Applications are invited for a full-time post-doctoral cognitive neuroscientist. The position is funded by the French ANR WildTimes (see full abstract below). The main objective of WildTimes is to assess temporal cognition in the wilds, during real-life train transportations, as compared to in the lab. Applications are invited from enthusiastic, rigorous, and daring researchers with significant experience using time-resolved neuroimaging (EEG or MEG), a solid research record in cognitive neurosciences, psychology and/or related fields.

The selected postdoctoral fellow will work in collaboration with PhD and master students dedicated to the project, and with the following consortium:

  • Virginie van Wassenhove (CEA/Neurospin, INSERM; Cognition & Brain Dynamics): cognitive neurosciences, temporal cognition, multisensory perception, MEG, EEG.
  • Simone Morgagni (SNCF, R&D ; Experience & Cognition): semiotics, cognitive science, transportation.
  • Valérie Gyselinck (IFSTTAR; Psychology of Behavior and Mobility): spatial cognition, memory, experimental psychology, transportation.

Job Description

A full-time postdoctoral position is available at NeuroSpin (CEA, DRF/Joliot, INSERM Cognitive NeuroImaging Unit; funded by the ANR WildTimes for up to 3 years.

The selected candidate will work directly with Virginie van Wassenhove and in collaboration with Simone Morgagni and Valérie Gyselinck. The postdoctoral fellow will be responsible for the development and transfer of knowledge activities within the collaborative project. The selected candidate will contribute to the consolidation, development, and validation of experimental protocols during train travels. S/he will setup EEG recordings in the wilds, help supervise Master and PhD students and perform control MEG/EEG experiments in the lab.

The successful candidate will benefit from the interdisciplinary collaboration, is expected to work mainly at NeuroSpin, and actively coordinate with members of the teams as frequently as necessary for the advancement of the project. Involvement in the organizational and managerial aspects specific to the project are expected including the supervision of PhD and master students, and the organization of meetings for the consortium. The typical scientific contribution to the health of a research group is also expected, including taking part to the weekly group and lab meetings, regular presentations and informal discussions with the different members of the team and the consortium.

Requirements for the candidates:

  • hold a PhD in cognitive neurosciences, neurosciences, psychology, and/or related fields;
  • solid record of internationally peer-reviewed published work;
  • expertise or strong interest in time perception, temporal and/or spatial cognition;
  • solid understanding of statistics;
  • prior experience with EEG or MEG methods ;
  • signal processing and programming skills (matlab; python a plus);
  • some notions to mastery of French language highly beneficial

Expected Starting date: February 2019

Salary: commensurate with experience. The position is funded for up to 3 years.

Application package :

  • CV (incl. a list of publications)
  • A reprint of what you consider to be your best work
  • A letter of intent with a statement of research interests
  • Two letters of recommendation (or contacts from which those could be obtained)

Please put WILDTIMES POSTDOC in the email subject line and send your application package to Virginie.van.Wassenhove(at) Applications will be considered until the position is filled!


WILDTIMES abstract

Time, space and duration are intertwined concepts of our daily life, yet they have rarely been assessed together in real-life situations. The WildTimes project will initiate an ambitious line of research bridging temporal and spatial cognition in humans during real-world navigation, and pave the way towards understanding how the human brain maps time during complex travels. WildTimes will contribute to fundamental research by empirically contrasting theories of how the human brain represents time, and to practical applications with the conception and the optimization of novel tools to help individuals navigate transportation networks.

In this project, we will question how, nowadays, transportation technologies have affected our representation of time, and in turn, how our representation of time affects the transport mode or the itinerary we select. In our first objective, we wish to establish whether typical lab observations on temporal perception – and its illusions – sustain the test of real-life observations in ecological settings. We will elaborate and put to the test several experimental paradigms typically characterizing an individual’s perception of time, in the lab and during transportation.

In our second objective, we depart from the observation that with the advances of transport modes, our brain is confronted with discrepant information between the spatial distances that are being travelled, and the time it takes to travel them. For instance, if an average walking pace typically produces a spatial displacement of the self of 5 km (~3.1 miles) an hour, our current means of transportations largely increased the relativistic appreciation of distances with respect to time. In cognitive neuroscience, the notion of cognitive map is central for the spatial and temporal mapping of the environment: cognitive maps are a system of representations in the brain enabling an individual to infer its position in the environment. In our second objective, we will thus ask how time and space interact when not fully congruent with the bodily self.

In a third objective, we will build on our understanding of time perception and its interaction with space during transport to address how participants may choose particular itineraries in public transports, weight the subjective experience of time and space against veridical information and seek to perfect current means of informing users for better travel experiences. Transversal to all three goals, we will collect behavioral and non-invasive neuroimaging data to assess brain responses during timing tasks in the wild i.e. during public transport.

The WildTimes project will help address how the human brain represents time in real-world situations. By characterizing the impact of real-life transports on time perception, we will help understand subjective processes in decision-making for choosing between transport itineraries, in turn helping the elaboration of new tools to help navigation. Our project will thus open new empirical avenues to study time perception while providing novel insights and tools to help travelers in their transport choices.

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