Thoughts and images spontaneously popping into our mind are characteristic of self-generated mental phenomena like mind-wandering, dreaming and hallucinations. Mind-wandering, although quite common, has only recently gotten into the forefront of scientific investigations, and philosophical reflection is lagging behind. Combining philosophical analysis and psychological experimentation this project proposes a new model of mind-wandering and develops it into a general framework of all kinds of self-generated mental phenomena. Major predictions are tested via exploring links between mind-wandering, dreaming and hypnotic dreams (induced by instructions to ‘have a dream’ in a hypnotic state). It is also investigated if hypnotic dreams could serve as hypnotic analogues of mind-wandering and dreaming. An affirmative answer could revolutionise how features of mind- wandering and dreaming — which are notoriously hard to study due to their spontaneous nature — could be examined in a well-controlled manner.
I completed an MA in philosophy of psychology with David Papineau at King’s College London, and a PhD in philosophy of cognitive science with Jesper Kallestrup and Andy Clark at the University of Edinburgh. Since 2013 I’ve been an FWO postdoc at the University of Antwerp working with Bence Nanay. My research focuses on how mental phenomena like attention and consciousness are related to neural processes.
Self-generated mental life: Developing an overarching philosophical account and a novel neuro-cognitive research paradigm
Area of research:
Philosophy, Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience
1 April 2021 - 31 March 2024