Experimenting with phenomenology


We review the use of introspective and phenomenological methods in experimental settings. We distinguish different senses of introspection, and further distinguish phenomenological method from introspectionist approaches. Two ways of using phenomenology in experimental procedures are identified: first, the neurophenomenological method, proposed by Varela, involves the training of experimental subjects. This approach has been directly and productively incorporated into the protocol of experiments on perception. A second approach may have wider application and does not involve training experimental subjects in phenomenological method. It requires front-loading phenomenological insights into experimental design. A number of experiments employing this approach are reviewed. We conclude with a discussion of the implications for both the cognitive sciences and phenomenology.

Publication Title

Consciousness and Cognition