PhD position in Psychology of Religion / Psychological Methods

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences – Department of Psychology

Publication date
12 May 2017
Level of education
Master's degree
Salary indication
€2,191 to €2,801 gross per month
Closing date
15 June 2017
38 hours per week
Vacancy number

The Department of Psychology is a part of the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences (FMG), which is the largest educational and research institution in the social sciences in the Netherlands.

The psychology religion can provide fascinating insight in the potential causes and consequences of religiosity, but the reliability of many studies in the field remains to be determined – especially in the light of the recent ‘replication crisis’ that has haunted scientific research in general. This PhD project will focus on

  1. conducting a pre-registered replication study;
  2. setting up multi-lab pre-registered replication studies and
  3. seeking adversarial collaboration with the original authors of theoretically disputed effects within the field of the psychology of religion.

Multiple labs in different countries will collaborate on conducting pre-registered adversarial replication attempts of at least three studies. Bayesian statistics will be used as a methodological tool that allows to directly quantify and continually monitor the evidential value of the studies with respect to the null and the alternative hypothesis. Through this approach the ultimate aim of this project is to establish the robustness of at least three findings that have shaped theory development regarding the causes and consequences of religion (e.g., the relation between religion and agency, prosociality, and self-control), thereby giving a strong methodological as well as a theoretical impetus to the field.

The project is part of the Religious Replication Project led by Michiel van Elk and Eric-Jan Wagenmakers and funded by the John Templeton Foundation.

Project description

The PhD project will be conducted within the program group of Social Psychology / Methods at the Department of Psychology at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, which is ranked 10th in the QS World University Rankings. The University of Amsterdam has access to state-of-the-art research facilities (Labs Psychology / Spinoza Centre) to implement and coordinate the proposed research.

The PhD candidate will develop and execute experimental studies in the context of the research project, and report results at conferences and in international journals, leading to a PhD dissertation. The candidate will also provide teaching assistance (15%).


We are looking for highly motivated candidates preferably with a 2-year research master diploma in Psychology, and with demonstrable interest in the topic of the PhD project. Experience with the use of Bayesian Statistics, human brain imaging techniques (EEG and/or fMRI), and strong technical skills (programming) are a plus. Applicants should also possess strong writing skills and have an excellent command of English.

Further information

Requests for further information may be send by email to :

For more information about the larger research program led by dr Michiel van Elk you may want to check:


The PhD position is for four years (initial employment is 12 months and after a positive evaluation, the appointment will be extended further with 36 months) and should lead to a dissertation. The preferred start date is 1 September 2017. Based on a full-time appointment the gross monthly salary will be €2,191 in the first year, increasing to €2,801 in the fourth year (conform the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Job application

For full consideration, applications should be send by email to, and include a CV, a letter of motivation, a grade list, and the names of 2 references. Please put 'PhD position van Elk 17-252' in the subject line to ensure that your application will be considered. All applications submitted before 16 June 2017 will be considered. Applications submitted after this date will also be considered unless the position is already filled. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

Published by  University of Amsterdam