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


Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Project code



Department of Psychology

Start dates

Closing date

18th June 2019 (4pm)

This is a fully-funded 3-year PhD or 4-year Master's and PhD studentship, to start in October 2019.

This PhD represents a unique opportunity to the successful candidate to be part of the SCDTP cohort as well as the University’s Department of Psychology. The supervisors are Professor Aldert Vrij, Dr Zarah Vernham and Dr Galit Nahari.

The studentship is funded by the ESRC South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership (SCDTP), a collaboration between the universities of Portsmouth, Southampton and Brighton.

The studentship is available to UK students only and covers tuition fees and an annual maintenance grant of £15,009 (2019/20 RCUK rate).

The work will look at:

  • whether sketching while narrating enhances differences between truth-tellers and liars in the amount of information they provide.
  • whether sketches produced by truth-tellers and liars differ from each other

Developing interview styles that elicit differing responses between truth-tellers and liars is now at the forefront of verbal deception research. Tools that elicit both information and cues to deceit are particularly useful, as they then achieve both the required aims of an investigative interview.

Sketching while narrating has the potential to achieve both these aims: sketching facilitates memory recall and those with the richest memory (i.e. those who are telling the truth) should therefore trace the most.

Through a series of experiments, which you'll help us to design and create, this project will examine the effects of sketching while narrating.

Entry Requirements

Entry Requirements

  • You must be a UK resident and hold a good honours degree (2:1 and above) from a recognised higher education institution.
  • Please note, if you're applying without a Master's qualification containing a substantial Social Sciences methods component, you may be required to complete a relevant Master's beforehand. The Master's will be fully funded by the SCDTP and will be run from the University of Southampton.
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

  • The successful student will design the experiments with us and be responsible for running the experiments, coding the sketches and narratives using existing coding protocols, analysing the data, and reporting the findings - so competence in designing experimental studies, multivariate and qualitative methods of data analysis is required.
  • You should also have good writing skills and good interpersonal skills for engaging and recruiting participants, and communicating with other PhD students and end-users.

How to Apply

Before you apply, you'll need a University supervisor to support your SCDTP application – so please contact the project supervisors before you submit an application.

The project will require you to discuss possible methods and research design as well as detailing how your skills, background and research interests match the project. It is therefore very important that you discuss the project with the supervisor.

Full instructions are given on the SCDTP application form and there are different word limits depending on whether you are applying for a 4-year Master's or 3-year PhD.

Please note: you will need to submit an online application to the University of Portsmouth plus an application for funding to the SCDTP. For more details, visit the SCDTP website.

When applying to the University, please quote project code: PSYC4540119

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