Kalina Christoff

PhD, Stanford University
Department of Psychology

Kalina Christoff's work focuses on understanding human thought, using a combination of functional neuroimaging (fMRI), behavioral testing, and theoretical work. Her research spans the full spectrum of thought processes: from spontaneous thought, including phenomena such as mind-wandering and daydreaming; to goal-directed thought, including deliberate reasoning and problem solving; to creative thought, which combines deliberate and spontaneous modes of thought in a dynamic and interactive fashion. Dr. Christoff also researchers introspection, meta-cognition, boredom, meditation, dreams, and different forms of self-experience. Her research relates all these mental phenomena to their neural correlates, by constructing neuroscientific models grounded in current scientific understanding of the dynamic interactions between large-scale brain systems, including the default, salience, and frontoparietal control networks.  

Primary Recipient Awards

Wall Scholars, Kalina Christoff, 2017

Kalina Christoff
Wall Scholars

During her tenure as a Wall Scholar, Dr. Christoff will focus on building a new interdisciplinary field dedicated to the study of human imagination. This field, Imagination Science, will bring together scientists from diverse disciplines including neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, sociology and anthropology, as well as experts from fields outside the traditional sciences, including the creative arts, education, human development and the contemplative traditions. The goal is to build a self-sustained and vibrant community of scientists and practitioners dedicated to understanding the full complexity of human imagination, together with its relationship to mental functioning and individual as well as societal wellbeing. 

Early Career Scholars, Kalina Christoff, 2005

Kalina Christoff

Exploratory Workshops, Kalina Christoff, 2005

Kalina Christoff

This workshop took place Apr 27-29, 2006.

Understanding the mechanisms of volition and self-directed behaviour is one of the most intriguing and important issues in contemporary neuroscience and a topic of intense research. The ability to produce purposeful intelligent behaviour that is highly adapted for our complex and ever-changing environments is a hallmark ability of higher primates. It reaches its greatest development in humans, enabling us to initiate goal-directed activities of astonishing complexity. This ability also provides the basis of our sense of agency, identify, and self. The processes that allow us to engage in such volitional, conscious behaviour are known as 'executive functions' and have been strongly linked to the anterior region of the brain, known as the prefrontal cortex. In the past several years, UBC has attracted a critical number of researchers who specialize in executive and prefrontal functions, from clinical investigators of mental disorders to basic scientists in neurophysiology and neuroimaging of prefrontal functions.

The proposed workshop will combine a strong basic research component in neural and cognitive sciences with the most recent findings from clinical neuroscience and the mechanisms of disorders of executive functions. Leading researchers from the local UBC community will be represented, along with key international experts in diverse areas related to executive functions.

This workshop will foster discussion and scientific interactions that will help the much needed transfer of knowledge between clinical work and basic research in this area, and will determine future directions for theoretical and applied work. In bringing together researchers from several departments at UBC, this program will assist in building interactions and a strong local community. Of equal importance, it will also enhance international visibility and recognition to UBC as a centre of expertise and research excellence in the area of executive and prefrontal cortex functions.