Exploring Inner Experience


"Inner space is the real frontier."
-- Gloria Steinem


Your inner experience includes your thoughts, feelings, sensations, tickles, etc., whatever 'appears before the footlights of your consciousness'. Your inner experience is the most intimate thing you have and are: what you attend to or ignore, what you think about and how you think it, how you feel about something—these experiences shape (and are shaped by) your existence.

However, despite its apparent importance, the science of psychology has largely abandoned the careful study of inner experience. Inner experience is private—your inner experience presents itself to you and to no one else—and that is a challenge for science. I have created a method, Descriptive Experience Sampling (DES), designed to overcome that and other challenges and thus to present high fidelity glimpses of inner experience. My colleagues and I have used DES to describe the inner experience of a variety of individuals including bulimic, schizophrenic, depressed, borderline personality, and anxious, as well as non-clinical individuals.

The most complete discussion is Investigating Pristine Inner Experience: Moments of Truth, published in 2011 by Cambridge University Press.

A special issue of the Journal of Consciousness Studies is devoted to discussing the merits of Descriptive Experience Sampling. Journal of Consciousness Studies, Volume 18, Number 1, January, 2011.


Selected papers
Blog posts:


A penny for your thoughts: Investigating Pristine Experience

A penny for your thoughts!

Let's assume you mean that inquiry seriously—that you really want to know what is going on with me right then. What do you really want to know?

First, you want to catch what was ongoing on with me, just before you asked the question. If I answered 'Well, I was thinking about how to answer your ‘penny for your thoughts' question,' you'd say, 'No, that's not what I meant. I want to know what was going on just before I asked that question.'

Second, you probably aren't asking only about my thoughts—you're asking about my feelings, sensations, and so on, whatever is 'going on with me' just then.

Third, you probably want to know about me, not about people in general. So if I say, 'Everyone is sad,' you'd say, 'Yes, but are you sad right now?'

I think the target of your penny-for-your-thoughts question is important, and I've spent my career trying to help people provide what I call 'high fidelity' answers to such questions.

We call the target of your question 'pristine inner experience.' By 'inner experience' I mean thoughts, feelings, sensations, tickles, seeings, hearings, and so on, anything that appears directly before the footlights of consciousness (as William James, one of the founders of psychology, would say). Inner experience can be of internal events (such as seeing in imagination the cloud billowing from the World Trade Center) or of external events (seeing the billowing cloud on a real TV).

By 'pristine' I mean occurring before it is disturbed by the attempt to apprehend it. When you said 'I want to know what was going on just before I asked that question,' you were saying that you want to know about pristine experience, not about experience altered by the question. I mean 'pristine' in the pristine-forest sense—the way the forest was before the loggers' clear cut, before the Park Service's asphalt and signage, before the tourists' plastic bags and bottles.

Pristine does not mean 'pure' or 'clean.' Much of a pristine forest is mucky, bloody, brutal.

So 'A penny for your thoughts' (seriously meant) translates as 'Tell me in high fidelity about your pristine experience.'

Our research has shown that pristine experience is fascinating, but that its characteristics are relatively unknown both by the experiencer herself and psychological science.

'How could I not know about my own pristine experience?' you might ask. 'I live in it all day every day!' See next...



People Don't Know the Features of their Own Pristine Inner Experience

In my previous blog I defined 'pristine inner experience' as thoughts, feelings, sensations, etc., whatever is actually ongoing 'before the footlights of consciousness' (as William James would say) at some particular moment.

Psychological science doesn't know much about pristine experience. For the last century, science has pretty much banished explorations of inner experience. But our research shows that pristine experience differs in important ways from person to person and from group to group.

Let's consider the inner experience of women with bulimia nervosa as an example. Before you read further, answer this question for yourself: What are some of the main characteristics of the inner experience of women with bulimia nervosa? Seriously, commit yourself to an answer to that question! Text or email yourself (or jot down on a scrap of paper) a few words about your take on the inner experience of bulimics . . . I'll wait while you do that. . . . That text from you to you will provide you some evidence about how much people (including you) know about inner experience. But if you don't commit yourself, you can't play the game.

