Friday, December 15, 2006

A Sampled Experience: Beep 1.1

Regular readers may know that Russ Hurlburt and I have a book forthcoming with MIT Press. Russ and I interviewed a woman -- "Melanie" -- about randomly sampled moments of her experience while wearing a beeper. The book centers on lightly edited transcripts of those interviews. The reader can see what Melanie says about her experience, how Russ and I, in our different ways, question her further about it, and -- both in the dialogue and in side boxes -- how Russ and I disagree about how far to believe her and how to connnect what she says with existing literature in philosophy and psychology.

I'm thinking that periodically, I may feature one of the "beeped" experiences on this blog. Today: Beep 1.1. Melanie says that she has an episode of inner speech or inner hearing paced faster than normal speech, but not rushed; and she says she experiences the humorousness of that thought (the one expressed by the inner speech/hearing) as a kind of "rosy-yellow glow" surrounding her. Two of the interesting questions -- interesting to me at least -- that arise from this sample are:

* Does inner speech normally transpire at the same rate as outer speech, or does it often go faster?

* Do normal (non synaesthetic) people often experience color with their emotions -- like "seeing red" when angry? Or should we take attributions of color to emotions more metaphorically?

Let me invite you to read the transcript for yourself. Comments welcome!

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