Media Neuroscience Lab Recruiting Graduate Students for Fall 2019

The Media Neuroscience Lab at the University of California, Santa Barbara is recruiting up to two (2) graduate students for Fall 2019. Deadline for applications is January 1st, 2019.

The Details:


WHAT: Four-year (with incoming M.A.) or five-year (with incoming B.A. or B.S.) funded PhD positions in Communication, with research specifically focused on media neuroscience, computational communication science, and communication science in general.

WHO: Highly-motivated applicants with a deep interest in neuroscientific or computational approaches to communication/media phenomena and theory, including individuals’ selection and/or processing of mediated messages, are encouraged to apply. Preferred degrees: Psychology, Communication, Cognitive Neuroscience, Computational Neuroscience, Computer Science, Statistics, Mathematics. Programming skills (e.g. R, Python, MATLAB) are also highly desired.

Applications are invited from candidates who, (1) hold a discipline-related B.S. or B.A. from an accredited college or university, (2) hold an equivalent second-level degree (generally equivalent to a Master’s Degree) obtained in any country, in any discipline, and (3) expect to receive their degree award by September 1, 2019

WHERE: Department of Communication, University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) ; Media Neuroscience Lab

UCSB is a leader in theoretical and methodological innovation in neuroscience, psychology, and communication. Members of our lab have access to a state-of-the-art Brain Imaging Center ( and to the the SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind (Director Michael Gazzaniga, The SAGE Center regularly hosts world-renowned scholars such as Yuval Noah Harari (February 2017) and Helen Fisher (December 2017).

UCSB is a top-rated institution, both in academics and environment. US News & World Report ranked UCSB #5 in its 2019 Top Public Schools list. UCSB is also one of the few universities to have its own lagoon and beach access. Compared to the national average of 205 sunny days per year, Santa Barbara has an average of 283. UCSB also boasts a diverse student body. Almost a third of incoming graduate students are international students, with 79 countries represented within the 2017-18 cohort. Santa Barbara is a cultural hub about 100 miles North of Los Angeles, and is home to a variety of local festivals, art and music venues, and culinary/wine production hotspots.

RESEARCH TOPICS: Neuroscientific approaches to communication, media, and cognitive phenomena including (1) Bodily, brain and behavioral correlates of attention, flow and cognitive load; (2) systems approach to media sharing behavior and processing of mediated moral messages; (3) brain and behavioral correlates of aggression and video game playing, (4) biological sex and hormones as predictors of media selection and exposure, (5) method and theory development at the intersection of communication and neuroscience, (6) development of research tools and methodologies in media neuroscience.

RESEARCH TECHNIQUES: Quantitative survey, content analysis, and experimental methodology; physiological techniques, including fMRI, fEMG, EEG, and peripheral measures; computational techniques requiring software tools like Python, Matlab/SPM, FSL, R/R Studio.

APPLICATION DEADLINE : January 1, 2019 (by 11:59 PM PST)


See for steps on how to apply

Phase 1. Applications will be assessed starting January 2019, with qualified candidates invited to an open house around February 2019. Phase 2. An on site open house will be held mid-to-late February at the Department of Communication. It is possible, following motivated requests and extenuating circumstances, to conduct Phase 2 interviewing via video-conferencing.


René Weber, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor and Principal Researcher at the Media Neuroscience Lab