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Introspection Safety for Researchers

Introspection safety
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Introspection Safety for Researchers

Kerry Vaughan
Leverage Research

Research Report
Original: November 2022. Last Updated: November 2022.

Leverage Research’s Exploratory Psychology program is an attempt to use an introspection-centric approach to understanding the mind. We believe that the creation and distribution of useful tools for introspection has the potential to advance humanity’s understanding of the mind and to help individuals generate beneficial self knowledge. However, we also believe that all introspective techniques carry with them certain risks and Leverage’s techniques are no exception.

This document is intended as a resource for introspection researchers who are interested in Leverage’s belief reporting technique for introspection. We think it is essential that researchers aim to build their own understanding of the risks that accompany belief reporting and whether their continued use of the technique is proving beneficial or not. To that end, this document discusses some of the risks and side effects that were observed by Leverage’s psychology researchers between 2012 and 2019. We aim to discuss these risks in sufficient detail that future researchers can build their own understanding of the effects. We also discuss circumstances in which researchers should consider either not using belief reporting for introspection or avoiding dedicated introspection practices entirely.

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