Introspection as institutional practice: Reflections on the attempt to capture conscious experience in a parapsychology experiment
Wooffitt, R., Holt, N. and Allistone, S. (2010) Introspection as institutional practice: Reflections on the attempt to capture conscious experience in a parapsychology experiment. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 7 (1). pp. 5-20. ISSN 1478-0895
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14780880903304568
Parapsychology is the scientific study of claims of anomalous communication, or anomalous cognition, and it is a predominantly experimental and laboratory-based discipline. In this article we examine transcripts of recordings from extra sensory perception (ESP) experiments as part of which participants were required to make introspective reports on their inner mental experiences. The data are recordings and transcripts of “ganzfeld” ESP experiments conducted at the Koestler Parapsychology Unit at the University of Edinburgh. Drawing from conversation analysis and discursive psychology, which seek to identify, among other things, recurrent and robust properties of describing as a social activity, we examine these reports to illuminate generic issues in the production of verbal introspective data, and make some particular remarks relevant to their role in this kind of parapsychological experiment.