Kalina Christoff

Kalina Christoff
University of British Columbia - Vancouver | UBC ·  Department of Psychology

PhD

About

98
Publications
69,070
Reads
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12,344
Citations
Additional affiliations
July 2004 - present
University of British Columbia - Vancouver
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
July 2002 - June 2004
Medical Research Council (UK)
Position
  • PostDoc Position
July 2002 - June 2004
MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit
Position
  • Postdoctoral Scientist

Publications

Publications (98)
Preprint
Creative thinking is often viewed as a dynamic process that involves shifts between two distinct modes (or phases) of thought – a generative and an evaluative mode. The generative mode involves the generation of new ideas, whereas the evaluative mode involves cognitive and affective evaluations of these ideas. Although the neurocognitive underpinni...
Article
Full-text available
Although central to well-being, functional and dysfunctional thoughts arise and unfold over time in ways that remain poorly understood. To shed light on these mechanisms, we adapted a “think aloud” paradigm to quantify the content and dynamics of individuals’ thoughts at rest. Across two studies, external raters hand coded the content of each thoug...
Article
Full-text available
The human prefrontal cortex is a structurally and functionally heterogenous brain region, including multiple subregions that have been linked to different large-scale brain networks. It contributes to a broad range of mental phenomena, from goal-directed thought and executive functions to mind-wandering and psychedelic experience. Here we review wh...
Article
Off-task thought has been found to occur at high rates and is related to impairment in ADHD. However, off-task thought is heterogenous and it remains unclear which specific dimensions of off-task thought are more prevalent in this disorder. It is therefore important to dissociate different aspects of off-task thought in order to better understand t...
Article
Much of our knowledge about the correlates of mind-wandering comes from assessing task-unrelated thought. Less is known about the correlates of freely moving thought, a dimension that assesses the degree to which thoughts arise and unfold with low levels of guidance or constraints. Task-unrelated thought is consistently associated with more negativ...
Article
Full-text available
Thoughts that appear to come to us ‘out of the blue’ or ‘out of nowhere’ are a familiar aspect of mental experience. Such thoughts tend to elicit feelings of surprise and spontaneity. Although we are beginning to understand the neural processes that underlie the arising of such thoughts, little is known about what accounts for their peculiar phenom...
Preprint
Full-text available
Individuals use various strategies to cope with challenging emotions such as anxiety. Mindful acceptance involves broadening attentional scope and fully experiencing present moment sensory feelings (whether pleasant or unpleasant) without judgment or elaboration. In contrast, narrative-evaluation involves focusing on a narrow band of sensory experi...
Chapter
Psychotherapy holds great promise for bringing about therapeutic change, yet a major challenge lies in translating short-term change into change that endures over extended time scales. This chapter tackles the “how-tos” of therapeutic change through the lens of an emerging field of research on internally guided experience, encapsulating thoughts an...
Article
Full-text available
Contemporary investigations regard creativity as a dynamic form of cognition that involves movement between the dissociable stages of creative generation and creative evaluation. Our recently proposed Dynamic Framework of Thought (Christoff et al., 2016) offered a conceptualization of these stages in terms of an interplay between sources of constra...
Article
Recent applications of dynamic network analyses to functional neuroimaging data have revealed relationships between a number of cognition conditions and the dynamic reconfiguration of brain networks. Here we critically review such applications of network neuroscience to intelligence. After providing an overview of network neuroscience, we center ou...
Article
Full-text available
The nature of the self has long been a topic of discussion in philosophical and religious contexts, and has recently also garnered significant scientific attention. Although evidence exists to suggest the multifaceted nature of self-experience, the amount of research done on each of its putative components has not been uniform. Whereas self-reflect...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research has demonstrated reliable fluctuations in attentional processes during the course of the day. Everyday life experience sampling, during which participants respond to “probes” delivered at random intervals throughout the day on their mobile devices, is an effective tool for capturing such diurnal fluctuations in a naturalistic way....
Article
Full-text available
Despite the ubiquitous nature of boredom, the definition, function, and correlates of boredom are still poorly understood. In this review, we summarize the "known" (consistent evidence) and "unknown" (inconsistent evidence) correlates of boredom. We show that boredom is consistently related to negative affect, task-unrelated thought, over-estimatio...
Article
Cognitive control mechanisms support the deliberate regulation of thought and behavior based on current goals. Recent work suggests that motivational incentives improve cognitive control and has begun to elucidate critical neural substrates. We conducted a quantitative meta‐analysis of neuroimaging studies of motivated cognitive control using activ...
