Kalina Christoff was appointed as Interim Director of the Peter Wall Institute in June 2019. She has a long-standing relationship with the Institute, having been an Early Career Scholar in 2005, a Wall Scholar in 2017 and a primary recipient for an International Research Roundtable in 2018. During her residence at the Institute, she focused on building 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.
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.