PRISMA is a research method for studying embodied interaction, by refracting the dynamics of interacting into its constitutive experiences. Through PRISMA, researchers learn to calibrate and trust themselves to be their own sophisticated instruments for studying intersubjectivity.
A fundamental and largely neglected tool for researching social understanding is researchers’ own embodied experience of interacting with others. The prismatic approach allows us to tap into our rich lived experiences of interacting, and to inform and guide research questions on the role of interacting in social understanding. Its findings can be put into dialogue with third-person findings in, e.g., neuroscience and psychology.
In Grasping intersubjectivity: An invitation to embody social interaction research (2017, pdf), Barbara Pieper, Daniel Clénin, and Thomas Fuchs, and I present this work.
The paper presents two sets of results: in the first, we show the sophisticated interactional alignments of two children diagnosed with autism; in the second, we delve deeper into the well-known phenomenon of too much thinking getting in the way of fluid interactions, and show how bodily attention to moving together can help get such awkward interactions unstuck. The paper also presents an introductory manual for the method, so anyone interested can test it.
The prismatic investigation reveals that a subtle instrument for understanding the experience of interaction can emerge when a group of researchers engage in a systematic, embodied unfolding of interactive experience.
We have organized several workshop/experiments. You can find information on one of them here: Embodying Intersubjectivity Research – TESIS summer school 2012, San Sebastián
- De Jaegher, H., Pieper, B., Clénin, D., & Fuchs, T. (2017). Grasping intersubjectivity: an invitation to embody social interaction research. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 1-33. doi:
- Pieper, B., & Clénin, D. (2010). Embodied Perception of Self and Others in Social Action. A Research Perspective Combining Theory and Practice. In: Boehle, Fritz and Weihrich, Margit: The Embodiment of Social Action. Social Order beyond Norms and Institutions. (unofficial translation) transcript-Verlag Bielefeld.