LABORATORY FOR EMPIRICAL PHENOMENOLOGY
We are a group of cognitive scientists studying experiential aspects
of cognitive phenomena. We investigate everyday lived experience – such as experiences of thinking, believing, or perceiving – as well as states of consciousness related to contemplative practices. One of our core objectives is to examine the epistemological characteristics
of such investigation so as to develop suitable methods. We believe that researching experience calls for a reexamination of the relationship between the scientist and the participant, whereby the former “extracts” data from the latter. Departing from the standard view, we consider participants to be the principal experts on their own consciousness. Accordingly, our methods, such as second-person in-depth phenomenological inquiry (SIPI)
, rely on engaged participants trained in observing and articulating their experiential landscapes. Our flagship meditation research project
takes the engagement of participants even further: by cultivating sustained and systematic self-observation in a close-knit group, we explore meditation both as the method and the object of scientific inquiry.
Our research approach enables a detailed and ecologically valid insight into lived human experience. As recent research in cognitive neuroscience indicates, precise knowledge on experience is critical for a comprehensive understanding of neuroscientific data. An important part of our research is therefore dedicated to neurophenomenology – an attempt at integrating first-person accounts of experience with third-person measurements (such as psychometry and neuroimaging).