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Photo: Anna Thurfjell
Asa Gardelli, professor at LTU along with Ylva Backman and Viktor Gardelli. Photo: Anna Thurfjell View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Philosophising back a "new" life

Published: 19 December 2013

Philosophical conversations as a method to develop social and cognitive abilities of persons with acquired brain injury. A research group at Luleå University of Technology has received 5.4 million from the Swedish Research Council for running the project "Education for inclusion: To philosophize back a "new" life after acquired brain injury".

The project, which will run over three years, is based on both observations, tests and interviews. The purpose is to study how the method helps participants to develop skills and abilities that are central to their active participation in society.

- Some members of the research team has conducted a pilot study of philosophical conversations with people with acquired brain injuries, and we have had good results. The pilot study has been well recieved by researchers in related fields at national and international conferences. With funding from the Swedish Research Council, we are now conducting in-depth research in the area, and it feels fantastic, says Åsa Gardelli, Professor at Luleå University of Technology.

Developing cognitive abilities

The project was inspired by a conversation method, "Philosophy for Children", which is well studied internationally. It has been shown to have very positive implications for both the development of communication and social skills as for the development of critical thinking and other cognitive abilities. To develop these skills and abilities are of great importance for many people with acquired brain injuries, as demonstrated in the research group's previous research.

- We find that people with acquired brain injuries we have met ask for the same results that previous studies on philosophical conversations with children has gotten and therefore we want to further develop the method to also reach this diverse group of people, says Ylva Backman.