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[Xmca-l] Fwd: [COGDEVSOC] Post-doc in social-cognitive development

This ought to be a great post-doc for someone on xmca!
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Hannes Rakoczy <hrakocz@gwdg.de>
Date: Fri, May 20, 2016 at 1:34 AM
Subject: [COGDEVSOC] Post-doc in social-cognitive development
To: cogdevsoc@lists.cogdevsoc.org, dev-europe@lboro.ac.uk

*The Department of Developmental Psychology **at the University of

invites applications for a position of a


*Research focus*

The Department of Developmental Psychology investigates cognitive
development in infancy and early childhood with a special focus on social

The PhD position will be part of a collaborative project with Prof. Gil
Diesendruck from Bar-Ilan University in Israel that is funded by the
Volkswagen Foundation and the Ministry of Education and Research of Lower
Saxony. The project investigates, from a cross-cultural perspective, the
ontogenetic roots and foundations of social group categorization and group
biases with behavioral and eyetracking methodology (for details, see the
project description below).


-          Excellent PhD degree in psychology or related cognitive science

-          Background in experimental, developmental and/or cross-cultural
psychological research

-          Experience with experimental studies with children, in
particular with eye-tracking methodology is strongly desirable

-          Excellent German language skills are strongly desirable

Starting date for the 3-year-position is from *August 2016* (or
later).  Deadline
for applications is June 15, 2016.

To apply, please send a detailed CV, research statement and the names and
e-mail addresses of at least two potential referees, citing ‘Pos-Doc’ to:


For further information please Hannes Rakoczy (


*Project description*

*--Ontogenetic roots and cultural foundations of dual representations of
social groups--*

Social psychologists have for long noticed the ease and robustness with
which adults develop discriminatory attitudes and behaviors that favor
their “in-group” (those similar to them) and undermine their “out-group”
(those different from them). From a cognitive point of view, one of the key
foundations of such inter-group biases is the so-called “out-group
homogeneity effect” – the tendency to represent in- and out-group members
in fundamentally different ways, such that the former are primarily seen as
distinct individuals whereas the latter are seen as tokens of a homogeneous
type.  This effect arguably serves as a catalyst for stereotyping,
group-based prejudice, and de-humanization.

>From an ontogenetic point of view, little is known so far about the
developmental origins of these dual representations.  Are they a product of
social construction and thus emerge over an extended period of time on the
basis of socialization processes?  Or might they constitute more deeply
rooted features of the way we represent the social world, with origins
going back to infancy? The goal of the present project is to address this
question by investigating the characteristic signatures associated with
representations of in- vs. out-group members in infancy.

To this end, in 5 experiments we will investigate the manifestation in the
context of representing group members, of general cognitive processes known
to be well in place by age 1. Specifically, we will investigate
individuation, identification, and category-based induction vis-à-vis
agents that –in minimal group paradigms – will be introduced as members of
the same group as the infant, or as members of another group.  The guiding
question is whether infants individuate, identify, and inductively reason
about in- vs. out-group members in systematically different ways, such that
the former tend to be represented more as unique individuals and the latter
as tokens of a homogeneous type. In addition, by conducting these studies
in identical form with infants in Israel and Germany (where culturally,
ethnic diversity and segregation is stronger in the former than in the
latter), we will be able to address the cross-cultural question whether the
nature and degree of such signatures of group representations are
influenced by cultural and linguistic experience.

Taken together, these studies will shed new light on the ontogenetic and
cognitive foundations of group thinking and biases.

Hannes Rakoczy
Department of Developmental Psychology
Institute of Psychology, University of Göttingen
Waldweg 26, D-37073 Göttingen
tel. ++49 - (0)551 - 399235
mail. hannes.rakoczy@psych.uni-goettingen.de
website. www.psych.uni-goettingen.de/en/development/team/rakoczy-hannes

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It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an object
that creates history. Ernst Boesch
Status: O