Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Musikwissenschaft

The microphenomenological interview technique

The microphenomenological interview technique

The microphenomenological interview technique was developed in France since the mid-1990s within the framework of the neurophenomenological research program (Varela, 1996) to explore the possibility of a mutual influence between experimental participants’ neural activities and their subjective, first-person experiences (cf. Lutz, 2002). The so-called microphenomenological interview technique (Petitmengin, 2006, 2011) offers access to ostensibly subjective experience correlated with third-person data such as neural activations. It uses the interviewer’s second-person perspective to collect the interviewee’s first-person experience. It allows for example, for the detection of symptoms preceding epileptic seizures in terms of first-person descriptions (Petitmengin et al., 2007). The technique of the microphenomenological interview aims at producing a model for the structures of experience, accounting especially for its temporal unfolding.

Within the scope of the Sentire project, the microphenomenological interview technique is used to investigate the question of the extent to which Sentire serves as a therapeutic vehicle, allowing users to experience the self and others in an interactive sound environment. This research question is related to our initial thesis that the sonification of proximity and touch can improve body awareness and the self-experience dependent on the experience of others, and consequently promote social interaction. 

The microphenomenological interviews is carried out by the project leader Prof. Dr. Jin Hyun Kim, a member of the laboratory of micro-phenomenology, and several researchers trained by her in different therapeutic contexts. 


Lutz, Antonine (2002). Toward a neurophenomenology as an account of generative passages: A first empirical case study. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 1(2), 133–167. 

Petitmengin, Claire (2006). Describing one’s subjective experience in the second person: An interview method for the science of consciousness. Phenomenology and Cognitive Science, 5, 229-269.

Petitmengin, Claire (2011). Describing the experience of describing? The blind spot of introspection. Journal of Consciousness Study, 18(1), 44-62.

Petitmengin, Claire, Navarro, Vincent, & Le Van Quyen, Michel (2007). Anticipating seizure: Pre-reflective experience at the center of neurophenomenology. Consciousness and Cognition, 16(3), 746-764.

Shear, Jonathan, & Varela, Francisco J. (Eds.) (1999). The View From Within: First-Person Approaches to the Study of Consciousness. Imprint Academic.

Varela, Francisco J. (1996). Neurophenomenology. Journal of Consciousness Study 3(4), 330-349.