Volume 16 · Number 3 · Pages 295–308
Phenomenological Properties of Perceptual Presence: A Constructivist Grounded Theory Approach

Aleš Oblak, Asena Boyadzhieva & Jure Bon

Log in download the full text in PDF

> Citation > Similar > References > Add Comment

Abstract

Context: Perceptual presence is the experience wherein veridical objects are experienced as belonging to an observer-independent world. Problem: Experimental investigations of perceptual presence are rare. It may be that the standard conceptualizations of perceptual presence are not suitable for experimental operationalization. Method: Using the framework of constructivist grounded theory, three observational perspectives (engaged, near-ecological, and receptive) are employed to discern method-invariant phenomenological properties of perceptual presence. Inductive coding is used as a main analytical instrument. Results: Four phenomenological properties of perceptual presence are constructed: perceptually present objects (a) appear inexhaustible in the amount of modal detail they contain; (b) are experienced as a particular arrangement of lived space; (c) allow for some and preclude other bodily interactions; and (d) are marked by a specific feeling of coupling. Implications: Descriptions of lived experience of perceptual presence, in particular the structure of lived space, may further allow for the design of experiments that more precisely target individual properties of this phenomenon. Constructivist content: Perceptual presence is conceived of as one of the main properties of consciousness: it is the experience of objects as belonging to an observer-independent world. Phenomenological properties contributing to how this sense of veridicality is constructed are presented.

Key words: Perceptual presence, empirical phenomenology, grounded theory, artistic research, signal-contingent experience sampling, contemplative research.

Citation

Oblak A., Boyadzhieva A. & Bon J. (2021) Phenomenological properties of perceptual presence: A constructivist grounded theory approach. Constructivist Foundations 16(3): 295–308. https://constructivist.info/16/3/295

Export article citation data: Plain Text · BibTex · EndNote · Reference Manager (RIS)

Similar articles

Oblak A., Boyadzhieva A. & Bon J. (2021) Author’s Response: The Boundaries and Frontiers of Perceptual Presence
Kordeš U. (2016) Going Beyond Theory: Constructivism and Empirical Phenomenology
Oblak A. (2021) Accusatives, Deixis, and Pointing Fingers
Oblak A. (2020) Author’s Response: Does Naturalistic First-Person Research Need Methodological Pluralism?
Oblak A. & Kordeš U. (2018) Neurophenomenology: Ontological Remedy for the Hard Problem?

