Kieran Fox

Kieran Fox
Stanford University | SU · School of Medicine

MA, PhD

About

57
Publications
60,566
Reads
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4,209
Citations
Introduction
I work at the School of Medicine and the Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences at Stanford University. For more information please visit: http://www.kieranfox.net
Additional affiliations
September 2010 - present
University of British Columbia - Vancouver
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (57)
Article
Full-text available
Encephalization, or brain expansion, underpins humans' sophisticated social cognition, including language, joint attention, shared goals, teaching, consensus decision-making and empathy. These abilities promote and stabilize cooperative social interactions, and have allowed us to create a 'cognitive' or 'cultural' niche and colonize almost every te...
Article
The human default network (DN) plays a critical role in internally directed cognition, behavior, and neuropsychiatric disease. Despite much progress with functional neuroimaging, persistent questions still linger concerning the electrophysiological underpinnings, fast temporal dynamics, and causal importance of the DN. Here, we review how direct in...
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...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: We applied direct cortical stimulation (DCS) to the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) in neurosurgical patients implanted with intracranial electrodes to probe, with high anatomic precision, the causal link between the OFC and human subjective experience. Methods: We administered 272 instances of DCS at 172 OFC sites in 22 patients with intr...
Article
Full-text available
Intracranial electrical stimulation (iES) of the human brain has long been known to elicit a remarkable variety of perceptual, motor and cognitive effects, but the functional–anatomical basis of this heterogeneity remains poorly understood. We conducted a whole-brain mapping of iES-elicited effects, collecting first-person reports following iES at...
Article
Full-text available
Neuroimaging studies of mentalizing (i.e., theory of mind) consistently implicate the default mode network (DMN). Nevertheless, the social cognitive functions of individual DMN regions remain unclear, perhaps due to limited spatiotemporal resolution in neuroimaging. Here we use electrocorticography (ECoG) to directly record neuronal population acti...
Preprint
Full-text available
Reply to commentary by Naccache and colleagues (https://osf.io/zrqp8/) on our paper (Raccah et al., 2021) -https://www.jneurosci.org/content/41/10/2076.abstract
Article
Full-text available
A central debate in philosophy and neuroscience pertains to whether PFC activity plays an essential role in the neural basis of consciousness. Neuroimaging and electrophysiology studies have revealed that the contents of conscious perceptual experience can be successfully decoded from PFC activity, but these findings might be confounded by postperc...
Preprint
Full-text available
Hundreds of neuroimaging studies show that mentalizing (i.e., theory of mind) recruits default mode network (DMN) regions with remarkable consistency. Nevertheless, the social-cognitive functions of individual DMN regions remain unclear, perhaps due to the limited spatiotemporal resolution of neuroimaging. We used electrocorticography (ECoG) to rec...
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, several studies have indicated that healthy older adults exhibit a reduction in task-unrelated thoughts compared to young adults. However, much less is known regarding age-related differences in time spent engaging in stimulus-independent thoughts or in their neural correlates in the absence of an ongoing task. In the current study...
Article
Creative thinking is understood via a dual-process model involving the generation of creative ideas followed by their subsequent evaluation and refinement. Creative products must also meet a dual-criterion definition requiring that they be both novel and useful. Mind-wandering consists of self-generated thoughts unrelated to a task or the surroundi...
Article
Full-text available
The subjective and behavioral effects of intracranial electrical stimulation (iES) have been studied for decades, but there is a knowledge gap regarding the relationship between the magnitude of electric current and the type, intensity and valence of evoked subjective experiences.We report on rare iES data from 18 neurosurgical patients with implan...
Preprint
Full-text available
The subjective and behavioral effects of intracranial electrical stimulation (iES) have been studied for decades, but there is a knowledge gap regarding the relationship between the magnitude of electric current and the type, intensity, and valence of evoked subjective experiences. We report on rare iES data from 18 neurosurgical patients with impl...
Preprint
Creative thinking is understood via a dual-process model involving the generation of creative ideas followed by their subsequent evaluation and refinement. Creative products must also meet a dual-criterion definition requiring that they be both novel and useful. Mind-wandering consists of self-generated thoughts unrelated to a task or the surroundi...
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
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has begun to narrow down the neural correlates of self- generated forms of thought, with current evidence pointing toward central roles for the default, frontoparietal, and visual networks. Recent work has linked the arising of thoughts more specifically to default network activity, but the limited tempo...
Chapter
Humans have been aware for thousands of years that sleep comes in many forms, accompanied by different kinds of mental content. This chapter reviews the first- person report literature on the frequency and type of content experienced in various stages of sleep, showing that different sleep stages are dissociable at the subjective level. It then rel...
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...
Chapter
The aim of this chapter is to provide an accessible introduction to the neuroscience of meditation. First, we review studies examining the relationship between meditation and alterations in the structure of the brain’s grey and white matter (so-called morphometric neuroimaging). Next, we discuss findings from functional neuroimaging methods, such a...
Preprint
The aim of this chapter is to provide an accessible introduction to the neuroscience of meditation. First, we review studies examining the relationship between meditation and alterations in the structure of the brain’s grey and white matter (so-called morphometric neuroimaging). Next, we discuss findings from functional neuroimaging methods, such a...
Article
Full-text available
In Table 1 of the Supplementary Information, the data presented in the column 'Corrected social repertoire' were incorrect. This error does not affect the analyses, statistics or conclusions of the study, which employed the correct values. The data have now been corrected in the Supplementary file.
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
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
Full-text available
During the past two decades, mindfulness meditation has gone from being a fringe topic of scientific investigation to being an occasional replacement for psychotherapy, tool of corporate well-being, widely implemented educational practice, and “key to building more resilient soldiers.” Yet the mindfulness movement and empirical evidence supporting...
Article
Full-text available
In response to our article, Davidson and Dahl offer commentary and advice regarding additional topics crucial to a comprehensive prescriptive agenda for future research on mindfulness and meditation. Their commentary raises further challenges and provides an important complement to our article. More consideration of these issues is especially welco...
Article
Full-text available
The neural basis of human memory is incredibly complex. We argue that the diversity of neural systems underlying various forms of memory suggests that any discussion of enhancing 'memory' per se is too broad, thus obfuscating the biopolitical debate about human enhancement. Memory can be differentiated into at least four major (and several minor) s...
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...
Article
Humans have been aware for thousands of years that sleep comes in many forms, accompanied by different kinds of mental content. We review the first-person report literature on the frequency and type of content experienced in various stages of sleep, showing that different sleep stages are dissociable at the subjective level. We then relate these su...
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...
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
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
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
Full-text available
NREM stage 1 sleep, known as a brief interval of transition from wake to sleep, is characterized by neurophysiological events and subjective sensory experiences that suggest the stage may be involved in memory processing. To examine this possibility, we conducted multiple awakenings with a trained participant during short bursts of theta activity d...

Projects

Project (1)
Archived project
A comprehensive handbook covering all aspects of spontaneous thought, co-edited with Kalina Christoff.