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What is micro-phenomenology ?

Micro-phenomenology is a new scientific discipline that enables us to explore our lived experience very finely: what's happening when an idea comes to us? When suddenly a childhood memory comes back? When we feel sad, or on the contrary elated? When we enter a forest, listen to a piece of music, or taste a good wine? When we read a novel, or write a letter? These phenomena, which constitute the very texture of our existence, are difficult to describe, and have thus far been excluded from scientific investigation.


But recent research shows that we can learn to describe our experience very accurately and reliably, and discover its ordinarily inaccessible dimensions, through appropriate methods.


The development of this "psychological microscope" opens vast fields of investigation in the clinical and therapeutic, educational, technological, artistic and contemplative domains.

Micro-phenomenology was born out of the idea, advocated by the neurobiologist Francisco Varela in the context of his "neurophenomenological" program, that to understand the functioning of the mind, science cannot rely solely on the study of cerebral activity, but has to create a rigorous method to study human experience.

Excerpts of micro-phenomenological interviews 

At his instigation, the "entretien d'explicitation", an interview method initially developed by Pierre Vermersch for pedagogical purposes and for  analyzing professional practice, was adapted to research in cognitive sciences and supplemented by a method of analysis and validation of data, to become micro-phenomenology.

An international research community is being constituted around this new discipline. This website aims at federating this community, giving more visibility to its work, promoting new projects, and presenting micro-phenomenology and its related issues to all individuals who are interested in exploring lived experience.

Scientific director

Claire Petitmengin

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Design Laure Schaufelberger, 2016

Drawings Camilla Eslava

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