PhD Scholarship in ‘Increasing Social Inclusion in a Multicultural Society using a Gamified Behavioural Nudge’

You will conduct, analyse, and write up a total of three consumer psychological experiments.

These experiments will investigate the effectiveness of an innovative gamified behavioural intervention to generate social inclusion amongst multicultural players.

Value and duration

$32,000 (plus fee waiver) per year for up to three years.

Number of scholarships available



To be eligible for this scholarship you must:

  1. have a bachelor degree in consumer psychology or a relevant discipline (e.g. design, experimental psychology)
  2. meet RMIT’s entry requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy
  3. have successfully completed an honours or a postgraduate qualification in a business, psychology, or design-related area with a research component.

How to apply

Submit your application including the following documents to Dr Janneke Blijlevens at

  1. A detailed CV;
  2. Certified copies of relevant academic transcripts from your undergraduate studies and postgraduate studies where applicable;
  3. Copies of any published or submitted papers where applicable;
  4. Proof of English proficiency if you are an international candidate;
  5. A research proposal outlining synthesis of relevant literature (see Additional information document (PDF 87KB 4p) for details), proposed research design and analyses techniques, and your unique contribution to this project;
  6. A separate document addressing the following key selection criteria:
    1. Evidence of research output including publications, conference contributions and/or technical reports in the field of consumer psychology, behavioural business, or design.
    2. Ability to generate alternative funding for projects/academic travel/internships through effective liaison with industry and government.
    3. Ability to work autonomously whilst displaying a strong commitment to working in a team environment, including the demonstrated ability to confidently and effectively work with colleagues, project team leaders, and industry partners.
    4. Demonstrated ability to meet deadlines and effectively manage varying workloads and respond to changing priorities as required.
    5. Demonstrated high level written and verbal communication skills as evidenced in the mandatory research proposal.
    6. Demonstrated skills in quantitative research methods and statistics as evidenced in transcripts and the mandatory research proposal.
    7. Demonstrated conceptual skills as evidenced in the mandatory research proposal.
    8. Interest in using experimental methods to address research questions in behavioural business as evidenced in courses undertaken and the mandatory research proposal.
    9. Affinity with consumer psychology and design as evidenced in courses undertaken and the mandatory research proposal.

Open date

Applications are now open.

Close date

Applications close 8 September 2017.

Terms and conditions

RMIT's standard research scholarship terms and conditions (PDF 327KB 10p) will apply to this scholarship. However note the allowances for this scholarship are specifically $32,000 (plus fee waiver) per year for up to three years and the additional allowances stated in the terms and conditions (PDF 327KB 10p) are not applicable.

Further information

One of the key social challenges in a globalised society is to promote mutual understanding and respect for cultural differences. This is difficult to achieve because prejudice and intergroup discrimination are deeply ingrained in the human psychology. Discrimination along ethnic and cultural lines is therefore still widespread today. This PhD project will be part of a large interdisciplinary project ‘The Cultural Communalities Memory Game: Increasing Social Inclusion in a Multicultural Society’ in which research is relevant for consumer psychology, behavioural economics, and design. As the PhD candidate, you will take ownership of the consumer psychology part. Typically, you will conduct, analyse, and write up (in publications and thesis) a total of three experiments, including necessary pre-tests. Specifically, you will be part of a team researching the effectiveness of an innovative gamified behavioural intervention to generate social inclusion amongst multicultural players.

Social psychology advocates combating discrimination by making both the original cultural group (e.g. Australian, Arab, Chinese) and the superordinate cultural group (e.g. human) salient simultaneously. Accordingly, we created a memory game - the Cultural Communalities Memory Game (CCMG) - that builds on people’s automatic reaction to exposure to pictures of instances of different cultures (e.g. mosque, church, temple): categorisation. Playing the CCMG makes both the original (e.g. Australian, Arab, Chinese) and the superordinate category salient (e.g. humans living life) as it actively stimulates players to categorise cultural objects on abstract levels (e.g. churches, mosques, and temples are all houses of prayer), while simultaneously being exposed to concrete visual differences (e.g. churches look different from mosques).

You will be responsible for conducting a literature review on this topic with a focus on consumer psychology, behavioural business, and design, creating a conceptual framework and designing experiments to test whether playing the Cultural Communalities Memory Game can increase inclusion in a multicultural society. Based on your interests, background, and skills, you will have the opportunity to deploy the game in one of four settings: workplaces, school playgrounds, residential/community areas and consumers. To test its effectiveness in inducing socially inclusive behavior, you will use one or more of these measurements of success: (1) incentivised public good games, (2) observations of behavior analysed using qualitative content coding and (3) self-report scales, each to be implemented after participants have played the Cultural Communalities Memory Game.

Download the Additional information document for the PhD Scholarship in ‘Increasing social inclusion in a multicultural society using a gamified behavioural nudge’ (PDF 87KB 4p).

Relevant literature to use as a starting point for a research proposal are:

Social identity:

  1. Turner, J. C., & Tajfel, H. (1986). The social identity theory of inter-group behavior. In S. Worchel and L. W. Austin (eds.), Psychology of Intergroup Relations. Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 7-24.
  2. Gaertner, Samuel L., Dovidio, John F. (2000). Reducing Intergroup Bias: The Common Ingroup Identity Model. Psychology Press.
  3. Hornsey, M. J., & Hogg, M. A. (2000). Intergroup similarity and subgroup relations: Some implications for assimilation. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26(8), 948-958.

Behaviour change:

  1. Thaler, R. H., & Sunstein, C. R. (2009). Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness. New York: Penguin Books.
  2. Lockton, D. Harrison, and N. A. Stanton. Design with Intent: 101 Patterns for Influencing Behaviour Through Design v.1.0, Windsor: Equifine, 2010.
  3. Schoech, D., Boyas, J.F., Black, B.M., Elias-Lambert, N. (2012). Gamification for Behavior Change: Lessons from Developing a Social, Multiuser, Web-Tablet Based Prevention Game for Youths. Journal of Technology in Human Services, 31 (3): 197
  4. Mervis, C. B., & Rosch, E. (1981). Categorization of natural objects. Annual Review of Psychology, 32, 89-115.


Contact Dr Janneke Blijlevens for further enquiries.
Tel: +61 3 9925 5941