PhD Candidate for the Project "Adolescents, Mixed-Reality Applications, and Trust"

  • Faculty/Services:  Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
  • Educational level:  Master
  • Function type:  PhD position

Closing date:  6 June 2023

  • Vacancy number:  11625

We are looking for a motivated PhD candidate in the social and behavioural sciences with a strong quantitative background for the interdisciplinary project “Adolescents, mixed-reality applications, and trust: Assessing use, effects, and over-time development”

The aim of the project is to explore adolescents’ uses, and experiences with, mixed-reality applications and how these affect interpersonal and systemic trust.

The PhD project has an interdisciplinary supervision team consisting of prof. dr. Jochen Peter (Entertainment Communication), dr. Eva van Reijmersdal (Persuasive Communication), dr. Remmert Daas (Educational Sciences) and dr. Helle Larsen (Psychology). The position is embedded in the new research-priority area Youth Digitality of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. You will be a member of the Programme Group Entertainment Communication in the Department of Communication Science. Yet, you are encouraged to join research meetings of Educational Sciences and Psychology as well.

The project  

Although research on adolescents and social media has been booming, it has largely ignored an important emerging trend in adolescents’ use of digital media, the turn toward mixed-reality applications, such as augmented-reality filters and deepfakes. While this development is considered a pressing issue, we know little about adolescents’ use of such applications, potential effects and underlying mechanisms, and their possible change over time. Importantly, it is not well understood whether the modification of visual information in mixed-reality applications affects a crucial category in adolescence, interpersonal and systemic trust. To fill this research gap, the proposed PhD project has four goals: first, to explore adolescents’ uses, and experiences with, mixed-reality applications; second, to study effects of adolescents’ use of mixed-reality applications on interpersonal and systemic trust and to unravel underlying mechanisms; third, to detect the moderating impact of social, developmental, and individual factors; and fourth to advance a longitudinal perspective on adolescents’ use of mixed-reality applications and their effects, focusing also on within-person change, and to investigate developmental differences. The four goals are addressed in four studies that rely on cross-sectional and longitudinal surveys and an experiment.

The project is one of three projects of the research-priority area Youth Digitality that start in September 2023. These three projects collaborate and obtain their data from a joint cohort study, using Dutch students aged between 10 and 18 years.

What are you going to do

You will:

  • complete and defend a PhD thesis within the official appointment duration of four years;
  • gain knowledge of the field through literature survey, discussion with team members, and internal research meetings;
  • contribute to the design of surveys and experiments;
  • plan, organize, and conduct data-collection, analyse and interpret results of surveys and experiments;
  • present results at local, national and international scientific meetings;
  • work in an ambitious research team and contribute to the vibrant academic life in Amsterdam by attending workshops, meetings, and lectures;
  • (assist in) teaching (10% of your time) of BA students. 

What do you have to offer

You are passionate about empirical research. You enjoy working in a diverse setting, as you will be working in an interdisciplinary, collaborative project. You are a team player and a nice colleague with good communication skills as you will regularly join and present at research meetings as well as at relevant (inter)national meetings.    

Your experience and profile:

  • MSc (preferably research master) in Communication science, (Developmental) Psychology, Educational Sciences, or Pedagogics; or will obtain this degree before September 1st, 2023;
  • A firm basis in, and ideally experience with, quantitative research methods and data analysis, in particular: survey, experiment and longitudinal data analysis;
  • Good analytical, writing, and presenting skills;
  • Good project and time management skills enabling you to meet the projects’ deadlines for finishing analyses, reports and other deliverables;
  • Eager to learn new things, high conscientiousness, flexibility, and a collaborative attitude;
  • Fluency in English, both written and spoken;
  • Good command of Dutch, both written and spoken.

Experiences that are not necessarily required but will make an application more successful:

  • in depth knowledge about one or more of the core topics of the project: mixed-reality (AR, deepfakes), interpersonal and systematic trust, within person changes, and developmental differences, secondary education, statistical modelling of longitudinal data.

What can we offer you

The position concerns temporary employment of 38 hours per week for a maximum term of 4 years. The initial employment is for one year. Following a positive assessment and barring altered circumstances, this term will be extended to a total duration of 4 years, which should result in the conferral of a doctorate. The preferred starting date is 1 September 2023. Based on your learning aims with regards to professional academic development, we will put together a curriculum which will also include the opportunity to attend training courses and both national and international events. You will also be tasked with teaching Bachelor students.  

For this position the University Job Classification profile ‘Promovendus/Provenda’ applies. 

Your salary will be €2541 gross per month in the first year and will increase to €3247 in the final year, based on full-time employment and in keeping with the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities. We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.

The UvA offers excellent possibilities for further professional development and education.

What else do we offer  

  • a position in which initiative and input are highly valued
  • an enthusiastic and warm team that is open to new colleagues
  • an inspiring academic and international working environment in the heart of Amsterdam.

About us

The University of Amsterdam is the largest university in the Netherlands, with the broadest spectrum of degree programmes. It is an intellectual hub with 39,000 students, 6,000 employees and 3,000 doctoral students who are all committed to a culture of inquiring minds.

The project is embedded in the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (department of Communication Science) at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. The Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) is the research institute for the Communication Science Department in the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences at the University of Amsterdam. More information:

About the faculty  

A challenging work environment with a variety of duties and ample scope for individual initiative and development within an inspiring organization. The social and behavioral sciences play a leading role in addressing the major societal challenges faced by the world, the Netherlands and Amsterdam, now and in the future.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.


Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:

A description of the PhD-project is available upon request. Please e-mail Jochen Peter for more information:

Job application

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by 6 June 2023. You may apply online by using the link below.

Applications in 1 bundled pdf should include:

  • a letter of motivation (max 500 words);
  • a concise statement regarding your fit for the position in light of the abovementioned requirements (300 words max);
  • an academic Curriculum Vitae (no longer than 3 pages). On your CV include the names and email addresses of two references who can provide letters of recommendation, in case necessary later on in the process (no letters of recommendation at this point)

Interviews with shortlisted candidates are expected to take place end of June 2023.  

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

No agencies please

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