Self Experimentation & the Quantified Self: New Avenues for Positive Psychology Research and ApplicaitonPresentation Transcript
Self-Experimentation & The Quantified Self New Avenues for Positive Psychology Research and Application
Objectives1. Introduce Self-Experimentation2. Introduce the Quantified Self movement and its components3. Propose an initial and follow-up study to examine QS4. Dive into the “Process Use” of Self- experimentation5. Propose Self-Experimentation Capacity Building6. Discuss!
Self-Experimentation (SE)?What are the Problems?• Experimenter Expectations lead to bias • Data Collection • Data Interpretation• Selection Bias • (duh)• N=1 • Can’t generalize • Can’t replicate
I’m smiling to hide the fact that this concept makes me so sad and angry… Pretty please, stop this presentation right now.
We need Rigor!
We must distance ourselves from crystal healing!
• Similar to Mook (1983), who defends external invalidity, I extend the proposition to the defense of internal invalidity,• I hypothesize that the benefits of self- experimentation lie not in the outcomes, but in the process.
Constructivist Paradigm• Individuals construct their own realities and beliefs to make individual and social meaning out of what they subjectively experience (Guba & Lincoln, 1985).• There is no single, objective truth, but rather each person has a unique construction that is shaped by his or her own value system.• Constructivist Learning as a Process of Meaning- Making (Preskill & Torres, 2000)
Self-Experimentation• The goal is not to learn about human beings in general• The goal is to learn something about yourself
So What Good is Self- Experimentation?• Medical Research (Weisse, 2012) • Infectious Disease, pharmacology • Vaccinations• Generate and Develop New & Plausible Ideas (Roberts, 2004) • A priori version Exploratory Data Analysis • Shangri-La Diet • Rate of idea generation increased Take Findings from Self-Study into Experimental Design
So What Good is Self- Experimentation?• Critical Thinking and Decision Making (Cowley, Lindgren, & Langdon, 2006)• An outlet to the curious individual • “So, which dot am I?”
The Now of Self-Experimentation• Recent Advances in Technology – Smaller and Faster – Smart Phone Apps – Gadgets – Web-based applications• Soon… – Data Collection, Analysis, Interpretation Simultaneously (Wolf, 2010)
The Quantified SelfMarrying Technology and Self-Improvement• 2007• Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelly• San Francisco
The Quantified Self “Self-Knowledge Through Numbers”“The self is just our operation center, ourconsciousness, our moral compass. So, if wewant to act more effectively in the world, wehave to get to know ourselves better.” – Gary Wolf
• Most of us have dabbled in self-tracking to some degree • Bathroom scales • Logging exercise routines• But what about your: – Sleeping patterns – Mood – Attention – Energy level fluctuation – Quality of Day – Happiness – Cognitive Ability over time – Temporal Perspective – Etc.
– Intentional Self-Report • One must consciously remember to record an event– Fixed Scheduled Signals– Random Signals • ESM– Auto-Tracking • Zeo Sleep Manager • Accelerometers • Pedometer • Location
Why are People Self-Tracking? 1. They have a specific goal – Weight loss 2. They are curious – Increase self-awareness and self-knowledge 3. They want to establish a baseline with which to measure future changes – Personal data is an investment with long-term pay-offs – An exploratory, self-experimentation worldview (Wolf, 2010)
That’s Interesting!• The shifting nature of reasons for self- experimentation• Goal Curiosity Way of life
Quantified Self: Website• The central hub• 17,000+ unique visitors each month• 540+ forum members
Quantified Self: Blog“He most wanted to solve his problems with insomnia, obesity, Ambien dependence, hypertension, and drinking alcohol – what he calls “classic New Yorker problems”. He talks about the changes he made to his lifestyle, rules of thumb he discovered, and the amazing progress he has made.”
Quantified Self: Blog“…was curious about measuring his stress levels. He chose three methods to do this: experience sampling, day reconstruction method, and heart rate. In the video below, he helpfully describes how he went about designing his experiment, how the different methods work and the challenges of each one, and what he learned. He was surprised to discover which method worked best!...”
Quantified Self: Blog“Chloe kept all of her movie ticket stubs since 2001. Inspired by a minimalism streak, she digitized them all and created some cool visualizations. She learned her movie- watching patterns: by day of week, time of day, IMDB movie rating, price, location, who she was with, etc. In the video below, Chloe walks through her most embarrassing movies, how her tastes have changed over time, and other fun things.”
