[Elsnet-list] Job opening for a PhD position on "development of audiovisual prosody", Tilburg University

M.G.J. Swerts M.G.J.Swerts at uvt.nl
Thu May 20 15:59:37 CEST 2010

Tilburg University 

Tilburg University is a modern university specialized in human and social sciences. It is characterized by high-quality teaching and research and, nationwide, has been among top-ranking institutions for many years. The University offers good support facilities to its students and employees, as well as excellent fringe benefits.  
Department of Communication and Information Sciences (DCI)
The department DCI has about 60 members and is responsible for a flourishing academic programme in Communication and Information Sciences (CIW) that annually attracts about 100 Bachelor students, 100 Pre-master and 120 Master students. The department is also co-responsible for the Research Master programme Language and Communication. For more information, see www.tilburguniversity.nl/faculties/humanities/dci/.
Research in the department centers on cognitive, multimodal, computer-mediated and interpersonal aspects of communication and discourse, and on the study of computer vision, data mining and computer games from a knowledge-representation and cognitive perspective. There is a strong emphasis on experimental work and interdisciplinary cooperation. The department hosts a research centre: the Tilburg Centre for Cognition and Communication (TiCC). 

The Department of Communication and Information Sciences has an opening for a PhD position on “The development of audiovisual prosody”.

“The development of audiovisual prosody”
Fulltime, 4 years, as from 1st September 2010

Summary of the project
The PhD project aims to get a better understanding of how children (between 4 and 12 years old) learn to use and interpret audiovisual prosody. Audiovisual prosody is defined here as the set of features that do not so much determine what speakers say, but rather how they say it. It includes both auditory features, such as intonation, tempo, rhythm, and loudness, and visual features, in particular facial expressions. To get a nuanced perspective on the development of audiovisual prosody, the project will focus on 3 sets of questions: 

(1)	Does the development  in audiovisual prosody differ for linguistic and social functions?Are children faster or better at acquiring the rules of audiovisual prosody for linguistic functions than for social ones, or vice versa? 
(2)	How does the development of productive skills relate to that of receptive skills? Do children first learn to comprehend the rules of audiovisual prosody before they are able to produce them, or is it the other way around? 
(3)	How does the development of facial features relate to that of auditory ones? Do the facial features develop in parallel with the auditory features, or does one set precede the other? 
To tackle such questions, the project will make use of a game-based experimental paradigm to elicit spontaneous utterances in various linguistic and social contexts from children in different age groups. These recordings will be used as stimuli in subsequent perception tests which aim to explore how the children’s audiovisual expressions can be interpreted regarding a number of linguistic and social variables. The audiovisual characteristics will also be annotated using a combination of manual and automatic measurement techniques.

For this position, we seek a candidate with a background in experimental psycholinguistics, phonetics, communication & information sciences, social sciences, or some related area. The candidate has a strong interest in doing experimental research, excellent writing skills and a good command of English. In addition, since the analyses will be based on analyses of Dutch children, the candidate has a (near) native knowledge of Dutch. A proven interest in non-verbal communication is considered an advantage.

For more information please contact prof.dr. Marc Swerts (M.G.J.Swerts at uvt.nl , +31.13.466.2922)
Relevant links: Tilburg University (http://www.tilburguniversity.nl), Department of Communication and Information Science (http://www.tilburguniversity.nl/faculties/humanities/dci)  

Terms of employment
Tilburg University is rated among the top Dutch employers, offering excellent terms of employment. The collective labour agreement of Tilburg University applies. The selected candidates will start with a contract for one year, concluded by an evaluation. Upon a positive outcome of the first-year evaluation, the candidate will be offered an employment contract for the remaining years. The PhD candidate will receive a starting salary of € 2.042 gross per month in the first year, up to € 2.612 in the 4th year. The selected candidate is expected to have written a PhD thesis by the end of the contract (which may be based on articles). Furthermore, the usual facilities (desk, computer, options model) are offered, as well as support with housing, immigrations, etc.

Applications should include cover letter, Curriculum Vitae, and names of two references. Applications should be sent before the application deadline of June 15, 2010 by means of our E-recruitment system (it is a new system and should be operational as from May 25; access via the webpage http://www.tilburguniversity.nl/vacancies)

It is the policy of the university to increase the number of women employed. Also members of ethnic minority groups and handicapped people are expressly invited to apply.

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