Netherlands: Postdoctoral Researcher Brain Imaging for Second Language Acquisition at Radboud University

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Job description

The Vici project ‘Learning Pronunciation Variants for Words in a Foreign Language’ aims at developing a fully specified psycholinguistic and computationally implemented theory of how late learners of a foreign language build mental representations for pronunciation variants in that language (e.g. for English “suppose” pronounced as “s’ppose”). One of the key questions concerns the roles of the hippocampus (where exemplars would be stored) and the neocortex (the locus of abstract representations for pronunciation variants) during word learning and during listening to complete sentences.
As a post-doctoral researcher you will address this question by investigating which parts of the brain are activated during which time intervals, when a late learner processes reduced pronunciation variants. For this, you will use the experimental approach pioneered by Zanto and colleagues (2011) for investigating the role of memory in visual processing. This approach combines MRI, fMRI and EEG measurements. You will further develop and extend this approach, and adapt it to the investigation of speech processing.
Student-assistants and senior researchers will assist you with developing the new research approach. As a postdoctoral researcher you will help PhD candidates in the research group conduct (simple) brain imaging experiments.


– you have a PhD in psychology, psycholinguistics, artificial intelligence, computational modeling, or statistics;
– you have hands on experience with conducting and statistically analysing brain imaging data;
– you have extensive knowledge of the literature on memory;
– you are interested in the processes underlying speech comprehension;
– you can work well within a group.

Conditions of employment

– you will be classified as a Postdoctoral Researcher (Onderzoeker 3) in the Dutch university job-ranking system (UFO).

Contract type: Temporary, 3 years maximum


Radboud University Nijmegen

Strategically located in Europe, Radboud University Nijmegen is one of the leading academic communities in the Netherlands. A place with a personal touch, where top-flight education and research take place on a beautiful green campus in modern buildings with state-of-art facilities.


Faculty of Arts

The Faculty of Arts consists of ten departments in the areas of language and culture, history, history of arts, linguistics and business communication, which together cater for about 2,700 students and collaborate closely in teaching and research.
Research at the Faculty of Arts is embedded in two research institutes: the institute for Historical, Literary and Cultural Studies (HLCS) and the Centre for Language Studies (CLS).
You will work within the PI group for Speech Comprehension at the Centre for Language Studies. Currently, this group consists of three senior researchers, one post-doctoral researcher and eleven PhD candidates.

Additional information

Prof. dr. Mirjam Ernestus, leader of the vici project
+31 24 3612970
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