Article
Boredom has recently piqued cognitive neuroscientific interest, but remains a challenge to scientific investigation in this field. We propose that to advance this research, we should (i) seek greater consistency of operationalization and measurement across studies and participants; and (ii) appreciate the temporal instability of boredom and its ens...
Article
Full-text available
Despite increasing scientific interest in self‐generated thought—mental content largely independent of the immediate environment—there has yet to be any comprehensive synthesis of the subjective experience and neural correlates of affect in these forms of thinking. Here, we aim to develop an integrated affective neuroscience encompassing many forms...
Book
Where do spontaneous thoughts come from? It may be surprising that the seemingly straightforward answers, "from the mind" or "from the brain," are in fact an incredibly recent, modern understanding of the origins of spontaneous thought. For nearly all of human history, our thoughts-especially the most sudden, insightful, and important-were almost u...
Chapter
An often- overlooked characteristic of the human mind is its propensity to wander. Despite growing interest in the science of mind- wandering, most studies operationalize mind- wandering by its taskunrelated contents, which may be orthogonal to the processes constraining how thoughts are evoked and unfold over time. This chapter emphasizes the impo...
Article
The frontoparietal control network (FPCN) plays a central role in executive control. It has been predominantly viewed as a unitary domain general system. Here, we examined patterns of FPCN functional connectivity (FC) across multiple conditions of varying cognitive demands, to test for FPCN heterogeneity. We identified two distinct subsystems withi...
Chapter
Introduction: A Very Brief History of Psychedelic Substances and Science Humans have employed an incredible variety of plant-derived substances over the millennia in order to alter consciousness and perception (Schultes, Hofmann, & Rätsch, 2001). Among the innumerable narcotics, analgesics, “ordeal” drugs, and other psychoactive substances discover...
Preprint
Cognitive neuroscience investigations of self-experiencehave mainly focused on the mental attribution of features to the self (self-related processing). In this paper, we highlight another fundamental ,yet neglected, aspect of self-experience, that of being an agent.We propose that this aspect of self-experience depends on self-specifying processes...
Preprint
Wilson et al.’s results provide little support for the conclusion that people find being alone with their own thoughts unpleasant or aversive. Instead, their results—like the results from many prior studies of the affective qualities of self-generated thought—show “just thinking” to be on average some what enjoyable. But behind these simple average...
Preprint
Full-text available
Thoughts arise spontaneously in our minds with remarkable frequency, but tracking the brain systems associated with the early inception of a thought has proved challenging. Here we addressed this issue by taking advantage of the heightened introspective ability of experienced mindfulness practitioners to observe the onset of their spontaneously ari...
Preprint
Full-text available
The accuracy of subjective reports, especially those involving introspection of one’s own internal processes, remains unclear, and research has demonstrated large individual differences in introspective accuracy. It has been hypothesized that introspective accuracy may be heightened in persons who engage in meditation practices, due to the highly i...
Article
Mind wandering is frequently defined as task-unrelated or perceptually decoupled thought. However, these definitions may not capture the dynamic features of a wandering mind, such as its tendency to 'move freely'. Here we test the relationship between three theoretically dissociable dimensions of thought: freedom of movement in thought, task-relate...
Preprint
Cognitive control mechanisms support the deliberate regulation of thought and behavior based on current goals. Recent work suggests that motivational incentives improve cognitive control, and has begun to elucidate the brain regions that may support this effect. Here, we conducted a quantitative meta-analysis of neuroimaging studies of motivated co...
Preprint
The frontoparietal control network (FPCN) plays a central role in executive control. It has been predominantly viewed as a unitary domain general system. Here, we examined patterns of FPCN functional connectivity (FC) across multiple conditions of varying cognitive demands, in order to test for FPCN heterogeneity. We identified two distinct subsyst...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Spontaneous thinking is a ubiquitous aspect of our mental life and has increasingly become a hot topic of research in cognitive neuroscience. To date, functional neuroimaging studies of spontaneous thought have revealed general brain recruitment centered on a combination of default mode network and executive regions. Despite recent findings about g...
Article
Full-text available
The prefrontal cortex (PFC) plays a critical role in the generation and regulation of emotion. However, we lack an integrative framework for understanding how different emotion-related functions are organized across the entire expanse of the PFC, as prior reviews have generally focused on specific emotional processes (e.g., decision making) or spec...
Article
Full-text available
Enormous questions still loom for the emerging science of spontaneous thought: what, exactly, is spontaneous thought? Why does our brain engage in spontaneous forms of thinking, and when is this most likely to occur? And perhaps the question most interesting and accessible from a scientific perspective: how does the brain generate, elaborate, and e...
