Remembering a “good” interview

An auto-ethnographic presentation of the micro-phenomenological method

 

Led by

Initiator: Katrin Heimann (Aarhus University)

Furthermore: Hanne Bess Boelsbjerg, Chris Allen, Christian Suhr, Martijn van Beek, Claire Petitmengin

Contact

Katrin Heimann <katrinheimann@cas.au.dk>

Status

Completed (2020)

Summary

This project was done with the explicit aim of producing a reader-friendly introduction of micro-phenomenology to the special issue "Working with others´ experiences" in the Journal of Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences. In the resulting article, we document the process of planning, conducting and analyzing a series of pilot micro-phenomenological interviews in the form of a continuous dialogue, allowing the reader to witness this process as it unfolds. Concretely, we asked five experienced micro-phenomenology researchers to browse their memories in order to identify one successful and one challenging instance of an interview they experienced. We then interviewed them about their experience of carrying out this reflective task. In this article we present shortened and edited excerpts from one of these interviews in order to show the processes involved in micro-phenomenology. We then outline the micro-phenomenological analysis procedure by focusing on one unexpected finding: all of the interviewed researchers judge the quality of an interview in part on the basis of a visuo-somatic experience of striking similarity, namely a warm sensation in the torso-region with particular quasi-tactile qualities that represents a specific connection or contact between interviewer and interviewee. We discuss these results in the context of the means and intentions of the method and suggest avenues of future research.

Publication

The paper has been accepted and will be published in 2022.

Doing micro-phenomenology with children

Interviewing kids about creative tasks

 

Led by

Katrin Heimann (Aarhus University, Denmark)

Jennifer Branlat (Trondheim University, Norway)

Contact

Katrin Heimann <katrinheimann@cas.au.dk>

Funding

The project has been funded by the PLAYTrack grant of the Lego foundation given to the Interacting Minds Center and by the Horizon 2020 grant ARTIS.

Status

Ongoing (2020–)

Summary

If experiential data of adults has been considered as unreliable due to the risks of confabulation and similar, the reputation of childrens' own voices is even worse. And though elicitation interviews have been developed and taught to school teachers in France as a paedagogical tool, there is none to little research using the micro-phenomenological method with children. To gain knowledge about how it is to introduce and use the methods with this target group, we have invested in a series of pilots with two children. Over the course of this process we have tried out different ways of warm-ups to tell about/remind of the methods principles and purposes and involve the children as co-researchers and run several interviews about the process of performing creativity related tasks (building a lego-duck, executing part of the Torrence creativity task, designing a stone garden). We furthermore shared our reflections about the interviews with the children and involved them in the design of possibly more engaging tasks and setups. All interviews and discussions are currently transcribed and it is our intention to publish them together with comments and a final reflection to share our experiences with other researchers´ interested in this.

Outputs

The project has been presented at the Micro-Phenomenological laboratory, as well as at a convent at Reggio Children, Italy.

The Logical Structure of a World of Pure Experience

Towards a Descriptive Framework for Empirical Approaches to Phenomenology

 

Led by

Ole Höffken (PhD candidate, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhems-Universität Bonn)

Contact

Ole Höffken <o.hoeffken@gmail.com>

Status

Completed (2018–2021)

Summary

My thesis discussed micro-phenomenology as a method in the context of 'empirical phenomenology' (as proposed by Urban Kordeš and Ema Demšar).


I aim to motivate a phenomenological (especially, an empirical phenomenological) perspective as an indispensable complement to analytic/naturalistic approaches in philosophy. On this basis, I propose that empirical phenomenology and micro-phenomenology are best understood as approaches implementing the inference pattern of abduction (instead of deduction or induction). Abduction may function as a bridge to other philosophical and scientific approaches.


As a general descriptive framework for such an empirical and abductive phenomenology (including micro-phenomenology), I propose a combination of the idea of 'pure experience', developed by William James, with the idea of a formal description of the 'logical structure' of experience, suggested by Rudolf Carnap (hence the title, 'The Logical Structure of a World of Pure Experience').

Outputs

PhD Thesis (published online here).

Micro-phenomenologically informed neuroimaging

 

Led by

Chris Allen (Cardiff University)

Contact

Chris Allen <allencp@cardiff.ac.uk>

Funding

Wellcome trust

Status

Ongoing (2016–)

Summary

A multi-stage pre-registered project combining micro-phenomenology and neuroimaging (magnetoencephalography, ultra-high field functional magnetic resonance imaging). It examines the coupling between experience of simple sensor-motor task and brain activity.

