M3CS applies philosophical and scientific rigour to provide new answers about consciousness, contemplation and their relation to each other. The Centre is a vibrant research hub for a new generation of interdisciplinary academics, fostering new global collaborations.
We aim to have a bustling and broad-ranging portfolio of research projects, publications and grants, building the Centre’s identity as an innovator in the consciousness and contemplative studies field. We are quickly forging international recognition for innovative research in this interdisciplinary area.
Our research increasingly reflects the distinctive M3CS focus on the connections between consciousness, contemplation, and action. Several compelling lines of inquiry are emerging:
Do we act more morally after meditating? One of M3CS’s programs is Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance greatly enjoyed by Monash students and staff and numerous participants worldwide. But does it also foster self-compassion and prosocial attitudes? Professor Craig Hassed and a M3CS team provides positive evidence in the peak journal Mindfulness. At the same time, we must consider the question, “Do contemplative practices make us more moral?” A M3CS-Harvard paper coming out in the influential journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences argues that we need to carefully consider how that question is asked, showing that for mindfulness the answer is indeed mixed.
What does it mean to act if you don’t have a self? Buddhist monastics undertake a lot of vows but how can they commit themselves to these many actions, given they also believe there is no permanent self? A M3CS-Cornell team uses decision theory to answer this question, in the prestigious journal Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. Relatedly, what could it mean to be a selfless mind? Can such an entity have a sense of agency? Professor Monima Chadha’s impressive book with Oxford University Press provides a new and exciting treatment of this question, focusing on Abhidharma Buddhist philosophy.
Why would meditation relate to action, if the practice is about doing nothing? Dr Toby Woods and Dr Jennifer Windt, collaborating with a team from University of Melbourne, ask in Mindfulness if stillness meditation, which is all about complete stillness, as well as Thai Forest mediation, is really experienced as empty. Reporting from 160 meditators, they find that the experiences are not in fact the states devoid of all content as classically conveyed. This work is continuing with a large controlled trial, where Dr Woods reports: “We are seeking to find out how ‘do nothing’ meditation impacts meditators’ minds and bodies in the early stages of practice. We compare ‘do nothing’ meditation with a focused attention technique. So far I have conducted 150 one-hour testing sessions. Preliminary analysis indicates participants in both practices have highly positive and calming experiences. The next step will be to gauge the impact of increasing the amount of silence in the sessions.”
What do we consciously experience, when in deep mediation? Dr Mark Miller is working with researchers from McGill (CA) University exploring the neurobiology and phenomenology of advanced meditation states. Dr Miller reports: “We use state-of-the-art neuroimaging, neurocomputational frameworks, and qualitative techniques. The team is collaborating with advanced meditators from diverse backgrounds, including North America and various Asian monastic contexts (Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos), encompassing both Buddhist and Christian practitioners. The preliminary findings are already showing intriguing information about the brain's activities during deep states of concentration, like 'jhana' and prayer.”
Is contemplation one thing, and decision and action another? Several M3CS teams approach this question by probing computational processeses in the brain. The role of action in contemplation and wellbeing is modelled with active inference, a cutting edge approach integrating action and experience. An account of resilience has already appeared, and student-led working models are written for optimism and gratitude, flexible learning, meta-awareness in focused attention meditation, and the defabrication of experience in deep meditation. This points to a distinctive integrated account of consciousness, contemplation and action. Professor Hohwy has completed a book manuscript elucidating these notions under the concept of self-evidencing.
How does action impact what we consciously see? The M3CS node in the large INTREPID Adversarial Collaboration consortium on consciousness is testing the theory that active inference is necessary for consciousness - which implies that changing active inference through contemplation can change consciousness. Promising pupil dilation results in a visual illusion were presented at The Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness (NY). Here, ‘Adversarial Collaboration’ aspires to advance science and avoid polarisation. This aspiration is in need of a rigid analysis method, which our team have developed, soon to be available to the broad scientific community.
Several further projects speaking to consciousness, contemplation and action are well underway, with advanced data collection for projects on the difference between dignity and respect, on retaliation and moral emotion, on trust and character, on how we judge the mindfulness of each other’s actions, on derealisation, and on dreams and mindwandering.
Representative publications from the M3CS team since the Centre's inception in 2021. See also our individual pages for full publication lists.
