Job: Postdoc for MARIA Project on perceived mind and morality in HMC at Texas Tech U.

Post-Doctoral Research Associate for the MARIA Project on perceived mind and morality in human-machine communication
Texas Tech University
College of Media & Communication
Requisition Number:  20901BR

Review of applications will begin on June 1, 2020 and will continue until the position is filled

This position will provide an individual holding a doctoral degree with the opportunity to assist in supervised research into the communication and relational dynamics between humans and social robots. The successful applicant will work closely with Dr. Jaime Banks to conduct planned research projects funded by the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Job responsibilities are conducted under the supervision of the Principal Investigator and principally include:

Assist with or oversee data collection procedures, including implementing research protocols, maintaining lab notes, performing lab safety procedures, lab operation and management, operation and maintenance of complex devices, and developing methods or instrumentation relative to research procedures.

  • Assist with lab-team management, including some supervision and training of research assistants, development of training materials.
  • Assist with or oversee data preparation and analysis procedures, including quantitative and qualitative data preparation and analysis.
  • Assist with dissemination of research findings to key publics, including tasks related to co-authored manuscript preparation and research presentations, reviews of literature, archive development, community outreach and engagement, and funder reports.
  • Participate in regular lab meetings and periodic goal-setting meetings, as well as engage in activities as part of postdoctoral scholar mentoring.
  • Complete other research program-related duties as necessary.
  • In the course of performing these duties, the successful applicant will be expected to:
  • Work in a collegial and cooperative manner with the investigator and other team members.
  • Perform all research tasks assigned by the faculty supervisor to a high standard, in accordance with all institutional and federal regulations, and in compliance with ethical and professional norms and requirements.
  • Work independently and proactively, identifying and implementing solutions to unexpected problems.


  • Required qualification: The applicant must have a doctoral degree in hand by July 1, 2020. It is preferred that this degree be a Ph.D. in the areas of communication and technology, human-machine communication, interpersonal communication and technology, interactive media psychology, human factors, or a related focus.
  • Required qualifications: Experience performing rigorous research in a lab setting, including the execution of lab-based experiments. Skill in quantitative data collection and statistical analysis.
  • Required qualifications: Demonstrated competence in scientific writing, including articulation of arguments and the presentation and interpretation of multimodal data.
  • Required qualification: Knowledge of comm/tech, interpersonal communication, social cognition, and/or interactive media psychology theories. Required condition: Experience (preferred) and/or comfort (required) working with complex social technologies (e.g., robots, A.I., virtual reality).
  • Required condition: The successful candidate must be willing to relocate to Lubbock, TX for the duration of employment.

In addition to these requirements, it is also preferred that the successful candidate have experience with qualitative data collection and analysis, oral presentations, supervising student assistants, and is comfortable working independently and taking ownership of some project tasks.

Successful applicants will be encouraged to develop parallel or complementary lines of research that leverage college strengths and facilitate collaboration with college research faculty and students.


Integral to human-human interaction is each human’s perception of the other as a distinct agent (a being capable of making decisions and acting), and core to trust in such interactions is the perception that the other is moral (likely to be good and do good). In other words, trust relies on the perception of another’s moral agency. Little is known, however, about how perceptions of moral agency manifest in human-machine interactions, and how those perceptions might influence whether and how humans trust robots. In the third year of this research program (during which the postdoctoral research associate will be appointed), the research will build on the first year’s work on mental and moral status and the second year’s work on context and framing to focus on implicit and explicit effects of perceived moral agency of robots. This work will contribute to the overall research-program objective of better understanding the moral psychology and social cognition as they intersect to influence human-machine communication experiences and effects.


The College of Media & Communication ( at Texas Tech University offers bachelor’s degrees in Advertising, Communication Studies, Journalism, Creative Media Industries, Public Relations, and Media Strategies. It offers master’s degrees in Mass Communication, Communication Studies, and Strategic Communication and a Ph.D. in Media and Communication. The college has approximately 2,200 undergraduate majors, 250 MA students in three programs, and 40 Ph.D. students. Recent graduates of the doctoral program have begun their careers at universities in the Big 10, Big 12, ACC, and SEC, as well as applied research positions with media companies such as the Disney MediaScience Research Lab.

CoMC ranks among the nation’s top colleges in media and communication. CoMC is ranked 39th out of more than 300 global programs in the Shanghai Ranking’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2019 – Communication. It is home to the Center for Communication Research (CCR) (, one of the world’s premier, state-of-the art research facilities in media and communication research. It features labs useful for audience testing, content analysis, surveys, eye-tracking, focus group, and psychophysiology. These research facilities provide a great environment for further advancing an exciting and productive research agenda. The college is also home to the Outpost Social Media Lab, a major center for the study of new and emerging media (, and the Thomas Jay Harris Institute for Hispanic and International Communication, a center of teaching, research, and community outreach in Hispanic and International Communication ( Additionally, the college has launched the Communication Training Center (, a facility focused on training university faculty and graduate students how to enhance oral and visual communication skills.


Texas Tech University is a public research university with an enrollment of over 38,000. It offers over 100 undergraduate majors and more than 100 masters and 50 doctoral degree programs. Texas Tech is the largest comprehensive higher education institution in the western two-thirds of Texas and is the state’s only campus with an adjoining research university, law school, and medical school. Texas Tech students come from almost every county in Texas, all 50 states and more than 100 different countries. The university has recently exceeded 25% Hispanic enrollment, achieving Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) enrollment status, and Texas Tech’s current Quality Enhancement Plan is “Bear Our Banners Far and Wide: Communication in a Global Society.” ( Texas Tech University is recognized as a Carnegie Tier 1 Research University and is a member of the Big 12 Athletic Conference. The university is located in Lubbock, Texas, a vibrant city of over 250,000.


Review of applications will begin on June 1, 2020 and will continue until the position is filled. Applicants should apply online at, referencing the Requisition Number 20901BR. Applicants will be asked to provide a cover letter that addresses the position requirements, a current curriculum vita, graduate transcripts, a sample of scholarly writing (ideally published, first- or sole-authored), and a list of three references with current contact information included (names, addresses, email addresses and phone numbers). The successful candidate must be eligible to work in the United States.

Please note, international applicants should contact to obtain a replacement Social Security Number for the purposes of applying to this position online. Please reference this position number when contacting that office.

The search committee chair is Dr. Jaime Banks, Associate Professor and Principal Investigator for the MARIA Project. Questions may be addressed to her at


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