Professor Norman Farb, Psychology, University of Toronto at Mississauga
Abstract: 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.