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PhD candidate FutureU: Testing a new intervention to reduce delinquency using serious gaming and virtual realityPosted by: University of Twente
Posted date: 2018-Apr-16
Why are some people more likely to commit crime than others? Answers to this question can be grouped into two broad views. On the one hand, dispositional perspectives argue that stable factors within the individual, such as lack of self-control, lie at the roots of criminal conduct. Sociogenic perspectives, on the other hand, put the locus of study outside the individual and point towards external factors such as rough neighborhoods, parental unemployment, and deviant peers, as the main causes of crime. Research into both perspectives has identified hundreds of correlates of criminal behavior, yet how these are related is still largely uncharted territory. The ERC research program aims to integrate both views based on a new theoretical perspective, which draws from criminology, social psychology and evolutionary theory. This perspective is premised on the idea that short-term mindsets encourage crime and specifies how both individual dispositions and sociogenic variables can encourage such mindsets.
This PhD project will test the new theoretical perspective among a sample of offenders using ecological momentary assessment (EMA) delivered through a smartphone app. EMA is a validated and structured diary technique that allows for the systematic and repeated sampling of an individual’s mood, behavior and experiences over time in relation to context. Furthermore, building on recent pilot research (Van Gelder, et al., 2013, 2015), the project will use virtual reality (VR) technology in combination with a smartphone application to instill a future-oriented mindset in offenders by having them meet and interact with their future self through various serious games. This behavioral intervention called ‘FutureU’ will be implemented among convicted offenders in collaboration with the Dutch Probation Service (‘Reclassering Nederland’) and/or the Custodial Institutions Agency and will use an experimental design. It is one of the first interventions of its kind and will use cutting-edge VR and smartphone technology.
The project is part of a larger ERC-funded research program in which the role of short-term thinking is central. This program’s ambition is to realize ground-breaking advances in the understanding of criminal and delinquent conduct by improving our understanding what causes people to become shortsighted and also how they can learn and be motivated to take the longer term consequences of their actions better into account and move away from (embarking on) a criminal career.
You will be working closely together with other researchers in a young and ambitious multidisciplinary research team that aims to push the boundaries of the current state-of-the art in crime research. You will frequently interact with professionals working at the Probation Service and the Custodial Institutions Agency and engage directly with convicted offenders between 16 and 21 years.
Information and application
Your application needs to be uploaded before 1 May 2018 via the application link. Given that this website does not accept more than three documents, you can combine documents if necessary.
Conditions of employment
You are appointed as PhD (1,0 fte) for a period of four years. Initial gross salary is € 2.222,- in the first year going up to € 2.840,- per month in the fourth year. Preferred starting date is July 2018. The University of Twente offers excellent facilities for professional and personal development, international and dynamic atmosphere, a green and lively campus, holiday allowance (8%), end-of-year bonus (8.3%) and diverse extra benefits.
The University of Twente. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Education and research that matter. New technology which leads change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university of the Netherlands; divided over five faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. We have a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out groundbreaking research.
We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability status. Because of our diversity values we do particularly support women to apply.
Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences