PhD studentship: Affordance based decision making – implications for neurodevelopmental disorders


Qualification type: PhD

Subject area: Psychology

Location: University of Hertfordshire, College Lane

Start date: January 2022

Closing application date: 15 November 2021

Duration of studentship:  Part-time (6 years)

Project outline

We are constantly making decisions about when and how to act upon our environment—decisions underpinned by sensory information provided to us about our environment, and our own action capabilities. For example, making a decision about when (or if) it is safe to cross the road requires your ability to pick up sensory information about the speed and location of traffic, while considering this in light of your own walking speed. Using this sensory and motor information, we can thus make an estimate as to what the environment ‘affords’ us, and appropriate decisions can be made. However, questions remain as to how these affordance-based decisions are made by individuals who may experience difficulties with sensory and motor coupling.

This project aims to explore the impact of sensory and motor difficulties in affordance-based decision making as a function of neurodevelopmental symptoms. The candidate will work within a multi-disciplinary team to use technology including Virtual Reality (VR), motion capture (Vicon systems) and eye tracking to profile the impact of sensory and motor difficulties on decision making.

Successful candidates will have an opportunity to do some teaching or project supervision, not to exceed an average of six hours per week, for which training will be provided.

Further information is available in the application pack.


Principal supervisor: Dr Caroline Whyatt

Entry Requirements


  • at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in Psychology or a related subject
  • excellent personal, oral and written communication skills
  • be confident in scientific research methods
  • International/EU applicants: must meet the minimum English language requirements, which include an IELTS score of 6.5 (or equivalent).


  • a relevant master’s degree will be an advantage, but is not essential.

There may be additional paid opportunities to assist with project supervision, teaching and assessment on the undergraduate psychology degree programme.

How to apply and request an application pack

Applicants are required to provide the following documents:

If you'd like an application pack with more information, please email Dr Amanda Ludlow or Dr Caroline Whyatt using the subject line: Psychology PhD Studentship application.

Interviews start the week commercing 22 November 2021.

If you have a project related enquiry, please email Dr Caroline Whyatt.

Funding information

The studentship will provide a tax-free stipend over six years (part-time), currently £7804.50 per annum (standard RCUK rate) plus home tuition fees at the UK rate. A successful international/EU applicant would be required to pay the difference from home fees.