Dr. Miguel Farias

I began my academic career at the University of Lisbon, where I studied psychology and psychotherapy, before moving to Oxford to do my doctorate with Dr Mansur Lalljee and Prof Gordon Claridge. Following my DPhil, I was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Ian Ramsey Centre in Oxford, a research associate at the Psychology of Religion Group in Cambridge, and a lecturer at the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford. In 2014, I joined Coventry University to lead the Brain, Belief and Behaviour research group. With philosophers and neuroscientists, I have pioneered research on the analgesic effects of religious beliefs and the stress-buffering effects of science beliefs. I have led the first randomized-controlled trial on the effects of yoga and meditation in prison and have recently co-written a book that examines the science and myths about the effects of these practices  — The Buddha Pill: Can Meditation Change You?

  • Farias, M. & Wikholm, C. (2015). The Buddha Pill: Can meditation change you? London: Watkins Publishers.
  • Kahane, G., Everett, J., Earp, B., Farias, M., & Savolescu, J. (2015). ‘Utilitarian’ judgments in sacrificial dilemmas do not reflect impartial concern for the greater good. Cognition, 134, 193-209.
  • Farias, M. (2015). From exaggeration to silence in health-related science news and academic press releases: A mindful bias? British Medical Journal, 350, h144.
  • Goldingay, S., Dieppe, P, & Farias, M. (2014). ‘And the pain just disappeared into insignificance…’: The healing response at Lourdes – performance, psychology and caring. International Review of Psychiatry, 26(3), 315–323.
  • Farias, M., Newheiser, A., Kahane, G., & de Toledo, Z. (2013). Scientific faith: Belief in science increases in the face of stress and anxiety. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49 (6), 1210-1213.
  • Bilderbeck, A.*, Farias, M.*, Brazil, I., Jacobowitz, S., & Wikholm, C. (*shared first authorship) (2013). Participation in a 10-week course of yoga improves behavioural control and decreases psychological distress in a prison population. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 47, 1438-1445.
  • Farias, M.(2013). The psychology of atheism. In The Oxford Handbook of Atheism, edited by S. Bullivant & M. Ruse (pp. 468-482). Oxford University Press.
  • Farias, M.*, Underwood, R.*, & Claridge, G. (*shared first authorship) (2012). Unusual but sound minds: Mental health indicators in modern spiritual individuals. British Journal of Psychology.104(3), 364-381.
  • Newheiser, A., Farias, M., & Tausch, N. (2011). The functional nature of conspiracy beliefs: Examining the underpinnings of belief in the Da Vinci Code conspiracy. Personality and Individual Differences, 51, 1007-1111.
  • Believing in ScienceFor many secular individuals science can be a form of ‘faith' which they cling to in moments of stress and anxiety.
Coventry University No.1 Modern University No.1 Modern University in the Midlands
Coventry University awarded TEF GOLD Teaching Excellence Framework
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2020
Coventry City of Culture 2021