Funded PhD opportunities

Drawings as a method for eliciting information and magnifying cues to deceit

  • Application end date: 22nd January 2018
  • Funding Availability: Funded PhD project (UK students only)
  • Department: Department of Psychology
  • PhD Supervisor: Professor Aldert Vrij, Dr Zarah Vernham, Dr Galit Nahari


ESRC South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership (SCDTP) funded. Project code: PSYC4290118

Project in brief 

Developing interview styles that elicit differing responses between truth tellers and liars is now at the forefront of verbal deception research. Tools that, apart from eliciting cues to deceit, also elicit information are particularly useful as they then achieve both the required aims of an investigative interview: To elicit information and facilitate lie detection. Sketching while narrating has potential to achieve both these aims. Sketching facilitates memory recall and should thus facilitate those with the richest memory trace the most (i.e. truth tellers). The project will include a series of experiments in which the effects of sketching while narrating will be examined. 

Specific Research Questions

To systematically explore the effect of a request to sketch on eliciting information and cues to deceit by examining whether (i) sketching while narrating enhances differences between truth tellers and liars in the amount of information they provide and (ii) whether sketches produced by truth tellers and liars differ from each other.

Supervisor profiles

Professor Aldert Vrij - Professor Aldert Vrij Profile

Dr Zarah Vernham - Dr Zarah Vernham Profile

Dr Galit Nahari - Dr Galit Nahair Profile

Admissions criteria

You’ll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (depending upon chosen course, minimum second class or equivalent) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0. 

For all funding, students must have qualifications of the standard of a good honours degree at first or upper second-class level, from a UK academic higher education institution. Degree qualifications gained from outside the UK, or a combination of qualifications and/or experience that is equivalent to a relevant UK degree, may be accepted.

Before you apply, please make sure you meet the candidate specification.

Candidates do not need to submit a project proposal, however are required to submit a 500 word personal statement to include: 

  • Details of how your skills and interests match the project
  • Background and previous experience
  • Research interests

If you need to discuss this project and your application further then please contact a member of the supervision team as listed below, in advance of the deadline dates:

Professor Aldert Vrij –

Dr Zarah Vernham –

Dr Galit Nahari -

Specific candidate requirements 

Foundation in quantitative methods, especially regression modelling and an interest in place effects on health. Ability to embrace the complex modelling of large datasets.

There are two stages to the application process 

(1) The first application form you need to complete is for your chosen programme of study at the University of Portsmouth. 

Apply to the University of Portsmouth through our standard online application form and follow the instructions given under the ’Research Degrees’ heading on the following webpages before you submit your SCDTP application: 

When applying to the University of Portsmouth, you will need to enter project code - PSYC4290118

The closing date for University of Portsmouth applications is 22 January 2018, 11.59 pm. 

(2) The second application form which requires completion is the South Coast DTP Funding Application Form. There are two versions of this form which can be downloaded. In accordance with the SCDTP guidance, please ensure you use the correct form (in this case the ’South Coast DTP Project Specific Application Form’). 

The ’South Coast DTP Project Specific Application Form’, and more information on the South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership can be found at: 

You will then need to submit your funding application to the SCDTP by 31 January 2018, 11.59 pm. 

For more detailed information about the project, please see the university webpage: 


Informal enquiries are encouraged and can be made to Professor Aldert Vrij at or 023 9284 6319, Dr Zarah Vernham at or 023 9284 6345, Dr Galit Nahari at or 03-5318654.

For administrative and admissions enquiries please contact

How to Apply

You can apply online at  You are required to create an account which gives you the flexibility to save the form, log out and return to it at any time convenient to you.

A link to the online application form and comprehensive guidance notes can be found at

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