A growing number of interventions are designed to increase psychological well-being and resilience. Yet a gap exists in measuring the psychological skills hypothesized to promote and protect well-being in these interventions. Our multidisciplinary team’s goal is to characterize these skills, and to identify and develop valid measures for assessing them.
We investigate the psychological 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, and support the growth and learning that underlies a healthy sense of self. Because people can be unaware of these skills and thus find it difficult to fill out questionnaires, we aim to greatly expand upon traditional survey methods. We draw on task paradigms that integrate more objective measures like reaction time and memory recall.
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 making measurement tools openly available to many scientists and by facilitating large-scale research efforts. If we understand the “active ingredients” of these interventions, we can further improve them and discover which interventions work best for different individuals.