This month HtV team-members are spending time at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, where we have been learning about Russell Hurlburt‘s Descriptive Experience Sampling (DES) technique. Russ is visiting from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and has brought with him several of his famous ‘beepers’, which DES participants wear on their belts and which emit a randomly-timed beep as a probe for them to report on their own inner experience. You can read a bit more about Hurlburt’s method in this New York Times profile.
We have had some fascinating conversations about the DES method, and the philosophical as well as practical problems around getting reliable reports of inner experience. We have participated in some of the interviews and even tried out using the beepers for ourselves. This is part of an ongoing study to investigate the details of inner experience, including inner speech but also visual imagery, memory, and so on. We look forward to sharing the results in due course.