Neurophenomenology Integrating Subjective Experience and Brain Dynamics in the Neuroscience of Consciousness

  • Lutz A
  • Thompson E
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Abstract

The paper presents a research programme for the neuroscience of con- sciousness called ‘neurophenomenology’ (Varela 1996) and illustrates it with a recent pilot study (Lutz et al., 2002). At a theoretical level, neurophenomenology pursues an embodied and large-scale dynamical approach to the neurophysiology of consciousness (Varela 1995; Thompson and Varela 2001; Varela and Thompson 2003). At a methodological level, the neurophenomeno- logical strategy is to make rigorous and extensive use of first-person data about subjective experience as a heuristic to describe and quantify the large-scale neurodynamics of consciousness (Lutz 2002). The paper foocuses on neurophenomenology in relation to three challenging methodological issues about incorporating first-person data into cognitive neuroscience: (i) first-person reports can be biased or inaccurate; (ii) the process of generating first-person reports about an experience can modify that experience; and (iii) there is an ‘ex- planatory gap’ in our understanding of how to relate first-person, phenomeno- logical data to third-person, biobehavioural data.

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Authors

  • Antoine Lutz

  • Evan Thompson

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