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How to Apply

Please apply to this job posting. This job posting will close once a person has been selected.

Then send applications (CV, statement of research interests, names of 3 references) to Dr. Francine Dolins ( and Dr. Richard Lewis (

Job Summary

A postdoctoral position in comparative social cognition shared between the Department of Behavioral Sciences-Psychology at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and the Department of Psychology University of Michigan-Ann Arbor is available beginning as early as September 2021. Candidates with a Ph.D. in primate behavior and cognition/comparative cognition, cognitive psychology, or related fields are encouraged to apply.

The position is funded for up to three years by the Templeton World Charity Foundation - Diverse Intelligences division. The position involves comparative data collection and analysis through testing bonobos, chimpanzees and humans (children and adults) using virtual reality (non-invasive testing only). This social cognitive project has four main objectives. First, it will rigorously evaluate the theoretical foundations of intentional cooperation by nonhuman animals (apes) compared to humans as distinct from behaviors (ie., competitive) that may appear to be cooperative. The cross-species comparison also aims to identify whether nonhuman apes exhibit pre-cursors to, or the full repertoire of, intentional cooperation. Second, the project will include developing formal theoretical models in the form of computational agent models of the learning and behavioral strategies exhibited by the nonhuman apes and humans. Third, the introduction of ape avatars will allow exploration of questions about ‘self’ in virtual reality, and to further our understanding of Theory of Mind in nonhuman primates. The fourth aim is to advance the science and methods of testing nonhuman primate cognition using virtual reality.

The postdoctoral position will benefit from interaction with other research team members and world-class faculty at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor and Dearborn campuses), and research team members at the University of St. Andrews’ Psychology Department and the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.