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Two PhD student positions on Belief Systems at Tilburg University



Two PhD student positions on Belief Systems, Department Social Psychology (1,0 fte each, 4 years) (16141)

Project description

We are recruiting two PhD students for two projects on the social psychology of political belief systems. Candidates are welcome to apply for both projects. Both projects are embedded within a European Research Council funded grant that aims to advance understanding of political belief systems by studying them as networks of interconnected attitudes and identities.

In a world with increasing political polarization over issues large and small (e.g., immigration, European integration, depth and breadth of the social safety net) it is important to understand how people’s belief systems can be changed and how belief systems react to these changing political and social environments. The two PhD projects aim to tackle these pressing issues from two different directions. The first project aims to study how belief system networks can be used to understand motivated reasoning and persuasion. The second project aims to study how different types of threats are associated with belief system networks. Both projects will use a mix of experimental, cross-sectional, and intensive longitudinal studies that will help us understand the dynamics of belief systems, as they relate to persuasion, motivated reasoning, and threat. The first project will be advised by Dr. Olga Stavrova and Dr. Mark Brandt. The second project will be advised by Dr. Florian van Leeuwen and Dr. Mark Brandt. The candidates will work as a team with their advisors and Dr. Felicity Turner-Zwinkels, as well as with other people associated with the project. A more detailed project description is available upon request from Dr. Mark Brandt (


Designing and conducting empirical research;
Presenting research findings at scientific conferences;
Reporting research findings in international journals, resulting in a dissertation;

Selection criteria

A completed master’s degree (preferably Research Master) in (social) psychology or related discipline by the starting date of the project;
Expertise and experience in empirical research;
Statistical knowledge (e.g., analyses of variance, regression);
Willingness to learn necessary additional programming and statistical skills (e.g., R);
Fluency in spoken English and excellent writing skills in English;
Willingness and proven ability to work independently, but also to collaborate with the team;
Experience with intensive longitudinal data, network analyses and network concepts, and/or the psychology of belief systems is a plus, but not required.

Terms & Conditions
Tilburg University is among the top Dutch employers and has an excellent policy concerning terms of employment. The collective employment terms and conditions for Dutch universities will apply.

The appointments are intended to lead to the completion of a PhD thesis. The PHD appointment begins with a period of 12 months. Continuation of the appointment with another 36 months will be based on performance evaluation. The gross salary for the PHD position amounts € 2325 per month in the first year, rising to € 2972 per month in the fourth year, based on a full-time appointment.


1 July 2019 is the preferred starting date. Applicants who are current students should include information about expected graduation date in the cover letter.

Applications and Information

Additional information about the vacancies can be obtained from Dr. Mark Brandt (


Applicants should send their CV and a cover letter to Hans-Georg van Liempd MSc, Managing Director, Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, only online. The cover letter should clearly specify what project the candidate is applying for and their motivation for applying to work on the project. The cover letter should also include the names and contact details for two references.


The candidate is welcome to apply for both projects and, in this case, the cover letter should include the motivation for applying to each project.

The closing date for applications is 19 February 2019 at midnight. The interviews will take place in the week of 2 March 2019.

Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Tilburg University is een moderne gespecialiseerde universiteit. Het onderwijs en onderzoek van de Tilburg School of Social and Behavorial Sciences (TSB) zijn georganiseerd rond de thema’s Health, Care & Well-Being, en People, Work, & Organizations. Met een inspirerende werkomgeving daagt de school haar medewerkers uit om hun ambities te verwezenlijken. Betrokkenheid en samenwerking zijn daarbij belangrijke uitgangspunten.

Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Department of Social Psychology

The Department of Social Psychology at Tilburg University (The Netherlands) is a vibrant group of Social, Economic, and Organizational psychologists. Our department fosters an intellectually stimulating and productive environment, advancing knowledge on social decision making and contributing to the effective practices of organizations and society. Our research receives high recognition, both nationally and internationally. The department makes use of diverse and state-of–the-art research facilities (multi-use lab spaces, online data collection, mobile computing, psycho-physiological and neurocognitive equipment) and has access to a dedicated research support staff (lab assistants, programming and technical support). For more information see:

For more information HERE