We are looking for an applicant with a strong background in experimental psychology and an interest in developing novel theoretical approaches and experimental methods to investigate the phenomenon of generalisation of learning. A background in associative learning or cognitive psychology would be an advantage. Experience in research design and data analysis is essential.
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The ability to learn about danger and generalise this learning to novel stimuli is critical for adaptation. However, excessive generalisation has been implicated in anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress. This project combines insights from cognitive psychology, in particular inductive reasoning, with contemporary expectancy-based models of associative learning to investigate generalisation of learned danger. The primary experimental paradigms will be causal judgment and fear conditioning using mild electric shock and psychophysiological indices of fear. The study of general mechanisms and individual differences in generalisation will guide the development of more effective treatments for disorders involving over-generalised fears.