I choose bulimia as an example because my colleagues Sharon Jones-Forrester, Stephanie Doucette, and I have carefully examined the pristine experience of two dozen women with bulimia.

I'll describe the characteristics of the inner experience of women with bulimia in my next blog. But here I note that all the women we studied were surprised at the characteristics of their own inner experience. (No fair going back and changing your text!)

So it's not just science, but people themselves who don't know very much about their own inner experience, even though they are immersed in it 18 hours a day 7 days a week.

I hear some of you saying, 'That can't be!' and others saying, 'Women with bulimia are unusual—most everyone else knows the features of their experience.' But they are not unusual: Most people are surprised, some very surprised, at the features of their own inner experience.

I hear you asking, 'How can that be? I have intimate acquaintance with hundreds of thousands of my own inner experiences!'

First, people are not generally concerned with the features of their experience. When you're deciding whether to go to Starbucks, you're interested in Starbucks, not in the characteristics of your deciding.

Second, you don't have a comparison group: You have seen hundreds of thousands of bits of pristine experience, but they all come from one person, namely you. You have no direct way of knowing whether your experience is the same as or different from everyone else's; as a result, most people assume Everyone is just like me! and therefore there is nothing interesting in the features of my own experience.

Third, you probably have some preconceptions about the way experience is. You probably unquestioningly accept those preconceptions as facts, even though they are probably discrepant from the truth about experience. Many others doubtless share your preconceptions, but that does not make them true.

There are other reasons as well. I'm not trying to prove anything for now; all I ask now is that you accept the possibility that people, probably even you, don't know important things about their (your) own inner experience.

Inner experience in bulimia nervosa is next...



Inner experience in bulimia nervosa

In my previous blog ('People don't know the features of their own pristine inner experience') I challenged you to commit to paper a few words about your take on the inner experience of women with bulimia nervosa. (If you didn't jot down your notes already, I recommend that you do so now before you read on.)

Most people (and most of bulimia science) think that bulimic women are preoccupied with weight and shape and the socio-cultural thin ideal. Our research (with Sharon Jones-Forrester and Stephanie Doucette) shows that that is indeed to some degree the case. However, more striking than that is our observation that the inner experience of all 24 (of the 24 bulimic women whose experience we have explored) is characterized by fragmented multiplicity. Here's an example (from Chapter 2 of my book Investigating Pristine Inner Experience: Moments of Truth):

Jessica was watching the TV show Scrubs , a scene in which a skinny blond female doctor walked into a room and all of the male doctors froze and stared at her. As she watched, Jessica was innerly speaking words in two distinctly separate parts of her head. In the front of her head, she was innerly saying, in her own normal speaking voice, the words 'blond,' 'skinny,' 'guys,' and 'stare.' These words were clearly apprehended as if spoken aloud except there was no external sound. At the same time, in the back part of her head, she was also saying, in another inner voice, 'Why is it that movies and TV shows always have,' 'girls for,' 'to,' and 'at.' These words were also apprehended as being said in her own inner voice, but this voice was quieter.

At the moment of the beep, these two voice streams were not temporally coordinated or synchronized; that is, both the front/louder and the back/softer voices were simultaneously speaking jumbles of words like pieces of a puzzle. If one were to combine the puzzle pieces from both streams and arrange them in order, one would get, 'Why is it that movies and TV shows always have blond skinny girls for guys to stare at?' but at the moment of the beep Jessica did not experience that coherent sentence – that meaning was fragmented across the two simultaneous voice jumbles.

Simultaneously, Jessica was recalling perhaps eight or ten separate scenes from movies or TV shows in which skinny blond girls were featured, a jumble of incompletely articulated thoughts that somehow existed in a pile or heap outside and behind her head. There were no words, visual images, or other symbols in these recallings.

