PhD candidate in ‘Effects of Emotional Political Communication’

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences – Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research

Publication date
24 January 2018
Level of education
Master's degree
Salary indication
€2,222 to €2,840 gross per month
Closing date
30 April 2018
38 hours per week
Vacancy number

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG) of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) is the largest educational and research institution in the social sciences in the Netherlands, and one of the highest-ranked such institutions in Europe. The Faculty serves 7,500 students in numerous Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes in Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, Communication Science, Psychology, Social Geography, Planning and International Development Studies, and Educational Sciences. The academic staff is employed in education as well as research. There are over 1,100 employees at the Faculty, which resides in a number of buildings in the centre of Amsterdam.

The Department of Political Sciences is one of the departments of the FMG. The College of Social Sciences (CSW) and the Graduate School of Social Sciences (GSSS) are responsible for the under-graduate and graduate teaching programmes in Political Science. The research within the Department is conducted in research programmes of the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR). The AISSR unites the social science research of the UvA, and is one of the largest research institutes in Europe.

Project description

You will be working for POLEMIC, a project that analyses the causes and consequences of emotional political communication. The project is highly interdisciplinary combining automated text analyses of politician speeches with individual responses to communication, both at the attitudinal and physiological level. You will be working in a team of 5 people: two PhD students (to be hired), Gijs Schumacher (Principal Investigator) and Bert Bakker. Formally, you will work at the Department of Political Science.

The PhD candidate will analyse the attitudinal and physiological responses (heartbeat, skin conductance and facial electromyography) of individuals to emotional appeals by politicians. To do this the PhD candidate needs to conduct a survey experiment and a lab experiment in different countries. The dissertation should focus on explaining who responds (emotionally) to what, and what the consequences are for political attitudes and political behaviour. In addition to that there is also ample space in the project for developing and implementing one’s own ideas, as long as these match with the broader topic of emotions in politics.

The project description of POLEMIC can be found here.


  • Conduct survey experiments and lab experiments, including physiological measurement (skin conductance, heartbeat, EMG);
  • process and analyse survey data, including physiological data;
  • write a dissertation consisting of research articles;
  • work in a highly interdisciplinary team;
  • further develop the project using other data/methods or asking different questions;
  • engage in more methodological training, at a summer school and/or an university abroad;
  • spend one semester abroad to do a lab study in the United States (specifically Temple University in Philadelphia in the Behavioral Foundations Lab led by Prof Kevin Arceneaux);

Teaching is optional, but encouraged.


  • Master’s degree in Political Science or a Master’s degree in a discipline relevant to the project such as Psychology or Communication Science (candidates with another Master’s degree may apply, but should motivate why their experience suffices for this project);
  • plenty of experience with conducting experiments, preferably also experiments collecting physiological data;
  • programming skills in R, Python or another programming language;
  • an interest in interdisciplinary work.

Further information

For more information please contact: 

For a project description, please check:


The appointment will be on a temporary basis for a period of 4 years for 38 hours per week. In the first instance, a contract will be given for 12 months. If positively evaluated, the contract will be extended for another 36 months. The gross salary is €2.222 during the first year, rising to €2.840 (on the basis of a full-time appointment during an eventual fourth year).

The successful candidate will begin their project on or around 1 October 2018. A later date is negotiable.

The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities is applicable.

Job application

Submit a CV, contact information for 2 references for your academic qualifications, a motivation letter (max 1 page) and a one-page research proposal that fits in the specific work packages the candidate will be involved in. Please highlight what your own contribution can be in terms of conceptual development, measurement of concepts, type of analysis, or additional research questions.
Please send your application to with vacancy number 18-035 as subject and as an attachment (in one single pdf-file).
A first selection round will be held early May. Interviews will be held late May, early June. After the interview round a decision will be made.

The deadline for the application is 30 April 2018.
Please note that incomplete applications will not be considered. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

Published by  University of Amsterdam