Dr Alexander De Foe

Consciousness researcher

Portfolio

Philosophical orientation

My personal background spans a number of areas not limited to psychology — I also incorporate my knowledge of metaphysics and dynamic systems design in my approach to the human mind, whether in my teaching, research, or practice. The main three values that underpin my work are: The open exploration of mind, intellectual freedom, and collaborative self-growth.

1. Open consciousness exploration

The pursuit of knowledge if not always unbiased politically. Often only certain phenomena have been studied and others ignored. The impact of broader altered states, anomalistic phenomena, and the transpersonal approach to mental health has for the most part been ignored in research and practice more broadly. The claimants that argue this approach is of a lesser rigour or methodical calibre are often misinformed about transpersonal methods of studying the mind. My perspective is that science ought to openly investigate the entire spectrum of human consciousness which envelopes altered states as well as emotional qualia and psi phenomena.

2. Academic freedom as a pillar of knowledge

The catchphrase “research for impact” presently dominates academic institutes around the world. However, we often forget that some of the most amazing discoveries have come about due to sheer curiosity and the search for meaning, rather than the capitalisation of impact-for-its-own-sake… quantitative rather than relational gains within society. I aim to cultivate an alternative attitude of open curiosity above outcome-driven research in all of my students.

3. Contributionism for human potential

In extension of the above, my perspective is that human potential is best cultivated in a collaborative rather than competitive context. In our modern world often major corporations hold 99% of the power and resources that inform critical decisions, which creates a disempowered and disproportionate society where the majority of people have little impact over the world they are living in. Many social and political systems value capitalising on one’s individual rather than group strengths. This attitude dissuades co-creation and collaborative efforts. Yet, it is a genuine attitude of co-creation which allows us to authentically pave the world we wish to see in front of us tomorrow.

In my approach, I encourage students to draw upon both their personal and immediate group strengths in their learning towards the creation of a future career and personal ethos.

Experience

Clinical work and research at Monash
2007-2011 - After a short career in 6sigma ITS approaches for process-design, I commenced study in the fields of philosophy, psychology, and counselling. Initially I was interested in working with altered states from a clinical perspective. I completed various counselling placements around Melbourne, and ultimately went into a psychology research track to pursue my main interests in more depth.
Experiments with illusions
2011-2016 - After completing my 4th year psychology project on out-of-body experiences, I took a greater interest in the role of perception and sensation in OBEs and other body/self phenomena. My PhD focus at Monash involved testing various perceptual illusions and distortion effects, as well as developing new conditions for altered perception. Having worked at both the Cognition and Philosophy Lab at Monash Clayton as well as local research facilities in Berwick was invaluable in mastering this unique area of investigation.
New VR methodologies
2016-now - My recent work as a postdoctoral industry fellow at RMIT involved the study of embodied cognition to explore the use of virtual reality and other modern technologies to better understand perceptual distortions within the context of health and wellbeing. Currently, I am continuing my involvement in this research area as well as related topics.

Public discourse

Outside of academia I have been involved in talks, conferences, and interviews via several platforms -- I have written for The Conversation (where I am a Top 10 author on the topic of VR) as well as Finer Minds and other leading blogs... I have also presented on radio at SBS and online stations / YouTube channels

Academic posts held

  • 2016-2019
    Lecturer
    RMIT University, Discipline of Psychology

    Lecturer in cognitive and developmental psychology

  • 2015-2016
    Lecturer
    ACAP, School of Counselling

    Academic teacher into undergraduate and postgraduate counselling degrees

  • 2011-2014
    Assistant Lecturer + Tutor
    Monash University

    Lecturer and tutor in undergraduate psychology programs and the Monash flagship transition program for disadvantaged students

Research excellence

My research on consciousness and perception has been published in leading international psychology journals

Some of my major work in the area of parapsychology has been awarded international recognition via the 'Parapsychological Association' Research Endowment in the United States and 'Society for Psychical Research' Survival Fund in the United Kingdom

Curriculum design

I have taught over 25 subjects ranging from psychological science to counselling skills, as well as academic skills development

I also have experience as coordinator and convener of undergraduate programs in psychology, counselling, and psychotherapy

My goal has been to strengthen higher education by introducing modern research and philosophically-grounded practice in these topics

Writing for impact

I have worked on textbook chapters and multimedia for major educational outlets such as Routledge and various high-level international publishers

I have produced video series as well as interactive content/material and research snapshots in the fields of developmental psychology, cognitive science, and empirical research methods

Graduate education

  • PhD in Psychology from Monash University in 2016 on factors associated with perceptual disruption in haptic illusions — available via Monash ePub repository
  • Postgraduate diploma in psychological research from Monash University in 2011 — dissertation document available via Monash ePub repository
  • Master in Counselling from Monash University in 2010 specialising in cognitive techniques

Other training

  • Narrative Practice Level 1 — Dulwich Centre
  • Certificate in Male Family Violence Counselling — MRS/Swinburne
  • Certificate IV in Training and Assessment
  • Mediation and Dispute Resolution Certification
  • NLP Coach