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Autobiographical memory coherence, emotional processing and exposure treatment. - Belgium
KU Leuven (company)
Posted on : 07 June 2017
- Exposure therapy is treatment of choice for most anxiety disorders.
- Basic research concerning the mechanisms of exposure are dominated by a learning psychology approach (extinction; establishment of inhibitory associations).
- Less attention has been paid to the memory processes involved; and in particular to the (autobiographical) memory base that embeds these (conditioned) learning experiences within a broader narrative.
- One of the factors that has received increasing interest concerns the coherence of these autobiographical narratives.
- Research shows that persons who develop more coherent narratives about personally relevant experiences
- demonstrate higher levels of psychological well-being, and
- seem more resilient with respect to negative life circumstances.
In addition, research on exposure treatment for PTSD and studies from within the 'expressive writing' literature (which has a strong exposure component) show that positive treatment effects go hand in hand with increased levels of memory coherence.
Restructuring memory for adverse experiences and creating a meaningful and coherent narrative for these events, seems to be a beneficial component within exposure treatment. In this research project, we will
- expand on previous findings that show beneficial effects of coherent narratives,
- conduct more firm tests of the mediating role of coherence in treatment, and
- experimentally manipulate coherence in the context of a clinical randomized controlled trial.
- You have a master’s degree in psychology (or educational sciences). Candidates for the PhD position should have an active interest in state-of-the-art research in clinical psychology.
- You obtained good grades. Master students that will graduate in July 2017 are also invited to apply.
- You are motivated and eager to learn. You can work independently and flexibly but are also willing to collaborate in a team. You have a talent for organization and good communication skills.
- Please add (a) a motivation letter in which you highlight your specific interest in this job opening, (b) a detailed overview of your academic results, and (c) contact information for at least one reference person.
- This position provides an excellent opportunity for beginning researchers to develop their specific research skills in the domain of clinical psychology as well as additional more general academic skills, in an attractive and stimulating environment.
- We offer a full-time employment for 4 years (1 year + 3 years after positive evaluation)
- We offer a competitive salary with various additional benefits (in terms of holidays, health insurance, transport costs), excellent research facilities, and conference and travel budget.
- The net income (after taxes) for doctoral students is essentially the same as for regular research assistants.