People

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Kalina Christoff is an Associate 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

Melissa Ellamil

Kieran Fox




UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS & RESEARCH ASSISTANTS


Savannah Nijeboer


Manesh Girn


Doris Pham


Tanya Barr

Mara Puertolas
 


LAB COORDINATOR

Kieran Fox




ASSOCIATES & COLLABORATORS

University of London
Colorado University at
Boulder
University of California at Santa Cruz
University of Montreal

Pierre Zakarauskas
University of British Columbia

University of British Columbia


Jonathan Schooler

University of California at Santa Barbara

Sean Pritchard
Fielding Graduate University


Silvia A. Bunge

University of California
at Berkeley

Evan Thompson

University of Toronto


Charles Dobson
Emily Carr Univesity


Mark Beeman
Northwestern University



ALUMNI

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





KIERAN FOX

 

Kieran is currently a PhD candidate in the Christoff lab. He researches the neural basis of meditation, mind wandering (spontaneous thought), and metacognition. During his undergraduate years his research focused on the memory sources of dreams and nightmares, specifically memories underlying the hypnagogic state. For his MA work at UBC, he worked on demonstrating better introspection in people who practice meditation. Recently, work with collaborators has shown strong links between dreaming and mind wandering, and explored facilitative interactions between mind wandering and metacognition. For his PhD he is continuing to explore mind wandering, metacognition, and meditation. Kieran's work is supported by an NSERC Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship and a Mind and Life Institute Varela Research Award.

CONTACT

 

EDUCATION

• Ph.D Cognitive Neuroscience (candidate), University of British Columbia
• M.A. Cognitive Neuroscience, University of British Columbia (2012)
• B.A. Psychology (minors in Neuroscience and World Religion), McGill University (2008)

CURRICULUM VITAE
November 2014

 

MENTORS, COLLABORATORS, ASSOCIATES

Peter Sedlmeier, TU Chemnitz
Jess Andrews-Hanna, CU Boulder
Nathan Spreng, Cornell
Michael Lifshitz, McGill
Yoona Kang, U Penn
Alex Rauscher, UBC
Steve Heine, UBC
Rebecca Todd, UBC
Evan Thompson, UBC
Bill Domhoff, UC Santa Cruz
Liza Solomonova, U Montreal
Tore Nielsen, U Montreal
Richard Sears, MICS

 


PUBLICATIONS

Fox, K.C.R., Fitz, N.S., Cabrera, L.Y., & Reiner, P.B. (in prep). Enhancing human memory: One size does not fit all. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience.

Fox, K.C.R., Andrews-Hanna, J.R., Spreng, R.N., & Christoff, K. (under review). Mind-wandering beyond the default mode network. Trends in Cognitive Sciences.

• Domhoff, G.W. & Fox, K.C.R. (under revision). Dreaming and the default network: A review, synthesis, and counterintuitive research proposal. Consciousness and Cognition.

Fox, K.C.R., Kang, Y., Lifshitz, M., & Christoff, K. (in press). Increasing cognitive-emotional flexibility with meditation training and hypnotic suggestion: The cognitive neuroscience of de-automatization. To appear in: Meditation and Hypnosis, A. Raz and M. Lifshitz (editors), Ch. 13. Oxford University Press.

Fox, K.C.R., Thompson, E., Andrews-Hanna, J.R., & Christoff, K. (2014). Is thinking really aversive? Commentary on Wilson et al.'s "Just think: The challenges of the disengaged mind." Frontiers in Psychology: Cognition.

• Dixon, M.L., Fox, K.C.R., & Christoff, K. (2014). A framework for understanding the relationship between externally and internally directed modes of cognition. Neuropsychologia, 62, 321-330.

• Dixon, M.L., Fox, K.C.R., & Christoff, K. (2014). Evidence for rostro-caudal functional organization in multiple brain areas related to goal-directed behavior. Brain Research, 1572, 26-39.

• Solomonova, E., Fox, K.C.R., & Nielsen, T.A. (2014). Methodological considerations for the neurophenomenology of dreaming: Commentary on Windt's 'Reporting dream experience.' Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8(317), 1-3.

Fox, K.C.R., Nijeboer, S., Dixon, M.L., Floman, J.L., Ellamil, M., Rumak, S.P., Sedlmeier, P., & Christoff, K. (2014). Is meditation associated with altered brain structure? A systematic review and meta-analysis of morphometric neuroimaging in meditation practitioners. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 43, 48-73.

Fox, K.C.R. & Christoff, K. (2014). Metacognitive facilitation of spontaneous thought processes: When metacognition helps the wandering mind find its way. In: The Cognitive Neuroscience of Metacognition, S.M. Fleming and C.D. Frith (editors), Ch. 13, pp. 293-319.

Fox, K.C.R., Nijeboer, S., Solomonova, E., Domhoff, G.W. & Christoff, K. (2013). Dreaming as mind wandering: Evidence from functional neuroimaging and first-person content reports. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7(412), 1-18.

Fox, K.C.R., Zakarauskas, P., Dixon, M.L., Ellamil, M., Thompson, E. & Christoff, K. (2012). Meditation experience predicts introspective accuracy. PLoS ONE, 7(9), e45370.

• Stenstrom, P., Fox, K.C.R., Solomonova, E. & Nielsen, T. A. (2012). Mentation during sleep onset theta bursts in a trained participant: A role for NREM stage 1 sleep in memory processing? International Journal of Dream Research, 5(1), 37-46.


PUBLIC TALKS

• "Dreaming as Mind Wandering" (September 2013) Talk at Vancouver General Hospital hosted by BrainTalks@UBC.