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PhD position in Psycholinguistics at University of Groningen in Netherland 2019

Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has established an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative research university offering high-quality teaching and research. Its 31,000 students are encouraged to develop their own individual talents through challenging study and career paths, under the guidance of the university’s 5,600 staff members. The University of Groningen is an international center of knowledge: it belongs to the best research universities in Europe and is currently in the top 100 of several influential world ranking lists.

Tthe University of Groningen invites applications for a PhD position in Psycholinguistics: late-life depression & language learning.

The PhD position is one of two PhD positions embedded in the Vidi project Language Learning Never Gets Old: Foreign language learning as a tool to promote healthy aging (PI: Merel Keijzer). The aim of the PhD project is to assess the effect of foreign language learning on the cognitive flexibility of healthy seniors and older adults who experience mood problems or have been diagnosed as late-life depression (LLD) patients. 

 It has been suggested that foreign language learning can boost the cognitive flexibility of elders, most pertinently early-stage Alzheimer patients or those seniors suffering from depression (Antoniou et al., 2013). This study therefore targets seniors (n=50; 65+) who experience mood problems and compares their cognitive flexibility and wellbeing following a cognitive language learning intervention to that of healthy seniors (also n=50). The PhD project also compares foreign language learning as a therapy to other forms of cognitive intervention, most notably music training and creative workshops. It does so on the basis of behavioral cognitive tasks as well as eyetracking data as a proxy of cognitive effort. As part of this project, it is important that sociolinguistic variables such as motivation and attitudes are also incorporated in the design.

The PhD project and the Vidi project as a whole are embedded within the Bilingualism and Aging Lab (BALAB:, currently hosting 2 other PhD projects on the topic of bilingual aging and 5 Master and Research Master projects.

For a detailed project proposal, please email the PI of this project and envisaged supervisor Merel Keijzer:

How to apply

Please send your entire application (in English) as a single PDF-file until 9 June 11:59 p.m. / before 10 June 2019 Dutch local time (CEST) by means of the application form (click on ‘Apply’ below on the advertisement on the university website).

Please upload your entire application as a single PDF-file under “Letter of Motivation attachment”.

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