PhD Studentship for research investigating the values in close relationships

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Graduate School

University of Bath

This three year studentship at the University of Bath is for research examining the role of values in close relationships.

In popular writing, books, and websites dedicated to relationships, it is often claimed that relationships thrive only when people share the same values. If one person cherishes values that are self-centred (seeking power, influence, social prestige) and another cherishes values that focus on others (equality, helpfulness, environment), conventional wisdom suggests the relationship is doomed to fail.

Yet, abundant research on close relationships indicates that similarity between people is not as strongly predictive of attraction as we might expect. The role of similarity in relationship functioning is even more of a mystery, and the role of values and value similarity across diverse types of close relationships (same-sex, asexual, multiple partners) is relatively unknown.

Despite the lack of evidence, we know that difficulties finding satisfying relationships, relationship conflict, and relationship breakdown have a number of consequences for people and their families. These effects come with health and economic impacts, making it important to better understand the fundamental building blocks of relationships, and whether value similarity is one of these.

The proposed studentship will use classic and innovative approaches to experimental social psychology to examine the role of values in close relationships.

The project

Across the three years of the studentship, the research will address five key aims:

• review the extant literature on values and relationships, developing a concise and testable theoretical model that will integrate the two areas
• empirically test the role of values and value similarity in relationship satisfaction and commitment
• examine the moderating roles of different types of relationship commitments (short-term, married, asexual, same-sex, multipartner)
• evaluate the replicability of the observed findings using different research methods and samples
• develop an external funding proposal addressing important gaps in the theory and evidence


If successful, you will conduct your research under the supervision of Professor Greg Maio.

Award funding

If successful, you will be supported for three years full-time. Funding includes:

• a £14,296 (2016/17 rate) per year stipend
• Home/EU tuition fees
• an annual Training Support Grant

Terms and conditions and details of other awards can be found on the Graduate School website.

Funding requirements

To be considered for this award you must:

• fulfil the entrance requirements for a Psychology PhD
• have an interest and understanding of social cognition and social psychology in the context of values, attitudes, or relationships, or all of these
• have some experience of programming and running research and analysis software, such as Qualtrics, Eprime, SPSS, and R
• have some experience of developing and conducting experimental psychology studies

Funding information

Funding applies to:
Open to applicants from a range of countries

Contacts and how to apply

Administrative contact and how to apply:

You can apply for this studentship through the University of Bath.


The closing date for the receipt of applications is 12.00 noon (GMT) on Thursday 23 March 2017.

Interviews are preliminarily scheduled for Thursday 6 April 2017.

You will be expected to commence your studies on 2 October 2017.


Project enquiries
Professor Greg Maio
01225 38 4647

Application enquiries
01225 38 5233

Application deadline:

23 March 2017