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

Aleš Oblak, Asena Boyadzhieva & Jure Bon

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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.


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

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