DLN: Prof Benjamin Alderson-Day, What is this thing called "presence"? Reflections from psychosis research
There is growing appreciation that felt presence (FP) - the sensation that someone is there without any perceptual evidence – is an under-recognised feature of psychosis. Well known in neurology and neuropsychology, FP and similar experiences have a plausible basis in bodily self awareness and its disruptions. But how confident can we be that such explanations apply to the presences of psychosis and schizophrenia? And are we looking for one presence, or many? In this talk, I will summarise recent work on FP from Durham University’s Hearing the Voice project, a 10 year interdisciplinary investigation of hearing voices (or auditory verbal hallucinations). I will argue that body-based accounts of FP are likely necessary but not sufficient to explain the varieties of felt presence documented in psychosis, and elsewhere.