A micro-phenomenological exploration of time-perception tasks

Participants

Federica Cavaletti (Interacting Minds Centre, Aarhus University, Denmark)

Katrin Heimann (Interacting Minds Centre, Aarhus University, Denmark)

 
Contact

Cavaletti Federica <federica.cavaletti@unicatt.it>

Katrin Heimann <katrinheimann@gmail.com>

 
Funding

Interactive Minds Center

Status

Ongoing

 

Summary

Temporal distortions in people suffering from psychiatric disorders, such as depression, have long been observed in phenomenological psychiatry, with research into this topic dating back to the first half of the last century (Straus 1928; Minkowski 1933). Depressed time, for instance, was mainly described in terms of slowness, delay or stillness arising from a lack of future orientation. Contemporary accounts tend to confirm this conceptualization, while stressing the role of the environment in shaping such temporal attitude (Fuchs 2001, 2013; Ratcliffe 2012, 2015).

With the increasing success of empirical methods of research, these and similar theoretical assumptions have started being put to test experimentally by means of a variety of tasks and procedures (e.g. Mezey and Cohen 1961; Wyrick and Wyrick 1977; Kitamura and Kumar 1982; Münzel et al. 1988; Sévigny et al. 2003; Mahlberg 2008; Oberfeld et al. 2014; Mioni et al. 2016). Strikingly, however, the resulting empirical findings are largely inconsistent. In consequence, the idea of a radically peculiar temporal experience characterizing depression has often been discarded as a commonplace belief that has failed the test of rigorous empirical validation.

The aim of our research is to challenge this skeptical view. The deviative character of depressive time, we claim, might indeed be empirically captured and specified if the tasks and procedures employed to do so undergo a serious methodological validation.

In the existing empirical studies, duration estimation and time passage perception tasks play a crucial role. The two types of task have been frequently used interchangeably in the early as well as in the most recent experimental practice (Mahlberg 2008). However, as we thoroughly argue elsewhere (Cavaletti and Heimann, accepted in Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences), a rigorous theoretical reflection about the supposed equivalence of DE and TPP tasks? has been missing. At the same time, both common sense and scientific evidence suggest on the contrary that the two might correspond to different aspects of time perception, or at least interact in complex and non-trivial ways.

The lack of clarity about DE and TPP tasks respectively and about the relation of the processes they trigger as well as the processes they actually want to assess is likely to introduce uncontrolled forms of bias in the study of time perception in general. Also, and more in particular, it might be part of the problem when it comes to the inconsistency of the studies about the experience of time in depression. Therefore, a preliminary effort should be put in better defining these two types of procedures and the aspects of time perception they tackle in ordinary time perception in the first place. The experiment we designed is directed precisely at paving the way in this direction.

 
Publications

Cavaletti, F., Heimann, K. (Forthcoming). Longing for Tomorrow. Phenomenology, Cognitive Psychology, and the Methodological Bases of Exploring Time Experience in Depression. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences.

Updated on 8/11/2018

Developing a micro-phenomenology of emotion for affective science

Participants

Emily Hammond, PhD researcher, University of Exeter, UK

Contact

Emily Hammond: e.r.hammond@exeter.ac.uk

 
Funding

Economic and Social Research Council PhD studentship

Mind and Life Institute Francisco J. Varela Award

 

Status

Ongoing

 

Summary

What is it like to experience emotion? The question is a deceptively simple one. Affectivity is a fundamental aspect of how we experience the world, yet curiously, detailed experiential accounts of emotion and affect are lacking from the empirical literature in affective science. The measurement of subjective experience – the feeling of emotion - is often restricted to self-reported ratings of researcher-selected emotion terms such as ‘elation’, ‘sadness’ or ‘pleasantness’, which limits the scope for exploring phenomenological nuance and depth. This project considers how micro-phenomenology might contribute to this open question for affective science through two strands of work: empirical investigation into the fine-grained phenomenological features of emotion, and methodological work to establish concrete steps towards effectively applying the micro-phenomenological technique in experimental research. The overarching intention behind the project is to begin to identify ways in which fuller, body-mind accounts of emotion might be developed within basic emotion science for application to translational research on affective disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder.  

 
Communications

Hammond E. (2016). Why we need a phenomenology of emotion in translational affective science. Talk given at the Mind and Life International Symposium for Contemplative Studies, San Diego, 10-13 November 2016.

Hammond E. (2016). Developing a micro-phenomenology of emotion for affective science: some reflections on methodology in practice. Talk given at advanced micro-phenomenology workshop led by Professor Claire Petitmengin, 26-30 September 2016.

