Psychology of Transformative Experience

A transformative experience is an enduring reorganization of a person’s thinking—for instance, their beliefs, attitudes, traits or emotions—that substantially alters life as they experience it or live it. Our goal is to foster psychological research that aims to understand the mechanisms by which transformative experiences occur, their consequences on thought and behavior, and how we make the decision to engage with or avoid them.

The "Psychology of Transformative Experience" is a $600,000 funding initiative intended to support work in psychology and related areas on the nature and varieties of transformative experience. Researchers can request between $25,000 and $225,000 for projects not to exceed two years in duration.  (Interdisciplinary projects submitted under multiple Experience Project RFPs may request an amount equal to the sum of the maximum award amount for each RFP individually). Any two year proposals submitted jointly to multiple Experience Project RFPs must be submitted in the first funding cycle and submit a Letter of Intent in accordance with the application process in the Psychology and Sociology RFPs (Letters of Intent due October 1, 2014). We intend to make approximately 6 awards. Cost-effective proposals will be prioritized, and applicants are encouraged to leverage additional funding resources when possible.


The Psychology of Transformative Experience Timeline

October 1, 2014: Psychology letters of intent due

November 1, 2014: Psychology full froposals invited

February 15, 2015: Psychology full proposals due

Spring 2015: Funding decisions for Psychology  competition


The Psychology of Transformative Experience funding initiative is directed by Fiery Cushman, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University.