An attentional bias approach to understanding and reducing the psychosocial burden of psoriasis


About this project

Fear can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, this emotion facilitates detection of danger in the environment and helps the person respond effectively to threatening situations. On the other hand, there is evidence that devoting too much attention to threat-related information can lead to the development of anxiety disorders. The present project will investigate whether such an attentional bias contributes to the psychosocial burden experienced by people with psoriasis. These patients often find themselves trapped in a mutually reinforcing cycle of social rejection triggered by the visible consequences of the disease, avoidance coping and social isolation. The proposed PhD project will investigate whether an attentional bias towards threat-related information contributes to this anxiety-provoking cycle. There will also be scope for the design of intervention techniques, based on the results. The successful candidate will work in an interdisciplinary team of Psychologists and Dermatologists and will be encouraged to identify novel questions and to design innovative studies that make a difference to the lives of people with psoriasis.

The initial appointment for the position will be for a period of one year, with an extension of two more years after positive yearly evaluations of capabilities and progress. PhD students at the University of Hull follow modules for research and transferable skills development and gain a Masters level Certificate, or Diploma, in Research Training, in addition to their research degree.

Interviews will be held on 7th November. Successful applicants will be informed of the award as soon as possible and by 16th November 2018 at the latest.

Studentships will start on 28th January 2019


Main Supervisor: Dr Henning Holle, email:

Co-Supervisors: Dr David George, email:, Dr Elise Kleyn, email:

Next steps


Full-time UK/EU PhD Scholarships will include fees at the ‘home/EU' student rate and maintenance (£14,777 in 2018/19) for three years, depending on satisfactory progress.

Full-time International Fee PhD Studentships will include full fees at the International student rate for three years, dependent on satisfactory progress.

Entry requirements

The successful candidate will have a good degree (or equivalent) in experimental psychology or a related degree, possess good interpersonal skills and organizational talent. Candidates should also have a relevant Masters qualification, or an undergraduate degree with significant research experience (e.g. working as a student assistant in research projects). Different backgrounds will be considered relevant if the candidate can make a clear link between their background and their current interest in translational psychology research. 

To apply, please complete all online application materials and include:

  • A current CV.
  • A cover letter (maximally two-pages) explaining your motivation to apply for this PhD position. This cover letter should also contain a short (<800 words) project proposal for research relevant to this project (for example: If you would design an experiment to look at whether attentional processing is altered in individuals with psoriasis, what would you propose to do?).

Applications that do not include all elements will not be evaluated.

How to apply


Apply now

Application deadline: Monday 29 October 2018

Research options:

PhD: 3 years (full-time)


Funded by a grant from the Psoriasis Association, the University of Hull is offering a full-time UK/EU PhD Scholarship or International Fees Bursary.