Ifergan, G. forthcoming. The Discerning Clear Gaze of Yoga. Equinox Publishing.
Chadha, M. 2023. Selfless Minds: A Contemporary Perspective on Vasubandhu's Metaphysics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Miller, M., Clark, A., Schlict, T. 2022. Predictive processing and consciousness. Special Issue of Review of Philosophy and Psychology 13:4.
Hassed, C., McKenzie, S. 2021. Mindfulness for Life. Exisle Publishing.
Flynn E, Salmon N, O’Keeffe D, Hassed C. Finding presence during a pandemic: a qualitative analysis of participation in an Irish University online mindfulness practice during the COVID-19 emergency. HRB Open Res 2023, 6:33.
Ramstead, M., Wiese, W., Miller, M., Friston, K. (forthcoming) Deep neurophenomenology: An active inference account of some features of conscious experience and of their disturbance in major depressive disorder
Ciria, A., Albarracin, M., Miller, M., & Lara, B. (2022). Social Media Platforms: Trading with Prediction Error Minimization for Your Attention
White, B., & Miller, M. (2023). Free-Energy Minimising Agents and Beneficial AI: Ambient Smart Environments, Allostasis, and Metacognitive Control
Schoeller, F., Horowitz, A., Maes, P., Jain, A., Reggente, N., Moore, L. C., Miller, M ... & Friston, K. (2022). Interoceptive technologies for clinical neuroscience
van Baal, S., L. Walasek, A. Verdejo-Garcia, J. Hohwy (2022). Impulsivity and self-control as timeless concepts: A conceptual analysis of preferences in intertemporal choice https://psyarxiv.com/vtx8y/
Demšar, E., & Windt, J. (2022, November 17). Studying dream experience through dream reports: Points of contact between dream research and first-person methods in consciousness science. https://doi.org/10.31231/osf.io/gxcym. Chapter forthcoming in Dreaming and Memory: Philosophical Issues.
Gwyther, M., Lenggenhager, B., Windt, J., Aspell, J. E., & Ciaunica, A. (2023, May 4). Living in a bad dream – examining the association between depersonalisation traits and the bodily self in waking and dreaming. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/gp6n3
Miller, M., White, B., & Scrivner, C. (preprint). Surfing Uncertainty with Screams: Predictive Processing, Error Dynamics and Horror Films. https://psyarxiv.com/t2xrb
van Baal, S. T., Le, S., Fatehi, F., Verdejo-Garcia, A., & Hohwy, J. (preprint). Effecting behaviour change using an artificial intelligence chatbot: A pilot randomised controlled study. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/2xuat
Articles and chapters
Corcoran, A., Hohwy, J., Friston, K. (2023). Accelerating scientific progress through Bayesian adversarial collaboration. Neuron. [Preprint]
Berryman, K., Lazar, S., Hohwy, J. (2023). Do contemplative practices make us more moral? Trends in Cognitive Sciences.
Gadsby, S., Hohwy, J. (2023). Negative performance evaluation in the imposter phenomenon. Current Psychology.
Van Baal, S., Hohwy, J., Verdejo-Garcia, A., Konstantinidis, E., Walasek, L. (2023). Fenneman, Frankenhuis, and Todd’s (2022) model integration and review: Implications for theory and measures of impulsivity. Psychological Bulletin.
Miller, M., Andersen, M., Schoeller & Kiverstein, J. (2023) Getting a Kick out of Film: Aesthetic Pleasure and Play in Prediction Error Minimizing Agents. In Worlding the Brain: Neurocentrism, Cognition and the Challenge of the Arts and Humanities edited by Stephan Besser and Flora Lysen. Brill.
Miller, M & Markovic, J. (2023). Interoceptive Inference: Emotion-Cognition Interactions in the Predictive Brain. In The Predictive Mind: New Bridges and Old Problems edited by Steven Gouveia. Vernon Press.
Wozniak, M., McEllin, L., Hohwy, J., & Ciaunica, A. (2023). Depersonalization affects self-prioritization of bodily, but not abstract self-related information. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. [Preprint]
Chadha, M., Nichols, S. (2023). Eliminating Selves, Reducing Persons. In: Coseru, C. (eds) Reasons and Empty Persons: Mind, Metaphysics, and Morality. Sophia Studies in Cross-cultural Philosophy of Traditions and Cultures, vol 36: Pp. 105-119. Springer.
