The Anatomy of Indifference and Care project

Principal Investigator

Deanne Bell (Department of Psychology, Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom)

Contact

Deanne Bell <Deanne.bell@ntu.ac.uk>

 
Funding

Nottingham Trent University

Status

Ongoing

 

Summary

Seventy years ago forty-eight countries adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UDHR marked an international commitment to end discrimination against people based on their race and ethnicity, practices that have produced social suffering globally. Despite this intention, human rights failures persist. In 2015, an evaluation of equality and human rights by 175 civil society organizations in the UK, for example, found that ethnic minorities’ experiences of health, education, income, employment, justice and safety lag behind white UK citizens and evidence social suffering as a result.

Why and how do we remain indifferent to others’ pain despite our stated intention to do otherwise?

The Anatomy of Indifference and Care research project explores people’s relationship to the suffering caused by social inequalities and social injustice. Its main purpose is to find out much more than is currently known about indifference and care in light of social suffering. The project is designed to learn more about psychological moments when we are being indifferent and when we are caring toward others who are socially disadvantaged.

Because indifference and care are experienced in the Global North and South participation is open regardless of where you live.

No study has been conducted like this despite potential benefits to civil society if we understand these phenomena more deeply.

Publications

Forthcoming

 

Updated on 6/11/2019

Tracing time

The experiential processes triggered by duration estimation and time passage perception tasks

Participants

Katrin Heimann (Aarhus University)

Federica Cavaletti (Catholic University of Milano)

 

Contact

Katrin Heimann <katrinheimann@cas.au.dk>

 
Funding

Interacting Minds Center, Aarhus

Status

Ongoing

 

Summary

ln the field of cognitive psychology, subjective time perception is often assessed by employing two main types of temporal tasks: duration estimation (DE – the quantitative estimation of the length of a time interval in conventional units) and time passage perception (TPP - the qualitative impression of the speed of the temporal flow). Though the two types of tasks are frequently used interchangeably, a rigorous theoretical reflection about what they precisely assess and, relatedly, their supposed equivalence has been missing. Therefore, in order to improve the understanding of DE and TPP, we followed the precise design of a recent study of time perception in movie watching.

In the experiment, 12 participants were presented one short video-clip. Then, they were asked to express both a DE judgment (in seconds) and a TPP judgment (on a 9-point Likert scale). Lastly, they were interviewed, using MP, about the experience of performing this task. The process was then repeated, to also investigate experiential changes caused by the repetition of the setup (a common feature of psychological assessments). The pilot results will be presented on the conference "First Person Science of Consciousness" in Witten-Herdecke, Germany, May 2019. 

 

Updated on 4/4/2019

Climateers: From old habits to a sustainable future

Participants

Katrin Heimann (Aarhus University)

Andreas Lloyd (Community Organizer, Copenhagen)

 
Contact

Katrin Heimann <katrinheimann@cas.au.dk>

 
Funding

Interacting Minds Center, Aarhus

Status

Ongoing

 

Summary

This project focuses on the majority of citizens who do have the necessary resources to understand the consequences of climate change; who are aware of their own responsibility in this situation; but who, even so, refrain from consistent behavior change and/or from taking any systematic social or political action and advocacy. Based on existing psychological research and a first pilot study conducted within the IMC, it is our  hypothesis that the key to understanding this inaction lies in the – underexplored - complexity of subjective experience. In the very moments where individuals live through affection and care they also encounter conflicting feelings and thoughts such competing desires and values, feelings of disorientation and mightlessness etc. 

As a result of this cognitive conflict individuals might try to actively distract themselves from the issue of climate change, in the long term, they might develop a pathological numbness regarding or neglect/denial of climate change in general.

