Professor at Leiden University

Postdoc Position in Comparative Psychology

The section Cognitive Psychology of the institute Psychology of the Faculty Social and Behavioural Sciences is looking for a

Postdoc Position in Comparative Psyc (0,80 – 1,00 FTE)  
Vacancy number 21-507 9781
Research Project “Evolutionary insights into emotions”                  
During social interactions, humans express and regulate their emotional states as well as process the emotions expressed by others. Importantly, most of these processes occur automatically, without conscious awareness. Although most emotional expressions in the human face are produced spontaneously, the existing literature has largely focused on posed or ‘artificial’ expressions’, which impacts the ecological-validity of the findings. Through a range of experimental studies involving different physiological measures the postdoc will gain insight into these issues. Focussing on explicit emotional signals (e.g. smiles) and implicit cues (e.g. pupil dilation, blush), we aim to identify emotion expressions produced and perceived by humans and systematically compare these to those of our closest living relatives, the great apes. Combining novel techniques within a comparative multi-disciplinary framework, this project offers an evolutionarily-grounded approach to the origins of human emotion.
The postdoc will help to setup new research facilities in different zoos and will also help to coordinate the research of the PhD students, research assistants and master students. Other key responsibilities are to make sure that the research at the different locations is organized well, help overcome practical problems that the PhD students may face, that data collection always continues at the zoos, and oversees that the communication with the zoos and their staff is well. Science communication and public involvement at the zoo forms an important part of the job, and the involvement of bachelor students in reaching out to the broader public (see also Further, the postdoc will also run own studies (eye-tracking, touchscreen studies, for instance) and keeps up to date with the literature. The postdoc is expected to publish at least four scientific papers (two per year). There are also teaching possibilities (lectures). This can be discussed.
This project is supported by funding from NWO to Dr. Mariska Kret (Leiden University). The project will run in parallel with ongoing projects in the CoPAN lab, directed by Dr. Mariska Kret (; see also our Copan Leiden Facebook page). The research group participates in the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition (LIBC), an interfaculty center for interdisciplinary research on brain and cognition (
For the current position, Dr. Kret is looking for a postdoc to be based in the Netherlands.
Selection Criteria
•    PhD in experimental psychology or related field;
•    Organizational skills;
•    Communication skills (with zoo staff and the general public);
•    Strong technical skills;
•    Knowledge of multilevel statistics;
•    Programming experience (e.g., Matlab, R, e-prime);
•    Knowledge of psychophysiological methods (e.g., heartrate, facial temperature, eye-tracking and pupillometry);  
•    Excellent research and writing skills;
•    Excellent command of English.
Our organisation
The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences conducts high-quality research and offers a broad and disciplinary educational programme, focused on increasing our understanding of current developments in society. The faculty consists of five institutes: Centre for Science and Technology Studies, Cultural Anthropology and Developmental Sociology, Education and Child Studies, Political Science and Psychology. The faculty has approximately 7,000 students and 850 staff members. For more information, please visit the website. 

Diversity and inclusion are cherished as core values at Leiden University. At the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences we strive to create a diverse and inclusive learning and working environment, in which everyone – no matter who they are or what they do – can feel at home and develop their talents.

Terms and conditions
We offer a 0.8 or 1.0 fte, fixed-term post for 2 years. Salary range from € 3746.- to € 5127.- gross per month on a full-time basis (pay scale 11, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). Preferred starting date: flexible, but no later than March 2022.

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. More information can be found here.

Enquiries can be made to Dr. Mariska Kret, email:
Please submit online your application no later than  November 11th via the blue button in our application system. Applicants should submit a CV and full publication list.
If you face any problems in the submission process, please contact and cc Dr. Kret and
Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.

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