Jobs: gesture research (and others)



University or Organization: RWTH Aachen University
Department: Human Technology Centre (HumTec)
Web Address:

Job Rank: Post Doc & PhD students

Specialty Areas: Cognitive Science; Computational Linguistics; Neurolinguistics; Gesture research, Neuroscience


HumTec (Human Technology Centre) at RWTH Aachen University invites applications for two doctoral and two post-doctoral positions. All advertised positions are anchored in the newly-established, interdisciplinary research program ‘Natural Media & Engineering: Emotion-Cognition Interactions and their Modification.’ The project explores the various functions natural media serve in human face-to-face interaction and in human-computer interaction. Of central interest is the semiotics of coverbal gestures and facial expressions.

The aim is to examine the semiotic foundations of multimodally communicated cognitive-emotional processes, as they manifest themselves under naturalistic, clinically impaired, and technologically modified conditions. Combining methods from semiotics, linguistics, cognitive psychology, clinical neuroscience, and computer science, investigations will be carried out in three interrelated groups.

The focus of each group and the distribution of the four advertised positions across these groups will be as follows:

1) ‘Mediality in Multimodal Communication’ aims at developing a comprehensive, cognitive-semiotic framework for a theory of natural media of human communication. Theory-building will be rooted in empirical studies integrating experimental design and naturalistic usage data.

=> 2 Ph.D. positions: Successful candidates will have an outstanding degree and academic record demonstrating a strong theoretical background in semiotics, linguistics, cognitive psychology, and/or psycholinguistics as well as in experimental and/or empirical methods. Experience with coding and analyzing multimodal data including co-speech gesture and/or facial expressions is a plus.

2) ‘Natural Media & Neuroscience’ will examine the neural substrate underlying cognitive-emotional processes during verbal and non-verbal communication in both normal and dysfunctional communicative patterns, e.g., in aphasia, schizophrenia, and autism.
=> 1 PostDoc position: Successful candidates will have an outstanding doctoral degree in clinical neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, psycholinguistics, and/or medicine with a focus on brain correlates of language and communication. They have a strong background in experimental and/or empirical methods including statistics, models of normal and
impaired language processing (including sign language) and expertise in modern brain imaging and stimulation techniques. Experience with project management and conducting studies with neurological or psychiatric patients is a definite plus.

3) ‘Natural Media & Serious Gaming’ will investigate the role of natural media in the design and use of cooperative computer games in a “serious gaming” context.
=> 1 PostDoc position: Successful candidates have accomplished a doctorate in computer science or a closely related field. They have a strong background in pervasive game technology and implementation, and/or in design and evaluation methods for “serious games” in domains such as engineering, business, or medicine.

HumTec welcomes creative and team-minded young scholars with a genuine interest in cross-disciplinary research. The successful candidates will have access to state-of-the-art facilities including neuroimaging technologies housed at the university hospital ( Previous knowledge of German is not required; the willingness to learn German is
desirable. Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle) is a UNESCO heritage site located one hour West of Cologne, right on the borders with Belgium and the Netherlands.

Application Deadline: 30-Jun-2009

Mailing Address for Applications:
Dr. Irene Mittelberg
Human Technology Centre (HumTec)
RWTH Aachen University
Theaterplatz 14
Aachen 52062

Contact Information:
Dr. Irene Mittelberg
Phone: 00492418025486

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Professor of Sign Language of the Netherlands at Radboud University, The Netherlands.

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