Manic temporality

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Time-consciousness has long been a focus of research in phenomenology and phenomenological psychology. We advance and extend this tradition of research by focusing on the character of temporal experience under conditions of mania. Symptom scales and diagnostic criteria for mania are peppered with temporally inflected language: increased rate of speech, racing thoughts, flight-of-ideas, hyperactivity. But what is the underlying structure of temporal experience in manic episodes? We tackle this question using a strategically hybrid approach. We recover and reconstruct three hypotheses regarding manic temporality that were advanced and modeled by two pioneers of clinical phenomenology: Eugène Minkowski (1885–1972) and Ludwig Binswanger (1881–1966). We then test, critique, and refine these hypotheses using heterophenomenological methods in an interview-based study of persons with a history of bipolar and a current diagnosis of acute mania. Our conclusions support a central hypothesis due to Minkowski and Binswanger, namely, that disturbance in the formal structure of temporal experience is a core feature of mania. We argue that a suitably refined variant of Binswanger’s model of disturbance in manic protention helps to explain a striking pattern of impaired insight and impaired reasoning in manic episodes.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date8 Aug 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Aug 2018


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