Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Myhal Centre, Room 370
55 St. George Street
Engineering Well-Being: Promises and Pitfalls in Technology-Supported Wellness Intervention
Wellness technologies represent a rapidly growing sector of industry, supported by the common desire to improve one’s state of well-being and resilience. These technologies vary widely in their focus, from wearable activity and physiology monitors to app-delivered mental health interventions. However, the wellness marketplace is largely unregulated and unsupported by scientific evidence of these technologies’ efficacies. We will discuss several specific efforts to bring scientific methodology to investigate popular wellness technologies, focus on technology-supported mindfulness training. These research efforts reveal both benefits and challenges that may be relevant researchers and innovators alike. The goal of this presentation will be to engage the audience in thinking about some of these emergent issues, to critically reflect on the research design choices made in the studies reviewed, and to discuss best practices for evaluating the claims associated with Technology-Supported Wellness interventions.
Norman Farb, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto Mississauga, where he directs the Regulatory and Affective Dynamics laboratory (www.radlab.zone). He studies the neuroscience of the self and human emotion, with a focus on how biases in self-representation shape emotions to determine well-being. He has led several influential studies on the mechanisms of mindfulness training and markers depression vulnerability. His lab currently focuses on developing paradigms for more objectively measuring many of the latent factors attributable to resilience, such as meta-awareness, distress tolerance, and regulatory flexibility.
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