LINGUIST List 33.1642

Tue May 10 2022

Support: Cognitive Science; General Linguistics; Philosophy of Language: PhD, University of Groningen

Editor for this issue: Lauren Perkins <>

Date: 07-May-2022
From: Petra Hendriks <>
Subject: Cognitive Science; General Linguistics; Philosophy of Language: PhD, University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
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Department: Faculty of Philosophy
Web Address:

Level: PhD

Institution/Organization: University of Groningen

Duties: Research

Specialty Areas: Cognitive Science; General Linguistics; Philosophy of Language
Artificial Intelligence, Logic


PhD position on the research project "Cognitive building blocks of lie detection"

Lying is very common in social interactions among people. Being able to detect lies is therefore important for social functioning. Despite this, adults are generally not very good at detecting lies. In children, an understanding of truth and lies gradually develops during the school-age years and seems to require an understanding of other people’s beliefs and intentions. Children’s lie detection abilities thus seem to develop in tandem with their theory of mind abilities, but how these two abilities exactly interact in the course of children’s development, and what other factors are important, is still an open question. Furthermore, it is still unknown whether the ability to detect lies can be enhanced, which could help children and adults to maneuver in a world in which the truth of utterances is not always evident.

This interdisciplinary project studies how children develop the ability to detect other people’s lies. This ability not only requires adequate verbal skills and second-order theory of mind reasoning skills, but also the skills to construct and actively maintain a representation of one’s own knowledge, the knowledge of the speaker, and reality. As a starting point, existing computational cognitive models of sentence interpretation and theory of mind reasoning will be used, which will be integrated and expanded with representations of the knowledge involved. By running computational simulations of the resulting cognitive model, predictions will be generated about the timing of the components involved in sentence interpretation, theory of mind reasoning, and lie detection. These predictions will be empirically tested in psycholinguistic experiments with children and adults.

The project will be supervised by Prof. Petra Hendriks (Faculty of Arts), Prof. Barteld Kooi (Faculty of Philosophy), and Prof. Rineke Verbrugge (Faculty of Science and Engineering & Faculty of Philosophy).

Your qualifications are:
- a Master's degree in artificial intelligence, logic, philosophy, linguistics or a related discipline, with an excellent academic record (GPA: min. 8/10; MA thesis: min. 8/10). A Research Master or other two-year Master programme is preferred
- experience with at least two of the following four research domains: (1) computational cognitive modeling, (2) psycholinguistic experimentation, (3) dynamic epistemic logic, (4) language development
- proven research abilities and affinity with the research topic
- excellent command of English and good academic writing skills.

Submission procedure:
Please submit your entire application as a single PDF-file before the deadline of Monday 6 June, 11:59 p.m., 2022 Dutch local time (CET) at the latest, using the link specified below.

Your submission should contain the following parts:
- a cover letter introducing yourself and describing your motivation to conduct scientific research.
- a full CV demonstrating academic excellence, including publications and presentations (if applicable), and a copy of the data page of your passport
- a certified copy or scan of your MSc or MA diploma (or equivalent) and academic record including a list of grades and names and contact details of two academic references. Applicants who have not obtained their MSc or MA diploma yet but expect to graduate before September 2022 can also apply
- a short research proposal (1-2 pages) presenting your own ideas and suggestions in relation to the described research project.

Start date: 1 September 2022

For questions regarding the submission procedure, please contact Dr. Han Thomas Adriaenssen, e-mail address:

Interviews with selected candidates will take place in the final week of June 2022.

Applications Deadline: 06-Jun-2022

Web Address for Applications:

Contact Information:
        Prof. Petra Hendriks

Page Updated: 10-May-2022