Mah, K., Loke, L., & Hespanhol, L. (2021). Towards a Contemplative Research Framework for Training Self-Observation in HCI: A Study of Compassion Cultivation. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), 28(6), 1-27. DOI:
With the emergence in human–computer interaction (HCI) of researching contemplative practices, authentic descriptions of first-person lived experience informing design are few. Most researchers in HCI are not trained in observing the mind. We draw on learnings from neurophenomenology, inspired by well-established Buddhist techniques for mind-training. We present a self-observation of Tonglen, a Buddhist meditation technique for compassion, conducted over 12 weeks. We found that to keenly observe and document the practice, it is important to go through preparatory stages of stabilising attention and observing the mind. For the practitioner-cum-researcher, the technique should be embedded into a framework training self-observation and developing meta-awareness, supported by documentation of somatic snapshots and reflective journal writing. The first-person method of self-enquiry and account of self-evidence offer insight and directions for refining first-person approaches for future HCI research in body and mind cultivation, and design implications for interactive technologies supporting any practice with a contemplative component
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