Blog of Sara Jakša

Confusion and Embodiment

I have posted, about the connection between perspective and empathy. During the same speech, most of the time was spend on other stuff. One of this was the measurement of confusion. The first point, that she made was, that we are not at detecting confusion from video. But that there were some common patterns. They have tested children during solving mathematical problems and check the confusion at listening to the health information by elders.

These patterns were very simply. People were nodding their hands, when they were understanding or when they were dealing with the simple problems. But they were shaking their heads, when they were confused, or they had to deal with hard problems.

I am right now having interviews with my classmate for his master thesis. So, I have to solve 'simple' tasks, and then we do the phenomenological interviews. What I noticed with myself, using these interviews, but even before, when I was noticing my own experience and when was interviews for another phenomenological study, is that confusion for me has a very particular feeling. I get the feeling in between the eyes and on the forehead, my attention sharpens, I become tenser. If I needed to describe the most likely movement that I would do, would be moving the muscles in between the eyes and on the forehead, and putting the head forward or in a bit rarer case, backward. This movement is a quite different from either the nodding or shaking. But once I give up trying to understand it, then I shake my head.

The giving up happens a lot more frequently in the social situations, then when actually solving 'problems'.

Sadly, I have no idea how other people are experiencing confusion, but for me, it is (at least in part) an embodied experience. So, I don't find it unbelievable, that it is so for other people as well.