That is a strikingly complex bit of experience, and it is not unusual for Jessica: roughly half of her waking moments involved some sort of complex experience. Here's something even more striking: Jessica herself did not know that her own experience was complex. Do the math: Let's say that each of her experiences lasts a few seconds; that's roughly 20 experiences per minute × 60 minutes × 16 hours = 20,000 experiences per day. If roughly half of those experiences are fragmentedly multiple, that's 10,000 multiple experiences per day or 3,000,000 per year.

Jessica did not know about the complexity of her experience! Therefore she did not tell her friends, or her therapist, or any bulimia scientist. And Jessica is typical, we think, of women with bulimia nervosa.

By complex, we mean explicitly targeted at more than one separate thing at a time. This is not complex: I'm thinking that my boyfriend is a jerk and simultaneously feeling angry. This is complex: I'm thinking that my boyfriend is a jerk and simultaneously wondering whether there is MSG in Fritos.

Let's call this Jessica's paradox: She has millions of complexly multiple fragmented experiences and yet she doesn't know that she has complexly multiple fragmented experiences.

Show of hands, please: How many jotted down something like, 'Bulimic women have complexly multiple fragmented inner experience'?

More about Jessica's paradox next...



Jessica's Paradox

Earlier I described Jessica's paradox: Jessica has millions of complexly multiple fragmented experiences and yet she doesn't know that she has complexly multiple fragmented experiences.

Q: If Jessica's paradox really does apply, how can you know about it? If you ask her whether her experience is frequently complexly fragmented, the paradox requires her to say No. If you give her a questionnaire that asks her to rate the complex multiplicity of her experience, she has to rate 0—Not at all. There's no neurophysiological measure that can identify complexly multiple fragmented experience. Therefore it's impossible to discover complexly multiple fragmented experience.

A: I agree with everything except your conclusion, which I believe overlooks the important distinction between generalization and observation. You can give Jessica a beeper that beeps at random times and some training about how to use it: when the beep occurs, she is to attend to her ongoing experience and then immediately jot down some notes about it. Then you can inquire about those random moments of her ongoing experience, one moment at a time.

You might discover that at 5:47:33 pm Jessica was thinking about Scrubs and had two simultaneous streams of her own inner voice, one in the front of her head and the other in the back (see my previous blog 'Inner experience in bulimia nervosa' or Chapter 2 of my book Investigating Pristine Inner Experience: Moments of Truth). Jessica describes the two multiple word streams, and when you ask whether those stream were simultaneous, she says, 'I know this is weird, and it seems strange even to me! I'm telling you something about my experience that is obviously impossible, but that's the way it was!'

Then at 6:34:41 Jessica was thinking that her boyfriend is a jerk and simultaneously wondering whether there is MSG in Fritos. Yes, Jessica tells you, she is confident that both thoughts were ongoing at the same time.

You continue to interview Jessica (over, say, eight days) about 48 random samples, and in 30 of them, one by one, she describes simultaneously ongoing multiple experiences. After 48 samples you say something like, 'Jessica, in lots of your samples there was multiplicity,' and Jessica says something like, 'I've noticed that, too. I'm surprised by it, because I didn't know that about myself, but that's the way it is.'

Q: So the unraveling of paradox is to help Jessica directly to apprehend her experience one moment at a time, and only then to generalize about that stream of directly apprehended experiences?

A: Exactly. We call Jessica's experiences at 5:47:33 and at 6:34:41, etc., her pristine experiences—what was actually present to her ('before the footlights of her consciousness') at 5:47:33 and at 6:34:41. Jessica's paradox says that whereas Jessica is quite capable of apprehending her own experience moment by moment, she is likely to be quite mistaken about the overall characteristics of her own experience.