It is the goal of this project to develop a workshop format that addresses the challenges hypothesized above in order to help political and educational organizations across the world to support citizens in taking their first steps from passive concern to climate action. Crucially, these workshops will integrate MP to gain first empirical insight into the precise experiential processes at stake to

1)   re-test and further explore the hypotheses made by developing a generic model of the experiences addressed,

2)   track such experiences over the course of the workshop to investigate the effect of the interventions,

3)   feed the research results back into the workshop design process to continually improve the workshop format as well as

4)   provide documentation of process and results to allow for wider dissemination of knowledge as well as adoption of the approach

Updated on 4/4/2019

Playful interactions

Participants

Katrin Heimann (Aarhus University)

Reed Stevens (Northwestern University)

Contact

Katrin Heimann <katrinheimann@cas.au.dk>

 
Funding

Interacting Minds Center (Aarhus), project PLAYTrack

Status

Ongoing

 

Summary

What does it mean to playfully interact? This study combines Micro-phenomenological Interviews of two participants having been given the task to playfully build LEGO together, with the Interaction analysis of this interaction AND the Interaction analysis of the interview to gain insights into the circumstances and process of getting playful.

Updated on 4/4/2019

The minimal phenomenal experience. The case of lucid dreamless sleep

Experiences of awareness during sleep

Participants

Adriana Alcaraz Sánchez, MPhil student (CSPE, University of Glasgow)

 

Contact

Adriana Alcaraz Sánchez: a.alcaraz-sanchez.1@research.gla.ac.uk

Funding

Self-funding

Status

Ongoing

 

Summary

Lucid dreamless sleep experiences have been described as mental experiences happening during sleep that cannot be categorised as dreams. The reason for this is that lucid dreamless sleep lacks the feeling of being in a simulative world, characteristic of dreams. Some philosophers, drawing from Indian Philosophical traditions, have suggested that lucid dreamless sleep should be regarded as the experience of being alive, the experience of ‘nowness’ or the experience of alertness.

This project aims at studying awareness during sleep by describing the associated phenomena that appear in the different stages of this process. For that purpose, a qualitative study will be carried out with the use of micro-phenomenological interviews.

We are currently looking for individuals that would like to participate in the study. Our targeted audience are individuals that recall episodes of awareness during sleep in the absence of dreams and that are willing to share their experiences in a 1:1 interview.

Please, follow the link below for more information about the Call for Participants.

 

Updated on 10/9/2018

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

The Phenomenology of Occurrent, Conscious Thinking

Participants

Fergus Anderson, PhD student, Alanus University (Germany)

Contact

Fergus Anderson: Fergus.Anderson@alanus.edu

Funding

Funded PhD research

 

Status

Completed. Thesis defended in January 2018.

Summary

In this research, I address a question drawn from the contemporary field of cognitive phenomenology, which is whether there is a specific “non-sensory” kind of phenomenology associated with cognitive states such as judging, deciding, understanding etc. This specific kind of cognitive phenomenology is said to constitute cognitive states in a way that is comparable to the way that sensory phenomenology constitutes sensory states, but there is disagreement about what it is and whether it exists at all. In this research I take a first-person approach to this question rather than the more common “analytic” approach. I primarily use auto-elicitation, and also microphenomenological interviews which focus on specific kinds of provoked thinking experiences. Out of this I put forward a thesis regarding what I call the “dynamic” phenomenology of thinking, which I argue is an important but neglected aspect of cognitive phenomenology.  

 

Publication

Anderson F. The Dynamic Phenomenology of Occurrent Thinking. Phenomenology and Mind. (forthcoming).

Updated on 1/12/2016

Writers block revisited

A micro-phenomenological case study on how an impeding internalized voice is related to writer’s block

Participants

Eva Bojner Horwitz, Education director, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Uppsala University, Center for social sustainability, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society Karolinska Institute, and Department of Clinical Neuroscience Karolinska Institute, Sweden

Walter Osika, Center for social sustainability, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institute and Department of Clinical Neuroscience Karolinska Institute Sweden

Cecilia Stenfors, Department of Psychology, University of Chicago, and Karolinska Institute, Sweden.

Contact

Eva Bojner Horwitz: eva.bojner.horwitz@ki.se

Funding

Riddargårdskliniken, Sweden

 

Status

Ongoing

 

Summary

Procrastination, and more specific writers block, is common and can have a deleterious impact on individuals’ academic performance. This comparative study stems from a case with a master’s student with writer’s block, who was asked to perform body movements reflecting a thesis writing process over time. The micro-phenomenological interview method was used to uncover the student’s experience during the exercise, including bodily sensations, feelings, and thoughts, and particularly the very precise process related to an inner voice. The innnel voice was recorded with the student´s own voice and was the subject of analyses. The structure analysis shows in detail the process, i.e. how the student perceives very specific mental images, micro movements and sensations in relation to the specific “inner voice” experience. Specifically, it was discovered that the student´s inner voice was triggering different body movements and gestures and not the other way around.  The micro phenomenological method together with video interpretation applied on the first-person perspective can reveal very detailed bodily experiences, movements and sensations. These findings suggest that the power of non-verbal ways of learning by using movements may be applied in broader areas such as research writing.

