Brain, Belief and Behaviour Research Lab


Our lab works at the cutting-edge of mind-body integration by developing innovative models and interventions to modify or enhance neuro-cognitive functions, beliefs and behaviour. This includes the use of contemplative practices, therapeutic substances, behavioural interventions and novel techniques such as transcranial direct current stimulation. We combine expertise in psychobiological and neuro-cognitive techniques with health, developmental and social psychological methods and theoretical approaches.

Our work focuses on a range of themes. We are presently conducting research on the neuro-cognitive bases of belief, including the role of beliefs as a stress buffer and how to modify them. In addition, we are preparing original work on the functions of sleep in typical and atypical groups, the psychobiological effects of meditation, and the development of new instruments for the early detection of dementia. We are also working on a critical examination of the literature on the effects of meditation. 

Our research has the potential to change people’s ideas and attitudes about a range of topics on body-mind interaction, mental health, and the importance of early screening tools and intervention for physiological and psychological difficulties.

Current projects include:

The neuro-stimulation of belief
The effects of secular and religious belief in subjective and physiological stress
Morality when faced with mortality
Sleep and cognition in young children with Down syndrome
Psychobiology of Meditation: A critical review of the literature
Early detection of dementia: A new screening tool
Intervention for emotion regulation

Image Source: Flickr

 Miguel Farias Thumbnail

Dr. Miguel Farias (Research group leader)

Psychology of belief, social cognition, personality and mental health

 Jonathan Jong (group co-lead)

Dr. Jonathan Jong (Group co-lead)

Death anxiety, religious belief, ritual behaviour, social psychology, experimental psychology

 Dr. Deborah Lycett

Dr. Deborah Lycett

Nutrition, dietetics and spiritual health

 Roma Delmonte

Roma Delmonte

Religion, loneliness, family conflict and multiple personality disorder

 Stoyan Kurtev

Dr. Stoyan Kurtev

Quantum cognition, language, vision, attention

 Anna Joyce (née Ashworth) Thumbnail

Dr. Valerie van Mulukom

Experimental psychology, belief, imagination, creativity, episodic memory, cognitive neuroscience

 Hayley Wright Thumbnail

Dr. Hayley Wright

Normal cognitive function, cognitive decline in older adults, cognitive neuropsychology of stroke and dementia

 Emily Burdett Thumbnail

Dr. Emily Burdett

Social cognition, creativity and innovation, cultural learning, imitation, moral behavior, theory of mind, religious cognition

 Inti Brazil Thumbnail

Inti Brazil

Honorary research fellow and assistant professor at Radboud University.


Robin Dunbar

Honorary research fellow, professor of Evolutionary Psychology at Oxford University and fellow of Magdalen College.


Wellington Zangari

Honorary research fellow and Professor of Social Psychology at the University of São Paulo.


Sara Rahmani

New Religious Movements, contemporary spiritualities, and Asian religions

  • Ivaylo Krastev, PhD Student. Integrated field of positive neuroscience that offers a novel perspective for studying human motivation and affect alongside cognitive and psychophysiological functionality.
  • James Bartlett, PhD Student. Relationship between drug use and cognition.
  • Jennifer Brown, PhD Student. Christian worship and psychological processes.
  • Ivana Buric, PhD Student. Experimental psychology, molecular biology, statistics.
  • Mairi Mulvenna, PhD Student. Motivation and well-being in athletes. Additionally investigated organisational stress in sport and anxiety for previous research projects.
  • Thomas J. Coleman III, PhD Student. The enduring psychological connections between religion, nonreligion, and the capacity for imagination.
  • Kyle J. Messick, PhD Student. Demystifying non-belief by investigating what replaces or compensates for the psychological functions that religion provides for the religious among non-believers.
  • Sarah Charles, PhD Student. Behavioural and neurochemical mechanisms of social bonding during religious rituals: The role of synchrony and endogenous opioids.