In the Well Minds Lab, we investigate the core capacities underlying wellbeing from a developmental psychological and neuroscientific perspectives, with focus on how education can foster these. We believe that cultivating these wellbeing capacities is central to both individual and societal wellbeing, particularly in the context of the current challenges of Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, political polarisation and information technology revolution. We are particularly interested in understanding the role of healthy qualities of the mind, such as mindfulness, generosity, forgiveness, compassion and a sense of purpose and meaning in life, in fostering these capacities. We examine cultivation of the healthy qualities of mind both through targeted contemplative practices or programmes, such as mindfulness or compassion training, and through more informal implicit activities including art, connecting with nature, or volunteering. In our research we apply developmental long-term perspective with the aim to promote wellbeing and prevent mental ill health across the lifespan.
Theoretical and methodological innovation is a hallmark of research in the Well Minds Lab. We have developed the integrative neurodevelopmental framework for translational neuroscience research on mindfulness which is applicable to wellbeing research more broadly. We have also proposed a framework for comprehensive research on cognitive and affective mechanisms modified by cultivation of the healthy qualities of mind. Our most recent work conceptualises a new perspective on cognitive and affective capacities underlying wellbeing. We have applied the integrative neurodevelopmental frameworks in more then a dozen studies integrating experimental behavioural and event-related potential assessments with standardised self-report measures or innovative self-reports (SenseMaker). We have also developed new self-report measures assessing mechanisms of contemplative practice and wellbeing capacities, we are currently validating these measures.
In our lab we are committed to combining research rigor with real world impact through close collaborations with stakeholders including educators, healthcare professionals, charities and policy makers. We have been contributing to educational policy on wellbeing in the UK and via engagement with relevant UNESCO initiatives. Our research aims to contribute to developmental theory of wellbeing and to evidence-base that can guide implementation of wellbeing programs in education and healthcare.