In modern sciences, research on socio-ecological sustainability and research on the human psyche and mind have long been develeoped in parallel and separate from each other. Also, modern sciences – for example, governance, sociology, psychology, neurology, pedagogy - have long attempt to understand individual and collective cognition and behaviour mosty from the outside. The outputs are theories and empirical models of how humans think and behave in given contexts. Traditional sciences follow introspective approaches such as standardized mindfulness-based mind training and contemplation. These resulted in a direct familiarity with the mind, its functioning and an understanding of the causes and conditions of own experiences and how they influence the world around us and vice versa. Synergies between modern and traditional approaches that might help better understand causes and conditions for socially and ecologically sustainable mindsets are apparent, yet still scarce. This situation inspires us to contribute to the emerging field of research that draws on both sources of knowledge creation alike. It is vital for us to maintain a strong connection to a practical understanding of the traditional roots of mind-training.


Some examples of our research interests:

  • What are shared goals, views, values and practices among cultures that foster individual and collective well-being and sustainability?
  • What are key determinants of socially and environmentally relevant behaviour both from the view of modern psychology and the view of traditional, introspective, contemplative psychology?
  • What is the influence of mindfulness-based contemplative practices including attention training, cultivation of emotional balance and considering interdependence on key determinants of socially and environmentally relevant behavior?
  • Does training in mindfulness and contemplation on interdependence increase the effectiveness of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)?

Ongoing work

Comparing Environmental and Buddhist Psychology

Graphic: H. Stark
Graphic: H. Stark

Environmental psychology seeks to explain human behavior, whilst Buddhist psychology seeks to explain human experience and offers individual intervetions strategies. We investigate their complementarity and possible synergies. Qualitative research and literature study.

Self-organized mindfulness groups in organizations

Graphic: C. Pfisterer
Graphic: C. Pfisterer

Mindfulness in organizations is increasing. What are intentions for and effects of self-organized mindfulness practice groups in organizations? A research project in public organizations.