Jessica's paradox is widespread. Most people (including probably you, dear reader) don't know important features of their own inner experience even though they are quite capable of apprehending their experiences one moment at a time.

Q: OK. I'll start paying closer attention to my experience moment-by-moment.

A: The method is not quite as simple as that as we see next....



Inner speech

Your pristine inner experience is whatever is directly in your experience—before the footlights of your consciousness, as William James would say—at some moment. My previous blogs have observed that some people—women with bulimia nervosa, for example—have frequent multiple simultaneous experiences, but that multiple experience is not frequent in the general population.

If not multiple experiences, what are the frequently occurring phenomena of pristine experience? Chris Heavey and I gave random beepers to a stratified random sample of 30 students from a large urban university and interviewed them about the characteristics of their randomly selected pristine experiences. Five main characteristics emerged, each occurring in about a quarter of all samples (many samples had more than one characteristic). Three of those five characteristics may not surprise you: inner speech occurred in about a quarter of all samples; inner seeing occurred in about a quarter of all samples; and feelings occurred in about a quarter of all samples. The other two phenomena occurred just as frequently but are not so well known.

Consider inner speech. Subject experienced themselves as innerly talking to themselves in 26% of all samples, but there were large individual differences: some subjects never experienced inner speech; other subjects experienced inner speech in as many as 75% of their samples. The median percentage across subjects was 20%.

As a result of this study and others we have conducted, I'm confident that inner speech is a robust phenomenon—if you use a proper method, there's little doubt about whether or not inner speech is occurring at any given moment. And I'm confident about the individual differences—some people talk to themselves a lot, some never, some occasionally.

But Bernard Baars, one of the leading researchers in consciousness science, says:

Human beings talk to themselves every moment of the waking day. Most readers of this sentence are doing it now. It becomes a little clearer with difficult-to-say words, like ‘infundibulum' or ‘methylparabine'. In fact, we talk to ourselves during dreams, and there is even evidence for inner speech during deep sleep, the most unconscious state we normally encounter. Overt speech takes up perhaps a tenth of the waking day; but inner speech goes on all the time.

And John McWhorter, noted linguist, says:

When we utter a word, we cannot help but mentally see an image of its written version. In our heads, what we have said … is that sequence of written symbols. When we say 'dog,' a little picture of that word flashes through our minds, Sesame Street-style….. Imagine saying 'dog' and only thinking of a canine, but not thinking of the written word. If you're reading this book, it follows that you couldn't pull this off even at gunpoint .

I'm pretty sure that Baars and McWhorter are entirely mistaken. Maybe Baars talks to himself all the time, and maybe McWhorter himself sees images of written words while he talks (there's reason to be skeptical of both claims), but I've investigated such things as carefully as I know how and become convinced that most people (let alone all people) do not do such things.

My aim is not to criticize Baars and McWhorter; their comments are typical of claims that many others make about inner experience. Instead, I wish to draw your attention to the theme of this series of blogs: most people (including psychologists and consciousness scientists and quite likely you, dear reader), don't know the characteristics of their own and others' inner experience. Otherwise, there would be editors, reviewers, readers saying 'Bernie! I don't talk to myself every moment!' 'John! I don't see written words when I talk!'?

I'd be happy to have you or science say, 'No, Russ, it's you who is mistaken. Bernie and John are right,' as long as you go on to say, 'and we know that because we've developed a method of exploring pristine experience that's better than the one you and your colleagues use.'

But as far as I know, you and science are not in a position to say that.

Q: So what are the fourth and fifth most-frequently-occurring features of pristine experience?

A: You make my point: Psychological science, and probably most readers of this blog, don't know the main features of experience. And it's not that the remaining phenomena are minor, in fourth and fifth place after inner speech, inner seeing, and feeling. All five are in basically a five-way tie for first place. I'll describe features 4 and 5 are in subsequent blogs; in the meantime, I urge you to commit yourself to your speculation: send yourself a text (or jot down) a few words describing what you think are the fourth and fifth main phenomena of inner experience. Don't feel bad if you find that difficult—you're in good company. I'll answer the question next....

