Abstract Details

Approaching the Hard Problem Through Affective Psychology and Proactive Approaches to Health  Michael Scott (Encinitas, CA )   P1

Emotions play an integral role in the body-mind connection. Developing empirically measurable and scientifically rigorous methods to research emotions is a difficult problem, closely related to the hard problem of consciousness. The notion that the qualia of experience are distinct-real events and by definition not empirically measurable contribute to this problem, as does the natural variance in self-knowledge and capacity for accurately reporting internal experiences, known as self-reporting bias. This connects the study of consciousness to the field of affective psychology, as the hard problem and the self-reporting bias are analogous. However, physiological responses to stressful and calming experiences creates an opening for further defining the qualia of emotion, particularly with the help of neuroscience and other biofeedback methodologies. Physical and mental health both rely in part on the awareness and functioning of the emotions within a person?s consciousness, and the disconnection, avoidance, or disregard of the emotional experience of any personal challenge is a predictor of future illness be it physical or mental. There is evidence of the effects of negative emotion on the body, and correlations between particular illnesses and repeated, traumatic, or otherwise unprocessed emotional experiences with similar qualia. This paper presents research methodologies for the study of emotions, and their effects towards good or ill health, as well as methodologies to encourage the healthy functioning, coordination, and integration of the physical, emotional, and mental qualia of consciousness. The overall project is to develop a proactive approach to health, as opposed to the conventional model of disease response and symptom management.