Principal Investigator

Kalina Christoff

Kalina Christoff

Faculty Page

Kalina Christoff is a Professor in the Psychology Department and the Brain Research Centre at the University of British Columbia.

She completed her doctoral work at Stanford University with John D. E. Gabrieli, and her postdoctoral training at Cambridge, UK with Adrian M. Owen. Her work focuses on the neural and cognitive mechanisms of human thought, reasoning and memory, using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI).

Her work on the functions of the anterior prefrontal cortex (PFC) has linked this part of the brain to the uniquely human mental processes of introspection and meta-awareness. Dr. Christoff’s most recent work focuses on examining spontaneous forms of thought, such as memories and thought streams occuring in the form of mind wandering. She is also interested in examining meditation-based thought phenomena such as mindfulness, and developing clinical applications for fMRI using real-time fMRI feedback to train modulation of activation in specific brain regions.


Graduate Students

Matt Dixon

Matt Dixon

Website

How do we effectively focus on important events in the external environment  or an internal train of thought?  I am interested in delineating the brain network dynamics that govern attention, with an emphasis on the default network, dorsal attention network, and frontoparietal control network.  My research employs graph theoretical analyses in conjunction with resting-state and task-based functional connectivity data to examine how brain network organization changes across different contexts.


Sneha Sheth

Sneha Sheth

My curiosity about the nature of my mind was first honed during my adolescent years on the pristine hilltop of Sahyadri School. After completing my undergraduate degree in cognitive systems at UBC, I spent my initial years of grad school in Dr. Chris Shaw's lab, researching the neurotoxic effects of aluminium vaccine adjuvants. In pursuit of finding convergence between my worlds of introspection and experimentation, I will be spending the remaining years of my PhD in Kalina's lab, exploring the neural basis of meta-awareness, spontaneous thought, and modes of the self. When my meta-cognitive resources aren't engaged, I indulge in the pleasures of singing or listening to my favourite Indian classical ragas.


Gabe Smith

Gabe Smith

Hi there! I'm an MA student in the CNT lab who is interested in conceptualizing how thought operates through a cognitive neuroscience lens, which is why I study mind wandering. Right now my research is on understanding how bodily arousal affects thought patterns and mind wandering, both behaviourally and neurologically. The topic that captures my imagination the most is functional connectivity, the changing interactions between brain areas and networks that have the potential to give rise to different varieties of thought. Is it possible to predict what someone is thinking from their brain activity? Is it possible to change what they are thinking by electrically altering that activity?

I'm originally from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. In the spare time I have that isn't spent mind wandering, I like to play board games and video games, bake, read, and write.


Yvette Graveline

Yvette Graveline

Website

Yvette is a MA student in the Christoff Lab. She researches spontaneous thought processes (mind wandering and dreaming), as well as links between memory and imagination, at both neural and cognitive levels. Currently, she is investigating the process whereby memory evolves into novel imagination throughout wakefulness and sleep. In addition, she is working to develop multi-modal methods for delineating the parameters of imagination across conscious states (e.g., fMRI, HD-EEG, and "high definition" experience sampling).


Post Docs

Caitlin Mills

Caitlin Mills

Website

Caitlin Mills is a postdoctoral fellow in the Cognitive Neuroscience of Thought Lab at the University of British Columbia. She completed her Ph.D. at The University of Notre Dame under the advisement of Dr. Sidney D'Mello.

Her primary research interests are in the areas of mind wandering, spontaneous thought, and affect. Additional interests include investigating engagement and mind wandering in educational contexts, such as during complex learning and reading.


Research Assistant & Lab Admin

Emily Hirst Lab Coordinator

Emily Hirst

Lab Coordinator

Quentin Raffaelli Research Assistant

Quentin Raffaelli

Research Assistant

Manesh Girn Research Assistant

Manesh Girn

Research Assistant

Sarvenaz Ghattan Research Assistant

Sarvenaz Ghattan

Research Assistant


Collaborators


Alumni

  • Melissa Ellamil
  • Heather Mann
  • Rachelle Smith
  • Kamyar Keramatian
  • Alan Gordon
  • Cade Warren
  • Graeme McCaig
  • Ivan Kouznetsov
  • Jonathan Erez
  • Jason Winters
  • Lanna Bessel
  • Conor Lavelle
  • Irene Liu
  • Brian Luus
  • Stan Geller
  • Alex Weinberg
  • Savannah Nijeboer
  • Doris Pham
  • Tanya Barr
  • Mara Puertolas