Exploration of self- and world-experiences in depersonalization traits
Em: Philosophical Psychology
This paper proposes a qualitative study exploring anomalous self and world-experiences in individuals with high levels of depersonalization experiences. Depersonalization (DP) is a condition characterized by distressing feelings of being a detached, neutral and disembodied onlooker of one’s mental and bodily processes. Our findings indicate the presence of a wide range of anomalous experiences traditionally understood to be core features of DP, such as disembodiment and disrupted self-awareness. However, our results also indicate experiential features that are less highlighted in previous work, such as faster time perception and blurriness of the self/other boundaries which may play a key role in altering one’s sense of self and sense of presence in the world. Our qualitative study provides an in-depth examination of self-reported disturbances of one’s relatedness to one’s self and the world, thereby shedding further light on the nature of altered subjective experiences in DP. In doing so, this paper draws attention to key aspects yet overlooked that may prove valuable for shedding further light into the phenomenon of depersonalization. We conclude by highlighting limitations of this study and a number of open questions that further work needs to address in the future.