Do you want to contribute to top quality medical research?

To be a doctoral student means to devote oneself to a research project under supervision of experienced researchers and following an individual study plan. For a doctoral degree, the equivalent of four years of full-time doctoral education is required.

The research group

In our research group the doctoral student will have a unique opportunity to collaborate with top researchers in the fields of psychology and social neuroscience. Together, we strive to understand the neurocomputational mechanisms of social learning.

In pursuit of this objective, we conduct a range of research projects situated at the intersection of psychology, social neuroscience, and cultural evolution. We employ diverse methods, including conducting behavioral experiments, developing computational models (reinforcement learning and agent-based simulation), and functional magnetic brain imaging (fMRI).

By joining our research group, you will contribute to cutting-edge research at the highest international level. You will engage in empirical data collection through behavioral experiments, develop theoretical frameworks using computational modeling techniques, and investigate neural processes through fMRI imaging.

By joining our research group, you will become part of an engaging and international research environment, where you will have the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to high-quality research on a global scale.

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

The goal of the project (PI Björn Lindström) is to develop a new framework for understanding the psychological, neural, and computational mechanisms of social learning, social transmission, and cultural evolution. The doctoral student will lead a new project that will investigate the social learning mechanisms involved in human cultural evolution.

Using sophisticated behavioral methods, computational modeling, and brain imaging, this project will seek to identify the computational and neural basis of the (reinforcement) learning mechanisms that allow for human cultural evolution.

The doctoral student will also have the opportunity to develop their own ideas within the areas of social learning and cultural evolution. They will be responsible for setting up experiments, analyzing data, and writing scientific articles. The research group has access to two state-of-the-art 3-Tesla MRI scanners at the Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm University Brain Imaging Center (SUBIC).

As a doctoral student, you will have the chance to work in a successful and well-funded research group, collaborating with senior and junior researchers. The group also has collaborations with other research groups at the department and prominent international research groups, offering opportunities for international exchanges. 

What do we offer?

A creative and inspiring environment full of expertise and curiosity. Karolinska Institutet is one of the world's leading medical universities. Our vision is to pursue the development of knowledge about life and to promote a better health for all. At Karolinska Institutet, we conduct successful medical research and hold the largest range of medical education in Sweden. As a doctoral student you are offered an individual research project, a well-educated supervisor, a vast range of elective courses and the opportunity to work in a leading research group. Karolinska Institutet collaborates with prominent universities from all around the world, which ensures opportunities for international exchanges. You will be employed on a doctoral studentship which means that you receive a contractual salary. Employees also have access to our modern gym for free and receive reimbursements for medical care.

Eligibility requirements for doctoral education

In order to participate in the selection for a doctoral position, you must meet the following general (A) and specific (B) eligibility requirements at latest by the application deadline.

It is your responsibility to certify eligibility by following the instructions on the web page Entry requirements (eligibility) for doctoral education.

A) General eligibility requirement

You meet the general eligibility requirement for doctoral/third-cycle/PhD education if you:

  1. have been awarded a second-cycle/advanced/master qualification (i.e. master degree), or
  2. have satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the advanced/second-cycle/master level, or
  3. have acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.*

Follow the instructions on the web page Entry requirements (eligibility) for doctoral education.

*If you claim equivalent knowledge, follow the instructions on the web page Assessing equivalent knowledge for general eligibility for doctoral education.


B) Specific eligibility requirement

You meet the specific eligibility requirement for doctoral/third-cycle/PhD education if you:

- Show proficiency in English equivalent to the course English B/English 6 at Swedish upper secondary school.

Follow the instructions on the web page English language requirements for doctoral education.

Verification of your documents Karolinska Institutet checks the authenticity of your documents. Karolinska Institutet reserves the right to revoke admission if supporting documents are discovered to be fraudulent. Submission of false documents is a violation of Swedish law and is considered grounds for legal action.

(A) and (B) can only be certified by the documentation requirement for doctoral education.

Skills and personal qualities

We are seeking a talented, innovative, and passionate researcher with a strong background in relevant fields such as psychology, cognitive science, social/cognitive neuroscience, computer science or biology, and an interest in computational modelling and human social behavior. Previous documented research experience, particularly using behavioral and brain imaging methods, as well as programming skills (primarily in R, MATLAB, JavaScript, Python), are highly desirable, though not mandatory. A consistently outstanding academic track record is required.

Effective communication within our research group relies on strong English language skills, both in writing and speaking, making it a prerequisite for this position. As part of our selection process, potential candidates will be interviewed, and we will consider personal skills and characteristics to ensure a successful fit for the position.

Terms and conditions

The doctoral student will be employed on a doctoral studentship maximum 4 years full-time.

Application process

Submit your application and supporting documents through the Varbi recruitment system. Use the button in the top right corner and follow the instructions. We prefer that your application is written in English, but you can also apply in Swedish.

Your application must contain the following documents:

- A personal letter and a curriculum vitae
- Degree projects and previous publications, if any
- Any other documentation showing the desirable skills and personal qualities described above
- Documents certifying your general eligibility (see A above)
- Documents certifying your specific eligibility (see B above)


A selection will be made among eligible applicants on the basis of the ability to benefit from doctoral education. The qualifications of the applicants will be evaluated on an overall basis.

Karolinska Institutet uses the following bases of assessment:

- Documented subject knowledge of relevance to the area of research
- Analytical skill
- Other documented knowledge or experience that may be relevant to doctoral studies in the subject.

All applicants will be informed when the recruitment is completed.

Read more about the Emotion Lab here

Mechanisms of Social Learning in Social Contagion and Cultural Evolution

Want to make a difference? Join us and contribute to better health for all!

Type of employment PhD placement
Contract type Full time
First day of employment Enligt överenskommelse
Salary Månadslön
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Stockholm
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number STÖD 2-2481/2023
  • Björn Lindström, Senior Researcher,
  • Lisa Rister, HR partner, 08-52483287,
Union representative
  • Venus Azhary, OFR, 0707-124127
  • Arsalan Amir, SACO, 08-51773337
  • Henry Wölling, SEKO,
Published 14.Jun.2023
Last application date 07.Aug.2023 11:59 PM CEST

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