About Us

"An experimental exploration of the frontier of consciousness and the realization of the promise such knowledge will bring."


Understanding consciousness is the Holy Grail of cognitive science, and for good reason. Nothing seems so intimately familiar to us and yet so mysterious to our understanding. It is a defining feature of our humanity, and transformations of consciousness are the hallmark of our spirituality. There is nothing we would exchange for our consciousness, and yet we have no clear idea what it does, or how it fits into the natural world. At once enticing and elusive, its explanation stands at the frontier of our scientific self-understanding.

While there is no shortage of theories that attempt to explain consciousness, we now enter an era where experimentation holds the plausible promise of taking us a long way towards truly understanding consciousness. This transformation of theory into more direct investigation holds the potential to create new concepts and technologies for understanding and altering consciousness. These new practices and practical devices could in turn drive a fundamental transformation of our self-understanding and spirituality. This new Consciousness & Wisdom Studies Lab has as its mandate just such an experimental exploration of the frontier of consciousness and the realization of the promise such knowledge will bring.

– Dr. John Vervaeke

our team

Meet our wonderful researchers and associates!

  • John Vervaeke
    Lab Director

    John Vervaeke is an Assistant Professor, in the teaching stream. He has been teaching at the University of Toronto since 1994. He currently teaches courses in the Cognitive Science program including Introduction to Cognitive Science, and the Cognitive Science of Consciousness; courses in the Psychology department on thinking and reasoning with an emphasis on insight problem solving, cognitive development with an emphasis on the dynamical nature of development, and higher cognitive processes with an emphasis on intelligence, rationality, mindfulness, and the Psychology of wisdom.

    E-mail: [email protected]
  • Anderson Todd
    Assistant Director

    Anderson Todd is the Assistant Director of U of T's Consciousness and Wisdom Studies Lab. He teaches in the Cognitive Science program and Interdisciplinary Courses on Jungian Theory program at the University of Toronto, on Consciousness and The Unconscious respectively. He also consults in private practice as a psychotherapist to individuals, and as an enrichment education specialist to private schools.

    E-mail: [email protected]
  • Michel Ferrari
    Primary Investigator

    Michel Ferrari is interested in personal identity and how it develops in typical and atypical populations. This interest extends, in particular, to questions of personal wisdom, as an ideal aspiration of personal development. Dr. Ferrari is head of the Wisdom and Identity Lab, which explores personal wisdom in people of different ages (from children to the elderly) in different countries around the world.

  • Juensung Kim

    Juensung is a PhD student in the Developmental Psychology and Education program at OISE. He received his Honours Bachelor of Arts in Cognitive Science and Philosophy at UofT in 2016, and his MA in Developmental Psychology and Education in 2017. Juensung’s research interests include tracing philosophical themes of enlightenment or exemplary development in folk psychology, cognitive scientific theories of wisdom, and cognitive science of religion.

    E-mail: [email protected]
  • Ammar Ijaz

    The Mothman Ammar Ijaz is a legendary creature reportedly seen in the Point Pleasant area from November 12, 1966, to December 15, 1967. The first newspaper report was published in the Point Pleasant Register dated November 16, 1966, titled "Couples See Man-Sized Bird ... Creature ... Something".

  • Sasa Milic

    Sasa is a researcher in the Computational Linguistics Group where she studies computational cognitive modelling. She is interested in computer science, cognitive science, and the occult.

    E-mail: [email protected]
  • Sofiia Rappe

    Sofiia is a graduate student at the Philosophy Department of the University of Edinburgh. She received her Hon. B.Sc. in 2017 from the University of Toronto where she majored in Linguistics and Mathematics.

    E-mail: [email protected]
  • Josh Seltzer

    Josh recently completed his undergraduate degree, specializing in computer science and cognitive science. He is primarily interested in the intersection of cognitive neuroscience with developments in artificial intelligence / deep learning, and is looking to incorporate insights between the two fields to consolidate our understanding of cognition.

    E-mail: [email protected]
  • Phil Johnston

    Phil is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto, where he studied neuroscience and cognitive science. He is involved in several research projects at U of T, focusing on cognitive neuroscience and psychophysiology.

    E-mail: [email protected]
  • Leah Glassow-Hill

    Leah is a researcher in child development and an associate with CWSL. Having recently completed her master's degree in Developmental Psychology and Education at OISE at the University of Toronto, her work is currently exploring measures of attention and engagement in children with disabilities, as well as also currently working on a project related to growth mindset and decision making with CWSL.

    E-mail: [email protected]
  • Vlad Helwig

    Vlad is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto, primarily studying Cognitive Science, Psychology, and Philosophy. He is interested in studying the intersection of cognitive science, consciousness, and clinical psychology. He is also interested in avoiding photographs, a dubiously wide range of subject matter, and the idea of grad school.

    E-mail: [email protected]
  • Sasha Allen

    University of Toronto, OISE, MA Candidate in Clinical and Counselling Psychology Sasha is a Masters student in the Clinical and Counselling Psychology Program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. She is interested in personality and cognitive science.

    E-mail: [email protected]
  • Jason Chow

    I'm a fourth year psychology specialist focusing on perception's effect on learning and memory. Using a variety of stimuli, we're exploring how people develop and use categories. Particularly, I've been developing a new stimulus set using 3D modeling techniques to give us careful control over the features we are presenting.

    E-mail: [email protected]
  • Hannah Cho

    Hannah is a third year undergraduate at the University of Toronto, studying Cognitive Science, Neuroscience, and Biology. They are currently interested in the mechanisms underlying self-identity, rationality, cognitive flexibility, and how they are intertwined or modulated. Hannah's hobbies include dancing, drawing, and eating

    E-mail: [email protected]
  • Becky Gross

    Becky is a third year undergraduate student at the University of Toronto, studying psychology, neuroscience and German. She is interested in social cognition, cross-cultural differences in subjective well-being, and functional and structural brain differences in ASP population. After finishing her undergraduate degree she would like to pursue graduate studies in the field of clinical psychology.

    E-mail: [email protected]
  • Samantha Quinto

    Samantha is a third year undergraduate student at the University of Toronto, studying Computer Science, Cognitive Science and Biology. She is interested in using current knowledge within cognitive neuroscience to further development in the field of artificial intelligence and machine/deep learning. Samantha’s hobbies include coding, exploring Toronto and sleeping.

    E-mail: [email protected]
  • Konstantinos Xanthios

    University of Toronto, Graduated with Hon. BSc. in 2016 Konstantinos is a graduate of the University of Toronto, who studied Psychology and English literature. He is interested in examining Cognitive Science within an interdisciplinary framework involving the psychology of problem solving and its pedagogical relationship to the dissemination of knowledge. He hopes to pursue graduate school for Psychology, and his hobbies include a passion for music and practicing guitar.

    E-mail: [email protected]


Previous members of the lab

  • Filip Miscevic
  • Vanessa Rowlin