References

Baars, B. J. (2003). How brain reveals mind: Neural studies support the fundamental role of conscious experience. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 10, 100-114. (See p.106.)

Heavey, C. L., & Hurlburt, R. T. (2008). The phenomena of inner experience. Consciousness and Cognition, 17, 798-810.

Hurlburt, R. T. (2011). Investigating pristine inner experience: Moments of truth. New York: Cambridge.

McWhorter, J. (2003). Doing our own thing. New York: Gotham. (See p. 3.)




Sensory awareness: Why people (including scientists) are blind to it

This series of blogs has been describing pristine inner experience—whatever is directly in your experience at some moment. My colleagues and I have given people beepers to carry into their everyday natural environments; when the beeper randomly beeps, they jot down notes about whatever experience happened to be ongoing (their 'pristine' experience) when signaled by the beep. Later we interview them about these experiences.

Last time I said that there were five frequently occurring phenomena in everyday inner experience: inner speech, inner seeing, feelings, feature 4, and feature 5. I didn't say what feature 4 and feature 5 were, giving you the opportunity commit yourself to your speculations about them. Now I'll describe feature 4: sensory awareness.

My colleagues and I have a very specific and perhaps unusual definition for sensory awareness. Sensory awareness is the direct focus on some specific sensory aspect of the body or outer or inner environment. Sensory awareness is not merely responding to the characteristics of the environment. To be engaging in sensory awareness you must be paying particular attention to some sensory aspect.

For example, if you're reaching for the door handle to open the door, that is not sensory awareness—you're seeing the handle as part of an instrumental task. But if while reaching you're particularly drawn to the shiny gold glint of the handle, that is sensory awareness.

Thus sensory awareness is a phenomenon of experience, not a characteristic of perception. The handle falls on your retina the same way regardless of whether you see it for its instrumental value (as a means for opening the door) or for its glinty goldness.

Another example: As you're reading this blog, your hand is resting on your mouse as you scroll. That is not sensory awareness. But if while scrolling you are paying particular attention to the grooves on the mouse button, directly aware of the sensations in your fingertips, then that is sensory awareness.

Another example: You're thirsty, so you take a drink of Coke. That is not sensory awareness. But if, as you drink, you particularly notice the cold tingliness on your tongue, that is sensory awareness.

Everyone can have sensory awareness: everyone can notice the glinty goldness of a handle, can attend to the groovy surface of the mouse, can feel the cold tingliness of Coke. What makes the phenomenon interesting is that some people do engage in such sensations if half or nearly all of their waking moments.

And what makes the phenomenon even more interesting is that such people typically don't know that they do so at all, much less thousands of times a day. And they don't know that they are different from other people in that regard.

Here are some examples from 'Stella,' one of the women with bulimia nervosa that Sharon Jones-Forrester and I have studied (Hurlburt & Jones-Forrester, 2011; Hurlburt, Heavey, & Bensaheb, 2011).

Sample 3.4. Stella was at work pulling a box off the shelf. She was focused on the dry dustiness of the box surface and waviness of the surface caused by the corrugations beneath it.

Sample 3.6. Stella was on the phone with her father, who was screaming at her. Instead of hearing what her father was screaming, she was noticing the distortion of the sound as the phone loudspeaker was being overdriven by the screams. She was also noticing the vibrating sensation in her skin next to her ear caused by the phone.

Sample 6.3. Stella was playing with the tips of her hair and was aware of the grainy texture of the tips against her fingers.

Sample 7.1. Stella was at work in conversation with her new boss. He had physically moved too close to her in a way that Stella found threatening. In response, Stella had leaned back. At the moment of the beep, Stella was feeling the stretching sensations in her back as she arched away from him. Thus, at the moment of the beep Stella was not aware of feeling threatened by her boss's advance; in fact, she was not aware of her boss at all. She was focused on the relatively inconsequential arching sensations of her back.