Considerations for PP• How can Positive Psychology embrace advances in technology to promote greater instances of engagement, meaning, and positive emotions?• How can our research inform psychology on the effects of technology on well-being?• What are people really interested in learning/doing/achieving?• Do people feel like they have the means to be happy? (means efficacy)
Quantified Self Meetups•Real-World Component•Show and Tell Meetings 1) What are you doing? 2) How are you doing it? 3) What have you learned?
Quantified Self Meetups
Quantified Self Meetups
QS: Community of Practice•Where members participate in commonpractices, depend on one another, identify themselves aspart of something larger, and commit themselves to theirown and group’s well-being (Preskill & Torres, 2000)•Come together voluntarily and are drawn by a commonforce (Brown & Duguid, 1991).•In this case the common force is an intense curiosity anddrive for personal growth and self-knowledge.
QS: Community of Practice•Social Support•Social Learning•When individuals are provided with opportunities forconstructivist learning, they are often transformed bytheir experiences (Preskill & Torres, 2000)•MedHelp •30,000+ new personal tracking projects are started by users every month (Wolf, 2010)•CureTogether
What if...*•Positive Psychology established its own communities ofpractice around thriving?•How can Positive Psychology tap into this staggeringamount of data?•Does this type of data collection and self-experimentation help or hurt good science? Why?
Proposed Study 1: Individual Differences•Are Self-Quantifiers unique from other populations? •2 groups; Exp (QS), Control (M-Turk online survey sample)•The study of positive personal traits and states (Seligman& Csikszentmihalyi, 2000) •Personal Growth Initiative •Curiosity •Subjective Happiness •Meaning in Life •Self-Regulation •Metacognitive Awareness
Personal Growth Initiative Scale (PGIS)• An awareness and control of intentional engagement in growth-enhancing cognitions and behaviors in all areas of life (Robitschek, 1999). – Broader than Self-efficacy • Includes behavioral component – “If I want to change something in my life, I initiate the transition process”
Personal Growth Initiative Scale (PGIS)• Hypothesis 1: QS group will have significantly higher mean score on PGIS than non-QS group. – “Self-Knowledge through Numbers” • Implies major objective is growth and learning about oneself • Many QS’ers have specific growth goals in mind
Curiosity and Exploration Inventory (CEI-II)• Kashdan et al., 2009• Curiosity is a positive emotional-motivational system associated with the recognition, pursuit, and self-regulation of novel and challenging opportunities (Kashdan, Rose, & Fincham, 2004)• Prompts intentional and proactive behavior in response to stimuli and activity: – Novelty – Complexity – Uncertainty – Conflict
Curiosity and Exploration Inventory (CEI-II)• Hypothesis 2: QS group will have significantly higher mean score on CEI-II than non-QS group – A main reason people self-quantify is because they are simply curious (Wolf, 2010) • But also engage in world around them for new ideas and things to quantify and test
Subjective Happiness Scale (SHS)*• Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, & Schkade, (2005) have identified that intentional activity attributes 40% of the variance of one’s chronic happiness. – Self-Experimentation a continual and intentional activity SHS - (Lyubomirksy & Lepper, 1999)
Subjective Happiness Scale (SHS)*• Hypothesis 3: QS group will have significantly higher mean score on SHS than non-QS group • QS more intentionally engaged with their activities – Discovering underlying mechanisms to what makes their lives better or worse and making adjustments along the way
Meaning in Life Questionnaire (MLQ)*• Steger, Frazier, Oishi, & Kaler, 2006• Kashdan and Steger (2007) have proposed that curiosity is a pathway to meaning in life• High in trait curiosity reported more frequent growth-oriented behaviors, greater presence in meaning, search for meaning, and life satisfaction (Kashdan & Steger, 2007)
Meaning in Life Questionnaire (MLQ)*• Hypothesis 4: QS group will have significantly higher mean score on Presence of Meaning and on Search for Meaning subscales of MLQ than non-QS group. – Self-Experimentation is a worldview and gives meaning (presence) – Search for meaning higher, as QS’ers looking to enhance and augment their self-knowledge and ways they look at themselves in the world
Metacognitive Awareness Inventory (MAI)*• Metacognition refers to the ability to reflect upon, understand, and control one’s learning (Schraw and Dennison, 1994)• Knowledge of Cognition category – 3 subprocesses: • declarative knowledge, or knowledge about self and about strategies • procedural knowledge, or knowledge about how to use strategies • conditional knowledge, knowledge about when and why to use strategies
Metacognitive Awareness Inventory (MAI)*• Hypothesis 5: QS group will have significantly higher mean score on the Knowledge of Cognition category of the MAI than non-QS group.
