20.01.2021 - 01:07
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Department of Comparative Cultural Psychology

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

Deutscher Platz 6
04103 Leipzig  

Anja Reimann
phone: +49 (0)341 3550 - 400
e-mail: info_ccp@eva.mpg.de

Positions available

PhD student: Studying social motivation for peer interaction in young children across cultures

The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology unites scientists with various backgrounds (natural sciences and humanities) whose aim is to investigate the history of humankind from an interdisciplinary perspective with the help of comparative analyses of genes, cultures, cognitive abilities, languages and social systems of past and present human populations as well as those of primates closely related to human beings.

Studying social motivation for peer interaction in young children across cultures

The Department of Comparative Cultural Psychology at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology seeks qualified applicants for a doctoral project focusing on young children's social motivation for peer interactions. The successful applicant will be funded for three years (incl. possible extension), ideally starting between April and August 2021 (start date flexible). The project will be mentored by Dr. Roman Stengelin, postdoctoral researcher, and supervised by Prof. Dr. Daniel B. M. Haun, director of the Department of Comparative Cultural Psychology.

Project Background

The successful applicant will conduct a series of studies investigating cross-cultural variation and homogeneity in young children's early development of social motivation. The research will mainly focus on social interactions between peers across diverse social settings (i.e., dyadic interactions, group settings). The aim of the project is to predict and relate cultural variation in children's social motivation with reference to culturally-specific socialization goals and parenting practices across the societies we study. This requires the integration of both qualitative and quantitative research methods. The project will involve periodic fieldwork (approx. 3-4 months/year) in different regions in the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of Namibia, and other societies.


We seek candidates with a degree in Psychology (M.Sc.) or a related field (i.e., Biology, Anthropology, Education, Cognitive Science). Candidates should be highly motivated to work with young children and their parents in different cultural contexts. Ample knowledge and interest in quantitative research methods (i.e., behavioral observations, psychophysiological methods), data collection, and statistical analyses is required. The same applies to English proficiency, both written and spoken. Further, experience in living or working in rural, off-grid settings is desirable but not necessarily required. In any case, candidates should express a willingness to live in remote conditions for around 3 to 4 months per year for the time of their PhD project. Basic levels of German will be helpful for data collection, but this can be acquired throughout the PhD project (German courses are offered at the institute). Applicants should also show a keen interest in learning other languages to support their work. Most importantly, we are looking for cooperative and social students who are eager to learn from and work within an international research team.

If you are interested in applying for the position, we are looking forward to receiving your digital application: using the link below by March 1st, 2021. This application should contain the following information:

1)Cover Letter showing your motivation in the research topic, as well as information about relevant prior experience and own expectations regarding the position.
2)Curriculum Vitae incl. university degree certificates
3)Contact information of three references including affiliation and email address (two from former research supervisors, one from a peer student)
4)Writing sample (i.e., thesis, first-author publication)

in case of any questions, please get in touch with Roman Stengelin: roman_stengelin@[>>> Please remove the text! <<<]eva.mpg.de

The selected candidate will be offered a doctoral funding contract for at least three years. Salary will be based on the German Tarifvertrag für den Öffentlichen Dienst (TVöD) guidelines.

Candidates of all nationalities are invited to apply.

The Max Planck Society is committed to equal opportunities and to employing individuals with disabilities and explicitly encourages them to apply.

We look forward to receiving your completed online application .

We look forward to receiving your completed online application at https://www.eva.mpg.de/ career .

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Further information on the research agenda of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology is available on our website : www.eva.mpg.de.

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