Woods, T., Windt, J., Brown, L., Carter, O., & Van Dam, N. T. (2023). Subjective Experiences of Committed Meditators Across Practices Aiming for Contentless States. Mindfulness.
Corcoran, A. W., Perrykkad, K., Feuerriegel, D., & Robinson, J. E. (2023). Body as first teacher: The role of rhythmic visceral dynamics in early cognitive development. Perspectives on Psychological Science.
Sikka, P., Tuominen, J., Ezquerro Nassar, A., Kirberg, M., Loukola, V., Revonsuo, A., Valli, K., Windt, J., Beckinschtein, T., Noreika, V. 2023. COVID-19 on mind: Daily worry about the coronavirus is linked to negative affect experienced during mind-wandering and dreaming. Emotion.
Bailey, N., Comte, W., Chambers, R., Bartlett, L. Connaughton, S., Hassed, C. (2023). Participation in online mindfulness was associated with improved self-compassion and prosocial attitudes. Mindfulness.
Andersen, M. M., Kiverstein, J., Miller, M., & Roepstorff, A. (2023). Play in predictive minds: A cognitive theory of play. Psychological Review, 130(2), 462–479.
Corcoran, A., R Perera, M Koroma, S Kouider, J Hohwy, T Andrillon (2023). Expectations boost the reconstruction of auditory features from electrophysiological responses to noisy speech. Cerebral Cortex 33 (3), 691-708
Van Baal, S., Verdejo-García, A. & Hohwy J. (2023). Episodic future thinking and compassion regarding public health guideline noncompliance urges: A randomised controlled trial. BMC Public Health.
Berryman, K., Chadha, M., Nichols, S. (2023). Vows without a self. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
Bailey NW, Geddes H, Zannettino I, Humble G, Payne J, Baell O, Emonson M, Chung SW, Hill AT, Rogasch N, Hohwy J, Fitzgerald PB (2023). Meditators probably show increased behaviour-monitoring related neural activity. Mindfulness.
Perrykkad, K., Sherwell, C. S., Kirby, J., & Hohwy, J. (2023). Beliefs about Action Efficacy Mediate the Relationship between Self-Concept Clarity and Self-reported Compassionate Action. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice. [Preprint].
Deterding, S., Malmdorf, M., Kiverstein, J., Miller, M. 2022. Mastering uncertainty: A predictive processing account of enjoying uncertain success in video game play. Frontiers in Psychology 13.
Nave, K., Deane, G., Miller, M., & Clark, A. (2022). Expecting some action: Predictive Processing and the construction of conscious experience. Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 1-19
Miller, M., Albarracin Mahault, Pitliya Riddhi J., Kiefer Alex, Mago Jonas, Gorman Claire, Friston Karl J., Ramstead Maxwell J. D. 2022. Resilience and active inference. Frontiers in Psychology, 2022. 13.
Andersen, B. P., Miller, M., & Vervaeke, J. 2022. Predictive processing and relevance realization: exploring convergent solutions to the frame problem. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 1-22.
Alcaraz-Sánchez, A., Demšar, E., Campillo-Ferrer, T., & Torres-Platas, S. G. 2022. Nothingness is all there is: an exploration of objectless awareness during sleep. Frontiers in Psychology, 13, 901031.
Hassed, C., Chambers, R. 2022. Chapter 2: The mindful practitioner. In Mindfulness in the Birth Sphere, Practice for Pre-conception to the critical 1000 Days and Beyond. Routledge. DOI: 10.4324/978100316520-0-2.
McConville J, Chambers R, Hassed C, Morris E, Hahne A. 2022. Predictors of stress, anxiety, depression, study engagement and academic performance in physiotherapy students, including a subgroup receiving a mindfulness training program. Focus on Health Professional Education 23(4):52-72.
Yadav M, Neate S, Hassed C, Chambers R, Connaughton S, Nag N. 2022. Mining the Gems of a Web-Based Mindfulness Intervention: Qualitative Analysis of Factors Aiding Completion and Implementation. JMIR Formative Research 6(10):e37406.
Perrykkad, K., Robinson, J., Hohwy, J. 2022. Foraging for the Self: Environment selection for agency inference. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.
Neate, S. Reece, J. Hassed, C. Chambers, R, Connaughton, S. and Nag, N. 2022. A qualitative analysis of free text comments of participants from a massive open online mindfulness course. Frontiers in Public Health.
