Postdoctoral Scholar, Intelligent Virtual Reality Systems

Website University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida (UCF) invites applications for a two-year postdoctoral research scholar position in the School of Modeling, Simulation, and Training (SMST). The postdoctoral scholar will work on a funded project focusing on the design, development, and testing of an intelligent, virtual-reality system for empathy training for local government employees in Orlando, Florida. The aim is to use multimodal data (e.g., verbalizations, physiological sensors, eye movements, and human-system interactions) to advance the current system to foster employees’ cognitive, metacognitive, and affective processes while training them on emotion regulation strategies to address major societal challenges. The project involves an interdisciplinary team from the fields of Psychology, Computer Science, Engineering, and Modeling and Simulation. The selected candidate will be involved in the conceptualization of laboratory and real-world research studies involving adults (e.g., first responders) and a collection of multimodal, multichannel data (e.g., log files, eye tracking, physiological sensors, facial expressions of emotions, etc.) using virtual reality equipment for research purposes, analyses and interpretation of multimodal multichannel data, submission of research findings for conferences and peer-reviewed publications, and translation of research findings into modifying the system’s architecture (e.g., embedded intelligent virtual humans).

The postdoctoral scholar will work with Dr. Roger Azevedo and his team coordinating project milestones, coordinating and attending team meetings and contributing to annual reports, training and facilitating the management of team members, leading and contributing to scholarly writing, and conducting research with members of the interdisciplinary team, including industry partners and government officials. The selected candidate must have excellent interpersonal, writing, and research skills, strong time management and organizational skills, the ability to prioritize and meet deadlines, and work both independently and as a member of the research team. The candidate will work with Dr. Azevedo and members of his interdisciplinary team at the University of Central Florida and collaborating industry partners and government officials.

Minimum Qualifications:

A Ph.D. in Cognitive, Human Factors, or Educational Psychology, Cognitive or Affective Sciences, or a related field from an accredited institution is required.

Candidates must have:

  • Research experience in one or more of the following areas: emotion, emotion regulation, self-regulated learning (SRL), virtual humans, or affective computing;
  • Experience with planning, coordinating, and conducting mixed-methods studies in a variety of real-world contexts both in-person and remotely;
  • Experience collecting and analyzing emotions, emotion regulation, and self-regulated learning data qualitatively and quantitatively;
  • Experience developing and adapting qualitative coding schemes based on dialogue and behaviors (from video, audio, eye movements, log file data);
  • Experience working with physiological sensors (e.g., skin conductance) and eye-trackers (e.g., embedded in VR headsets);
  • Excellent interpersonal, writing, and research skills;
  • Strong time management and organizational skills;
  • The ability to prioritize and meet deadlines;
  • The ability to work both independently and as a member of the research team;
  • Experience mentoring graduate and undergraduate students.

Preferred Qualifications:

Preference will be given to candidates who have:

  • Exceptional interdisciplinary research experience and skills, specifically knowledge and skills in using advanced statistical methods (e.g., HLM, SEM) and programming skills (e.g., R, Python, MATLAB), as well as data mining techniques for analyzing performance outcomes, self-report measures, and multimodal multichannel data (e.g., log files, eye tracking, physiological sensors, and audio and video streams;
  • Prior experience and future goals of publishing research;
  • Prior experience in design, development, and testing of immersive virtual environments, intelligent systems, affective sciences, virtual humans, pedagogical agents, and/or advanced learning technologies is strongly preferred.

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