I strive to understand consciousness. At as many levels of description and analysis as possible. As a result, my academic education and research has taken me across disciplinary boundaries. I studied biology, psychology, and philosophy at the universities of Berkeley, Greifswald, Heidelberg, Konstanz, and Magdeburg, and hold a M.Sc. degree in Philosophy-Neurosciences-Cognition. My philosophical, empirically informed research focuses on i.) the triangulation of consciousness per se (Metzinger, 2020; Costines et al., 2021), ii.) the mapping of phenomenal state-space (see Bayne, 2016), and iii.) the institutionalization of a secular consciousness culture (Metzinger, 2006; Fink, 2018). I am currently a research assistant to Prof. Dr. Thomas Metzinger at the Chair of Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Mainz (see MPE project). In collaboration with Dr. Timo Torsten Schmidt from the Free University of Berlin, I am developing a Citizen Science project that builds on the Altered States Database (Schmidt, 2018) with the goal of mapping the phenomenal state-space (Phenomenomics project). In addition, I am a member of the Psychotropic Substances Research Group at Charité Berlin, which addresses issues related to altered states of consciousness. I co-founded the MIND Foundation , an advocacy organization for psychedelic research and psychedelic therapy, for which I served as a board member and science communication director, among several other full-time volunteer positions. If you are interested in my work or in working with me, please feel free to contact me.
SELECTED RESEARCH EXPERIENCES
10/2013–06/2014 Hamm Lab (Psychophysiology Lab), Department of Psychology, University of Greifswald, Germany fMRI research on the neurocognitive mechanisms of active and passive coping with threats Supervised by Julia Wendt and Andreas Löw
08/2011–07/2012 D'Esposito Lab (Cognitive Neuroscience Lab), Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California at Berkeley, USA fMRI research on the neurocognitive mechanisms of sustained attention Supervised by Mark D'Esposito and Sepideh Sadaghiani
02/2009–06/2009 Spanagel Lab (Behavioral Genetics Research Group), Institute of Psychopharmacology, Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, Germany Behavioral, genetic, and neurochemical research on the influence of circadian clock genes on cocaine addiction Supervised by Rainer Spanagel and Stephanie Perreau-Lenz
PUBLICATIONS & POSTERS
Costines, C.(in prep.). Bewusstseinskultur und Bildung. In M. Harant & D. Bogner (Eds.), Bildung und Mindfulness – Theorie und Praxis des Kontemplativen im Bildungsprozess. Berlin: Springer VS. [Invited book chapter; in German].
Costines, C., Borghardt, T.L., & Wittmann, M. (2021). The Phenomenology of “Pure” Consciousness as Reported by an Experienced Meditator of the Tibetan Buddhist Karma Kagyu Tradition. Analysis of Interview Content Concerning Different Meditative States. Philosophies, 6(2), 50. (Download PDF).
Egan, M., Costines, C., D'Esposito, M., Sadaghiani, S. (2019, June). Knowing ‘when’ and knowing ‘what’: The impact of cue information on intrinsic top-down control. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, Rome, Italy.
Wendt, J., Costines, C., Lindner, K., Pfannmöller, J., Hamm, A., Löw, A. (2014, June). Time course of periaqueductal gray activation during active and passive coping with threat. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, Hamburg, Germany.
SELECTED ORGANIZED EVENTS
09/2019 Charité Berlin University of Medicine, Germany INSIGHT [International interdisciplinary conference on the scientific study and application of psychedelic states] Co-initiator, co-organizator, and co-host
06/2018–10/2019 MIND European Foundation for Psychedelic Research, Berlin, Germany MIND Academy [Educational platform for talks and workshops on topics related to altered states of consciousness] Co-initiator, director, co-organizator, and co-host
04/2017–07/2017 Department of Philosophy, University of Magdeburg, Germany Wer ist dieser Ich? [Interdisciplinary and intercultural lecture series on the self; in German; funded by Udo Keller Foundation] Initiator, co-organizator, and co-host
TALKS, TEACHING & OUTREACH
02/2022 Zen Center Altbäckersmühle, Singhofen, Germany Invited four-day workshop [in German; science outreach] Secular Consciousness Culture Abstract & Registration
01/2022 Zen Center Altbäckersmühle, Singhofen, Germany Invited four-day workshop [in German; science outreach] Empirical and Philosophical Consciousness Research Abstract & Registration
11/2021 Zen Center Altbäckersmühle, Singhofen, Germany Invited four-day workshop [in German; science outreach] Philosophy and Zen Abstract & Registration
10/2020 Psychotropic Substances Research Group, Charité Berlin University of Medicine, Germany Talk [online; in German; together with Dr. Timo Torsten Schmidt] On the Phenomenomics Project
🠕 UPCOMING 🠗 PAST
07/2021 University of Vilnius , Lithuania Symposium talk [online] at 5th International Conference on Time Perspectives (ICTP2021) What Is It Like to Experience Emptiness?
10/2020 Psychotropic Substances Research Group, Charité Berlin University of Medicine, Germany Talk [online; in German] On How the MPE Project and the Phenomenomics Project Complement Each Other
10/2020 Psychotropic Substances Research Group, Charité Berlin University of Medicine, Germany Talk [online; in German] Philosophically Informed Consciousness Research
02/2020 Center for Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Studies (CIIS), University of Tübingen, Germany Invited talk and two-day workshop [in German] Introduction to Psychedelic Science and Secular Consciousness Culture
06/2018 MIND European Foundation for Psychedelic Research, Berlin, Germany Talk [in German] Thomas Metzinger’s Concept of Minimal Phenomenal Experience
04/2017–07/2017 University Sports Center, University of Magdeburg, Germany Student course [weekly; in German] Theory and Practice of Zen Meditation
Explorative introspection Over the past decade, I have been experimenting with various pharmacological and non-pharmacological consciousness technologies (e.g., meditation) both to increase my mental autonomy and to heuristically inform my academic consciousness research by improving my ability to systematically and comprehensively describe and analyze my own phenomenal state-space.
Graceful simplification Over the past decade, I have been experimenting with different lifestyles (e.g., voluntary homelessness) to figure out what I really need and don't need to live a good life and to prepare myself to die well. For example, a simple lifestyle with the bare essentials has proven to be most beneficial for me. Currently, I am preparing to live in the woods of Brandenburg in my tiny home called Ada.