Context: The current study of emotions is based on theoretical models that limit the emotional experience. The collection of emotional data is through self-report questionnaires, restricting the description of emotional experience to broad concepts or induced preconceived qualities of how an emotion should be felt. Problem: Are the emotional experiences responding exclusively to these concepts and dimensions? Method: Music was used to lead participants into an emotional experience. Then a micro-phenomenological interview, a methodology with a phenomenological approach, was used to guide their descriptions. Results: The descriptions of emotional experiences revealed a temporal structure that could have a linear or circular development. Moreover the qualitative aspects disclosed that these experiences are characterized by corporal sensations and marked variations of emotional intensity. Additionally, the emotional experience was embodied. Implications: The emotional experience is a dynamic process in which bodily sensations take a primary role, allowing the identification of such emotions. The integration of these first-person features of emotional experience with third-person data could lead to a better understanding and interpretation of emotional processes. Constructivist content: This article highlights the need to integrate first-person and third-person methodologies to study and explain human behavior in a comprehensive manner. Key Words: Emotion, experience, micro-phenomenological interview, body, music, affective neuroscience.
The aim of this paper is to detail a recent paradigm shift in the field of cognitive science (the so-called embodied or enactive approach to cognition) and to demonstrate how its unique approach to understanding life, the mind, and cognition might facilitate peaceful and compassionate coexistence. The paper is divided into three parts: first, it examines the so-called autopoietic theory of life, as proposed by Maturana and Varela. According to the embodied/enactive approach, there is a deep continuity between the structure of life and the structure of the mind, so before delving into the realm of the mental, it is important to acquaint ourselves with the fundamentals of the so-called bio-logic (the dialectical logic of living systems). Second, having elucidated the general anatomy of life, this paper goes on to discuss how the dialectical principles of bio-logic translate to the dialectical principles of neuro-logic and provides an outline of the fundamental nature of human beings as embodied organisms embedded in their environment. Third, drawing on the idea of co-determination of self and the world, which lies at the heart of bioand neuro-logic, it is argued that the dialectical structure of life and mind manifests itself in empathic openness towards the other and is thus not merely a theoretical postulate, but an experiential (realizable) actuality that can be cultivated through the application of various meditative/contemplative and therapeutic practices. This, as it turns out, is of utmost importance for the possibility of a sustained (auto)poiesis of peace, for it is only when one actually lives (en-acts), and not merely thinks, the co-determination (nondistinction) between one-self and the other that peaceful coexistence (genuine inter-being) can arise and propagate.