Lauren Swiney is interested in how we think about thinking. Her research addresses the phenomenological question of how we experience our thoughts as our own, the cognitive question of how such an experience is generated, and questions about the folk-psychological notions of self and mind that constrain how we think about thinking (for more information, please visit her website).
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Mary Louise Boyle is a cognitive ethnomusicologist studying the relationship between music and emotions. At Queen’s she studied Ethnomusicology and Social Anthropology (BA), and then completed the Masters in Cognition and Culture. She also studied music performance, and received advanced certificates in Piano with Trinity College London. She is researching how people experience emotions in music cross-culturally, and will carry out psychological studies in Cairo and Belfast. She has been collaborating with the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queen’s for this research, which involves recording the physiological responses of people while listening to music. She is also interested specifically in the music of Egypt, and will do further psychological studies and ethnographic research in Cairo to assess the relationship between music and emotions in this particular culture more closely. During her time in Egypt she has been a Visiting Scholar and Research Fellow at the American University in Cairo.
Kristy Hamilton received her BA in Anthropology from Florida Gulf Coast University. She is interested in the underlying relationships between religion and culture in modern societies. More specifically, she is interested in investigating how memory shapes human psychological development; particularly, the contextual role of narrative in informing and framing identity and afterlife beliefs.
Maya Marin received a B.A. in English Literature from California State University Los Angeles where she focused on early 20th Century American fiction and Medieval Christian texts. Her interest in both the cognitive science of religion and evolutionary psychology brought her to the ICC where she is currently exploring the way humans reason about death, the afterlife, and supernatural agency.
Peter Mano obtained his BA at the Comenius University in Bratislava in Social Anthropology, with one semester as Erasmus at the University of East London. Peter is interested in moral reasoning and its connection to social status. He asks questions like, "How is our moral sense as a notion of fairness flexible in connection to the status of social agent? What is the implication of this for moral transgressions? How can the social status of moral trangressor influence the judgment about the severity of the transgression?"
Stuart Brown studied psychology at the Centre for Culture and Evolutionary Psychology, Brunel University, London. Here he investigated the influence of various factors, such as an individual's altruistic personality or religiosity, as predictors or an individual's moral outlook. Currently at the Institute of Cognition and Culture his research focuses on cognitive abilities which depend upon an evolved "Theory of Mind".
Thomas Swan obtained his Ph.D. and MPhys in nuclear physics at the University of Surrey. He is interested in religious thought, behaviour, and the processes that lead to belief. He believes an investigation of emotion and other motivational processes may help us form a theory for belief formation that is less dependent on particular cognitive biases. He is also interested in the moral reasoning and intuition debates, and in understanding how modern, safer environments can have negative consequences when interacting with cognitive mechanisms designed for conflict.
Naomi Finn graduated from Queen's University Belfast with a Bsc in Human Biology. During her undergraduate degree she developed an interest in human cognition and more specifically, the phenomenology of thought. At the ICC her current interests include both the relationship between theory of mind and autism and religious cognition in general.
Colin McDowell received his BA in religious studies from the University of Manchester where he focused on the Philosophy of Religion and Comparative Religion. He subsequently received his MDiv in Theology from Queen's University, Belfast. He is studying part-time at the ICC where he hopes to develop his understanding of evolutionary psychology and the Cognitive Science of Religion.