FMP - Interoception, Enactivism & Reflection.

I return to write on this some time later, although the reading was done a little earlier. Its taken time to absorb the importance of this reading and I hope to express a little of the findings here. The link between my own emotional behaviour identified during one shoot and that of others, linked with emotional response, I began the search for more understanding on the theme of 'interoception' and later 'enactivism'. 

Reading aspects of this work makes me bolder in my thinking and I am eventually draws me to the conclusion that we need both abstraction and processes in our lives in order to truly understand the idea, the possibilities as we all experience things differently, our perception of the world is different. 

Interoception. I found several references on many contemporary health problems involving a dysregulated interoceptive processes, including; affective disorders  (Paulus and Stein:2010), addiction (Naqvi and Bechara : 2010), eating disorders (Garner et al:1983), (Pollatos et al: 2008), (Herbert and Pollatos:2014), chronic pain (Schmidt et al:1989), dissociative disorders (Hankin: 2012), (Michal et al:2014), (Sedeño et al:2014), post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD, (Wald and Taylor:2008), and somatoform disorders (Mirams et al:2012), (Schaefer et al:2012). Understanding how interoceptive processes influence representations of the self in the world and self-regulation may lead to improved disease and treatment models (Pollatos et al:2005). I focus on the references below in direct repsonse to my findings and discussions with Dr. Yogarajah, Consultant Neurologist, at the Clinical Imaging and Sciences Centre, Brighton. 

Maybe continued learning on interoception will give us ways of understanding our bodies, how they are positioned in order to reduce stress and reduce cognitive fatigue as well as certain neurocognitive conditions.  

On returning to my first set of images created at the Clinical Imaging and Sciences Centre in Brighton and the post-exertional malaise trial, a set of analogue and digital images I was not so happy with. Access was difficult on that day, and I had to stand behind what was going on a lot of the time, putting up my tripod where it was in a safe position was also problematic. I left the images for a couple of months after this, disappointed, as I had only one opportunity and had felt unprepared.

Interestingly,  when I returned to the images later, I remembered how I had been overstimulated and fatigued from the MRI machine noise and displays in the control room during the day. I returned to my notes and discussions with the Neurologist hoping to in some way utilise my emotional and physiological behavioural experiences discovered later. I found I was able to incorporate this into the series; ‘interoception’. I found that leaving the images for a while had helped enormously. ‘Interoception', (Harrison N:2018,14) and as discussed with the Consultant Neurologist, Dr Mahinda Yogarajah, (usually based at St.Georges Hospital, London), was considered to be ‘The 8th Sense’(Mahler:2017), a link between bodily sensation and emotional reactions (Price C, Hooven C:2018) and (Garfinkel SN et al:2016). In recent decades the idea of how the body processes and bodily sensations has created the idea of the experienced phenomenologically lived body as the basis of consciousness. Limited computational and cognitive theories suggests that the study of interoception remains ‘enactive’.

With further research, I came across 'enactivism' (Thompson E:2010, Ch1). That we as organisms can influence our environment, just from being, and that this might give us meaning, cognitive meaning and understanding rather than as we know it to be, unrelated to anything in particular. Enactivism argues that cognition arises through a dynamic interaction between an acting organism and its environment.(Rowlands M:2010, Ch3). It claims that our environment is one which we selectively create through our capacities to interact with it. Natural cognitive systems participate in the generation of meaning and engaging in transformational and not merely informational interactions; in other words they 'enact' the world. (Ezequiel A di Paolo et al:2014 in
Stewart J:2010)

(Varela et al: 1993), published the book, The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience (TEM). An ambitious synthesis of ideas from phenomenology, cognitive science, evolutionary biology, Buddhist philosophy and psychology, it attempts to articulate a new research programme: an enactive cognitive science, that would bridge the gap between the empirical study of the mind and the disciplined reflection on our lived experience that characterises phenomenological and Buddhist practices. This reflection became the name for my fourth member of the series 'Interoception' . 

Within these early writings, although the book has been revised several times I find a presence and link with behaviour emotions and science. The act of being present and not being present, the phenomenology of the lived experience, all adds to my discussions on abstraction as a platform for raising further questions hidden within the disease area and the research.

Subjective expression remains important and I continue to believe that we need both abstraction and processes in our lives in order to truly understand the idea and it’s possibilities as we all experience things differently, our perception of the world being different. I have continued to develop images  with abstraction, playful aesthetics revealing and hiding the ambiguous as a basis for all parts of the portfolio of images. I guess it’s a journey that will continue and with more research and more feedback will clarify its importance longer term.

FARB N. DAUBENMEIR J, PRICE CJ, GARD T, KERR C.2015. Interoception, Contemplative Practice and Health. Frontiers in Psychology. [online] available at June 9th [accessed 29th July 2019]

HARRISON N. 2018. MRC-funded update: Imaging exercise-induced Post-Exertional Malaise in ME/CFS. ME Association Summary Report. p14. [online] Accessible at [accessed 3rd Mar 2019] 

MAHLER K, MAHLER MSOL. 2015. Interoception, The 8th Sensory System. AAPC. [online] Available at 

PRICE C, HOOVEN. C. 2018. Interoceptive Awareness Skills for Emotion Regulation: Theory and Approach of Mindful awareness in Body-Orientated Therapy (MABT). Frontiers in Psychology. 9, 798. [online] Available at [accessed 05 Mar 2019] 

ROWLANDS M. 2010. The New Science of the Mind, From extended mind to embodied phenomenology. ch3. Massachusettes : MIT Press.[online] available at [accessed 27 July 2019]

STEWART J, GAPENNE O, EZEQUIELE A dePaolo. 2010. Enaction. Towards a new paradigm for cognitive science. Massachusettes & London : MIT Press. 

THOMPSON E. 2010. Chapter 1: The enactive approach. Mind in life: Biology, phenomenology, and the sciences of the mind. Harvard University Press. [online] Available at  [accessed 6th Mar. 2019]

VARELA F, THOMPSON E, ROSCH E. 1993. The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience (TEM). Cambridge Massachusettes, Boston : MIT Press. 

WARD D, SILERMAN D, VILLALOBOS M. 2017. Introduction: the Varieties of Enactivism. Research Gate [online] Available at [accessed 27th May 2019]

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