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Developing a Program to Learn and Measure Well-Being at Scale

David Nevala

The research arm of the Healthy Minds Program focuses on assessing if and how beneficial change occurs in the program and others like it. Viewing well-being as dynamic and skill-based, as opposed to static and set, brings new optimism to cultivating well-being across the lifespan. 

By building on frameworks of positive functioning, the Healthy Minds Program targets brain-based skills that actively cultivate well-being in daily life – skills that give us greater control over our (increasingly scattered) attention, make us more aware of what’s occurring in the mind and body, help us connect with and understand others, support growth and learning that underlies a healthy sense of self, and serve to clarify and embody our most important values.

Our research team is identifying and developing valid measures of the skills targeted in the Healthy Minds Program. One current implementation of the program is through Healthy Minds@Work in select workplaces. Our goal is to develop a measurement toolkit that greatly expands upon traditional survey methods. To measure skills that people are often unaware of and thus have difficulty reporting on (e.g., attention, empathy, bias), we draw on task paradigms that use objective measures like reaction time instead of self-report. 

Because technology has opened the door to reaching many individuals, we prioritize measures that can be deployed remotely on the web and mobile devices. It is our hope that this work will advance the science of well-being by facilitating research in many different contexts, including conducting research remotely with the millions of participants who will participate in the Healthy Minds Program.

People Working on This Study

Richard J. Davidson
Founder, Center for Healthy Minds & Healthy Minds Innovations, William James & Vilas Professor of Psychology & Psychiatry
Matthew Hirshberg
Matt Hirshberg
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Center for Healthy Minds
Pelin Kesebir
Pelin Kesebir
Assistant Scientist, Center for Healthy Minds
Katie Schield
Katie Schield
Associate Research Specialist, Center for Healthy Minds
Christy Wilson Mendenhall
Christy Wilson-Mendenhall
Associate Scientist, Center for Healthy Minds & Scientific Lead, Healthy Minds Program, Healthy Minds Innovations
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