Kars, A. Bahrani, A. 2022. Knowledge and Causality in Ibn al-'Arabi's Book of Giving, and the Buddhist Notion of Dependent Origination. MDPI Religions 13:9, 768 (1-27). https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13090768.
Simonsson, O.,S. B. Goldberg, S. B., Chambers, R., Osika, W., Long, D. M., Hendricks, P.S. 2022. Prevalence and associations of classic psychedelic-related seizures in a population based sample. Drug and Alcohol Dependence: 109586.
Negro, N. 2022. Can the Integrated Information Theory Explain Consciousness from Consciousness Itself?. Review of Philosophy and Psychology.
Van Baal, S. T., Walasek, L., Hohwy, J. 2022. Modelling pandemic behaviour using an economic multiplayer game. Scientific Reports. DOI 10.1038/s41598-022-17642-w
Deterding S, Andersen MM, Kiverstein J and Miller M. 2022. Mastering uncertainty: A predictive processing account of enjoying uncertain success in video game play. Frontiers in psychology 13:924953. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.924953
Neate, S. L., Reece, J., Hassed, C., Chambers, R., Connaughton, S., Nag, N. 2022. A qualitative analysis of free text comments of participants from a massive open online mindfulness course. Frontiers in Public Health. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2022.947898
van Baal, S.T., Moskovsky, N., Hohwy, J., Verdejo-Garcia, A., 2022. State impulsivity amplifies urges without diminishing self-control. Addictive Behaviors 133: 107381
Woods, T.J., Windt, J., Carter, O. 2022. The path to contentless experience in meditation: An evidence synthesis based on expert texts. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences.
Decat, N. Walter, J. Koh, ZH. Sribanditmongkol, P. Fulcher, B. Windt, J. Andrillon, T. Naotsugu, T. 2022. Beyond traditional sleep scoring: Massive feature extraction and data-driven clustering of sleep time series. Sleep Medicine 98: 39-52. [Preprint]
Kars, A. 2022. Ismāʿīl al-Qaṣrī, Kubrawiyya, and Sufi Genealogies: ‘Deep-Dark Transmissions’ in Medieval Iran. Iranian Studies, Vol 55 Issue 1, pages 143-176.
Hassed C. 2022. Mindfulness in Medical Education. Clinical Teacher Volume 19, Issue S1, Special Issue: Mindfulness in Medical Education: The Changing Landscape of Mindfulness in Medical Education Conference 2022 Proceedings, pages 6-7.
Kars, A. 2022. A ‘Sufi’ Epistle on Spiritual Poverty, and Its Authors: Authenticity, Authority, and Genre in Textual Reproduction, Journal of Islamic Studies, Vol 33 Issue 2, pages 203-229.
Andersen, M. M., Kiverstein, J., Miller, M., & Roepstorff, A. 2022. Play in predictive minds: A cognitive theory of play. Psychological Review.
Perrykkad, K., Hohwy, J. 2022. How selves differ within and across cognitive domains: Self-prioritisation, self-concept, and psychiatric traits. BMC Psychology 10, 165.
Kars, A. 2022. The Early Transmission of al-Suhrawardī’s ʿAwārif al-Maʿārif, Journal of Religion, Vol 102 Issue 1, pages 47-92.
Woods, T., Windt, J., Carter, O. 2022. Evidence synthesis indicates contentless experiences in meditation are neither truly contentless nor identical. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences.
Seth, A.K., Bayne, T. 2022. Theories of consciousness. Nature Reviews Neuroscience.
Miller M, Kiverstein J, Rietveld E. 2022. The Predictive Dynamics of Happiness and Well-Being. Emotion Review 14(1):15-30.
Woźniak, M., T. T. Schmidt, Y.-h. Wu, F. Blankenburg and J. Hohwy 2022. Differences in working memory coding of biological motion attributed to oneself and others. Human Brain Mapping.
Kirberg, M. & Windt, J. (In Print). History of the Study of Dreams. Encyclopedia of Sleep and Circadian Rhythms, 2e
Guthrie, T., Matthews, J., Chambers, R., Windt, J., Hohwy, J. 2022. Changes in multisensory integration following brief state induction and longer-term training with body scan meditation. Mindfulness.