Some of those sensory awarenesses are mundane—anyone can feel the grainy texture of hair tips. But some are strikingly focused, as in paying attention to the archiness of the back rather than the threatening situation.

Prior to her sampling with us, Stella had no idea that she frequently paid attention to sensory details of her environment, even though she did so most of the time. This is an example of Jessica's paradox that I described a few blogs ago, and it gives some insight into why Jessica's paradox exists. When retrospecting a few minutes, hours, or days later, Stella probably will remember that she took the box off the shelf, that her father screamed at her, that her boss is a creep. But she probably will not remember the wavy corrugations of the box, the phone's distortion, the arching sensations even though experientially at the moment those were more salient.

When retrospecting, people may systematically overlook the features of their own inner phenomena. Because the psychological science of experience rests primarily on retrospection, sensory awareness remains a largely unknown phenomenon.

Next time I'll describe feature 5. In the meantime, I urge you to commit yourself to your speculation: send yourself a text or jot down a few words describing what you think is the fifth main phenomena of inner experience. And again, don't feel bad if you find that difficult—you're in good company. Feature 5 next....

References

Hurlburt, R. T., Heavey, C. L., & Bensaheb, A. (2011). Sensory awareness. In R. T. Hurlburt, Investigating pristine inner experience: Moments of truth. New York: Cambridge, pp. 309-324.

Hurlburt, R. T., & Jones-Forrester, S. (2011). Fragmented inner experience in bulimia nervosa. In R. T. Hurlburt, Investigating pristine inner experience: Moments of truth. New York: Cambridge, pp. 28-48.





Unsymbolized thinking

This series of blogs has been describing pristine inner experience--whatever is directly in your experience at some moment. My colleagues and I have given people beepers to carry into their everyday natural environments; when the beeper randomly beeps, they jot down notes about whatever experience happened to be ongoing (their 'pristine' experience) when signaled by the beep. Later we interview them about these experiences.

I've been saying that this procedure reveals five frequently occurring phenomena of everyday inner experience: inner speech, inner seeing, feelings, sensory awareness, and 'feature 5'. I haven't said what feature 5 is, giving you the opportunity to commit yourself to your speculation. Now I'll describe it: unsymbolized thinking.

Unsymbolized thinking is the experience of an explicit, differentiated thought that does not include the experience of words, images, or any other symbols. For example, if you had been beeped a moment ago, you might have experienced an unsymbolized thought which, if expressed in words, might have been something like I wonder what Feature 5 is. But if this was an unsymbolized thought, there would have been no experienced words--no experience of the word 'wonder' or of 'Feature 5.' There would have been no experienced images--no seeing of a beeper or of anything else. There would have been no experienced symbols of any kind, and yet you would have directly apprehended ('before the footlights of your consciousness') yourself as thinking that exact thought.

Another reader might have said to herself while reading, 'I wonder what Feature 5 is?' That experience would have ben very different from yours, involving the experience of words. And another may have innerly seen a list that looks like this

inner speech
inner seeing
feelings
sensory awareness
______________
with a blank where the fifth feature will appear. Another may have felt a mild irritation with me for wasting time before I got to the point. Another may have been thinking about the war in Iraq. Another may have had no inner experience at all while reading that paragraph, was simply reading with comprehension.

There are thus lots of experiences that people may have had while reading that paragraph. Here I'm trying to illustrate one: unsymbolized thinking I wonder what Feature 5 is.

To qualify as an unsymbolized thought, the thought must be directly experienced, just as directly experienced as would be an inner speaking or the seeing of an image. That is, you don't merely infer the existence of an unsymbolized thought (I must have been wondering what Feature 5 is). If this is an unsymbolized thought, you directly apprehend the thought as an experience before the footlights of consciousness at the moment it is occurring.

