Advisory Board

Dr. David B. Yaden

David B. Yaden, Ph.D. is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Johns Hopkins Medicine working in the Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Department, in the Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit in The Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research.

His research focus is on the psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and psychopharmacology of spiritual, self-transcendent, and positively transformative experiences triggered with psychedelic substances. He studies the subjective qualities, behavioral effects, and therapeutic potential of these substances.

Specifically, he is interested in understanding how these experiences can result in long-term changes to well-being and how they temporarily alter fundamental faculties of consciousness such as the sense of time, space, and self.

David earned his Ph.D. in March 2020 and his Master’s Degree of Applied Psychology in 2012, both from the University of Pennsylvania. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Psychology from Rutgers University.

Since 2012, David has been an Assistant Instructor at the University of Pennsylvania covering psychological science. He is doing research on psychometrics, computational linguistic analysis, and noninvasive brain stimulation.

Between 2009 and 2016, David was a Consultant at Psychosocial Consulting, a management consulting company for medical institutions and businesses. As well, he was a Public Health Instructor for the hospital network at Lourdes Health System.

Between 2007 and 2014, he was an Instructor on preventative health for institutions and individuals at Integrative Mindbody Health.

Read A ‘profound’ moment: An agnostic devotes his scientific career to understanding his first spiritual experience.

David is the editor of Rituals and Practices in World Religions: Cross-Cultural Scholarship to Inform Research and Clinical Contexts and author of Being Called: Scientific, Secular, and Sacred Perspectives where psychologists, neuroscientists, and scholars together with David provide interdisciplinary perspectives on feeling ‘called’ to a particular life path or vocation.

Read A look back into humanity’s collective history, through religious rituals and practices and When You’re Called to Your Life’s Work.

David is the Coauthor of The Development of the Awe Experience Scale: A Multifactorial Measure for a Complex Emotion and is coauthor of The Varieties of Spiritual Experience: 21st Century Research and Perspectives published by the Oxford University Press. The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature was originally published in 1902 by Harvard University psychologist and philosopher William James. David used psychometric survey instruments, computational linguistic analysis, neuroimaging, neurostimulation technology, and psychopharmacology that helped him release an updated version.

David is the Founding Research Scientist at The Varieties Corpus. They collect descriptions of “spiritual” or “self-transcendent” experiences — those profound moments of connection with something greater than oneself. Read The Varieties of Self-Transcendent Experience.

His scientific and scholarly work has been covered by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, New York Magazine, and NPR. David has been regularly giving talks at conferences, universities, and podcasts among others.

At the Envision Conference 2019, The Future of Us, David hosted a workshop The Future of Subjective Experience: Implications from Emerging Technologies.

David is as well in the Board of Advisors at Space for Humanity.

Read There’s No Good Evidence That Psychedelics Can Change Your Politics or Religion.

Listen to Are You Being Called by the Future? Podcast with David Yaden and David Yaden on The Science of Self-Transcendent Experiences.

Visit his LinkedIn profile, his Homepage, and Work Page. Follow him on Google Scholar, ResearchGate, Instagram, and Twitter.