• Principle Investigator: Dr. Jonathan Schooler
  • With visiting neurophilosophers Patricia and Paul Churchland (center)

The META Lab at UCSB

Combining empirical, philosophical, and contemplative traditions, the META lab addresses broad questions that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries. These are some topics and associated questions that intrigue us:

Meta-awareness: When do we notice our thoughts and how does explicitly attending to an experience affect it? Mind-wandering: How does the stream of consciousness flow between the external world and internal thoughts and feelings? Mindfulness: Are there ways of enhancing our capacity to remain focused in the present moment?  Creativity: What processes contribute to creative discoveries, and how can we enhance them? Belief in free will: What do people believe about their capacity for control, and how do these beliefs impact their behavior. Verbal Overshadowing: Under what situations can putting non-verbalizable thoughts into words be disruptive?   

We are also interested in broader issues and associated questions regarding the frontiers of science. These include:   Meta-science: How can scientific methods be used to improve the scientific process itself? The decline effect: why do a surprising number of domains  show systematic reductions in their effect sizes with repeated replication? Anomalous cognition: What is the evidence for human mental capacities (e.g. precognition) that challenge current physical theories? Metaphysics of science: How does the current state of science constrain our views on fundamental issues such as the existence of free will and the manner in which consciousness is manifested in the universe.