PhD scholarship at the University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney)

Understanding aesthetic experience using multisensory extended reality

The University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney) is seeking expressions of interest from bright-minded and highly energetic individuals who are ready to apply for a Scientia PhD scholarship to support their multidisciplinary research training in a project focusing on the science and art of aesthetics in multisensory experience.
The supervisory team includes Dr Juno Kim (School of Optometry and Vision Science, Faculty of Science), Professor Branka Spehar (School of Psychology, Faculty of Science) and A/Prof Tomasz Bednarz (School of Art & Design, Faculty of Art & Design)

We rely on information from all our senses when making aesthetic judgments. Recent work on visual perception has established fractal- and natural scene statistics-based frameworks to identify characteristics of image structure predictive of aesthetic preference. However, little is known about whether these fractal and structural characteristics are shared across senses. This multidisciplinary project will be the first to combine cutting-edge methods in computer graphics, virtual reality, 3D printing, psychological science and computational modelling to understand the cross-sensory perceptual processes that govern our experience of surfaces and materials in realistic everyday scenarios.


The ideal candidate will be a self-starter who is highly capable of applying research subject matter across diverse fields of the arts, psychology and computer science. They should currently hold an undergraduate Bachelor’s degree with honours in psychology, computer science, vision science or equivalent Master’s program of study. The ideal candidate would have already initiated a publication track record in the area of the proposed project.

The ideal candidate will have demonstrated relevant multi-disciplinary knowledge and experience in the following key research approaches relevant to the project:

*Psychophysics or Human Computer Interactivity (HCI) research on the quantification of human experience.
*Knowledge of methods used in Computer Graphics and 3D simulation.
*Understands lighting simulation and rendering material properties of surfaces
(e.g., diffuse and specular shaders).
*Knowledge and experience with programming applications (e.g., using C/C++, Unity or Unreal engines).
*Able to implement best practices in data analysis and computational modelling.




Using diagnostic and interactive desktop- and head-mounted mobile eye tracking technologies to record and analyse the situated, embodied experience of visual aesthetics/visitor experience in art galleries and museums, this project will make a real-world impact, working with leading gallery and museum industry partners to develop experimental and creative strategies for visitor engagement and evaluation. This interdisciplinary project will enable the successful candidate to work with supervisors combining expertise in the perceptual foundations of aesthetic experience and in the development of innovative curatorial practices. With backgrounds in visual aesthetics and/or the psychology of human perception, applicants should have an understanding of the theory and practice of eye movements in laboratory and/or field studies.

KEYWORDS: Eye tracking / Aesthetics / Galleries and Museums / Cultural Innovation / Embodied perception

Deadline for applicants to contact supervisors and submit Expression of Interest is 21 July.

For more information on the project, and to submit your Expression of Interest please visit the following webpage:

To discuss the project, prospective applicants please contact Michael Garbutt, PhD. , or A-Prof. Branka Spehar before 5pm on 21 July.


  •  $40K (AUD) a year stipend for four years
  • Tuition fees covered for the full 4-year period
  • Coaching and mentoring will form a critical part of your highly personalised leadership development plan
  • Up to $10k (AUD) each year to build your career and support your international research collaborations

For more details about Scientia Scholarships visit

A/Prof Branka Spehar | Director of Undergraduate Programs
School of Psychology | The University of New South Wales | SYDNEY NSW 2052 AUSTRALIA Room 715, Mathews Building | T: +61 (2) 9385 1463 | Fax: +61 (2) 9385 3641
E: | W |

Michael Garbutt PhD | Associate Dean Research Training UNSW Art & DesignUNSW Sydney | Paddington Campus Cnr Oxford St & Greens Rd. | Paddington, NSW 2021Australia T:  +61 (0)2 8936 0774 | E: |W:



Postdoctoral position: Neuroaesthetics and your Brain on Dance

Postdoctoral position:

Neuroaesthetics and your Brain on Dance

The Laboratory for Noninvasive Brain-Machine Interface Systems invites applications for one National Science Foundation (NSF) -funded postdoctoral  position at the intersection of neuroscience, engineering and the arts. The postdoctoral trainee will work in the areas of neural interfaces, wearable devices, fMRI, and the visual and performing arts in collaboration with leading art institutions in Houston such as the Blaffer museum, the Children’s museum, the Museum of Fine Arts-Houston and the Methodist Center for Performing Arts Medicine.

The position is with the Laboratory for Noninvasive Brain-Machine Interface Systems research group, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Houston, Houston, Texas.  For more information about the department please follow the link:

The lab is directed by Professor Dr. Jose L ‘Pepe’ Contreras-Vidal (

Application deadline: 12-01-2015 (or as filled)


Jose L. Contreras-Vidal, Ph.D.
Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen University Professor
Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering & Biomedical Engineering
Director, Laboratory for Noninvasive Brain-Machine Interface Systems
University of Houston
W310 Engineering Building II
Houston, TX  77204-4005
713-743-4429 (O)
713-743-4444 (F)

Description: This project will deploy noninvasive Mobile Brain-body Imaging devices (MoBI) in public and private museums with the goal of assaying individuality and variation in neural activity as it occurs (e.g., “in action and context”) in a large and diverse group of people, including children, experiencing fixed and interactive art exhibits. The research also includes working with neurological music/visual therapists and performing/visual artists to decode intentionality and understand the creative process. Applications to education, art therapy and engineering innovations will be sought. This is a great opportunity for those candidates with interests/skills in both the arts and neuroscience/engineering.

Major responsibilities: The postdoctoral fellow will carry out original research  throughout the period of appointment. Results will be communicated in the form of scientific articles, conference presentations, demonstrations, performances etc. The candidate will work under the supervision of senior researchers with background in neural and cognitive engineering, machine learning, big data analytics, performing arts medicine and neuroscience, and the arts. There will also be opportunities for collaboration with scientists and physicians with the Methodist Hospital Center for Performing Arts Medicine and local museums in the Houston area.

The working time of a postdoctoral fellow is mainly devoted to research and public outreach, but may include supervision of undergraduate and graduate students working in the neuroaesthetic team.

Position summary: Full-time temporary employment. The position is limited to a maximum of three years. Salary is competitive commensurate with experience and skills.

Qualifications: Applicants should have a Ph.D’s degree (or Diploma) in an area of Engineering or Applied Math, or an equivalent or similar background. Expertise or a degree in the Visual or Performing Arts is advantageous. Expertise in two of the following: biomedical signal processing, EEG, motion sensing, scientific programming, arts, neuroscience are required. Furthermore, the position requires sound verbal and written communication skills in English. High grades in relevant undergraduate courses, C/C++ and hardware implementation experience are advantageous.

University and Department: The University of Houston is located in a park-like campus close to major energy companies and the Texas Medical Center, the largest in the world, and NASA. The Carnegie Foundation recognized UH as a public research university with very high research activity. The department has embarked on an exciting period of research growth driven by committed leadership. Houston is a thriving city with an internationally diverse population, first-rate recreational opportunities, excellent schools, and affordable housing. The University of Houston, a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), is among the top 25 colleges and universities granting undergraduate and graduate degrees to Hispanics and among the top 50 for enrolling Hispanic graduates and undergraduates. Additionally, the University ranks among the top 25 institutions for full-time, four-year undergraduate and graduate enrollment. The University of Houston is an ADVANCE institution, one of a select group of universities funded by NSF in support of our commitment to increase diversity and the participation and advancement of women in STEM.