3 años de contrato en Viena estudiando cómo los perros se comunican con los humanos ~ Bioblogia.net

21 de septiembre de 2023

3 años de contrato en Viena estudiando cómo los perros se comunican con los humanos

We are seeking qualified applicants for a fully funded three-year doctoral project on dogs’ socio-cognitive abilities, particularly focusing on their sensitivity to human intentions and communicative signals, based within the unit of Comparative Cognition at the Messerli Research Institute (https://www.vetmeduni.ac.at/en/messerli).

Deadline: All electronic applications received by September 30th, 2023 will be considered.
Contact: Dr. Christoph Völter (Christoph.Voelter@vetmeduni.ac.at)
Institute: Unit of Comparative Cognition, Messerli Research Institute, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna)

Intention reading and sensitivity to ostensive signals have a critical role in how humans interact with one another and how we learn and teach. However, we still have a surprisingly limited understanding of the evolution, prevalence and complexity of these abilities among non-human (non-primate) animals. Dogs are a unique model system to address the issue due to their shared evolutionary history with humans. Despite previous work on the topic, two key questions remain: first, do ostensive signals enhance information processing (beyond grabbing attention) in dogs? Secondly, do dogs comprehend the intentions behind human actions or have they learnt a set of behavioural rules that link certain behaviours and outcomes? In the PhD project, we will seek answers to these questions.

The PhD position is part of a new research project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF “Intention reading in dogs”. Within the project, we will employ state-of-the-art technology in combination with behavioural experiments to investigate dogs' cognitive abilities. Using eye-tracking technology and high-definition video demonstrations, we will monitor where dogs focus their attention. This will help us understand how they process visual information. Machine-learning-based 3D body tracking will record dogs' movements and reactions in various scenarios. This includes situations where dogs must understand human actions, communicative signals and iconic gestures. Our approach will adhere to open science principles including preregistered study designs supported by power analysis.
Data collection will take place mainly at the Clever Dog Lab on the campus of the Vetmeduni Vienna. In the Clever Dog Lab, we study the behaviour and cognition of companion dogs that visit us with their caregivers. The lab consists of six testing rooms, each equipped with an adjustable multi-camera system, optimized for all kinds of behavioural studies.

We seek highly motivated candidates with a M.Sc. degree in Psychology, Biology, Cognitive Science or a related subject. Applicants must have experience in designing and conducting scientific experiments, expertise in conducting statistical analyses (preferentially in R), and excellent communication skills (in spoken and written English). Programming skills (R, Matlab, Python, etc.) and experience in working with animals, in particular dogs, is desirable.

Please address questions and completed applications electronically to Dr. Christoph Völter (Christoph.Voelter@vetmeduni.ac.at). Applications should include:
1. Cover letter describing how you meet the requirements, including details of past research projects and relevant experience (not more than 2 pages)
2. Curriculum vitae, including the names and contact details of two professional references
3. Copies of relevant degree certificates
All electronic applications received by September 30th, 2023 will be considered. Preferred start date is November 2023 but a later start date might be possible.
We look forward to receiving your application.

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