Neurophenomenology and the Study of States of Consciousness
Thorsen Professor, Psychology, Lund
Despite the current hype about brain imaging, it is questionable just how much it has contributed to our understanding of mental processes. An alternative to just listing brain areas that may be differentially active when some task is presented is the neurophenomenological approach, first enunciated by Varela and further elaborated by Lutz and Thompson. It requires that a thorough account of the specific conscious processes be obtained before the corresponding brain processes are evaluated. In this presentation I will discuss some of the limitations of raw brain imaging as is currently practiced by many, present the neurophenomenological approach and illustrate it with my own research on the experience of highly hypnotizable individuals.