A fully funded 4-year PhD position on meditation and the predictive brain is available at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, supervised by Prof. Heleen Slagter (www.heleenslagter.com
). The position is part of the ERC-funded project "PLASTICITYOFMIND", which aims to better understand the action-oriented and predictive nature of the human mind and its plasticity. The PhD project will involve cognitive neuroscience studies in meditators and controls. The PhD student will be part of the Cognition and Plasticity Lab, which is embedded in the Section Cognitive Psychology within the Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology (http://www.vupsy.nl/
). The Department provides a vibrant, international research climate with high quality academic staff supported by excellent research facilities, including eye tracking, EEG, and fMRI facilities.
Our brains continuously predict the future based on the past. This project will examine the automaticity and plasticity of predictive processes using meditation. It will specifically test the hypothesis that different kinds of meditation may progressively reduce the predictive activity in the brain by bringing the practitioner more and more into the present moment. Using neuroimaging and clever experimental paradigms, the project will examine how mediation may reduce temporally extended processes, such as episodic future thinking and decision making, but can also lead to more unusual kinds of experiences reported by meditators, including loss of self-other distinction and the cessation of time. The PhD student will develop and execute experimental studies in the context of the research project, and report results at conferences and in international journals, leading to a PhD dissertation. The PhD student will also have the opportunity to follow courses and will provide teaching assistance.