Hammond E. (2016). Transcending the natural attitude? Possibilities and limitations of empirical phenomenology. Talk given at the Sussex Phenomenology Graduate Conference, University of Sussex, 23-24 June 2016.

Updated on 1/12/2016

EMPHILINE

Surprise in the spontaneity of emotions: a vector for enlarged cognition

Participants

Natalie Depraz (UMR 8547, Pays germaniques, histoire, culture et philosophie (ENS-CNRS) Archives-Husserl)

Agnès Celle and Pascale Goutéraux (CLILLAC-ARP, EA 3967, Université Paris-Diderot)

Vincent Camus and Thomas Desmidt (INSERM U930, ERL CNRS 30106 Equipe 4, Troubles affectifs)

Contact

Natalie Depraz: pr.natalie.depraz@gmail.com

Funding

ANR (French National Agency for Research)

 
Status

2012-2015

 

Summary

Emphiline is a research project whose theme is surprise and depression in their emotional, cognitive, bodily and linguistic components. We correlated a methodology in the third person (experimental physiological device of generation of surprise) and a methodology in the first person (micro-phenomenological interviews).  On the basis of the analysis of 42 interviews correlated with the analysis of physiological measurements (FC, FR, cerebral pulsatility, cutaneous conductance, EEG), we aimed at testing the hypothesis that surprise, far from being reduced to a sudden shock, is part of a three-phased micro-temporal process composed of implicit anticipation, crisis and aftermath, and thus unfolds on the background of two main structures that are attention (its condition), and emotion (its implication).

The practical outcome of the project was the building of a database, the publication of interdisciplinary books and the elaboration of a protocol in cardiovascular research. It contributes to advances in the use of crossed micro-phenomenological first-person and third person methods and allows to suggest an extension of neurophenomenology in the direction of what we call a « cardiophenomenology ».

 

Publications

Empirical articles:

1) Th. Desmidt, M. Lemoine, C. Belzung & N. Depraz, « The temporal dynamic of emotional emergence », Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, Emotion Special Issue, 2014, Springer, Heidelberg.

2) N. Depraz & Th. Desmidt, « Cardio-phénoménologie », in: La naturalisation de la phénoménologie 20 après, J.-L. Petit éd., Cahiers philosophiques de Strasbourg n°38, 2015.

3) N. Depraz & Th. Desmidt, « Cardiophenomenology : an extension of neurophenomenology : preliminary results », Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 2017, Springer, Heidelberg (in course of revision).

4) N. Depraz, M. Gyemant, Th. Desmidt, « First person data analysis: a generative method using third person data. Surprise and depression: A case study », Colloque « Neurophenomenology: building a science of experience », 21-22 January 2016, org. C. Valenzuela-Moguillansky, Santiago, Chile, submitted to the Journal of Constructivist Foundations.

More detailed description of the project

Updated on 10/12/2016

Anticipating epileptic seizures

Participants

Vincent Navarro (Epilepsy Unit and  Laboratory of Cognitive Neurosciences and Cerebral Imaging - CNRS UPR 640 (LENA),  Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris), Michel Le Le Van Quyen (Laboratory of Cognitive Neurosciences and Cerebral Imaging (LENA) - CNRS UPR 640, Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris), Claire Petitmengin (Mines-Telecom Institute - Telecom EM, and Ecole Polytechnique - CREA)

 

Funding

LENA, Epilepsy Unit

 

Status

finished

 

Summary

In the context of Francisco Varela's team at the Salpêtrière hospital in Paris, we conducted micro-phenomenological interviews with epileptic patients, which led them to become aware of early signs announcing the onset of a seizure. This result confirms on the experiential level what had been discovered at the neuronal level: epileptic seizures do not arise "like a bolt in the blue", but are the outcome of a process that begins long before. The awareness of this microgenesis is the key to new non-pharmacological therapies of epilepsy, the results of which are often better than those of the most effective pharmacological treatments.

 
Publications

Le Van Quyen M., Petitmengin C. (2002). Neuronal dynamics and conscious experience: an example of reciprocal causation before epileptic seizures. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 1: 169-180.

Petitmengin C. (2005). Un exemple de recherche neuro-phénoménologique : l'anticipation des crises d'épilepsie. Intellectica 40: 63-89.

Petitmengin C., Navarro V., Baulac M. (2006). Seizure Anticipation: Are Neuro-phenomenological Approaches Able to Detect Preictal Symptoms? Epilepsy and Behavior 9, 298-306.

Petitmengin C. (2010). A neuro-phenomenological study of epileptic seizure anticipation. In Schmicking D. and Gallagher S. (ed.), Handbook of Phenomenology and Cognitive Sciences. Berlin, Heidelberg, New York: Springer, 471-499.

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