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Katrin Heimann

Longing for tomorrow: : phenomenology, cognitive psychology, and the methodological bases of exploring time experience in depression

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  • Federica Cavaletti, Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
  • ,
  • Katrin Heimann
The subjective experience of time in depression has been described to be altered in complex ways, with sensations of particular slowness, delay or stillness being the most often named articulations. However, the attempts to provide empirical evidence to the phenomenon of “time slowing down in depression” have resulted in inconsistent findings. In consequence, the overall claim that depressive time somehow differs from ordinary time has often been discarded as unfounded.
The article argues against such conclusion, contending that the described ambiguity might be caused by the methods employed to assess the phenomenon under observation.
In the first part of the article, a reconceptualization of the experience of time in depression is proposed on the grounds of classic and contemporary phenomenological psychiatry. This leads to identify the essential features of depressive time as described both in clinical and philosophical contexts. In the second part, a critique of the existing methods of time perception assessment is conducted, with a specific focus on duration estimation and time passage perception tasks. The above-mentioned core features serve as guidelines in discussing to what degree such methods fit the phenomenon at stake. Finally, an alternative and innovative method is put forward, that might not only help to explore the scope of existing methods but might itself present an alternative to such: the micro-phenomenological interview.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences
Pages (from-to)271-289
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

    Research areas

  • Depression, Duration estimation, Micro-phenomenology, Phenomenological psychiatry, Time experience, Time passage perception

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