References

Albertazzi L. (2015) Spatial elements in visual awareness. Challenges for an intrinsic “geometry” of the visible. Philosophia Scientiæ. Travaux d’histoire et de philosophie des sciences 19(3): 95–125. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Albertazzi L. (2019) Experimental phenomenology: What it is and what it is not. Synthese. Online first. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Albertazzi L., Canal L., Chistè P., De Rosa M., Micciolo R. & Minelli A. (2017) Reconsidering morphology through an experimental case study. Biological Theory 12(3): 131–141. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Anderson G. (2017) Drawing as a way of knowing in art and science. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Bateson G. (2000) Steps to an ecology of mind: Collected essays in anthropology, psychiatry, evolution, and epistemology. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Binswanger L. (1963) Being-in-the-world: Selected papers of Ludwig Binswanger. Basic Books. New York. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Bitbol M. (2019) Neurophenomenology of surprise: Sparks of awakening. In: Depraz N. & Celle A. (eds.) Surprise at the intersection of phenomenology and linguistics. John Benjamins, Amsterdam. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Bleichmar D. (2012) Visible empire: Botanical expeditions & visual culture in the Hispanic enlightenment. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Charmaz K. (2004) Constructing grounded theory: A practical guide through qualitative analysis. Sage Publications, London. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Clark A. (2016) Surfing uncertainty: Prediction, action, and the embodied mind. Oxford University Press, Oxford. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Colombetti G. & Ratcliffe M. (2012) Bodily feeling in depersonalization: A phenomenological account. Emotion Review 4(2): 145–150. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Connolly K. (2011) Does perception outstrip our concepts in fineness of grain? Ratio: An International Journal of Analytic Philosophy 24(3): 243–258. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Corwin A. I. & Erickson-Davis C. (2020) Experiencing presence: An interactive model of perception. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 10(1): 166–182. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
De Jaegher H. & Di Paolo E. A. (2007) Participatory sense-making: An enactive approach to social cognition. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6(1): 485–507. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Depraz N. (2019) Epoché in light of Samatha-Vipassana meditation: Chögyam Trungpa’s Buddhist teaching facing Husserl’s phenomenology. Journal of Consciousness Studies 27(7–8): 49–89. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Dienes Z., Palfi B. & Lush P. (2020) Controlling phenomenology by being unaware of intentions, PsyArXiv. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Dupré J. (2015) A process ontology for biology. Physiology News 100(1): 32–34. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Engel A. K., Friston K. J. & Kragic D. (2015) The pragmatic turn: Towards action-oriented views in cognitive science. MIT Press, Cambridge MA. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Espirito Santo D. (2015) Liquid sight, thing-like words, and the precipitation of knowledge substances in Cuban espiritismo. JRAI: Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 21(1): 579–596. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Evans G. (1982) The varieties of reference. Clarendon Press, Oxford. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Flick U. (2009) ​An introduction to qualitative analysis​. Sage Publications, London. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Foerster H. von (1960) On self-organizing systems and their environments. In: Yovits M. C. & Cameron S. (eds.) Self-organizing systems. Pergamon Press, London: 31–50. https://cepa.info/1593
Fuchs T. (2005) The phenomenology of body, space and time in depression. Comprendre 15(1): 108–121. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Fuchs T. (2007) Psychotherapy of the lived space: A phenomenological and ecological concept. American Journal of Psychotherapy 61(4): 423–439. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Gaete Celis M. I. (2019) Micro-phenomenology and traditional qualitative research methods. Constructivist Foundations 14(2): 146–149. https://constructivist.info/14/2/146
Gibson J. J. (1979) The ecological approach to visual perception. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Gozli D. (2020) Modes of participation and modes of inquiry. Constructivist Foundations 15(3): 263–266. https://constructivist.info/15/3/263
Haun A. M., Tononi G., Koch C. & Tsuchiya N. (2017) Are we underestimating the richness of visual experience? Neuroscience of Consciousness 2017(1): niw023. https://doi.org/10.1093/nc/niw023
Heavey C. L., Hurlburt R. T. & Lefforge N. L. (2012) Toward a phenomenology of feelings. Emotion 12(4): 763–777. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Heidegger M. (1988) The basic problems of phenomenology. Indiana University Press, Bloomington IN. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Heimann K. (2020) About process and progress: Suggestions about how to investigate subjective experience most ecologically. Constructivist Foundations 15(3): 253–255. https://constructivist.info/15/3/253
