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Postdoctoral Researcher in Cognitive Neuroscience of Language – UiT, Norway – Jan 2022

Norway, UiT – University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway

A position as a postdoctoral researcher is available at the Department of Language and Culture (ISK). The position is affiliated with the Psycholinguistics of Language Representation (PoLaR) lab and theme IV Multilingual Minds and Neurocognitive Adaptations of the AcqVA Aurora Centre: The Dynamic Nature of Languages in the Mind.

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General Info

Position: Postdoctoral Researcher
No. of Positions: 1
Research Field:
Joining Date: Aug 01, 2022
Contract Period: 2 Years
Salary: 583 100 NOK/Year

Workplace:
Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education
Department of Language and Culture (ISK)
UiT - University of Tromsø - The Arctic University of Norway
Tromsø, Norway

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Qualification Details

  • Norwegian doctoral degree (PhD) in the subject area or an equivalent foreign doctoral degree in (Psycho/neuro-) linguistics, Cognitive Science, Neuroscience, Psychology or another relevant field
  • Expertise in EEG research methods (in particular as described above), preferably related to bi-/multilingual populations.
  • High command/competence of statistical analysis and knowledge of relevant programs, programming and analyses suites.
  • Excellent command of spoken and written English.
  • Interest/experience working with bilingual populations, especially related to third or more language acquisition

Qualification with a PhD is required before commencement in the position. You must have defended before the start-up date of the position. If the PhD has not been awarded by the time of the application, candidates should upload a signed statement from their PhD advisor certifying that the applicant will have a conferred PhD by the start date.

It is considered beneficial if you have:

  • A background in psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics or related fields of the cognitive sciences is desirable.
  • Experience with other empirical methods such as offline and online behavioral experimentation, eye-tracking and/or MRI is desirable.

Applicants must provide a general contextualizing statement (3 pages maximum), explaining how they meet the qualification requirements and, if applicable, the desirables, as well as how they see their background and experience fitting into the LESS project and the research environment in the PoLaR lab and AcqVA Aurora Center more generally.

During the assessment emphasis will be put on the candidate’s motivation, potential for research, and personal suitability for the position.

At UiT we put emphasis on the quality, relevance and significance of the research work and not on where the work is published, in accordance with the principles of The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA).

Responsibilities/Job Description

This postdoctor position is funded by the grant Linguistic Economy through transfer Source Selectivity (LESS): A neurocognitive investigation of crosslinguistic generalisation in multilingualism, awarded to Dr. Jorge González Alonso by the Research Council of Norway.

The primary objective of LESS is to examine how the mind reuses and repurposes linguistic knowledge when it is similar across languages, helping to avoid repetition in learning, and how this efficiency is implemented at the level of brain function. The phenomenon known as linguistic transfer or crosslinguistic influence can be studied most meaningfully in multilingualism (three or more languages), because the learner has more linguistic experience/knowledge available. This rich background raises the stakes: choosing the right language, the one that is most similar to the language we are learning, becomes a crucial task that can lead to shortcuts in learning or to costly errors that must later be undone. With the help of artificial language experiments employing EEG/ERP, LESS will examine the psychological mechanisms and neurophysiological correlates behind this unconscious selection. In the process, it will also address the role of core cognitive components, such as attention and memory, in detecting and tracking cross-linguistic similarities that lead to linguistic transfer.

The postdoctoral researcher will be in charge of designing, conducting, analysing and reporting on a series of longitudinal studies involving EEG/ERP and artificial language learning in different bilingual populations—native speakers of Basque, Spanish, Norwegian and Sámi. Data collection will be spread between Spain (Barcelona, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Madrid) and Norway (Tromsø). The postdoctoral researcher will be affiliated and have the main workplace at the PoLaR lab, UiT Campus Tromsø, where they will work amid a large and vibrant team of senior and junior researchers (Professors JasonRothman, Jon Andoni Dunabetia, Jubin Abutalebi, Associate Professor Vincent DeLuca, Dr. Jorge González Alonso and many postdoctoral researchers in addition to external collaborators on the grant, Professors Itziar Laka (University of the Basque Country) and Ruth de Diego Balaguer (University of Barcelona).

Expertise in EEG experimental design, data collection and analysis is required. The studies conducted in LESS will most often make use of the ERP technique, although knowledge of time-frequency oscillatory analyses is a plus. Given the quantitative nature of our research and the longitudinal nature of some datasets within the project, good command of statistical analysis is essential, with added value for knowledge of techniques that model change over time (e.g., growth curve analysis). Programming skills in relevant software (R, Python, MATLAB, Javascript, etc.) are highly desirable. Experience in research on language processing (and/or multilingual populations), attention and/or memory will be valued, although not required. Likewise, experience with the design of artificial language experiments is desirable.

How to Apply?

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Documents Required

Your application must include:

  • Application letter
  • Contextualizing statement (max 3 pages)
  • CV
  • Diplomas and transcripts (all degrees)
  • Contact information to 2-3 references)
  • Up to three samples of published work or other professional writings
  • Statement from PhD supervisors, if PhD degree not yet awarded, confirming the progress of dissertation and projection for completion prior to the start of this position

All documentation to be considered must be in a Scandinavian language or English. We only accept applications and documentation sent via Jobbnorge within the application deadline.

About the Project/Department

The Department’s core activities are research, teaching, and dissemination within linguistics, literature, art history, and media and documentation studies. The Department hosts 83 permanent employees, 16 adjunct professors, and approximately 25 PhD fellows, as well as roughly 35 temporary research and teaching positions.

The Department has a very active and diverse research profile. It houses one of the world’s most excellent research communities in linguistics represented by AcqVA Aurora Center, and with research groups within cognitive linguistics (CLEAR), Sami language technology (Giellatekno and Divvun), theoretical linguistics (CASTL-FISH) and sociolinguistics and revitalization, Multilingual North, Diversity, Education and Revitalisation (MULTINOR). The Department’s research communities within literature, art history, and media and documentation studies are nationally highly competitive, and are organised into research groups such as «Health, Art and Society» (HAS), Russian Space (RSCPR), Libraries, archives, museums, in the community (LAMCOM), Arctic Voices in Art and Literature (ARCTIC VOICES), Just Literature (JUL), Interdisciplinary Phenomenology (IP) and Worlding Northern Art (WONA).

ISK offers one-year programmes, as well as full Bachelor and Master programmes in the following fields: General linguistics, literature, art history, media and documentation studies, English, Kven, Finnish, Norwegian, Russian, Sami, Spanish, and German. It also offers PhD programmes in linguistics, cultural/literary studies, art history, as well as media and documentation studies.

About the Employer: UiT - University of Tromsø - The Arctic University of Norway

Note or Other details

The appointment is made in accordance with State regulations and guidelines at UiT. At our website, you will find more information for applicants.

We offer

  • Involvement in an interesting research project
  • Good career opportunities
  • A good academic environment with dedicated colleagues
  • Flexible working hours and a state collective pay agreement
  • Pension scheme through the state pension fund
  • More practical information for working and living in Norway can be found here: https://uit.no/staffmobility

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Contact details

Email: jorge.gonzalez.alonso@uit.no

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