Jobs: 1-3 research positions in POSTEMOTION Social VR project, Tampere University

Call for Applications

Researcher / Doctoral Researcher / Postdoctoral Research Fellow (1-3 positions):
Social VR: Tactility, embodiment, psychophysiology)
Tampere University
Tampere, Finland
https://tuni.rekrytointi.com/paikat/?o=A_RJ&jgid=3&jid=1107

Application deadline: September 19, 2021

We have 1-3 open positions in the new Academy of Finland project “POSTEMOTION: Socio-emotional augmentation of human exodus to virtual” in the Gamification Group, Tampere University. We are looking for applicants who will complement the existing team and bring on new expertise, perspective, and interests.

GAMIFICATION GROUP (GG):

Gamification Group (GG) at Faculty of information Technology and Communication Sciences, Tampere University (headed by Prof. Hamari) is internationally revered for seminal academic and societal contributions in the areas of novel technologies such as motivational information systems (e.g. gamification, game-based learning, quantified-self, persuasive technologies), internet commerce (e.g. crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, sharing economies, game economies), new media (e.g. esports, streaming, immersive journalism) as well as human-computer interaction (VR / AR, wearables, transhumanism, user interfaces). However, GG is especially recognized as the birthing ground for the general umbrella field of gamification research where GG is one of the most prolific research groups internationally in its pursuit to wield gameful approaches towards the flourishing of the planet, people and prosperity.

See more:

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:

The openings are positioned in the POSTEMOTION: Socio-emotional augmentation of human exodus to virtual reality of the Gamification Group led by Professor of Gamification Juho Hamari.

The climate crisis has forced us to rethink our lifestyles, consumer choices, and how we arrange our everyday social and work lives virtually, which has further been perpetuated by the current pandemic. This digital exodus is supported by the development of VR. Increasingly, there is a need to relocate our interactions into virtual spaces so that we can meaningfully co-exist, interact and collaborate in social VR as multimodal and multisensory digital representations. Thus POSTEMOTION investigates the socio-emotional augmentation of interaction in virtual reality. The project will examine how 1) different forms of embodiment into virtual avatars, 2) affective synchronization, and 3) computer-mediated touch and all three together can enhance emotional awareness and empathic social interactions in different kinds of collaborative scenarios.

PROJECT STRUCTURE:

In WORK PACKAGE – TACTILITY, we aim to design, create and use tactile wearable and tangible interfaces to examine their effects on emotional awareness. In this work package, we expect to understand the role of tactility in collaborative VR environments through laboratory experiments. Specifically, we will look into the utilization of different social touch patterns (e.g. single touch, stroking, holding), inducing emotions (e.g. excitement, stress, relaxation) through computer-mediated touch in the virtual collaboration context, and kinesthetic effects (e.g. changing weight or height perception of the body) on the proprioception.

In WORK PACKAGE – AFFECTIVE SYNCHRONICITY, we study what are the most effective ways to measure the group’s emotional/affective state and affective synchronization between individual users, and what are the most effective ways to increase emotional awareness and social presence by utilizing technologically mediated visualizations (e.g. biofeedback) of a group’s affective state and affective synchronization.

In WORK PACKAGE – EMBODIMENT, the work is focused to examine the effects of different manipulations of avatar representations and in particular the mirroring effect of being both physical and virtual self and its implications. These are, for example: physical representation of the virtual body (e.g. performative gender, age, and ethnicity), symbolic status representations of self (e.g. clothing and adornment), and the modes of agency and interactions with the collaborative VR environment.

JOB DESCRIPTION:

The accepted candidates will work in close collaboration with the members of Gamification Group as well as in the context of the larger strategic profiling area of the Tampere University in Gamification, Extended Reality, and their application towards holistic sustainability.

Work is mainly composed of research activities including research planning, data gathering (possibly including the development of technical solutions for experiments), data analysis, article preparation, dissemination and publishing. Moreover, the candidate is expected to participate in project-wide and funding acquisition. The teaching load is between 0-10% which will be negotiated. In the PhD candidate position, candidates will be expected to enroll in an applicable doctoral program in the Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Science. The candidate may start the enrollment to a doctoral program after the candidate has been recruited, and therefore, the candidate does not need to hold a doctoral program position before applying. With candidates who are already enrolled in another doctoral program, we will discuss the arrangements.

REQUIREMENTS:

The below requirements are the qualities we envision to be suitable for the tasks defined in this project. However, we encourage all candidates from any disciplinary background who see themselves contributing to the project to apply.

  • Minimum qualifications:
    • Applicable degree: i.e. Master’s degree or equivalent and PhD degree in case of Postdoctoral Research Fellow position.
  • Applicants are required to possess some of the following abilities:
    • Designing and conducting laboratory experiments
    • Conducting psychophysiological measurement
    • Developing VR environments and virtual avatars
    • Implementing multimodal interfaces and psychophysiological measurements in VR
    • Designing and Developing working prototypes of wearables and tangible interfaces with tactile feedback modalities
    • Being familiar with some of the related areas and concepts: affective theories, emotions, embodiment and body ownership illusion, embodied cognition, immersion, interpersonal communication, collaboration, group dynamics, task performance, personality, human-computer interaction, tactile interfaces, wearables, tangible interfaces, computer-mediated social interaction
  • Advantageous qualities:
    • Impeccable academic article writing/preparation productivity
    • Drive for rigorous and impactful research
    • Drive for a career in research

HOW TO APPLY:

Please submit your application through our online recruitment system (see link below). The closing date for applications is 19 September 2021 (at 23.59 EEST / UTC+3). Please write your application and all accompanying documentation in English and attach them in PDF format only.

Required documents:

  • CV
  • List of publications
  • One or two samples of academic writing (e.g. articles)
  • A letter (max 3 pages) that briefly outlines: Your tentatively intended research in the POSTEMOTION project, motivation to apply, your background and skills related to positions, earliest starting date, and any other miscellaneous remarks that the candidate wishes to make.

The full job description and application form, please see:
https://tuni.rekrytointi.com/paikat/?o=A_RJ&jgid=3&jid=1107

MORE INFORMATION:

If you have any additional questions, please contact:
Overall – Juho Hamari, juho.hamari@tuni.fi
Tactility related – Oğuz ‘Oz’ Buruk, oguz.buruk@tuni.fi
Embodiment related – Mila Bujić, mila.bujic@tuni.fi
Affective Synchronicity related – Simo Järvelä, simo.jarvela@tuni.fi

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