Outputs

https://osf.io/h4nam/

A gap in Nisbett and Wilson’s findings?

A first-person access to our cognitive processes

 

Led by

Claire Petitmengin (Institut Mines-Télécom - Télécom EM and Archives Husserl - ENS Paris)

Anne Remillieux (Institut Mines-Télécom - Télécom EM)

Béatrice Cahour (CNRS and Institut Mines-Télécom - Télécom ParisTech)

Shirley Carter-Thomas (Institut Mines-Télécom - Télécom EM et CNRS - LATTICE) 

Contact

Claire Petitmengin <cp@clairepetitmengin.fr>

Funding

Renault, France

Status

Completed (2010–2011)

Summary

One of the most quoted papers in the field of social science, written in 1977 by Nisbett and Wilson, draws from a series of experimental studies the conclusion that we have no introspective access to our decision-making processes. In 2006, a Swedish team tried to verify these conclusions by carrying out the following experiment: the experimenter shows the participants two pictures of women’s faces and asks them to choose which one they find the most attractive. Immediately after, he shows the chosen picture again and asks them to explain the reasons for their choice. In 79,6%  of cases, participants provide an explanation for the choice they did not make,

We have reproduced this protocol, while accompanying some subjects in the description of their choice by a micro-phenomenological interview: the subjects who were assisted detected the manipulation in 80% of cases. Our experiment confirms Nisbett and Wilson's findings that we are usually unaware of our decision processes, but goes further by showing that we can access them through specific mental acts, which may be fostered by an expert guidance.

Publication

Petitmengin C., Remillieux A., Cahour B., Carter-Thomas S. (2013). A gap in Nisbett and Wilson’s findings? A first-person access to our cognitive processes. Consciousness and Cognition 22 (2), 654–669.

First and second person study of the phenomena of awakening intention

An auto-ethnographic presentation of the micro-phenomenological method

 

Led by

Frédéric Borde (PhD candidate, Ecole doctorale transdisciplinaire Lettres/Sciences - Ecole Normale Supérieure)

Natalie Depraz and Pierre Vermersch (Thesis advisors)

Contact

Frédéric Borde <fredericborde.grex2@gmail.com>

Status

Completed

Summary

The notion of “awakening intention“ belongs to the vocabulary of the French psychologist Pierre Vermersch who, since the 80’s, pursues the goal of describing the organization of subjectivity, while constructing means of access to consciousness. In this scheme, he took over the renewal of introspection, through a methodology responding to the scientific criteria of expansion and transmission. This research horizon depends, in its principle, on the possibility to awake the intuitive donation of past lived experiences intentionally, a possibility that may be summarized by the French term “explicitation” (previously translated by “elicitation”). The purpose of this doctoral thesis is to study, by the means of explicitation, the phenomenality of this “intentional awakening”, which is the very condition of possibility of the new introspection.

Outputs

Several articles published in Expliciter, journal of the Groupe de Recherche pour l’Explicitation (free journal without peer-reviewing).

Borde F. (2016). L’entretien d’explicitation et les obstacles à la description de l’activité. Questions d’orientation, revue de l’ACOP France n° 3.

Borde F. (2010). L’art et la médecine, histoire d’une rencontre. Soins Pédiatrie –  Puériculture n° 255.

Borde F. (2009). Analyse de la pratique et entretien d’explicitation. Soins Cadres, Hors série pédagogie, vol. 18.

Borde F. (2016). Entre transcendantal formel et empirique: l’enjeu phénoménologique de la référence au singulier. Journée de discussions autour du volume Psychologie et psychologisme, coordonnée par Natalie Depraz et Maria Gyemant. Archives Husserl, ENS Paris, vendredi 12 février 2016.

EMPHILINE

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

 

Led by

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

Completed (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

1) Desmidt, T., Lemoine, M., Belzung, C., & Depraz, N. (2014). The temporal dynamic of emotional emergence. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 13(4), 557-578.

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

3) Depraz, N., & Desmidt, T. (2019). Cardiophenomenology: a refinement of neurophenomenology. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 18(3), 493-507.

4) Depraz N., Gyemant M. & Desmidt T. (2017) A first-person analysis using third-person data as a generative method: A case study of surprise in depression. Constructivist Foundations 12(2): 190–203. http://constructivist.info/12/2/190

5) Depraz, N. (2018). Ce que la dépression fait à la micro-phénoménologie: les émotions pathologiques, une épreuve pour l’entretien d’explicitation?. Chroniques phénoménologiques.

More detailed description of the project (in French).