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Phenomenology and Experimental Design Toward a Phenomenologically Enlightened Experimental Science

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I review three answers to the question: How can phenomenology contribute to the experimental cognitive neurosciences? The first approach, neurophenomenology, employs phenomenological method and training, and uses first-person reports not just as more data for analysis, but to generate descriptive categories that are intersubjectively and scientifically validated, and are then used to interpret results that correlate with objective measurements of behaviour and brain activity. A second approach, indirect phenomenology, is shown to be problematic in a number of ways. Indirect phenomenology is generally put to work after the experiment, in critical or creative interpretations of the scientific evidence. Ultimately, however, proposals for the indirect use of phenomenology lead back to methodological questions about the direct use of phenomenology in experimental design. The third approach, 'front-loaded' phenomenology, suggests that the results of phenomenological investigations can be used in the design of empirical ones. Concepts or clarifications that have been worked out phenomenologically may operate as a partial framework for experimentation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: , Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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