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Conscious Cogn. 2008 Sep;17(3):798-810. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2007.12.006. Epub 2008 Feb 6.

The phenomena of inner experience.

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University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Department of Psychology, 4505 Maryland Pkwy Box 455030, Las Vegas, NV 89154-5030, USA.


This study provides a survey of phenomena that present themselves during moments of naturally occurring inner experience. In our previous studies using Descriptive Experience Sampling (DES) we have discovered five frequently occurring phenomena--inner speech, inner seeing, unsymbolized thinking, feelings, and sensory awareness. Here we quantify the relative frequency of these phenomena. We used DES to describe 10 randomly identified moments of inner experience from each of 30 participants selected from a stratified sample of college students. We found that each of the five phenomena occurred in approximately one quarter of sampled moments, that the frequency of these phenomena varied widely across individuals, that there were no significant gender differences in the relative frequencies of these phenomena, and that higher frequencies of inner speech were associated with lower levels of psychological distress.

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