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Exploring the Hidden Side of Lived Experience through Micro-phenomenology

Claire Petitmengin

What's happening when an idea comes to us? When we listen to a course, read an article, or write an e-mail? When we discover an artwork, listen to a piece of music, or breathe a perfume? As cognitive science has shown very convincingly, a large part of these phenomena, which constitute the very texture of our existence, escape awareness and verbal description, and have thus far been excluded from scientific investigation. However, these difficulties do not mean that our experience is out of reach. They mean that accessing it requires a particular expertise, which consists in carrying out specific acts.

Micro-phenomenology is a new scientific discipline aiming at triggering such acts. It enables us to discover ordinary inaccessible dimensions of our lived experience and describe them very accurately and reliably. The development of this "psychological microscope" opens vast fields of investigation in the educational, technological, clinical and therapeutic, as well as artistic and contemplative domains. Notably, it enables us to explore a deeply pre-reflective, transmodal and gestural dimension of our experience that seems to play an essential role in the process of emergence of any meaning and understanding.

To learn more about micro-phenomenology please visit: microphenomenology.com.

Claire Petitmengin is Professor Emerita at Mines-Télécom Institute and Member of the Archives Husserl, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris.