September 26, 2021

Three-year PhD Studentship: The Plasticity of the Self, Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London


Three-year PhD Studentship: The Plasticity of the Self,  Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London

Supervisor: Dr Manos Tsakiris, Lab of Action & Body, Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London

Project Description:  The question of how our sense of self is maintained or changed across time is a key topic in psychology. Our self must possess sufficient plasticity, that is, adaptive processes of re-organization, to ensure assimilation of changes and a sense of continuity over time. To study the plasticity of the self, the PhD project  will investigate how the experience of a changing body updates or alters our sense of self, by focusing on how people construct a mental representation of their body and self-identity, and on how social cognition processes are affected when self-representations are updated. The PhD will employ a range of research methods, such as psychophysics, functional neuroimaging and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. This PhD position is part of a five-year research grant from the European Research Council on the plasticity of the self. Further details on the project can be found here: 

The successful candidate will have the opportunity to develop his/her own research ideas, and to participate in networking activities. The LAB’s current projects and research outputs can be found here:

Funding Details: The studentship covers Home/EU fees and an annual tax-free stipend of £16,000 per annum for three years, available from September/October2013 until September/October 2016. The studentships can only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for Home/EU fees with appropriate qualification.

Person Specification


  • First or upper second class honours degree or equivalent in Psychology or a related area.
  • Strong motivation to undertake a PhD which involves conducting independent research, but also working as part of a larger research team.
  • Excellent quantitative research skills, including a good command of statistical analysis (using relevant packages such as SPSS).
  • Ability to work independently and take responsibility of a program of work.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English.
  • Evidence of an interest in interdisciplinary research
  • Strong organizational skills


  • MSc in a relevant discipline including cognitive neuroscience, philosophy and cognitive sciences, neuropsychology, social psychology.
  • Research experience in Functional Neuroimaging and/or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation


For an informal discussion on the project please contact Manos Tsakiris by email on , although applications must be made in accordance with the details shown below.

A full PhD application should include all of the following: 

1) Royal Holloway on-line Postgraduate Application Form (completed by student).

Applicants should specify in the Research Proposal field that their application refers to “ERC Scholarship”. In addition, the following documents should also be included with your application form.  These documents can be uploaded as part of the on-line application process but you may also email these directly to Ms Carol Blackman the Departmental post-graduate secretary (



Please ensure that you name two academic referees on your application form and contact them directly to ask them to provide you with an academic reference as soon as possible. 


2) A brief CV (completed by student)

This should list academic qualifications (give dates and grades) and any experience and skills relevant to the research proposal.

3) A research statement   (Suggested length approx. 3000 words)

The statement should include:

  1. Brief description of your main research interests (maximum 500 words)
  2. Brief  description of your research activities/outputs to date (BSc and/or MSc projects or other relevant working experience in research) (maximum 500 words)
  3. Description of your motivation for the proposed project and a description of the main research questions that you would like to address during your PhD, and some details about the first studies/experiments you would be considering.  (maximum 2000 words)

For an informal discussion and if you have any questions please  contact Dr Tsakiris at

Closing date:  12 noon Monday 20TH May  2013

Interviews will be held in May/June 2013