KU Leuven

Improving the measurement of affect in daily life

2024-06-17 (Europe/Brussels)
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KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.

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The successful candidate will work in the Research Group of Quantitative Psychology and Individual Differences (http://ppw.kuleuven.be/okp/home/) under the supervision of Prof. Peter Kuppens and Prof. Eva Ceulemans. The group offers an international, productive, collaborative, multidisciplinary, and interactive environment with about 6 faculty and 26 graduate and postgraduate students.
The University of Leuven is a research-oriented institution and is consistently ranked among the top research universities in Europe. Leuven is one of the oldest university towns in Europe, about 30 km from Brussels. It has a rich history and a unique friendly atmosphere.

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How you feel from moment to moment determines for a large part your well-being. How we measure these momentary affective experiences in daily life, is therefore crucial for the prediction, diagnosis, and prevention of mental health problems. The current state of the art of measuring affect in daily life is the Experience Sampling Methodology (ESM): Using a smartphone app, participants self-report on their momentary affective state at random moments throughout the day.

Affect changes continuously on very short timescales, but the way affect is measured traditionally with ESM does not always align with this timescale. In this Phd project, we aim to study novel methods to capture affect changes on shorter timescales (involving intensity profile drawings, measurement bursts). These novel methods are already available but pose challenges in terms of how to process the data, how to validate the method, and how the obtained data can be used to study the dynamics of affect and their relation with well-being. These challenges form the starting point of this PhD project. It is expected that the PhD research will provide innovations in how affect is measured in daily life, and will also lead to direct applications in the m-Path platform for use in research and clinical practice.  

This PhD project is part of a larger research program on Affectometrics in the Research Group of Quantitative Psychology and Individual Differences at KU Leuven. Its objectives include (1) validating affect measurements, (2) refining methods for assessing affect change and regulation, and (3) examining the enhanced predictive value of these measures for mental health and well-being.


The successful candidate will engage in data collection through lab experiments and/or experience sampling methods and will analyze both existing and newly collected data. Additionally, they will prepare high-quality scientific papers and present their research findings at (inter)national expert meetings and conferences.

We are looking for highly motivated and enthusiastic candidates, with a degree in Psychology, Behavioral or Cognitive Sciences. Other degrees that imply a profound knowledge of affective sciences, statistics, and data analysis can also be considered. Strong statistical skills, effective communication, and organizational abilities are essential. Fluency in English is required. Candidates should embrace an interdisciplinary perspective in their research. Familiarity with affect and emotion research, statistical models in psychology, and/or psychological time series analysis is an advantage.


We offer a fully funded full-time PhD position for 1 year, with an expected extension to 4 years. The position is focused on research, but the faculty requires PhD candidate to be involved in 120 hours of teaching per year (together with some other minor educational duties, such as exam proctoring). Salary is competitive and in line with university standards. The successful PhD candidate will become member of a vibrant, international, top-level research group.


Application deadline: Monday June 17, 2024 6PM CET.

Expected starting date: October 1st, 2024.

Applications should consist of a motivation letter (including contact information of 2 referees) and a CV (including copies of diploma certificates and transcripts at university level). Application materials have to be submitted through the KU Leuven portal. The review of applications will start on Monday June 17, and continue until a suitable candidate is found for each position. Job interviews for promising candidates will be scheduled on July 3. If you are invited for a job interview, we may ask you to present the results of a take-home assignment.

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Peter Kuppens, tel.: +32 16 32 61 08, mail: peter.kuppens@kuleuven.be or Prof. dr. Eva Ceulemans, tel.: +32 16 32 58 81, mail: eva.ceulemans@kuleuven.be.

KU Leuven strives for an inclusive, respectful and socially safe environment. We embrace diversity among individuals and groups as an asset. Open dialogue and differences in perspective are essential for an ambitious research and educational environment. In our commitment to equal opportunity, we recognize the consequences of historical inequalities. We do not accept any form of discrimination based on, but not limited to, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, ethnic or national background, skin colour, religious and philosophical diversity, neurodivergence, employment disability, health, or socioeconomic status. For questions about accessibility or support offered, we are happy to assist you at this email address.

Job details

Improving the measurement of affect in daily life
Oude Markt 13 Leuven, Belgium
Application deadline
2024-06-17 23:59 (Europe/Brussels)
2024-06-17 23:59 (CET)
Job type
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About the employer

KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.

Visit the employer page