PhD position Bipolarization and the new media (1.0 FTE)


Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences


University of Groningen

Since its founding in 1614, the University of Groningen has enjoyed an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative center of higher education, offering high-quality teaching and research. We encourage the 36,000 students and researchers to develop their own individual talents. Among the best research universities in Europe, we join forces with prestigious partner universities and networks around the world, the University of Groningen is truly an international place of knowledge.

The Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences is a centre of knowledge focusing on individuals and society. The faculty studies issues relating to human behaviour, and the relationships between people and society as a whole. This includes the study of how people function under normal circumstances, but also of the problems encountered by individuals or groups, and how these can be resolved or prevented. The Department of Social Psychology is part of the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences.

The Faculty of Philosophy is a vibrant, international community of excellent researchers and teachers. It consistently receives the highest evaluations for research among philosophy departments in The Netherlands.

Job description

We are seeking a candidate for a PhD project to investigate how and why the new media (email, the internet, social media; online communication more generally) may have increased socio-political conflict and bipolarization reducing the chances of sustainable cooperation in discourse and decision-making using or informed by these new media. This question is partly inspired by (but not restricted to) the rise of political populism in which politicians and others have used such media to advance divisive ideas and agendas, as well as the increasing reliance on social media and online outlets for news. The proposal outlines a series of experiments to investigate the social psychological processes that can explain distinctive effects of these media (see link for further information). The position is located at the Department of Social Psychology, Faculty of Behavioural Sciences but the project is part of a collaboration between social psychologists and philosophers working on opinion formation processes. This project has a “sister” project (“Information sharing and social indentity”) starting in parallel at the Philosophy department and connects will be maintained through joint meetings.

See this link for a further description of the project:

The project is part of the transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary research programme SCOOP: Roadmaps to Resilient Societies (see: ). SCOOP is a research and training centre dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of sustainable cooperation as a key feature of resilient societies. SCOOP brings together researchers of the University of Groningen, Utrecht University, VU Amsterdam, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and Radboud University Nijmegen. The PhD student will participate in the SCOOP PhD training program, see:


You should have:

• (almost) finished a (research) master's degree in the domain of Social Psychology, or a related discipline
• a solid training in social psychology and experimental research methods and data analysis
• eagerness to learn to work in an interdisciplinary research team and to conduct interdisciplinary research in the SCOOP programme
• an excellent academic record
• eagerness to publish international articles and write a dissertation
• good social and communication skills
• excellent command of English and academic writing skills
• motivation and ability to teach in undergraduate social psychology courses.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 48 months.

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

• a gross salary of € 2,395 gross per month in the first year to a maximum of € 3,061 gross per month in the final year (salary scale PhD), based on a full-time position (1.0 FTE)
• a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
• an 8.3% year-end bonus
• a position for four years (fulltime). Each successful candidate will first be offered a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years. Prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that a successful completion of the PhD thesis within the contract period is to be expected. A PhD training programme is part of the agreement and the successful candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School of the Faculty
• PhD students in Psychology are expected to contribute to the department's undergraduate teaching program from the 2nd year of the PhD employment.

The preferred start date is 1 October 2021.

Job Application

You can submit your application until 19 August 23.59h Dutch local time (CET) / before 20 August 2021 by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our University. We are committed to building a diverse faculty so you are encouraged to apply. Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP), and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers,

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Prof. dr. Russell Spears

In your application, please always include the job opening ID 221473

Extra informatie kan worden verkregen via een van de volgende links:

The conditions of employment For a further description of the project

Digital application form