Postdoctoral position in Moral Psychology in Paris

Postdoctoral position in Moral Psychology in Paris

The Institute of Cognitive Sciences (Ecole Normale Supérieure) is searching for a postdoc to begin working in September 2013, on a newly awarded grant, “The Evolution of Fairness: An Interdisciplinary Approach” (see summary description below). The successful candidate will be part of a newly created team of evolutionary biologists and experimental psychologists, and will conduct experiments on moral judgments (moral dilemmas, distributive justice, punishment, etc.) in the framework of the theory of fairness and partner choice.

Candidates should have substantive expertise in experimental psychology, and a strong interest in evolutionary psychology and moral philosophy. French is not required (the working language at the Institute is English).

The precise salary level is still being formulated, but will be in the neighborhood of 2400 €/month (including social security and health insurance). Of note for postdocs with children is that the French system also provides free public schools (from age 3) and financial aid for daycare.

Applications should consist of a 2-3 page cover letter, relating the applicant’s training to the project, as well as a full CV, and should be received by April 15, 2013, sent directly to Nicolas Baumard at: nbaumard@gmail.com.

Summary of Grant Focus and Activities

What makes humans fair? This question can be understood either as a proximate ‘how’ question or as an ultimate ‘why’ question. The ‘how’ question is about the mental mechanisms that produce judgments of fairness, and has been investigated by psychologists and social scientists. The ‘why’ question is about the fitness consequences that explain why humans are endowed with a sense of fairness, and has been discussed by evolutionary biologists and behavioral economists in the context of the evolution of cooperation. Our goal is to contribute to a fruitful articulation of such proximate and ultimate explanations of fairness. Using evolutionary models, we will develop an approach to fairness as an adaptation to an environment in which individuals are in competition to be recruited in mutually advantageous cooperative interactions. In this environment, the best strategy is to share the costs and benefits of cooperation in a fair way. Using experimental methods, we will investigate the patterns of fairness judgments both developmentally and cross-culturally and examine whether they conform to the predictions of evolutionary models.
 

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