Fully Funded PhD Studentship (Deadline 6th April 2022)

Project Outline
Common and distinct patterns of emotion processing associated with autistic traits and social anxiety (Ref. SoSS-2022-006)

Supervisory team: Dr Mel McKendrick, Dr Louise Delicato & Prof. Thusha Rajendran Research Centre: Centre for Applied Behavioural Sciences

Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is highly comorbid with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) with an estimate of 30-56% across the lifespan (Zaboski, & Storch, 2018; Joshi et al., 2013). Whilst some research has suggested avoidance of attention to eyes in both disorders, there has also been evidence of a double dissociation on delayed orienting towards eyes in ASD and faster disengagement from eyes in SAD (Kleberg et al., 2017). Eye gaze also differs with Schulze et al’s (2013) finding that SAD individuals were more responsive to faces in direct gaze conditions, indicative of a greater social threat, whilst Tell et al. (2014) found that participants with ASD performed poorly compared to controls on a recognition task regardless of eye gaze direction. This has implications for diagnostic indicators and social skills training for non-verbal communication. This project will utilise eye-tracking and virtual reality technology in a series of experimental studies to measure how sensitive people are to the dimensions of identity, emotion and eye gaze.

For informal enquiries, please contact Dr Mel McKendrick ( It is desirable, though not essential, that candidates for this project area have experience with programming and/or eye-tracking.

When submitting your application for this project area, please select the option ‘Psychology, PhD’ from the drop-down list on the online application system.

For more details and to apply please go to

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