Developing and validating individual differences assessment tools for the improved measurement of personality, cognitive abilities, interests and values.

The Department of Psychology at the University of Oregon is seeking a postdoctoral research scientist to begin as soon as practical. This scientist will work on currently funded studies (see below) as well as prospective research initiatives already under development in the PIE (Personality is Everywhere) Lab in the Psychology Department at the University of Oregon. Research in the PIE Lab, directed by David Condon and Sara Weston, is primarily focused on two complementary lines of research: improved measurement of personality and individual differences (broadly defined), and the application of these tools to gain a better understanding of psychological individual differences (especially in terms of predictive utility and related evaluations of validity). Qualified candidates for this position will have a demonstrable interest in one or both of these lines of research; much of the funded work will be focused on measurement projects, though there will also be opportunities for self-directed research.

Specifically, we are looking for candidates with expertise in one or more of the following topics and a strong interest in contributing to all of them:

  1. Expansion and improvement of the International Cognitive Ability Resource – Development, validation, and translation of existing or new cognitive ability tasks suitable for use online in research contexts, including projects in education or studies of aging. This work involves a strong understanding of psychometrics and test validation procedures as well as familiarity with the ITC guidelines for translating and adapting tests. See here for more information about ICAR: https://icar-project.com/
  2. Creativity Assessment – The development and validation of procedures for assessing creativity in large online samples on the basis of open-ended (unstructured) responses to validated creativity assessment prompts. These procedures will employ machine learning algorithms capable of automatic scoring at a level comparable to or better than human coders.
  3. Persome-wide profile analyses of achievement across various domains. These results will use large samples of international participants and large pools of personality and cognitive ability variables in conjunction with analytic methods analogous to those developed for genome-wide association analyses (for more information, see Revelle, Dworak, & Condon, 2020).
  4. App Development for the ongoing assessment of individual differences across a diverse range of attributes and research contexts. This work requires project management skills, the ability to wrangle large data sets using offsite computing clusters, familiarity with – or willingness to learn – the front-end and back-end coding skills (i.e., LAMP stack or similar) necessary to interact with software developers, and an understanding of best practices in collaborative, open science. Though technical, this work includes the opportunity to make meaningful theoretical contributions relating to information-theoretic approaches to individual differences assessment.

For each of these areas of inquiry, we hope to conduct interdisciplinary research with societal impact. A substantial portion of the funding for this position has been provided by the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Foundation in support of the Rise scholarship initiative, and we hope to pursue (and encourage) further application of these research lines beyond its use in basic science. Successful applicants will share our interest in conducting personality and individual differences research with the potential to improve the lives of others through mechanism such as informing public policy in health and education, addressing issues of equity and diversity, or by increasing the well-being of disadvantaged populations.

The successful applicant will have a demonstrated record of working collaboratively, designing research protocols, managing data collection, conducting a wide range of statistical analysis, disseminating findings in peer-reviewed manuscripts and conference presentations, and assisting in the mentorship of graduate students. Applicants should have:

  • A Ph.D. in psychology or a closely related field;
  • Advanced familiarity with R (knowledge of additional programming languages is preferred);
  • Commitment to open and transparent scientific practices; and
  • Authorship on peer-reviewed journal articles. This position will provide multiple opportunities to lead the production of manuscripts with large data sets and potentially complex analysis plans. Strong applicants will have already carried out one or more similar projects in the past.

The duration of this position is open-ended. Funding is guaranteed for one year; funding for the second year and beyond is contingent upon a variety of factors, including the availability of professional development opportunities for the successful applicant. We recognize that qualified candidates for this position will also be applying for more permanent positions in academia and industry. In addition to providing mentorship/training, we support the pursuit of long-term career options, and we hope that our work together will lead to a collaborative relationship that lasts beyond the duration of this post-doctoral position. Remote work (whether off-campus or long-distance) is acceptable though the possibility of occasional (if infrequent) in-person meetings is preferable.

Prospective applicants should submit materials through the following link:

https://careers.uoregon.edu/en-us/job/525877/pro-tem-research-assistantassociatepostdoc-cas-psychology-open-pool

These materials should include a cover letter, a current CV, a statement of interest in this position, and three professional references. We welcome candidates who can contribute to and/or support the diversity and excellence of our academic community, and we encourage applicants to address this point in their cover letter or a separate statement. Please be sure to name this position or the PIs (Condon/Weston) in your cover letter, and email David Condon when your materials have been submitted at dcondon@uoregon.edu.

Review of applications will begin April 26th (2021), and will continue until the position is filled.

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