Postdoctoral position in “Investigating perception during interaction with humans and robots” - [ Postdoc ]

Workplace: Genova, IIT
Added on: 21/12/2018 - Expires on: 14/01/2019

One postdoctoral position focusing on the investigation of how visual perception of space and time changes during interaction, and using a humanoid robot as controllable interactive agent.

Perception is a complex process, where prior knowledge is incorporated into the current percept to help the brain cope with sensory uncertainty. This implies that two individuals could perceive differently the very same physical stimulus, e.g. the duration of an interval of time could look longer to one than to the other. Yet, humans are very good at achieving a tight coordination in space and time. This project aims at understanding how a shared perception is achieved, by modelling how visual perception of time and space changes during interaction. To study interaction while preserving experimental control and reproducibility the humanoid robot iCub will be used as a tool to investigate how humans adapt to the partner

The selected candidate will work on the study of visual perception of spatial and temporal stimuli by exploiting psychophysical and kinematics techniques in individual and interactive settings.

The successful applicant will join an interdisciplinary team based at Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Erzelli, Genoa, Italy, and conduct research in the context of the ERC Starting Grant “wHiSPER – investigating Human Shared PErception with Robots” funded by the European Research Council with Grant Agreement n. 804388 (Principal Investigator: Alessandra Sciutti).  Research will happen in a fully equipped laboratory, supplied with a iCub humanoid robot, motion capture and eye-tracking devices, in a group with a variety of competences ranging from robotics to psychology and bioengineering.

The research for this Postdoctoral position will involve:

  • evaluation of spatial and temporal perception skills through psychophysical and behavioral experiments.
  • design of experiments, testing and data analysis (psychophysics, motion tracking) in human-human and human-robot interaction settings
  • modeling of the results

The goal of the research is understanding how humans manage to adapt their perception to that of a partner during an interaction, with potential implications for future collaborative robotics and for assistive technologies for the elderly.

Required qualifications/skills

  • PhD in psychology, neuroscience, biomedical engineering or related fields;
  • Experience with psychophysical measurements and motion tracking;
  • Ability to communicate proficiently in English (written and spoken);
  • Experience in data analysis, modeling and statistics.

Desired skills

  • Experience in Bayesian Modeling;
  • Experience in Human Robot Interaction;
  • Knowledge of Matlab and/or R

The successful candidate will be offered a salary commensurate to experience and skills.

Interested applicants should submit CV, list of publications, names of 2 referees and a statement of research interest to  by January 14th, 2019 quoting Postdoctoral position in “Investigating perception during interaction with humans and robots” - CB 76266” in the subject line.

Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia – IIT ( - was founded with the objective of promoting Italy's technological development and further education in science and technology. In this framework, IIT’s scientific program is based on the combination of basic scientific research with the development of technical applications, a major inspirational principle. The research areas cover scientific topics of high innovative content, representing the most advanced frontiers of modern technology, with wide application possibilities in various fields ranging from medicine to industry, from computer science to robotics, life sciences and nanobiotechnology.

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia is an Equal Opportunity Employer that actively seeks diversity in the workforce.

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