Tenure Eligible Investigator
Psychology (Developmental, Experimental, cognitive) or Biology of Behavior (Ethology) or Neurosciences
The University Bourgogne Franche-Comté (UBFC) is recruiting a tenure eligible investigator in the field of development of human multisensory integration involving olfaction, specifically in the Center for Taste and Feeding Behaviour (“Centre des Sciences du Goût et de l’Alimentation” (CSGA, https://www2.dijon.inra.fr/csga/index_eng.php) located in Dijon (France). The national program “Investissements d’Avenir” (project ISITE-BFC) supports this position.
We encourage applications of outstanding scientists investigating this field of research owning a PhD degree, featuring at least three years of postdoctoral experience; a substantive record of publications and the potential to develop an independent research program.
The successful applicant will be provided a 450 k¤ grant (including her/his salary and research budget) for a period of three years. The salary will be negotiated on the basis of education and experience. It integrates a benefit package including retirement, health insurance, annual and sick leave.
UBFC (www.ubfc.fr) is a research university federating six organizations. The tenure eligible position will be provided by Université de Bourgogne (UB), member of the UBFC federation, during the tenure probation period. During the same period, the successful candidate will be committed to apply for an European Research Council (ERC) grant.
We invite the interested candidates to follow the link http://www.ubfc.fr/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Application-form_Tenure_Track_-Junior-ISITE-BFC.docx to download the form to be filled and returned by email using the "Apply for this job" button.
UBFC and UB are equal opportunity employers.
Context and job description
Until recently, human perception and cognition have been mostly studied through the lenses of information input coming in from only one sense at a time, prevalently the visual input. Meanwhile, visual processes were shown to be strongly influenced by concurring inputs from the other senses, leading to booming research on multisensory interactions and integration. The chemical senses have been much less studied in such multisensory research, and even less so along early development. Research at CSGA and other laboratories found that olfaction bears pronounced impact on visual perception and behavior, both in adults and infants. These highly innovative results encourage CSGA to reinforce its research about the impact of olfaction on visual processes, especially in infants.
Human infants need indeed to continuously apprehend sensory novelty to engage adaptive responsiveness toward their social and food environments. In particular, making sense of others’ faces is a challenge for the immature visual system that requires experience to reach full achievement. Perceptual tutoring conveyed by an early maturing sense such as olfaction may be critical to support the early development of face perception. Maternal or familiar odors may convey prior knowledge able to constrain the reading of novel faces, and their perceptual/emotional stability should promote early generalization of highly variable face exemplars into perceptual categories. The successful applicant will have to determine the extent to which odors shape the visual perception of faces and (after 5-6 months of age, when weaning has occurred) of food objects. The successful candidate will benefit from pre-existing CSGA facilities (baby-labs for newborns and for toddlers) and equipments (videography; eye tracking systems; EEG).
About the hosting research team
The successful applicant will join an established research group at CSGA (Developmental Ethology & Cognitive Psychology Group) that specializes since 2000 in the study of multisensory perception/cognition involving olfaction in multiple models, including humans. This multidisciplinary group weaves concepts from biology (ethology, neurosciences) and psychology to single out early performances of olfaction that favor adaptive development during early life transitions (i.e., birth, food and social diversification periods). It aims to evaluate the role of olfaction in conjunction with the other senses in emotional, cognitive and social development using tools and approaches that allow to investigate functions and mechanisms at the organismic level, through the measurements of behavioural, psychophysiological, and integrative brain variables.
Desired skills and experience
- PhD in Psychology (Developmental, Experimental, cognitive) or Biology of Behavior (Ethology) or Neuroscience, with a significant publication record. At least one year of post-doctoral research required.
- In depth experience in studying perception, cognition, and behavior in newborns and infants, optimally with good understanding of olfactory physiology and psychology. Experience with animal models will be a plus.
- Mastery of basic and advanced technologies in behavior (EMG; eye movement tracking; facial response measurement). Skills in automatized coding of motor actions would be a significant plus.
- Mastery in psychophysiological/electrophysiological techniques recording autonomic variables (e.g., heart rate, respiration) and/or brain responses (EEG).
- Affirmed skills in data and statistical analyses and in data visualization.
Further information may be obtained from Dr. Benoist Schaal (firstname.lastname@example.org).
|Areas of Research
- Cognitive Science
- Visual Neuroscience
- Computational Neuroscience