An unsymbolized thought is specific: you're wondering what Feature 5 is. You're not wondering whether there are still other features, not wondering how Hurlburt knows this, not wondering what kinds of things go on in peoples' inner experience, not wondering about how inner experience is measured, not trying to recall what sensory awareness is, and so on. That is, you're wondering about what feature 5 is, not about anything else that might be more or less closely related to that.

An unsymbolized thought is not 'hinty' or 'general' or merely a part of some other phenomenon. An unsymbolized thought is just as complete and directly apprehendable as an inner speaking or an inner seeing.

Many people (perhaps most), including many (perhaps most) psychologists, believe that unsymbolized thinking is impossible.

Our beeper studies show the full gamut of frequency of experience of unsymbolized thinking. Some people rarely or never have such experiences, others experience unsymbolized thinking at nearly all their waking moments, and yet others sometimes do and sometimes don't experience it.

Most people who experience unsymbolized thinking, including those in the 'nearly always' category, don't realize that they do so. In fact, many people who engage in unsymbolized thinking nearly all the time believe that unsymbolized thinking is impossible, until the beeper reveals its existence to them. A method that carefully explores specific moments is necessary to know what really goes on in inner experience.

Further reading

Hurlburt, R. T., & Akhter, S.A. (2008). Unsymbolized thinking. Consciousness and Cognition, 17, 1364-1374.

Hurlburt, R. T. (2011). Investigating pristine inner experience: Moments of truth. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ch. 15.

























































Books about Descriptive Experience Sampling

Investigating Pristine Inner Experience: Moments of Truth (Cambridge University Press, 2011). Screws into the rationale of Descriptive Experience Sampling, showing how to apprehend inner experience in high fidelity and demonstrating that such apprehension can be fascinating and of fundamental importance. .... Describing Inner Experience? Proponent meets Skeptic (with Eric Schwitzgebel; MIT Press, 2007). Hurlburt and philosopher Eric Schwitzgebel teamed up to debate the adequacy introspective techniques by exploring the inner experience of "Melanie."
Exploring Inner Experience (with Chris Heavey; John Benjamins, 2006). The most condensed description of the DES method. .... Sampling Inner Experience in Disturbed Affect (Plenum Press, 1993). Applies DES to a variety of individuals.
Sampling Normal and Schizophrenic Inner Experience (Plenum Press, 1990). Provides the most elaborated (and first) account of the DES method. .... A special issue of the Journal of Consciousness Studies is devoted to Descriptive Experience Sampling. Journal of Consciousness Studies, Volume 18, Number 1, January, 2011.
































Cover art by James Krizman.
Sampling Inner Experience in Disturbed Affect

by
Russell T. Hurlburt

This book applies the descriptive experience sampling method to case studies of anxious, depressed, bulimic, and borderline personality individuals.



Reference
Hurlburt, R. T. (1993). Sampling inner experience in disturbed affect. New York: Plenum Press.

See also
Hurlburt, R. T. (2011). Investigating pristine inner experience: Moments of truth. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hurlburt, R. T., & Schwitzgebel, E. (2007). Describing inner experience? Proponent meets skeptic. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Hurlburt, R. T., & Heavey, C. L. (2006). Exploring inner experience. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Hurlburt, R. T. (1990). Sampling normal and schizophrenic inner experience. New York: Plenum Press.





















































Sampling Normal and Schizophrenic Inner Experience

by
Russell T. Hurlburt

This book introduces the descriptive experience sampling method and provides case studies of normal and schizophrenic individuals.

View the Table of Contents and excerpts.

Reference
Hurlburt, R. T. (1990). Sampling normal and schizophrenic inner experience. New York: Plenum Press.

