Media Neuroscience Lab now Accepting Applications

October 12, 2018

Call for Applications for Prospective Ph.D. Students
Computational Communication Science
Media Neuroscience Lab
Department of Communication
University of California, Santa Barbara

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 computational communication science.

WHO: Highly-motivated applicants with a deep interest in a computational approach to communication/media phenomena and theory, including individuals’ selection and/or processing
of mediated messages, are encouraged to apply. Preferred degrees: Computer Science, Information Science, Data Science, Computational Neuroscience, Communication, Psychology, Statistics, Mathematics. Foundational programming skills (e.g. Python, R, MATLAB, SQL/NoSQL) are assumed, and advanced programming skills are 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 data and network science, hosting a large variety of interdisciplinary programs for the advancements of pressing societal issues. Members of our lab have access to long-standing collaborations with the IGERT network science program, the Center for Information and Technology (CITS), UCSB’s data science hub, and the SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind.

RESEARCH TOPICS: Computational approaches to communication, media, and cognitive phenomena including (1) extraction of latent content features (e.g., moral conflict, hate speech, argument strength, character relations, etc.) from textual narratives (e.g., movie scripts, news articles, song lyrics, short stories, etc.) and audiovisual narratives (e.g., movies, PSAs, etc.) (2) understanding of communication phenomena including polarization, (fake) news sharing, communication accommodation, and news-event cycles through computational models (3) exploration, mining, and analysis of large-scale datasets (e.g., ) to advance communication theory (4) method and theory development at the intersection of communication and data science, (5) development of interfaces, research tools, and methodologies in computational communication science.

RESEARCH TECHNIQUES: Natural language processing (NLP) and understanding (NLU), automated content analysis (ACA), topic modeling (e.g., LDA), word-embeddings (e.g.,
word2vec), audiovisual feature extraction (e.g., pliers), agent-based modeling, Markov chains, social network analysis, semantic network analysis, dashboard, interface, and API development (e.g., HTML/CSS/javascript)

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