Accepted Paper:

Fugitive worlds: psychology's attempts to capture daydreams  


Felicity Callard (Durham University )

Paper short abstract:

The paper considers various ways in which psychology has experimentally investigated daydreaming, fantasy and mind wandering so as to explore the psycho-socio-technological circuits produced through bringing together experimenter, experimental subject, and the flotsam of quotidian life.

Paper long abstract:

This paper uses the history of introspective methods in psychology to explore the intimate worlds produced through bringing together experimenter, research subject, and technologies used to elicit 'inner experience'. Introspective methods are most commonly located at the origin of scientific psychology, imagined as largely banished in the heyday of behaviourism, and positioned, now, as experiencing a slow return to favour as scientific paradigms grapple with the problem of consciousness. Such a history is fallaciously simplistic, and covers from view the much more complex and strange trajectory that introspective methods have taken through psychology and proximal fields since the late nineteenth century. This talk revisits various twentieth-century psychological paradigms that were used experimentally to investigate daydreaming, fantasy, and mind wandering so as to examine how the fugitive contents of quotidian internal worlds were variously drawn into explanatory scientific frameworks that were attempting to diagnose the psychological characteristics of social life. Alongside feminist scholars of science such as Karen Barad, Elizabeth Wilson, and Jill Morawski - who have variously put pressure on how we might think relations between internal and external worlds, and between the experimenter and the experimental subject - I analyse the psycho-socio-technological circuits that are produced through psychology's attempts to capture daydreams. Attending to those circuits might, I suggest, open new avenues for the many cognitive neuroscientists interested, currently, in experimentally investigating mind wandering.

Panel T059
Making Worlds: Feminist STS and everyday technoscience