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Laughlin, d’Aquili and McManus (1990), and Francisco Varela (1996) were the first to use the term neurophenomenology. Varela (1995), Evan Thompson (2007), and Humberto Maturana (1980) are perhaps best known for advancing neurophenomenology as a critical theory in relation to neuroscience because they stressed the liberation of human experiences from the reductionism found in conventional neuroscience (Maturana & Varela, 1980; Thompson, Lutz, & Cosmelli, 2005; Thompson, 2007; Varela & Thompson, 2003). Therefore, neurophenomenology can be considered part of a critical psychology that promotes an ethical advocacy for nondeterministic accounts of psychological selves and human agency (Prilleltensky & Fox, 1997).

Primarily, neurophenomenology has become associated with Francisco Varela, and he lived the very nature of the methodology he promulgated. Varela was a Buddhist and knowledgeable of Eastern philosophy. Such knowledge seemed to influence Varela to consider the ...