Article
An often-overlooked characteristic of the human mind is its propensity to wander. Despite growing interest in the science of mind-wandering, most studies operationalize mind-wandering by its task-unrelated contents, which may be orthogonal to the processes constraining how thoughts are evoked and unfold over time. In this chapter, we emphasize the...
Chapter
Full-text available
Goal-directed behavior involves a variety of processes that operate over different temporal scales, from the generation and maintenance of distal (long-term) goals to the identification of proximal (immediate) subgoals to the execution of actions in service of those goals. There is also evidence suggesting that the neural underpinnings of goal-dire...
Article
Full-text available
Anticorrelation between the default network (DN) and dorsal attention network (DAN) is thought to be an intrinsic aspect of functional brain organization reflecting competing functions. However, the effect size of functional connectivity (FC) between the DN and DAN has yet to be established. Furthermore, the stability of anticorrelations across dis...
Article
Full-text available
Most research on mind-wandering has characterized it as a mental state with contents that are task unrelated or stimulus independent. However, the dynamics of mind-wandering - how mental states change over time - have remained largely neglected. Here, we introduce a dynamic framework for understanding mind-wandering and its relationship to the recr...
Article
Investigation of the neural basis of self-generated thought is moving beyond a simple identification with default network activation toward a more comprehensive view recognizing the role of the frontoparietal control network and other areas. A major task ahead is to unravel the functional roles and temporal dynamics of the widely distributed brain...
Preprint
Anticorrelation between the default network (DN) and dorsal attention network (DAN) is thought to be an intrinsic aspect of functional brain organization reflecting competing functions. However, the stability of anticorrelations across distinct DN subsystems, different contexts, and time, remains unexplored. Here we examine DN-DAN functional connec...
Article
Humans have employed an incredible variety of plant-derived substances over the millennia in order to alter consciousness and perception. Among the innumerable narcotics, analgesics, 'ordeal' drugs, and other psychoactive substances discovered and used in ritualistic contexts by cultures around the world, one class in particular stands out not only...
Article
Meditation and hypnosis both aim to facilitate cognitive-emotional flexibility, i.e., the "de-automatization" of thought and behavior. However, little research or theory has addressed how internal thought patterns might change after such interventions, even though alterations in the internal flow of consciousness may precede externally observable c...
Article
Thoughts arise spontaneously in our minds with remarkable frequency, but tracking the brain systems associated with the early inception of a thought has proved challenging. Here we addressed this issue by taking advantage of the heightened introspective ability of experienced mindfulness practitioners to detect the onset of their spontaneously aris...
Article
In a recent article, Axelrod et al. (1) present the results of an intriguing transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) study, showing that noninvasive electrical stimulation of the dorsolateral and rostrolateral prefrontal cortex (PFC) increases the propensity to mind-wander. Further, they show that sham stimulation at these same PFC sites doe...
Article
The neural basis and cognitive functions of various spontaneous thought processes, particularly mind-wandering, are increasingly being investigated. Although strong links have been drawn between the occurrence of spontaneous thought processes and activation in brain regions comprising the default mode network (DMN), spontaneous thought also appears...
Article
Full-text available
Spontaneous thought, often colloquially referred to as “daydreaming” or “mind-wandering,” is increasingly being investigated by scientists (for recent reviews, see Christoff, 2012; Andrews-Hanna et al., 2014; Smallwood and Schooler, 2014). In a recent article published in Science, Wilson et al. (2014) argue in support of the view (e.g., Killingswor...
Article
Full-text available
Dehumanizing attitudes and behaviors frequently occur in organizational settings and are often viewed as an acceptable, and even necessary, strategy for pursuing personal and organizational goals. Here I examine a number of commonly held beliefs about dehumanization and argue that there is relatively little support for them in light of the evidence...
Article
Rostrolateral prefrontal cortex (RLPFC) is part of a frontoparietal network of regions involved in relational reasoning, the mental process of working with relationships between multiple mental representations. RLPFC has shown functional and structural changes with age, with increasing specificity of left RLPFC activation for relational integration...
Article
Full-text available
Numerous studies have begun to address how the brain's grey and white matter may be shaped by meditation. This research is yet to be integrated, however, and two fundamental questions remain: Is meditation associated with altered brain structure? If so, what is the magnitude of these differences? To address these questions, we reviewed and meta-ana...
