PhD position in Language Development at the Psychological Sciences Research Institute, Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium

PhD position in Language Development at the Psychological Sciences Research Institute (IPSY), Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), Belgium
PhD position - Full Time - 4 years
Prof. Arnaud Szmalec (Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium) and Prof. Steve Majerus (Université de Liège, Belgium) invite applications for a PhD research position investigating 'The short- and long-term memory determinants of language acquisition'
Project description
Language is a fundamental aspect of human life and the way in which children acquire language remains a central research question in developmental cognitive neuroscience. The memory system is known to play a crucial role in language development. A complex interaction between short-term memory (STM) and long-term memory (LTM) mechanisms allows children to capture linguistic input from their environment and consolidate it in long-term, stable linguistic skills and representations. Although the memory basis of language acquisition is widely acknowledged, it has proven difficult to theorize how exactly STM and LTM contribute to language development. Two lines of research on the memory basis of language acquisition have developed relatively independently, one focussing on the role of STM in language acquisition (Majerus et al., 2006; 2008) and a second one focussing on the consolidation of those short-term representations in LTM (Szmalec et al., 2009; 2012). The goal of the current research project is to bring both lines of research together in an attempt to obtain a clearer and integrated understanding of how the human memory system supports language acquisition. To this end, we propose a series of large-scale empirical studies in developmental samples, combining experimental, cross-sectional, longitudinal and neuroimaging techniques. The research plan focuses on two important and related aspects of language acquisition: lexical development and reading development. The project is unique in that it allows investigating the STM as well as the LTM determinants of both oral and written language acquisition within a unified theoretical framework and approach.
Job Details
4-year (2 + 2 after positive evaluation) position funded by the Fund for Scientific Research (F.R.S. - FNRS)
Starting date: October 1st 2015
The workplace for the candidate will be the Psychological Sciences Research Institute at the Université catholique de Louvain in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium (
Monthly salary according to standard Belgian wage scales will be around 1800 euros (after taxes)
The candidate is expected to obtain the PhD diploma within the 4 years
The candidate will be supervised by the project promotors (Szmalec and Majerus) and by a post-doc researcher who is involved in the project
The candidate should have a University Master's degree in Psychology, Logopaedics, Linguistics or a related cognitive science discipline and a strong interest in cognitive research
Other valuable assets:
- Training in developmental cognitive neuroscience
- Background in psycholinguistic research
- Background in neuroscience research methods
- Background in developmental science
- Good research skills (methodology, statistics, programming, …)
- Good French language skills
- Good English language skills
- Good written and spoken language skills
Interested candidates should send (1) a detailed CV, (2) a cover letter that describes their motivation, research interests, experience and carreer goals and (3) the coordinates of at least one reference person that we may contact to: before July 1st 2015
Additional information or