Self-Regulation of Learning Self- Report Scale (SRL-SRS)• Measures planning, self-monitoring, self- evaluation, reflection, effort, and self-efficacy in a learning context (Toering, Elferink-Gemser, Jonker, van Heuvelen, & Visscher, 2012 )• Self-regulation systems provide the basis for purposeful action and fuel the capacity to guide one’s activities over time and across changing circumstances (Bandura, 1991). – Self-monitoring – Evaluation – Affective self-reaction
Self-Regulation of Learning Self- Report Scale (SRL-SRS)• Hypothesis 6: QS group will have significantly higher mean score on SRL-SRS than non-QS group. – QS’ers take self-regulation to the extreme – Evaluation and Self-monitoring are more accurate when quantifying life – Qs’ers may feel positive affect when reflecting on and interpreting data • Empowering and exciting to see your life “quantified”
Creative Self-Efficacy• Hypothesis 7: QS group will have significantly higher Creative Self-Effiacy than non-QS group. – Based on Roberts (2004) theory that self- experimentation leads to higher levels of idea generation and development
Preliminary Findings• More Curious• Evaluate their work less (double check work less, do not check as progressing)• Higher Presence of Meaning• Higher Search for Meaning• Higher levels of Subjective Happiness• Better at organizing information (DK)• Worse at remembering information (DK)• Learn more when interested in the topic (DK)
Next Steps…• Are QS individuals naturally higher on these constructs ?• Or are they higher on these constructs because they have initiated and engaged with the self-experimentation process?
• I hypothesize that the benefits of self- experimentation lie not in the outcomes, but from engaging in the process. – Derived from idea of “process use” as well as my own personal observations/experiences with SE
Process Use• M. Q. Patton (1997) Utilization Focused Evaluation• Process Use is the transformative learning that occurs through participation• I propose that an upward spiral of continuous transformative learning is initiated when one undergoes long-term self-experimentation. – This learning leads to gradual increases over time in the previous constructs mentioned previously. – Transformational learning occurs when people are active participants in the construction of their own knowledge and belief systems (Preskill & Torres, 2000).
My Own Experience with QS• What is most important to my life?• What am I not satisfied with?• What am I curious about?• What is possible?• How does academic research relate to myself?One experiment another another another etc.
PACO• Personal Analytics Companion (Bob Evans) – Get Curious Intervention* • Temporal Perspective Tracker – Prospection (Seligman, in press) – Strengths-Based Tracker (VIA x Gallup StrengthsFinder) – Gratitude Intervention (Lyubomirsky, 2005) – Compliment Intervention – Energy Level Throughout Day – Meditation Timer – Music Creation/Practice/Performance Timer – ESM – Experience Sampling Method (Combo) – Daily Assessment • Quality of Day • Stress level • Productivity • Creativity • Qualitative – What was the best part of your day?
ZEO Sleep Manager
ZEO Sleep Manager
The Process of SE• Flow model – As one becomes more skilled in self- experimentation, one seeks out greater challenges • Depth – What other mediating and moderating mechanisms may be present? • Breadth – What else can I measure and learn?• Increasing Complexity• Increasing Self-Experimentation Self-Efficacy
Effects of SE on Well-Being• Does SE, over time, increase personal growth, curiosity, subjective happiness, meaning, metacognitive awareness, and self-regulation? – What do you think?• Follow-Up Study – Interrupted Time Series (Quasi) Experimental Design – Using PACO – Exp group: Trained on how to create and run a simple self- experiment (monitor affect, end of day assessment, etc.) – Control group: Words With Friends – Measured over time (throughout semester or year)
Self-Experimentation Capacity Building• If results are promising, then an implication for Positive Psychology would be an intervention that builds Self-Experimentation Capacity• A hot topic and practice in Evaluation is for evaluators to focus on Evaluation Capacity Building (ECB), (Preskill,Fetterman, etc.) – empower stakeholders to conduct their own evaluations and engage in the transformative and continual learning that the evaluation process produces
Self-Experimentation Capacity Building• Benefit: Researchers can see what they have discovered with real, quantified and operationalized data. – Continuous data stream
What else?• Studies on effects of quantification on the evolving Self (Csikszentmihalyi, 1993) – What happens when people identify themselves based on their data? – Social & Personal Identification• Negative effects of self-quantification & sharing – Is quantification too honest and brutal? – Does it get too creepy?• Macro effects of an “experimenting society” (Campbell)
The Future Quantified Self– “Wearable Awareness”– PlaceMe App– A part of us?– Will there be technology boosters that monitor & manipulate our transmitters and hormones?– Qualitative Self– Scary but also Fascinating