Dimitris Xygalatas

Dimitris Xygalatas is an anthropologist and cognitive scientist at the University of Connecticut. He has spent most of his career studying extreme rituals such as fire-walking, self-piercing and other painful ordeals. He directs a lab in the United States and a field station in Mauritius, and constantly moves back and forth between the two, bringing scientific measurements into ethnographic research, from the behavioural to the physiological and hormonal level. He has pioneered the use of such methods in the study of real-life rituals, and his work has been published in top scientific journals and regularly featured in the media. As well as popular talks at prestigious institutions such as Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Oxford, Cornell and Emory, he has given a TEDx talk, appeared on the Discovery Channel and been interviewed in Vice, the New Yorker and New York magazine among other forums.