CYRIL COSTINES 

I strive to gain a deeper understanding of human consciousness. At as many levels of description and analysis as possible. For this reason, my academic training and research has taken me across disciplinary boundaries, studying biology, psychology and philosophy at the universities of Berkeley, Greifswald, Heidelberg, Konstanz, and Magdeburg. I hold an MSc degree in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Cognition.

Currently, I am a visiting researcher at the University of Freiburg, Germany, investigating the phenomenology and neurophysiology of pure consciousness or minimal phenomenal experience (MPE) under the supervision of Stefan Schmidt¹ and Marc Wittmann². I am also a member of the international MPE research network led by Thomas Metzinger³, which is primarily concerned with the development of a minimal model of conscious experience. Furthermore, I am a co-initiator and member of the scientific advisory board of the Altered X Project, an international citizen science initiative with the aim of mapping the phenomenal state-space. Additionally, I am a member of the Psychotropic Substances Research Group⁴, which addresses issues related to altered states of consciousness. Lastly, I am a co-founder of the MIND Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing psychedelic research and psychedelic therapy; within this organisation, I have served as a board member and director of science communications, among other roles.

My philosophical and empirical research focuses on the i.) triangulation of consciousness per se (Metzinger, 2020; Costines et al., 2021), ii.) mapping of phenomenal state-space (cf. Bayne, 2016), and iii.) institutionalization of a secular consciousness culture (Metzinger, 2006; Fink, 2018). In this context, I am particularly interested in altered states of consciousness induced by meditation and psychotropic substances such as psychedelics.

If you'd like to know more about my work or discuss the possibility of collaboration, please don't hesitate to get in touch via email. You can also follow me on the decentralized open-source microblogging platform Mastodon to keep up with my latest publications, projects, and more.

¹ Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Freiburg, Germany
² Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health, Freiburg, Germany
³ Institute for Theoretical Philosophy, University of Mainz, Germany
⁴ Charité Berlin University of Medicine, Berlin, Germany

 SELECTED RESEARCH EXPERIENCES 

2021-04 – 2022-03
Institute of Theoretical Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, University of Mainz, Germany
Philosophical research and project management related to the  MPE project
Supervised by Thomas Metzinger

2013-10 – 2014-06
Psychophysiology Lab (Hamm 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

2011-08 – 2012-07
Cognitive Neuroscience Lab (D'Esposito Lab), Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute (HWNI), University of California, Berkeley, USA
fMRI research on the neurocognitive mechanisms of sustained attention
Supervised by Mark D'Esposito and Sepideh Sadaghiani

2009-02 – 2009-06
Behavioral Genetics Research Group (Spanagel Lab), Institute of Psychopharmacology, Central Institute of Mental Health (CIMH), 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  & PRESS 

Prugger, J., Derdiyok, E., Dinkelacker, J., Costines, C., & Schmidt, T.T. (2022). The Altered States Database: Psychometric data from a systematic literature review. Scientific Data, 9(1). http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41597-022-01822-4 (Download PDF)

Costines, C. (2022, August). Was ist ein guter Bewusstseinszustand? Ursache\Wirkung Magazin, 121, 82–85. (Download PDF)

Costines, C., Schmidt, T.T. (2022, July). A Specification of the Consciousness State-Space: Let's Split it!. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association of Scientific Studies of Consciousness (ASSC25), Amsterdam, Netherlands.

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. https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies6020050 (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.



 TALKS, TEACHING & OUTREACH 

2023-01
Psychotropic Substances Research Group, Charité Berlin University of Medicine, Berlin, Germany
Talk [online]
Minimal Phenomenal Experience Induction as a Function of Sensory Deprivation

🠕 UPCOMING
🠗 PAST


2022-09
lehrreich Wilmersdorf, Berlin, Germany
Talk and practical exercises [online; in German; science outreach]
Schulische Bewusstseinskultur [Consciousness Culture in School]

2022-06
Zen Center Altbäckersmühle, Singhofen, Germany
Invited 1-week workshop [in German; together with HoKai Österle; science outreach]
Philosophy, Science & Culture of Consciousness + Meditation

2022-06
Tübinger Forum for Science and Humanitities, University of Tübingen, Germany
Interdisziplinäres Studienkolleg: Religion und Weltanschauung im wissenschaftlichen Zeitalter
Invited talk [in German]
Reines Bewusstsein und Säkulare Bewusstseinskultur [Pure Consciousness and Secular Consciousness Culture]

2022-02
lehrreich Wilmersdorf, Berlin, Germany
Talk and practical exercises [online; in German; science outreach]
Schulische Bewusstseinskultur [Consciousness Culture in School]

2021-11
DFG Research Training Group, Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Berlin, Germany
RTG 2386 Extrospection Interdisciplinary Virtual Workshop: Accessing Mental States
Talk [online; together with Timo Torsten Schmidt]
Phenomenomics: Mapping the Phenomenal State-Space

2021-10
Psychotropic Substances Research Group, Charité Berlin University of Medicine, Berlin, Germany
Talk [online; together with Timo Torsten Schmidt]
Phenomenomics: Mapping the Phenomenal State-Space

2021-07
University of Vilnius , Lithuania
5th International Conference on Time Perspectives (ICTP2021)
Symposium talk [online; together with Federico Alvarez Igarzábal, Alice Teghil, Marc Wittmann]
What Is It Like to Experience Emptiness?

2020-10
Psychotropic Substances Research Group, Charité Berlin University of Medicine, Berlin, Germany
Talk [online; in German]
On How the MPE Project and the Phenomenomics Project Complement Each Other

2020-10
Psychotropic Substances Research Group, Charité Berlin University of Medicine, Germany
Talk [online; in German]
Philosophically Informed Consciousness Research

2020-02
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

2018-06
MIND European Foundation for Psychedelic Research, Berlin, Germany
Talk [in German]
Thomas Metzinger’s Concept of Minimal Phenomenal Experience

2017-04 – 2017-07
University Sports Center, University of Magdeburg, Germany
Student course [weekly; in German]
Theory and Practice of Zen Meditation

 SELECTED ORGANIZED EVENTS 

2021-11
Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies (FIAS), Frankfurt, Germany
MPE Workshop [International interdisciplinary workshop on the scientific study of minimal phenomenal experience]
Co-organizator, and co-host [together with Thomas Metzinger]

2019-09
Charité Berlin University of Medicine, Berlin, Germany
INSIGHT [International interdisciplinary conference on the scientific study and application of psychedelic states]
Co-initiator, co-organizator, and co-host

2018-06 – 2019-10
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

2017-04 – 2017-07
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

 EXISTENTIAL PRACTICES 

Explorative introspection
For the past decade, I have been experimenting with various 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
For the past decade, I have been experimenting with different lifestyles (e.g., voluntary homelessness) in order to figure out what I need and don't need to live a good life and to be prepared to die well. For example, I have found that a simple lifestyle with only the bare essentials is most beneficial for me. Currently, I am preparing to live in a tiny house named Ada.

Sprechen. Schreiben. Schweigen.