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Sensory Awareness

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Sensory awareness -- the direct focus on some specific sensory aspect of the body or outer or inner environment -- is a frequently occurring yet rarely recognized phenomenon of inner experience. It is a distinct, complete phenomenon; it is not merely, for example, an aspect of a perception. Sensory awareness is one of the five most common forms of inner experience, according to our results (the other four: inner speech, inner seeing, feelings, and unsymbolized thinking). Despite its high frequency, many people do not notice its appearance nor recognize its theoretical import. We describe sensory awareness and distinguish it from other aspects of experience. We give examples and discuss how it appears when moments of inner experience are examined carefully. We note that there are large individual differences in the observed frequency of sensory awareness and consider its relationship to mental health and other aspects of psychological functioning.

Keywords: Descriptive Experience Sampling; Sensory awareness; inner experience; phenomenal consciousness

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV 89052-5030, USA., Email:

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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