Williams, B., Beovich, B., Ling, D., & Abbass, A. 2022. A psychometric study of the Compassionate Love Scale for Humanity Short version (CLS-H-SF) within a paramedicine student cohort. International Emergency Nursing, 61, 101115.
Whyte, C., Hohwy, J., & Smith, R. 2022. An active inference model of conscious access: How cognitive action selection reconciles the results of report and No-Report paradigms. Current Research in Neurobiology.
Arnaldo, I., Corcoran, A., Friston, K., Ramstead, M. 2022. Stress and its sequelae: An active inference account of the etiological pathway from allostatic overload to depression. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 135:104590.
Koppel, S., Stephens, A., Kaviani, F., Peiris, S., Young, K., Chambers, R., Hassed, C. 2022. It's all in the mind: the relationship between mindfulness and nomophobia on technology engagement while driving and aberrant driving behaviours. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour 86: 252-262.
Chadha, M., Nichols, S. 2022. Self-control without a self. Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
Ciaunica, A., McEllin, L., Kiverstein, J., Gallese, V., Hohwy, J. & Wozniak, M. (2022). Zoomed out? Depersonalization is related to increased digital media use during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Scientific Reports 12(1): 3888..
Hassed, C. 2022. Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis Handbook: roadmap to good health. Meditation, mindfulness and the mind-body connection. Sydney: Allen & Unwin. Pp. 108-126.
Kirberg, M. 2022. Neurocognitive dynamics of spontaneous offline simulations: Re-conceptualizing (dream)bizarreness. Philosophical Psychology: 1-30.
Chadha, M. 2022. A Buddhist Response to the Quality-Combination Problem for Panpsychism. The Monist 105(1): p. 131-145. [Preprint]
Chadha, M. 2022. Personhood in Classical Indian Philosophy. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2022 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.).
van Baal, S. T., Walasek, L., Karanfilovska, D., Cheng, A., & Hohwy, J. 2022. Risk perception, illusory superiority, and personal responsibility during COVID-19: An experimental study of attitudes to staying home. British Journal of Psychology.
Kakoschke, N., C. Hassed, R. Chambers and K. Lee 2021. The importance of formal versus informal mindfulness practice for enhancing psychological wellbeing and study engagement in a medical student cohort with a 5-week mindfulness-based lifestyle program. PLOS ONE 16(10): e0258999.
Tsuchiya, N. and Saigo, H. 2021. A relational approach to consciousness: categories of level and contents of consciousness. Neuroscience of Consciousness 2021(2).
Andrillon, T., Burns, A., Mackay, T., Windt, J. & Tsuchiya, N. 2021. Predicting lapses of attention with sleep-like slow waves. Nature Communications, 12, 3657.
Bartlett, L., Buscot, M.-J., Bindoff, A., Chambers R. & Hassed C. 2021. Mindfulness Is associated with lower stress and higher work engagement in a large sample of MOOC participants. Frontiers in Psychology 12(3924).
Chadha, M. 2021. Eliminating selves and persons. Journal of the American Philosophical Association, 7(3), 273-294.
Hassed, C. 2021. The art of introducing mindfulness into medical and allied health curricula. Mindfulness 12, 1909-1919.
Hassed, C. 2021. Mindfulness: Is it Buddhist or universal? The Humanistic Psychologist, 49(1), 72-88.
Hohwy, J. 2021. Conscious self-evidencing. Review of Psychology & Philosophy.
Kars, A. 2021. Ismāʿīl al-Qaṣrī, Kubrawiyya, and Sufi genealogies: “Deep-dark transmissions” in medieval Iran. Iranian Studies (online first).
Payne, J. E., R. Chambers and P. Liknaitzky 2021. Combining psychedelic and mindfulness interventions: Synergies to inform clinical practice. ACS Pharmacology & Translational Science, 4(2): 416-42.
Ling, D., M. Petrakis and J. H. Olver 2021. The Use of Common Humanity Scenarios to Promote Compassion in Healthcare Workers. Australian Social Work 74(1): 110-121.
Prochilo, G. A., R. J. S. Costa, Hassed, R. Chambers and P. Molenberghs 2021. A 16-week aerobic exercise and mindfulness-based intervention on chronic psychosocial stress: a pilot and feasibility study. Pilot and Feasibility Studies 7(1): 64.
M3CS partners with several organisations for research projects. Please contact us if your organsation have aligned interests or projects.