LNCO announces two PhD positions for November 2019

© 2019 EPFL

© 2019 EPFL

The Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience is accepting applications for two PhD positions in "Neural Coupling Between Episodic Autobiographical Memory & Self-Consciousness" and "Experimental Induction of Out-of-Body Experiences Using Virtual Reality & Robotics".

We have two PhD positions opening later this year, see details below. Successful candidates will be enrolled in the EPFL PhD program in Neuroscience (November 2019 enrolment). For more details please visit

1) Neural Coupling Between Episodic Autobiographical Memory & Self-Consciousness"

We have an open position for a PhD student on the neural mechanisms coupling episodic autobiographical memory and self-consciousness using the methods of virtual reality (VR) and fMRI.

Specifically, the project plans to investigate how the integration of online body-related signals not only impacts self-consciousness, but how these signals impact the encoding and retrieval of autobiographical memories. The research is based on our past work on self-consciousness (Lenggenhager et al., Science 2007; Ionta et al., Neuron 2011; Blanke et al., Neuron 2015) and will employ and further develop a recently developed VR platform for episodic memory (Brechet et al., Plos1 2019) and apply it to fMRI using laboratorycontrolled virtual events that will be fully adapted to fMRI.

The ideal candidate should have a Master's degree (or equivalent degree) in computer science, neuroscience, biology, psychology, or engineering, be strongly motivated with a keen interest in cognitive-systems neuroscience and neuroimaging/signal analysis. (1) A strong neuroimaging background, especially in fMRI, (2) previous research experience in the experimental psychology of memory (psychophysics), or (3) strong VR programming are a plus.

2) Experimental Induction of Out-of-Body Experiences Using Virtual Reality & Robotics

We have a second open position for a PhD student on the experimental induction of so-called out-of-body experiences using immersive virtual reality (VR) and body scanning as well as robotics and vestibular stimulation.

We study out of body experiences (OBEs) because they allow important insights into the neuroscience of consciousness, especially self-consciousness and how it is based on the processing of specific bodily stimuli (Blanke et al., Nature, 2002; Ionta et al., Neuron 2011). OBEs occur in 5% of the general population and are characterized by disembodiment, elevated self-location, and an experienced viewpoint that is consistent with the change in self-location. The Blanke Lab has pioneered the use of VR in order to induce altered states of self-consciousness (including out-of-body illusions and full-body illusions) (Lenggenhager et al., Science 2007) and its neural mechanisms (Ionta et al., Neuron 2011; Blanke et al., 2015). The present PhD project will take advantage of most recent advances in VR and body scanning and integrate them with our recently installed vestibular motion platform and haptics technology to induce and understand OBEs and the related brain mechanisms of selfconsciousness.

The ideal candidate should have a Master's degree (or an equivalent degree) in neuroscience, psychology, or engineering (or neuroscience, biology, or computer science) and be a strongly motivated person with a keen interest in cognitive-systems neuroscience. (1) Previous research experience in the experimental psychology of multisensory perception (psychophysics) and/or (2) VR or vestibular processing are a plus.

We would like to ask all applicants to include a short (3-minute) video-introduction alongside their standard application. This will allow you to tell us a bit more about yourself, your background, motivations, and future plans.

For inquiries and applications please contact:

Giulio Rognini
[email protected]
Senior Scientist
Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscienc

Author: Oliver Kannape