ECR Funded 2-yr Post-Doc at Peace Research Institute Oslo

The Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) invites applications for a two-year, full-time Postdoc position in human coalitional aggression within the project Adapted to War (AWAR), funded by the European Research Council (ERC Starting Grant).

The position provides an opportunity to work in a leading international research institute, located in Norway’s capital city, as part of an interdisciplinary project on human aggression.

Summary of AWAR

Have humans evolved psychological adaptations to coalitional aggression or small-scale war? This question has generated major scientific debate involving anthropologists, archaeologists, economists, primatologists, psychologists, and political scientists. If humans are adapted to war, then human psychology must be equipped with specialized adaptations designed for the effective navigation of war: planning, executing, and defending against coalitional attacks. AWAR probes the existence of such adaptations. It focuses, specifically, on coalitional formidability assessment mechanisms, which likely helped ancestral humans to avoid costly fights. AWAR also explores contemporary implications of coalitional formidability assessment mechanisms: if they indeed exist, do they shape our attitudes and behavior today, particularly in the context of modern political violence (e.g., violent protests or civil conflicts)?

The Postdoc’s role in the team

The project’s core team will consist of Postdoc 1 (psychologist/cognitive scientist; expected expertise: evolutionary psychology and information-processing/computational models), Postdoc 2 (psychologist/cognitive scientist; expected expertise: cognitive experiments), and Principal Investigator (PI), Henrikas Bartusevičius (political scientist; expertise: the psychology of political violence).

This vacancy concerns Postdoc 1, whose responsibilities will be as follows:

  • Collaborating with PI in theorizing an information-processing/computational model of a psychological mechanisms regulating coalitional aggression (i.e., the coalitional formidability assessment mechanism);
  • Collaborating with Postdoc 2 and PI in designing experiments to probe the existence and design features of the theorized coalitional formidability assessment mechanism;
  • Contributing to conducting and analyzing cognitive lab experiments;
  • Writing journal articles in collaboration with Postdoc 2 and PI.

The application must be submitted in English via online application system no later than 1 June 2021. The application must include:

  1. An application letter (1–2 pages) addressing the required and desired qualifications as listed above. Please briefly describe your relevant experience and qualifications for each of the 9 qualifications listed above (if you do not have experience/qualifications pertaining to one or more of the qualifications listed above, just say so).
  2. A statement (1–2 pages) on how your qualifications will contribute to implementing WP1 (in particular) and WP2 of the project.
  3. One or two papers that you consider as your best work. This work, preferably but not mandatorily, should demonstrate the qualifications as listed above. Single- or first-authored work carries greater weight. You are welcome to submit unpublished manuscripts, as long as you consider them as demonstrating the highest quality of your research and the qualifications listed above.
  4. A CV in English, which must include a list of publications.
  5. Scanned copies of original transcripts/certificates from higher education, in one PDF file.

The project offers a degree of flexibility with respect to candidates’ research during the project. Therefore, the applicants are welcome, but are not required, to suggest (in Attachment 2) research ideas that could be integrated into WP1 and WP2 of AWAR.

Read the full advert here.