Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

Russell T. Hurlburt

Number of Pages



Adolescence famously is known as a time of storm and stress, hormones, and crises of identity, yet psychology knows remarkably little about adolescents' actual inner experience. This study aimed to describe the actual phenomenology of adolescent inner experience by using Descriptive Experience Sampling (DES) with a sample of six adolescents aged 11--14 years. Each wore a random beeper in his/her natural everyday environments for five days. They observed the phenomenology of their inner experience each time the beeper sounded and described that inner experience to the investigators in expositional interviews. We found substantial differences in the complexity of inner experience across subjects, suggesting that adolescents may be in the process of developing inner experience itself. We also found very infrequent experience of emotion despite the fact that they had frequent emotional behavior, suggesting that (a) acting emotionally, (b) recognizing emotion in a third-person way, and (c) feeling emotion in a first-person way may be three separate skills that are acquired at very different rates and times across development. That is, we speculated that adolescents' stormy emotional behavior may reflect a lack of emotional experience, not chaotic emotional experience.


Adolescents; Experience; Exploring; Inner

Controlled Subject

Cognitive psychology; Developmental psychology

File Format


File Size

3481.6 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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