Two Postdoc Positions Social Psychology

We are seeking two postdocs for positions using computational methods to examine nonverbal vocalisations, like laughing, screaming, and crying. The project will include the development of a novel approach to understanding everyday nonverbal behaviours using computational methods. As well as being hosted in the supportive research atmosphere of the Department of Social Psychology at the University of Amsterdam, the postdocs will have the opportunity to establish research connections with international collaborators.

The postdocs will conduct their research under the supervision of Dr Disa Sauter at the University of Amsterdam. Postdoc position 1 will be co-supervised by Professor Florian Huber (Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences). The postdocs will engage with Sauter’s research group as part of her NWO-funded Vici project Understanding nonverbal vocalisations: A computational ethology approach. The projects will also be embedded within the Amsterdam Interdisciplinary Centre for Emotion.

The positions include allowances for research expenses and travel and subsistence costs towards project-specific travel, including conferences. It also offers an opportunity to gain experience with teaching, subject to availability and qualifications.

The Department of Social Psychology is supported by approximately 15 tenured faculty members, and currently hosts more than 20 PhD and postdoctoral researchers. We offer a dynamic environment in an internationally recognized department, ranking among the best in Europe for research and teaching. This is paired with an informal and supportive atmosphere. Amsterdam is an international city, consistently ranked as one of the world’s top places to live.

The Psychology Department is situated centrally in Amsterdam, and hosts program groups focusing on social, organisational, developmental, clinical, statistical, and cognitive psychology. It offers excellent facilities for undertaking research in a broad range of areas, including behavioural testing suites and a social observation lab.

The Department of Psychology is a part of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG), which is the largest educational and research institution in the social sciences in the Netherlands. The faculty serves 7500 students in numerous Bachelor and Master programs.

What are you going to do

The overarching aim of this project is to establish what nonverbal vocalisations are and why they occur. The two postdoc positions will use complementary methods to study this research question; a PhD student will work on another part of the research program.

Postdoc position 1
The goal of this project is to take a large-scale approach to investigating when and why vocalizations occur. The project will make use of existing videos from online sources (e.g., YouTube, TikTok, Youku, news footage, documentaries). Data analysis and machine-learning techniques will be used to (largely) automate the isolation of vocalisations from the data. In parallel, the context will be established based on the online videos. Already collected vocalisations will be converted into spectrographic representations and used to train a deep learning algorithm (e.g., convolutional neural network, CNN), to detect nonverbal vocalisations in the online videos. The vocalisation segments of the videos will then be filtered and segmented using state-of-the-art software like pyAudioAnalysis. The situational features will be automatically determined using the Google Video Intelligence API or similar. This project will test the mappings between vocalisations and contextual information in a large dataset of online videos.

You will

  • develop new methods for the isolation and extraction of vocalisations from online video
  • run acoustic analyses
  • conduct large-scale computational analyses (e.g., using deep learning as well as data visualization techniques )
  • write scientific articles and present

Postdoc position 2

The goal of this project is to provide an unbiased account of nonverbal vocalisations, including their absolute and relative frequency, as they occur in daily life. It will also establish the role of learning for different kinds of non-verbal vocalisations. The project will use the EAR, an audio-recording mobile phone app that intermittently samples the wearer’s auditory environment. EAR recordings will be combined with experience sampling data, collected using a mobile phone setup at timepoints synchronised to the EAR recordings. The project will include a general population sample, as well as a sample of deaf individuals, in order to establish the extent to which different kinds of vocalisations are dependent on particular kinds of environmental input to develop.

You will

  • develop an EAR/ESM study protocol
  • recruit participants, including deaf individuals
  • run acoustic analyses
  • conduct computational analyses (e.g., using machine learning techniques)
  • write scientific articles and present

Informal inquiries can be directed to Dr Disa Sauter ( Please quote “Inquiry Vici postdoc position” in the subject line, and indicate whether you are inquiring about postdoc position 1, 2, or both.

What do you have to offer

You are

  • curious and eager to learn
  • eager to contribute to science
  • motivated to share your knowledge with academic and non-academic audiences
  • strongly committed to methodological rigor and scientific integrity

You have

  • a PhD in Psychology, Computer/Data Science or a related field or have almost completed such a degree;
  • a general understanding of psychological theories, or are willing to learn them
  • an interest in nonverbal communication
  • experience with designing, executing, and analysing quantitative research
  • good programming skills (in R and/or Python or similar)
  • an interest in data analysis/machine learning
  • experience in and/or commitment to engage in open science
  • an excellent written and spoken command of English
  • good research project management skills

What can we offer you

The planned starting date for these positions is 1 March 1 2024, but there is some flexibility. The positions concern temporary employment of 38 hours for a period of two years. The initial employment is for one year. It is also possible to work part time for a longer period, subject to mutual agreement.

For this position the University Job Classification profile postdoc applies. Your salary will be between €4.332,- up to a maximum of € 5.929,-per month in keeping with the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities. We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.

The UvA offers excellent possibilities for further professional development and education.

What else do we offer

  • a position in which initiative and input are highly valued
  • an enthusiastic and warm team that is open to new colleagues
  • an inspiring academic and international working environment in the heart of Amsterdam

About us

The University of Amsterdam is the largest university in the Netherlands, with the broadest spectrum of degree programmes. It is an intellectual hub with 39,000 students, 6,000 employees and 3,000 doctoral students who are all committed to a culture of inquiring minds.

A challenging work environment with a variety of duties and ample scope for individual initiative and development within an inspiring organization. The social and behavioral sciences play a leading role in addressing the major societal challenges faced by the world, the Netherlands and Amsterdam, now and in the future.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.


Do you have questions, or would you like additional information? Please contact:

Job Application

Does this job profile fit? Then we look forward to receiving your application by 13 November 2023. You may apply online by using the link below. Please indicate whether you are interested in Postdoc position 1, 2, or both.

Applications in .pdf should include:

  • a curriculum vitae
  • a letter of motivation


The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

If you encounter Error GBB451/ GBC451, reach out to our HR Department directly. They will gladly help you continue your application.

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