PhD: The impact of change and the ability to deal with it on an individual’s affective state and welfare

This project will investigate the influence of short- and longer-term change on affective state and welfare in humans (short-term) and rodents (short- and long-term). Subjects will be studied in short-term (e.g. learning and decision-making tasks) and long-term (e.g. housing) environments characterised by high or low rates of change, matched for absolute levels of reward and loss which in turn may be high or low. Measures of affective state and wellbeing will be recorded. The interplay between cumulative experience of reward and whether things are going better or worse than predicted will thus be dissected.

Findings will have theoretical impact and also practical implications for the design and management of animal housing which typically involves periods of minimal change punctuated by occasional major upheavals or husbandry events. The student will receive training in animal behaviour and welfare science, decision-making psychology, and computational analyses of response to change. They will learn experimental design, behaviour and welfare research methods, and statistical / computational analysis approaches.

The project will be supervised by Prof Mike Mendl and will start in September 2021.

Salary: For eligible students UKRI Doctoral Stipend ( £15,009 p.a. standard or £23,164 p.a. for those with a recognised veterinary degree)

Closing date: 07/12/2020

Further information can be found here.