Chapter
Full-text available
Mind wandering (MW) and metacognition may give the impression of lying at the opposite poles of the spectrum of human cognition. MW involves undirected, spontaneous thought processes that often occur without our volition and sometimes despite our intentions. Metacognition, by contrast, involves the conscious, often intentional monitoring and evalua...
Article
Full-text available
Isolated reports have long suggested a similarity in content and thought processes across mind wandering (MW) during waking, and dream mentation during sleep. This overlap has encouraged speculation that both "daydreaming" and dreaming may engage similar brain mechanisms. To explore this possibility, we systematically examined published first-perso...
Article
Full-text available
Cognitive control is a fundamental skill reflecting the active use of task-rules to guide behavior and suppress inappropriate automatic responses. Prior work has traditionally used paradigms in which subjects are told when to engage cognitive control. Thus, surprisingly little is known about the factors that influence individuals' initial decision...
Data
Regions exhibiting fMRI-adaptation for repetition of the reward. Reported regions are significant at Z>2.57, p<.05 FWE cluster corrected for the whole-brain volume (k>112). BA = Brodmann area. PCC = posterior cingulate cortex; MD = mediodorsal nucleus; AN = anterior nucleus; IFG = inferior frontal gyrus; NAcc = nucleus accumbens; rACC = rostral ant...
Data
Regions exhibiting fMRI-adaptation for repetition of the rules. Reported regions are significant at Z>2.57, p<.05 FWE cluster corrected for the whole-brain volume (k>112). BA = Brodmann area. pSTS = posterior superior temporal sulcus; aMCC = anterior mid-cingulate cortex; SMA/pre-SMA = supplementary motor cortex/presupplementary motor cortex; pMTG...
Article
Full-text available
The accuracy of subjective reports, especially those involving introspection of one's own internal processes, remains unclear, and research has demonstrated large individual differences in introspective accuracy. It has been hypothesized that introspective accuracy may be heightened in persons who engage in meditation practices, due to the highly i...
Data
Partial correlations (controlling for age) between Introspective Accuracy with various physiological measures and overall meditation experience (MED) or BSM experience. Significant correlations here indicate that individual introspective accuracy improves with increasing meditation experience, even when age is controlled for. (DOC)
Data
Mean subjective sensitivity scores (±SD) for each of the 20 body regions tested, averaged across all participants. IF: index finger; MF: middle finger; LF: little finger; RF: ring finger. (DOC)
Article
While goal-directed thinking has received the lion's share of neuroscientific attention, its counterpart—the undirected thought flow that comes to mind unbidden and without effort—has remained largely on the sidelines of scientific research. Such undirected thought, however, forms a large part of our mental experience. The last decade of neuroscien...
Article
Psychological theories have suggested that creativity involves a twofold process characterized by a generative component facilitating the production of novel ideas and an evaluative component enabling the assessment of their usefulness. The present study employed a novel fMRI paradigm designed to distinguish between these two components at the neur...
Article
Mind wandering (i.e. engaging in cognitions unrelated to the current demands of the external environment) reflects the cyclic activity of two core processes: the capacity to disengage attention from perception (known as perceptual decoupling) and the ability to take explicit note of the current contents of consciousness (known as meta-awareness). R...
Article
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Article
Cognitive neuroscience investigations of self-experience have mainly focused on the mental attribution of features to the self (self-related processing). In this paper, we highlight another fundamental, yet neglected, aspect of self-experience, that of being an agent. We propose that this aspect of self-experience depends on self-specifying process...
Article
Recent real-time fMRI (rt-fMRI) training studies have demonstrated that subjects can achieve improved control over localized brain regions by using real-time feedback about the level of fMRI signal in these regions. It has remained unknown, however, whether subjects can gain control over anterior prefrontal cortex (PFC) regions that support some of...
Article
Non-linear changes in behaviour and in brain activity during adolescent development have been reported in a variety of cognitive tasks. These developmental changes are often interpreted as being a consequence of changes in brain structure, including non-linear changes in grey matter volumes, which occur during adolescence. However, very few studies...
Article
Full-text available
The literature on dysregulated sexuality, whether theoretical, clinical or empirical, has failed to differentiate the construct from high sexual desire. In this study, we tested three hypotheses which addressed this issue. A sample of 6458 men and 7938 women, some of whom had sought treatment for sexual compulsivity, addiction or impulsivity, compl...
Article
The prefrontal cortex (PFC) plays a crucial role in cognitive control and higher mental functions by maintaining working memory representations of currently relevant information, thereby inducing a mindset that facilitates the processing of such information. Using fMRI, we examined how the human PFC implements mindsets for information at varying le...