Volume 12 · Number 2 · Pages 190–203
A First-Person Analysis Using Third-Person Data as a Generative Method: A Case Study of Surprise in Depression

Natalie Depraz, Maria Gyemant & Thomas Desmidt

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Context: The use of first-person micro-phenomenological interviews and their productive interaction with third-person physiological data is a challenging and pressing issue in order to offer an effective and fruitful application of Varela’s neurophenomenological hypothesis. Problem: We aim at offering a generative method of analysis of first-person micro-phenomenological interviews using third-person physiological data. Our challenge is to describe this generative first-person analysis with the third-person physiological framework rather than put Varela’s hypothesis into practice in a generative way (as we did in another paper. Method: The present contribution is a first pioneering study as far as the exposition of such an interactive generative methodology is concerned. It is also a new issue insofar as it deals with a case study, surprise in depression, that has not been thoroughly dealt with so far, either in philosophy or in psychopathology. Results: We show that the analysis of first-person data is an intrinsic generative one, insofar as new refined categories and multifarious circular micro- and macro-processes were discovered in the very process of analyzing. They provide the initial structural generic third-person description of surprise inherited both from philosophical phenomenological a priori categories and from the experimental startle setting with a refined micro-segmentation of the dynamic of the experience. Implications: Our article could be of interest to neurophenomenologists looking for an effective application and to researchers in quest of a method of analysis of first-person data. The present limitations are due to the still preliminary data-results we need to complete. Constructivist content: The article is directly linked to Varela’s neurophenomenological program and aims at extending and reforming it with a cardio-phenomenological approach. Keywords: First-person micro-phenomenological interviews, surprise, generative analysis of first-person data, depression, cardio-phenomenology, generative categories.


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

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