The Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) invites applications for a 1.5-year, full-time Postdoc position 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 adaptations designed for the effective navigation of war: efficient, complex, and specialized (sensory, perceptual, cognitive, affective, and behavioral) mechanisms promoting planning, execution, and defense against coalitional attacks. AWAR focuses, specifically, on coalitional formidability assessment mechanisms, which likely helped ancestral humans to avoid costly fights. The project 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, Stefan Goetz (psychologist; expertise: evolutionary psychology), Postdoc 2 (psychologist/cognitive scientist; expected expertise: cognitive psychology experiments), and Principal Investigator (PI), Henrikas Bartusevičius (political scientist; expertise: the psychology of political violence).
This vacancy concerns Postdoc 2, whose key responsibilities will be as follows:
- Collaborating with the research team in designing cognitive psychology experiments (online and/or lab) to probe the existence and design features of the theorized coalitional formidability assessment mechanism;
- Contributing to conducting and analyzing the experiments;
- Writing journal articles in collaboration with Postdoc 2 and PI.
The project provides an opportunity to contribute to a novel research program that combines psychology, political science, and evolutionary theory to understand basic psychological processes underpinning coalitional aggression and contemporary political violence. The project also provides an opportunity to contribute to the establishment and development of a pioneering political psychology lab/research group in Norway.
The project and the institute are committed to supporting the Postdoc’s career development. Therefore, the project includes funding (e.g., for conference travel and research stays at other research institutions) to help the successful candidate build new competences. The project also has an ambitious publication plan, targeting general science or multidisciplinary journals. The project includes a large budget for well-powered cross-cultural research, spanning lab and online experiments across 40 countries. The project also includes a budget for research assistance to support the research team.
The project will collaborate with other psychology and political psychology labs in Norway and Denmark, including the Politics and Evolution Lab (directed by Michael B. Petersen) at Aarhus University. The project thus offers opportunities to network and present research in interdisciplinary environments.
The project will also strive to create conditions for the Postdoc to complete ongoing research, initiate new research agendas, and apply for new research funding.
Work environment and conditions
PRIO has an international research staff of approximately 85 members in full and part-time positions, and in addition 15 in administrative and support functions. The working language at the institute is English. PRIO is an equal opportunity employer and values staff diversity.
The institute is located in spacious and attractive premises in central Oslo, Europe’s fastest-growing capital city. Employee benefits include access to the PRIO cabin in the mountains, a subsidized canteen, weekly physiotherapy exercise, weekly running group, discounted gym membership and various social events.
Postdoctoral scholars at PRIO formally hold the position of a Senior Researcher. The starting salary for a Senior Researcher at PRIO is NOK 689,600 (equivalent to 73 in the Norwegian State salary system). Employees are offered membership in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.
The candidate should have an interest in PRIO’s broader mission of conducting high-quality academic research on questions relevant to the promotion of a more peaceful world. For more information about PRIO’s research, see https://www.prio.org/
The position is for one and a half year. This is a full-time research position with no teaching requirements.