See also
Hurlburt, R. T. (2011). Investigating pristine inner experience: Moments of truth. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hurlburt, R. T., & Schwitzgebel, E. (2007). Describing inner experience? Proponent meets skeptic. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Hurlburt, R. T., & Heavey, C. L. (2006). Exploring inner experience. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Hurlburt, R. T. (1993). Sampling inner experience in disturbed affect. New York: Plenum Press.

















































Exploring Inner Experience

by
Russell T. Hurlburt and Christopher L. Heavey

This book discusses how to do the descriptive experience sampling method.

View the annotated Table of Contents.

Reference
Hurlburt, R. T., & Heavey, C. L. (2006). Exploring inner experience. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

See also
Hurlburt, R. T. (2011). Investigating pristine inner experience: Moments of truth. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hurlburt, R. T., & Schwitzgebel, E. (2007). Describing inner experience? Proponent meets skeptic. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Hurlburt, R. T. (1993). Sampling inner experience in disturbed affect. New York: Plenum Press.

Hurlburt, R. T. (1990). Sampling normal and schizophrenic inner experience. New York: Plenum Press.

















































Describing Inner Experience? Proponent meets Skeptic

by
Russell T. Hurlburt and Eric Schwitzgebel

This book brings together psychologist Russ Hurlburt and University of California, Riverside philosopher Eric Schwitzgebel in a debate about whether or to what extent inner experience can be faithfully described. It uses the descriptive experience sampling method to interview volunteer subject Melanie, and then discusses in detail the validity of those interviews.

More
Published by The MIT Press, 2007.
Visit the book's web site to find transcripts and audio recordings of the interviews.

Reviews
Salon.com review
Journal of Consciousness Studies review
Journal of Phenomenological Psychology review
Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
Philosophical Psychology review
Psyche review
Mind review
TLS (Times Literary Supplement) review
Journal Of Scientific Exploration review
Metaspsychology Online Reviews
Philosophy in Review
Psychology Today Blogs
MyMindOnBooks.com
Full text
The penultimate draft of this manuscript is available by clicking the desired section below if you wish to view it in accord with "fair use" laws. Do not quote this draft; please quote the published book.
Preface, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Reference
Hurlburt, R. T., & Schwitzgebel, E. (2007). Describing inner experience? Proponent meets skeptic. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

See also
Hurlburt, R. T. (2011). Investigating pristine inner experience: Moments of truth. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hurlburt, R. T., & Heavey, C. L. (2006). Exploring inner experience. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Hurlburt, R. T. (1993). Sampling inner experience in disturbed affect. New York: Plenum Press.
Hurlburt, R. T. (1990). Sampling normal and schizophrenic inner experience. New York: Plenum Press.


















































Investigating Pristine Inner Experience: Moments of Truth

by
Russell T. Hurlburt
2011, Cambridge University Press

You live your entire waking life immersed in your inner experiences (thoughts, feelings, sensations, etc.) -- private phenomena created by you, just for you, your own way. Despite their intimacy and ubiquity, you probably don't know the characteristics of your own inner phenomena; neither does psychology or consciousness science.

Investigating Pristine Inner Experience explores how to apprehend inner experience in high fidelity. This book will transform your view of your own inner experience, awaken you to experiential differences between people, and thereby reframe your thinking about psychology and consciousness science, which banned the study of inner experience for most of a century and yet continued to recognize its fundamental importance.

The author, a pioneer in using beepers to explore inner experience, draws on his 35 years of studies to provide fascinating and provocative views of everyday inner experience and experience in bulimia, adolescence, the elderly, schizophrenia, Tourette's syndrome, virtuosity, and so on.


See also
Hurlburt, R. T., & Schwitzgebel, E. (2007). Describing inner experience? Proponent meets skeptic. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Hurlburt, R. T., & Heavey, C. L. (2006). Exploring inner experience. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Hurlburt, R. T. (1993). Sampling inner experience in disturbed affect. New York: Plenum Press.
Hurlburt, R. T. (1990). Sampling normal and schizophrenic inner experience. New York: Plenum Press.