Meditation and Hypnosis at the Intersection Between Phenomenology and Cognitive Science

  • Michael Lifshitz
  • Emma P. Cusumano
  • Amir RazEmail author
Part of the Studies in Neuroscience, Consciousness and Spirituality book series (SNCS, volume 2)


Cognitive scientists increasingly turn to contemplative practices such as hypnosis and meditation to shed light on consciousness and cognition. By their very nature, such practices call scientists to address the qualitative, lived experience of the subject. Yet, while the rise of contemplative techniques in neuroscience research has highlighted the importance of incorporating subjective experience within the empirical sciences of mind, the practical reality of marrying first- and third-person methods remains largely unactualised. Given that hypnosis and meditation exert powerful influence on subjective experience, we propose that they can serve as potent instruments for elucidating the structures and mechanisms of conscious experience in cognitive science settings. Here we discuss the motivation for a so-called ‘neurophenomonological’ approach and outline recent findings from the domains of hypnosis and meditation. Concrete examples illustrate how such contemplative practices can go beyond their place as objects of investigation to emerge as complementary experimental tools, thereby advancing the synthesis of scientific and phenomenological studies of mind (This article draws on ideas and expositions that ML and AR authored in the introduction of a 2012 special issue on hypnosis and meditation in The Journal of Mind-Body Regulation (see volume 2, issue 1)).


Attentional Blink Mindfulness Meditation Button Press Meditative Practice Contemplative Practice 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Institute of Community and Family PsychiatryMcGill University and the Jewish General HospitalMontréalCanada

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