In cognitive science, it is unclear what precisely presence (both in the sense of objecthood and immersion) refers to in lived experience. The present study addresses the research question of what the relationship between presence is and lived space. A hundred and seventeen phenomenological interviews were conducted with 14 participants. We sampled their experience in a transdiagnostic manner. That is, we observed how the experience of presence changes both in circumstances appraised as positive (e.g., sexual intimacy) and negative (e.g., psychopathology). Our grounded theory suggests that presence is a phenomenon that is comprised of all available sensory knowledge, however, it itself is not present in any one sensory modality. Presence takes the form of a disembodied sense of solidity. Our findings can be related to the notion of transmodality in contemporary qualitative phenomenology (i.e., the idea that there are some aspects of experience that can be readily translated from one sensory modality to another. Further, how presence (in its capacity as immersion) is related to lived space can shed further light on the formation of delusions, suggesting that it is based on sensory alterations rather than changes in belief. Finally, the observation that presence as it appears in lived space need not perfectly correspond to the objective situation, can elucidate extant discussion on whether presence is an amodal aspect of consciousness.
presence, lived space, first-person research, transdiagnosticism
The authors wish to thank Sinja Miloševič for her help with preparing the manuscript.
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Recommended APA Citation
Oblak, A., Boyadzhieva, A., Caporusso, J., Škodlar, B., & Bon, J. (2022). How Things Take Up Space: A Grounded Theory of Presence and Lived Space. The Qualitative Report, 27(11), 2556-2582. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2022.5762