 

Publication

Horwitz, E.B., Stenfords, C., Osika, W. (2018). Writer's block revisited: A Micro-Phenomenological Case Study on the Blocking Influence of an Internalized Voice. Journal of Consciousness Studies 25 (3-4): 9-28.

Updated on 8/11/2018

Thésée

Theories and Explorations of Subjectivity and Elicited Experience

Participants

Magali Ollagnier-Beldame, Laboratoire ICAR UMR CNRS 5191, France

Christophe Coupe, Laboratoire DDL UMR CNRS 5596, France

Anne Cazemajou, Laboratoire ICAR UMR CNRS 5191, France

Contact

Magali Ollagnier-Beldame : mbeldame@gmail.com

Funding

LabEx Aslan, Université de Lyon

Fonds Recherche de l’ENS de Lyon

 
Status

Ongoing (since 2014)

 

Summary

The Thésée project aims at understanding how people who come into contact for the first time experience this moment. It aims at describing the sensory, emotional, bodily and cognitive components of the experience that accompanies the encounter (Vermersch, 1994/2004, Petitmengin, 2006). To do this, we rely on an epistemology in the first person (study of subjectivity) and on a second-person methodology (guided retrospective introspections) using the micro-phenomenological interview. Our working material consists of recorded and transcribed interviews, which we analyze in the light of different problems, such as those of the constitution of intersubjectivity, or the porosity of the boundaries between oneself and others.

We study two types of encounters: (i) "experimental" (induced) encounters between two people and (ii) "ecological" encounters that subjects have had in the past. For this second type, we study in particular the first meetings between care-givers and patients.

 

Publications

Ollagnier-Beldame, M. Coupé, C. (forthcoming). Meeting you for the first time: descriptive categories of an intersubjective experience. Constructivist Foundations – AHCI.

Ollagnier-Beldame, M. Cazemajou, A. (forthcoming). Intersubjectivity in First Encounters: Micro-phenomenology as a Way to Reach Lived Experience. The Humanistic Psychologist - Taylor & Francis.

Updated on 8/11/2018

The auditory experience

Participants

Claire Petitmengin (Institut Mines-Télécom Institute - Telecom EM et Ecole Polytechnique – CREA), Michel Bitbol (CNRS), Jean-Michel Nissou, Bernard Pachoud, Hélène Curallucci, Michel Cermolacce and Jean Vion-Dury (Unité de Neurophysiologie et Psychophysiologie, Pôle de Psychiatrie Universitaire, Hôpital Sainte Marguerite, Marseille)

Contact

Claire Petitmengin: cp@clairepetitmengin.fr

 

Funding

Cognisud, France

 

Status

finished (2009)

 

Summary

In our Western culture, sight is considered the noblest of the senses, and the essence of our understanding of knowledge is based on the visual model. When sound is studied, it is so from a physical or psycho-acoustic point of view, but rarely from a philosophical point of view, even more rarely as a lived experience.

This study examines the experience associated with listening to a sound. Its aim is not to try to isolate the sense of hearing from other sensory modalities, but to describe what we are experiencing in our whole experience when a sound is produced. After collecting a set of micro-phenomenological descriptions of auditory experiences, we analyzed these descriptions. This work allowed us to identify a threefold generic structure of the auditory experience, depending on whether the subject's attention is 1) on the event that is at the source of the sound, 2) on sound as such, considered independently of its source, 3) on bodily felt sound. This study leads to the hypothesis that this threefold structure may be found in other sensory modalities.

 

Publication

Petitmengin C., Bitbol M., Nissou JM, Pachoud B., Curalucci H., Cermolacce C., Vion-Dury J. (2009). Listening from Within. Journal of Consciousness Studies 16 (10-12), 252-284.

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