PhD or Postdoc- Position | Quantifying synchronization in human social interaction

(60 - 100 %, E 13 TV-L)

Reference No. 2021/290. The position is to be filled by the end of March 2022 or later and is initially limited to three years (PhD) or two years (Postdoc). An extension is being sought. In principle this position can be divided into two part-time positions.

The University of Konstanz is one of eleven Universities of Excellence in Germany. Since 2007 it has been successful in the German Excellence Initiative and its follow-up programme, the Excellence Strategy.

The PhD/Postdoc position will be part of the Cluster of Excellence “Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour” (CASCB) at the University of Konstanz, which investigates the collective behaviour and associated patterns in humans and animals in an unprecedented interdisciplinary approach by developing an innovative range of quantitative methods and novel technologies, The position will be embedded into a newly starting project which aims to reveal dynamics of real-life social interactions between humans (e.g. co-eating, social learning, team sport). More specifically, we aim to reveal the relationship between the detailed behavioural and physiological patterns of individuals (e.g. posture, eye movement, and heart rate) and the outcomes of social interaction (e.g. success/failure of joint action, synchronization/desynchronization of behaviors among individuals) using available technologies at our cutting-edge imaging facilities (e.g. motion-tracking systems, wearable eye-trackers, and multi-array cameras). The key task of candidates is using supervised learning to identify pre-defined social events such as postural mimicry, pointing, nonverbal gesture, joint attention, eye contact, and emotional contagion and also unsupervised learning to cluster time series of raw recorded data. The extracted information will be correlated with task-specific measures on outcomes of social interaction (e.g. liking/rapport, transmission of social knowledge, team success) to understand what interaction components are critical to establishing successful/unsuccessful social interactions in humans. See for the video.

Your responsibilities

  • Establishing techniques/procedures to achieve synchronization between multiple devices measuring human actions/physiologies (e.g. mo-cap, eye-tracker, heart rate sensor)
  • Using supervised and unsupervised deep learning to identify key social events in arrays of synchronized data within and across participants

Your Competencies

  • A master’s degree (for PhD) or doctoral degree (for Postdoc) in biology, psychology, computer science, or a related fields
  • Research experience in human individual and group behaviour, focusing on one or more of the following topics; commensality (co-eating), social perception/cognition, culture/social learning, and joint action/cooperation
  • Experience or strong interest in both supervised/unsupervised learning
  • Strong written and oral communications skills in English (equivalent to level C1)

We Offer

  • An open, highly motivated, interdisciplinary research group
  • Professional infrastructure and support for conducting research
  • Opportunity to work with world-leading scientists on a new and exciting research field
  • Integration into the interdisciplinary Excellence Cluster research community
  • Working and living in a fabulous and diverse environment
  • Classification according to the tariff regulations of TV-L (depending on the personal prerequisites up to pay group 13 TV-L)

For further information please contact Dr. Fumihiro Kano,, Prof. Dr. Britta Renner,, and Dr. Lucy Aplin,

We look forward to receiving your application (including a cover letter, a full CV, a one-page research statement relating your interests to our research project, and names and e-mail addresses of two or more academic referees) by January 25th 2022 via our Online Application Portal.

The University of Konstanz is committed to ensuring an environment that provides equal opportunities and promotes diversity as well as a good balance between university and family life. As an equal opportunity employer, we strive to increase the number of women working in research and teaching. We also support working couples through our dual career programme. Persons with disabilities are explicitly encouraged to apply. They will be given preference if appropriately qualified (contact + 49 7531 88–4016).



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