Individual Research Projects

This list of individual research projects will be updated continuously. Are you working with the BBA approach, but not listed here? Get in touch with us. Please use the examples below as a template.

  • Occult Minds: Esotericism as Cognition and Culture

Researchers: Egil Asprem.

Subject: This project develops a building block approach to “Western esotericism,” focusing on how recent theories and findings in the cognitive science of religion can be incorporated into the study of phenomena such as the early modern occult philosophy and contemporary ritual magic.

Type: Postdoctoral research project, University of California Santa Barbara.

Funding: The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).

Contact: Website / email: egil.asprem [at]

  • The Varieties of Contemplative Experience

Researchers: Willoughby Britton and Jared Lindahl, Brown University.

Subject: The Varieties of Contemplative Experience research project aims to improve our understanding of the range of experiences associated with the practice of meditation, the ways such experiences are interpreted by meditation practitioners and meditation teachers, and responses to experiences that are reported as unexpected, challenging, difficult, distressing, or impairing of functioning. Based upon thematic content analysis, the Varieties of Contemplative Experience project has identified more than 50 types of experiences across seven domains: somatic, affective, cognitive, perceptual, conative, sense of self, and social. The study has also led to the identification of more than 20 influencing factors—comprised of risk factors, remedies, and interpretations—that can impact the nature, duration, and trajectory of meditation experiences.

Type: Interdisciplinary research project.

Funding: The Bial Foundation, The Mind and Life Institute: Varela Award, The Mind and Life Institute: 1440 Award.

Contact: Website  / email: jared_lindahl [at] brown [dot] edu

  • A study of the foundational role of dialogue in the ontogeny of the human mind and some consequences of this in aspects of religious behaviour

Researcher: Paul Kenny

Subject: Dialogue is posited as an emergent phenomena, that can be successfully analysed within diverse academic traditions e.g. philosophy, sociology, history, biology, psychology, neuroscience and literature with consilient results that to help to illuminate our understanding of the emergent behaviours for which dialogue is a common foundational process.

Type: MPhil/PhD research

Contact: Paul Kenny at and at

Theses and Dissertations

  • Rinde, Adrian Johansen: “Swooping Around in Outer Space: Investigating Ascriptions and Attributions in Thelemic Astral Travel”

MA thesis, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Subject: This MA thesis studies attributions and ascriptions in the practice of “astral projection” in the context of the esoteric new religious movement Thelema, basing itself on interviews with contemporary practitioners.

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Egil AspremIndividual Projects