SBI Analysis – Stage 2

This material is open for personal/not-for-profit use – cite this work as appropriate.

These charts are based on one moment of an interaction between participants 0103A + 0103B. Scroll down to follow the phases chronologically. (More about Sensation-based interviews. More about this research.)

The phase divisions here attempt to highlight the section-like changes in tone, sensation, and feeling which populate the continuously changing quality of experience. This partitioning of experience is something akin to trying to isolate one wave from the ocean. One cannot easily separate a wave from the rest of the water. Clearly there is a wave, but it is all-the-time integrated in with the rest of the water, with no clearly defined edges. The phases here are not meant to be strict divisions. They are meant to softly spotlight each crest of experience.

0103A Sensation Mapping 0103B
phase 1
phase 2
phase 3
phase 4

More interviews in the style can be found here.

Concluding Remarks
What I have learned here is most aptly relayed in this writing. Also, in the writing just below: FUTURE HOPES FOR NEURO + COGNITIVE SCIENCE.

That said, I have a few additional comments about consistent and intriguing aspects of these interviews:

1. The use of the word “Oh!” – Time and again, participants begin describing their experience with this word. In one sense, this makes sense to me: When one stops to FEEL experience, it is full of surprises, constantly. One can get a sense of how little one “controls” their own life. It is frequently strange and consistently surprising to listen to how much inside of oneself just “pops up”, influencing you one way or another. Sensation exploration can give one a peek at the depths of activity going on in this primordial soup of experience.
At the moment I do not have much more to say about this. It feels important. If is related to this research. It feels like it is a trail sign, towards learning about even more exciting aspects of human-nature.

2. People consistently describe sensations in their frontal chest area. The regularity of this, along with this seeming to correspond with what I hear during my work as a somatic practitioner – have me speculating that something in the chest tissue has more to do with cognition/sense making then science currently understands. With all of the research going on relating to microbiomes, and the lush ecology therein, the chest focused experience seems even a bit more curious to me.

3. Directionality/Dynamics of experience – How do felt/sensation-based dynamics relate to other dynamics found in nature, on all scales (such as the “opening” + “closing” of a cell or human body)? What more can we learn about affect on all scales by paying close close attention to sensation dynamics?

4. This work has furthered my speculations that sensation-based work can contribute a great deal towards understanding more about all sorts of social dynamics; with the potential to lead to beneficial education/practices for social interaction (and more about how/where to employ related quantitative measurements).

In relation to trauma research: the similarity of sensation-description during low stake and high stake situations have me guess that it’s a good place to research – I suspect that low stake research can shed light on human experience in places where a controlled study of high stake (aka trauma research) is not possible. I chose to investigate “awkwardness, confusion, or “not quite right-ness during interaction” for a particular reason, in part, because I had been noticing my own affective responses during low-key (ie little/zero career risk, social risk, physical risk, long-term/deep emotional risk, etc) moments of improvisation/daily life. During such moments I often noticed “tightening/closing in” sensations and/or “frozen” sensations. This experience seems to be echoed in all participants interviewed (as well as in prior interviews).

In relation to racism, sexism and other oppressive social biases – following sensation clues may help us to see physiological change and thus increase our understanding of social and mental experience in more concrete terms. That is, if we can measure physiological effects of, for example, “micro-aggressions” we may have an easier time naming them, understanding them – and – inspiring effective education/shifting of such biases). (related: carol tavris)

In relation to unstable mental/emotional situations – while working with people in my somatic praxis, people often described an underlying fear of “catching” another’s mental instability, or otherwise being mal-effected by another’s “vibe”. In such interactions, again, I descriptions of “tightening, freezing, closing inward, etc” to be common.
Now, for a moment, consider our early lack of understanding about germs. If you wear latex gloves, wash your hands, wear a face mask or so on, you significantly reduce the probability of contracting the virus/pollutants/bacteria/etc of the air you breath or from a person with whom you are interacting. By following sensation-descriptions of social interaction I think we can get new ideas of what to measure quantitatively – in order to understand more about what invisible exchanges are happening during such interactions – and how to navigate them in safer/more vital ways for all concerned.

5. For almost all participants I have worked with, this process seems to bring about insight, to generally feel meaningful, therapeutic for those interviewed. It seems to help people, even without any “intent” towards this goal. That seems great by me.


Along with neurophenomenology and contempletive neuroscience, what I hope to see flourish within cognitive science are such studies as:

Cognitive Sentiopectology – Quantitative investigation of biological processes related to cognition, with a specific focus on all pectus tissue, combined with qualitative accounts of what people feel in this region – in the aim to study knowledge and understanding.

In lay terms this might be described as: the study of human cognition, focusing on measurable data and sensation-based experience of frontal chest areas.

Cognitive Sentioecology – Quantitative investigation of biological processes related to cognition, including the study of material substances, as in physics, chemistry, biology, and botany, horizontally combined with qualitative accounts of the structure of experience (how aspects of experience are sensed-felt), in the aim to study knowledge and understanding.

In lay terms this might be described as: the study of human + all organism cognition, focusing on measurable data and sensation-based experience of all tissue in humans, combined with measurable data of materials in the surrounding environment (such as data of a nearby plant, or closely surrounding air or soil measurements). This study is aimed at learning more about how organisms influence, communicate and otherwise cognate in relation to one another.

As I have noted elsewhere, Francisco Varela’s work to establish neurophenomenology has been a huge inspiration in all of my work. Natalie Depraz + Varela began to develop and Depraz continues to study cariophenomenology. The idea of sentiopectology is directly related to this move. The primary difference here is that I do NOT suggest a cardio focus.

From listening to people, and one of the particular points of fascination for me, has been that people mention a variety of areas of their chest. When people talk about sensation and point to their head or their gut it is quite quick to guess at organs involved. Here, it is easy to guess at a heart organ. Yet, the variety of and type of descriptions have me guessing that it is not necessarily their heart which is the particularly activated tissue, in terms of sensation. It is wonderfully curious!

*Please feel welcome to use any of this research for personal learning! To use this material for teaching material, therapeutic or all other purposes: include citations and send (according to your resources) $1 or more to gertrudious AT via mail, paypal or otherwise.

There are further interviews in this series which could be analyzed. Alas, this work must remain on hiatus until further funding or support is available. TREMENDOUS thanks to all those who participated in this research.

All materials on this website © erinchristinebell 2019.





Perhaps there is more sense in our nonsense and more nonsense in our ‘sense’ than we would care to believe.” – David Bohm

“Each 1/10th of a second has a certain tone or feeling. In the next tenth of a second, the tone or feeling may be entirely different; or one may experience a diffuse transition to the next tone or feeling – which contains some of the same feeling while, simultaneously, new aspects of experience emerge which have an entirely different array of sensations or tone”