Studying the foundations of politics with Quentin Atkinson: 2 positions (PhD students)

The University of Auckland advertises two new fully funded PhD studentships examining how culture and cognition shape human political belief and behaviour. Closing date: 15th December 2017.
See the full add here.

What determines our views on taxation and welfare, crime and healthcare, military spending and climate change? And why do opinions about these seemingly disparate aspects of our social lives coalesce the way they do?

The strategies people use to navigate their social worlds and negotiate social dilemmas vary enormously both within and between cultures. Understanding this variation is critical both for unravelling our evolutionary past and for tackling some of the major challenges of our future. This project will combine one of the world’s largest longitudinal panel surveys with methods and theory from experimental economics and evolutionary anthropology to investigate the cognitive and cultural foundations of human political ideology. The studentships include opportunities to work with the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Survey, the DECIDE lab for business decision making at the University of Auckland Business School, and to carry out fieldwork in small-scale societies in Vanuatu.

The successful applicants will have a background in psychology, economics or anthropology, with quantitative skills and an interest in research on human cooperation. Fieldwork experience, a background in evolutionary theory, familiarity with Pacific language/culture, and programming skills in, for example, R and Ztree/otree, are desirable but not essential. Willingness to work as part of a team is also important.

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