution of altruistic behaviour remains a conundrum in behavioural biology. Nonetheless, other-regarding behaviour is regularly observed in a variety of species. Therefore, the aim of this project is to investigate the evolutionary origins of pro-social behaviour. By testing several species from two phylogenetic very distant orders (i.e. primates and corvids) the project will allow testing clear hypotheses regarding convergent evolution and several specific socio-ecological pressures that may have led to the evolution of pro-sociality. The project will involve several behavioural experiments on a total of 5 species: i.e. human children, common marmosets, long-tailed macaques, common ravens and azure-winged magpies.

The PhD position is based at the University of Vienna, Austria. However, the candidate will also work at the Biomedical Primate Research Centre (BPRC), Rijswijk, in the Netherlands for one year during the project, to study the long-tailed macaques. The candidate will be supervised by Dr. Jorg Massen and Prof. Thomas Bugnyar.

Required qualifications
• A master’s or an equivalent degree in Behavioural Biology or related fields
• Excellent knowledge of English
• Research experience in animal behaviour
• Knowledge of theories about the evolution of socio-positive behaviours
• Strong commitment to animal cognition
• Endurance

Beneficial qualifications
• Experience of designing and conducting behavioural experiments
• Experience of working with corvids
• Experience of working with primates
• Experience of working with human children
• Knowledge of the cooperative breeding hypothesis

The 3-year PhD position is fully paid (30 hours/week) by the Austrian Science Foundation (FWF, Project Number P-26806)

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):

Term of Appointment:
01 June 2014 - 01 June 2017

Application Deadline:
April 31st 2014

Contact Information:
Petra Pesak
Althanstrasse 14
Vienna, none 1090

Telephone Number:
+43 1 427776101


E-mail Address:

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