Humberto M. & Varela F. J. (1992) The tree of knowledge: The biological roots of human understanding. Shambhala, Boston. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Hurlburt R. T., Alderson-Day B., Kühn S. & Fernyhough C. (2016) Exploring the ecological validity of thinking on demand: Neural correlates of elicited vs. spontaneously occurring inner speech. PLoS-ONE 11(2): EO147932. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Husserl E. (1991) On the phenomenology of the consciousness of internal time (1893–1917) Springer, Dordrecht. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Husserl E. (1997) Thing and space: Lectures of 1907. Springer, Dordrecht. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Hutchins E. (1993) Cognition in the wild. MIT Press, Cambridge MA. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Hutto D. D. & Myin E. (2013) Radicalizing enactivism: Basic minds without content. MIT Press, Cambridge MA. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Jaspers K. (1997) General psychopathology. Volume 1. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Kanishiro C. & Hurlburt R. T. (2020) Cleaving to the moment, cleaving to experience, bracketing presuppositions, and the iterative method in the apprehension of pristine inner experience. Constructivist Foundations 15(3): 251–253. https://constructivist.info/15/3/251
Kant I. (1998) Critique of pure reason. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. German original published in 1781 and 1787. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Klüver H. (1966) Mescal and the mechanisms of hallucination. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Kordeš U. & Demšar E. (2018) Excavating belief about past experience: Experiential dynamics of the reflective act. Constructivist Foundations 13(2): 219–229. https://constructivist.info/13/2/219
Kordeš U. & Demšar E. (2021) Towards the epistemology of the non-trivial: Research characteristics connecting quantum mechanics and first-person inquiry. Foundations of Science 26: 187–216. https://cepa.info/6939
Kordeš U., Oblak A., Smrdu M. & Demšar E. (2019) Ethnography of meditation: An account of pursuing meditative practice as a tool for researching consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 27(7–8): 184–237. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Kosslyn S. M. (1994) Image and brain. MIT Press, Cambridge MA. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Kosslyn S. M., Sukel K. E. & Bly B. M. (1999) Squinting with the mind’s eye: Effects of stimulus resolution on imaginal and perceptual comparison. Memory and Cognition 27(1): 276–287. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Laughlin C. D. & Throop C. J. (2007) Cultural neurophenomenology: Integrating experience, culture and reality through Fisher information. Culture & Psychology 12(3): 305–337. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Levin D. M. (1993) Modernity and the hegemony of vision. University of California Press, Berkley CA. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Lifschitz M., Bonn N. A., Fischer A., Kashem I. F. & Raz A. (2013) Using suggestion to modulate automatic processes: From Stroop to McGurk and beyond. Cortex 49(2): 463–473. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Linger D. T. (2010) What is it like to be someone else? Journal of the Society for Psychological Anthropology 38(2): 205–229. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Luhrmann T. M. (2020) Thinking about thinking: The mind’s porosity and the presence of the gods. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 26(S1): 148–162. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Lush P. (2020) Demand characteristics confound the rubber hand illusion. Collabra: Psychology 6(1): 22. https://doi.org/10.1525/collabra.325
Lush P., Botan V., Scott R. B., Seth A. K., Ward J. & Dienes Z. (2020) Trait phenomenological control predicts experience of mirror synaesthesia and the rubber hand illusion. Nature Communications 11: 4853. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467–020–18591–6
Lush P., Moga G., McLatchie N. & Dienes Z. (2018) The Sussex-Waterloo Scale of Hypnotizability (SWASH): Measuring capacity for altering conscious experience. Neuroscience of Consciousness 2018(1): niy006. https://doi.org/10.1093/nc/niy006
Markič O. & Kordeš U. (2016) Parallels between mindfulness and first-person research into consciousness. Asian Studies 4(2): 153–168. https://cepa.info/4036
Matherne S. (2017) Merleau-Ponty on style as the key to perceptual presence and constancy. Journal of the History of Philosophy 55(4): 693–727. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Matusz P. J., Dikker S., Huth A. G. & Perrodin C. (2019) Are we ready for real-world neuroscience? Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 31(3): 327–338. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Mausfeld R. (2013) The attribute of realness and the internal organization of perceptual reality. In: Albertazzi L. (ed.) Handbook of experimental phenomenology: Visual perception of shape, space and appearance. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester: 91–118. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Merleau-Ponty M. (2012) Phenomenology of perception. Routledge, New York. