[visionlist] PhD scholarship at Liverpool Hope University (UK)

Tobiasz Trawiński tobiasz.trawinski at gmail.com
Tue Apr 19 09:48:10 -04 2022

Dear colleagues,
I hope my email finds you well. I would be grateful if you could circulate the message below to potential interested candidates.


We have two research projects in vision and cognition to choose from for one PhD scholarship at Liverpool Hope University (UK). 

A synopsis for each of these two projects is reported below. This PhD position includes a part-time demonstrator/teaching role. 

Interested candidates for these projects are expected to have:

·    Excellent written and oral communication skills in English (for international students IELTS 6.5 written and spoken English).

·       Good background in vision and cognition

·       Sound knowledge of research design and statistics.

Programming skills (e.g., R or Matlab or Python) and previous experience with eye-tracking or VR techniques would be advantageous. 

Potential candidates are recommended to email Dr Letizia Palumbo (palumbl at hope.ac.uk <mailto:palumbl at hope.ac.uk>) to discuss the research proposal before applying.

Further details about the post and how to apply can be found in the link below (deadline to apply: 15th May 2022):

https://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/COO738/doctoral-studentship-inclusive-of-a-part-time-demonstrator-role-psychology <https://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/COO738/doctoral-studentship-inclusive-of-a-part-time-demonstrator-role-psychology>
Project 1: Visual exploration of interior design in digital and virtual environments

The day-to-day experience has been dramatically changed during COVID-19 pandemic including the increasing amount of time which we spend indoors. Research investigating the quality of aesthetic experience of interior space, and the conditions that may enhance or impoverish it in relation to individual differences is virtually non-existent. Our previous research at Liverpool Hope University has required ground-breaking technological and empirical advances to measure aesthetic experience in laboratory setting and efficacy through the proxy measure of eye-movements while walking through an art gallery.  We can extend our methods to examine issues in relation to aesthetic experience of interior space that have, to date, never been examined. First, through the integration of eye-movement with virtual reality and other physiological measures (i.e., GSR and accelerometer), we aim to test whether properties of the environment may impact on how we process and experience interiors. Second, an understanding of these issues is required to explore individual differences. Especially, we are interested in how the structure and the properties of interior spaces may improve the experience a clinical population such as high functioning autism. Beside its theoretical value, in terms of real-world impact the proposed project contributes to the development of guidelines for interior designers.

Primary Supervisor: Dr Letizia Palumbo

Co-Supervisors: Dr Tobiasz Trawinski, Dr Neil Harrison

Project 2: Embodied mechanisms underpinning cognitive and emotional appraisal of tourist destinations

Research evidence suggests that anticipation of a trip leads to significant psychological benefits of excitement and pleasure even before the holiday has begun (Gilbert & Abdullah, 2002). Hedonic responses elicited by browsing photos of potential tourist destinations often trigger an intention to visit that destination in the future. While the impact of naturalistic environments, cultural heritage, architecture or atmosphere, have been investigated in relation to hedonic responses (Harrison & Clark, 2020; Palumbo et al., 2020; Vartanian et al., 2021) and tourist destination choices (Szubert et al., 2021), other psychological mechanisms underpinning preferences for tourist destinations have been neglected. This project aims to investigate whether cognitive and emotional appraisals of tourist destination images may stem from a mechanism by which the observer is encouraged in embodying the tourist destination “as if” they were present in the observed place. This will be examined combining eye tracking, approach/avoidance tasks and physiological measures (GSR, accelerometer) in real and virtual environment. By examining sensory-motor and emotional experiences associated with the visual exploration of a place, this project will inform well-being and tourism stakeholders of what makes a destination attractive, hence contributing to relaunch the tourist sector greatly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Primary Supervisor: Dr Letizia Palumbo 

Co-Supervisor: Dr Neil Harrison

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