Principal Investigator

My lab’s research takes a “big picture” perspective in attempting to understand the nature of mental life, and in particular consciousness. Combining empirical, philosophical, and contemplative traditions, we address broad questions that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries.

Project Scientists

Michael Mrazek, Ph.D. is the director of research at the University of California's Center for Mindfulness & Human Potential. His research identifies innovative ways to increase the effectiveness of mindfulness training, particularly in high schools. He also tests the limits of how much a person can improve through intensive evidence-based training programs that target health, mindfulness, and self-control. 

One line of Claire's research focuses on the role meta-awareness plays in the dynamic changes between states of mind wandering and focused attention. Another line examines the relationship between mind wandering, creativity and curiosity.  

Postdoctoral Researchers

Alissa’s research investigates the roles of mindsets and self-regulatory strategies on cognitive and affective malleability. Another focus of her research explores the fidelity and efficacy of mindfulness-based training programs

John Protzko's current research explores the field of meta-science, studying the assumptions and processes of science and scientists. 

Research Specialist

Stephen contributes to an an interdisciplinary effort to research the nature of time with a focus on anomalous cognition in the Theoretical and Applied Neurocausality Laboratory (TANC Lab), which he cofounded.

Robert Bernstein has an MS from UCSB Physics 1984 and a BS in Physics from MIT 1980. He is interested in the Hard Problem of Consciousness: How it is that we have phenomenal experience at all.

Alan Macy is currently focusing on psychophysiology, emotional and motivational state measurements, magnetic resonance imaging and augmented/virtual reality implementations. His recent research and artistic efforts explore ideas of human nervous system extension and the associated impacts upon perception.  As an applied science artist, he specializes in the creation of cybernated art, interactive sculpture and environments. 

Lab Manager

Matejas is an undergraduate economics major with an interest in the intersection of psychology and economics. He is assisting Madeleine Gross with her research on creativity.

Charlotte is a third-year Biopsychology major interested in neuropharmacology and addiction science. Last year, she worked with the TANC lab on meditation and precognition research. She intends to further study the effects of biological predisposition, existing neurochemistry, and lifestyle on addiction and how treatment could become more specialized.

Graduate Students

Madeleine studies the psychological basis of creative idea generation and insight, the physiology of awe and wonder— via the experience of “aesthetic chills”, growth and fixed mindsets, artistic engagement, and the relationship between creative idea generation and evaluation. Using eye tracking technology, she also investigates how inter-individual differences in eye movement behavior may relate to creativity and creativity-related traits, such as curiosity, schizotypy, and artistic interest.

Elliott's research interests include peak experiences, neuroplasticity, affective neuroscience, and the nature of consciousness. 

Research Assistants

Meghan is a 3rd-year Biopsychology major assisting Madeleine in her research on curiosity and creativity. She is interested in Neuroscience and Cognitive Psychology research.  

Medina is a third year Biopsychology major assisting Elliot Ihm with research regarding emotional experiences. Medina is especially interested in the influences of biological processes on emotions, conditions, and other mental processes.


Saga is a third-year psychology major assisting Madeleine in research on curiosity and creativity. She is interested in cognitive psychology and neuroscience research. 


Sarah Bristol is in her second year at UCSB, study psychology and counseling, clinical, school psychology. She is a behavioral therapist, a preschool teacher, and a research assistant under Jonathan Schooler and Claire Zedelius working on projects studying the relationship between mind-wandering and creativity.

Becky is a third year Psychology major and French minor assisting Elliot Ihm with research on emotional experiences. She is currently interested in cognition and memory.

Chi is a fourth-year majoring in Psychology and Chinese.  He is assisting Stephen Baumgart with EEG research in TANC Lab. Chi is interested in working in the behavioral health field. 

Emily is a 3rd year biopsychology major with a minor in philosophy. She is currently assisting James Elliott and Stephen Baumgart in the TANC lab, where they use EEG to study physiological anticipatory activity. Her interests include consciousness, mindfulness, psychopharmacology and the philosophy of science. 

Kristel is a 4th year Psychological & Brain Sciences major assisting Madeleine Gross in her exploration of the experience of awe and wonder through aesthetic chills. Her personal interests lay in neuroplasticity, meditation, psychopharmacology, and the interaction of the former on perception and consciousness across organisms.  

Alex is an undergraduate psychology student researching mindfulness, cognition, and self-regulatory processes with Dr. Michael Mrazek and Dr. Schooler. He is especially interested in the budding field of positive psychology and the promise behind the study of human flourishing.

Megan is a 2nd-year Biopsychology major assisting Claire Zedelius with her research on creativity and mind wandering. She is especially interested in meta-awareness and consciousness.

Moe is a fourth-year Sociology major with Applied Psychology minor. She is currently assisting Dr. Claire Zedelius with research regarding curiosity and creativity in the META lab and Dr. Stephen Baumgart with EEG research in the TANC lab. She is especially interested in the efficacy of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression and social phobia. She believes that Zen Buddhist meditation can be an alternative to anti-depressants.

Andrea is a third-year Biopsychology major with a double minor in Applied Psychology and Philosophy. She is research assistant for Claire’s lab on creativity and mind wandering.

Haley Mehlman is a 3rd year Psychological and Brain Sciences and Communication double major. She is working in the TANC lab assisting James Elliott with studies using EEG on expectation, perception of random stimuli, magical thinking, and creativity.

Harini is an undergraduate Biopsychology student currently assisting Claire Zedelius with research on mind wandering, curiosity, and creativity. Harini is interested in cognitive neuroscience research with a focus on meditation and creativity.  

Melody is a 3rd year Psychological and Brain Sciences major assisting James Elliott with his EEG research on expectation, perception of random stimuli, magical thinking, and creativity. She is currently interested in the subconscious mind, attention, and computational models of the brain.

Andrew is a 4th-year student majoring in biopsychology and philosophy. His educational interests include consciousness, anomalous experiences, meditation/spirituality, self-identity, dreaming and the subconscious mind, and metaphysics. He is currently assisting Elliott Ihm in emotional experiences. 

Surya is a third-year Psychological & Brain Sciences major assisting Madeleine Gross in her exploration of the experience of awe and wonder, and Eliott Ihm in his exploration of the feelings of awe. His personal interests lay in meditation and self-awareness as a tool for motivation, creativity, and anxiety reduction, and how emotion affects biological processes. 

Alexandra recently graduated from UCSB with an undergraduate degree in psychology. She is assisting Claire Zedelius with her research on mind wandering. 


Benji is working primarily with John Protzko on research exploring The Decline Effect. 

 Ben's research investigates distortions in the subjective experience of time and the resulting perceptual concequences.