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Morrison H., McBriar S., Powell H., Proudfoot J., Fitzgerald D. & Callard F. (2019) What is a psychological task? The operational pliability of “task” in psychological laboratory experimentation. Engaging Science, Technology, and Society 5(1): 61–85. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Nelson J. (2017) Using conceptual depth criteria: Addressing the challenge of reaching saturation in qualitative research. Qualitative Research 17(5): 554–570. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Noë A. (2004) Action in perception. MIT Press, Cambridge MA. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Noë A. (2012) Varieties of presence. Harvard University Press, Cambridge. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Oblak A. (2020) Visual representation in the wild: Empirical phenomenological investigation of visual-spatial working memory in a naturalistic setting. Constructivist Foundations 15(3): 238–250. https://constructivist.info/15/3/238
Oyebode F. (2008) Sims’ symptoms in the mind: An introduction to descriptive psychopathology. 4th edition. Saunders Elsevier, Edinburgh. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Pacherie E. (1999) Leibhaftigkeit and representational theories. In: Petitot J., Varela F. J., Pachoud B. & Roy J. (eds.) Naturalizing phenomenology: Issues in contemporary phenomenology and cognitive science. Stanford University Press, Stanford: 148–160. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Pachoud B. (1999) The teleological dimension of perceptual and motor intentionality. In: Petitot J., Varela F. J., Pachoud B. & Roy J. (eds.) Naturalizing phenomenology: Issues in contemporary phenomenology and cognitive science. Stanford University Press, Stanford: 196–219. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Ratcliffe M. (2008) Feelings of being: Phenomenology, psychiatry, and the sense of reality. Oxford University Press, Oxford. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Ratcliffe M. (2015) How is perceptual experience possible? The phenomenology of presence and the nature of hallucination. In: Doyon M. & Brieyer T. (eds.) Normativity in perception. Palgrave Macmillan, New York: 91–113. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Roy J., Petitot J., Pachoud B. & Varela F. J. (1999) Beyond the gap: An introduction to naturalizing phenomenology. In: Petitot J., Varela F. J., Pachoud B. & Roy J. (eds.) Naturalizing phenomenology: Issues in contemporary phenomenology and cognitive science. Stanford University Press, Stanford CA. https://cepa.info/2034
Sartre J. (2010) The imaginary: A phenomenological psychology of the imagination. Routledge, London. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Seth A. K. (2014) A predictive processing theory of sensorimotor contingencies: Explaining the puzzle of perceptual presence and its absence in synesthesia. Cognitive Neuroscience 5(2): 97–118. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Seth A. K. (2015) Presence, objecthood, and the phenomenology of predictive perception. Cognitive Neuroscience 6(2–3): 111–117. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Seth A. K., Suzuki K. & Critchley H. D. (2012) An interoceptive predictive coding model of conscious presence. Frontiers in Psychology 2: 395. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00395
Sparrow T. (2014) The end of phenomenology: Metaphysics and the new realism. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Suzuki K., Schwartzman D. J., Augusto R. & Seth A. K. (2019) Sensorimotor contingency modulates breakthrough of virtual 3D objects during a breaking continuous flash suppression paradigm. Cognition 187: 95–107. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Thompson E. (2007) Mind in life: Biology, phenomenology, and the sciences of the mind. Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Trigg D. (2017) Topophobia: A phenomenology of anxiety. Bloomsbury, London. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Valenzuela-Moguillansky C. (2013) Pain and body awareness: An exploration of the bodily experience of persons suffering from fibromyalgia. Constructivist Foundations 8(3): 339–350. https://constructivist.info/8/3/339
Varela F. J. (1999) The specious present: A neurophenomenology of time consciousness. In: Petitot J., Varela F. J., Pachoud B. & Roy J. (eds.) Naturalizing phenomenology: Issues in contemporary phenomenology and cognitive science. Stanford University Press, Stanford CA. https://cepa.info/2081
Wilkinson S. (2020) Distinguishing volumetric content from perceptual presence within a predictive processing framework. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 19(1): 791–800. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Wilson M. (2001) The case for sensorimotor coding in working memory. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 8(1): 44–57. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Wilson M. (2002) Six views on embodied cognition. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 9(4): 625–636. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Zahavi D. (2016) The end of what? Phenomenology vs. speculative realism. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 26(3): 289–309. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Zahavi D. (2019) Getting it quite wrong: Van Manen and Smith on phenomenology. Qualitative Health Research 29(6): 900–907. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar

Comments: 0

To stay informed about comments to this publication and post comments yourself, please log in first.