Research Topic

Towards a Science of Complex Experiences

About this Research Topic

Living within a society that is eager to find new ways to make sense out the chaos of daily life, psychologists are becoming more and more interested in designing new experiences, especially complex emotional and cognitive experiences.

We are on the edge of a revolution in the field of human ...

Living within a society that is eager to find new ways to make sense out the chaos of daily life, psychologists are becoming more and more interested in designing new experiences, especially complex emotional and cognitive experiences.

We are on the edge of a revolution in the field of human sciences, in an era in which it is possible to manipulate human experience at different levels: perceptual, cognitive, emotional and semiotic.
New religions, new technologies recreating paradoxical experiences, such as near-death states, and new artistic practices such as immersive, interactive and disruptive theatrical representations are becoming available to a larger portion of the population. Increasingly, old and new technologies are used to shape and create novel experiences whose impact on human life is still unexplored. The common denominator is the need to experience something extraordinary that can elevate people from mundane affairs.

In turn, an accommodation of existing cognitive schemas is often required to make sense out of these novel experiences. These complex phenomena range from altered perception of one’s own and others’ bodies and powerful experiences based on the violation of laws of physics and logic, to paradoxical situations almost impossible before the coming of new advanced technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality. Complex experiences are possible not only thanks to new technologies but especially through their intersection with artistic practices and storytelling. Indeed, the semiotic framework provided by art can be used to amplify the potential of these experiences.

This Research Topic has two main goals:
(1) to launch a psychology of emotional and cognitive novel experience as a promising domain of research;
(2) to collect and systemize novel and promising theoretical and methodological advancements in the wider study of experience.

We welcome original research, reviews, commentaries and perspectives on topics dealing with these issues, with a focus on advancing the science of specific experiences. In addition, we are especially interested in psychological perspectives on novel experiences and in empirically supported approaches to analyze them.

Potential topics include but are not limited to:

- Emotions;
- Emotional experiences;
- Optimal Experiences;
- First-Person Experiences;
- Third-Person Experiences;
- Design of Experiences;
- Complex System Dynamics Method;
- Experience Sampling Methods;
- Neurophenomenology;
- Virtual/Augmented/Mixed Reality;
- Positive Technologies;
- Novel Experiences;
- Turning Points;
- Flow;
- Group Flow;
- Body Experiences;
- Body-Swapping;
- Body-Illusions;
- Diversifying Experiences;
- Paradoxical Experiences;
- Expectation Violations;
- Transformation;
- Surprise;
- Predictions.


Keywords: Complex Emotional Experiences, Novel Experiences, Cognitive Schema, Accomodation, Paradoxical Experiences, Diversifying Experiences


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

29 October 2019 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

29 October 2019 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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