Research Matters Podcast podcast

James Kirby, PhD, and Jeffrey Kim, on incorporating physiological data in psychological research

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James Kirby, Ph.D., is a researcher and senior lecturer at the University of Queensland in Australia, who studies the effects of kindness and compassion. Jeff Kim, a graduate student under Dr. Kirby, joins my discussion with Dr. Kirby on measuring and incorporating physiological data into their research. Today’s conversation is focused on measuring heart rate variability.

Like many of us, Dr. Kirby didn’t take any psychology courses that incorporated physiology when he was in school. But when he became acquainted with the work of Stephen Porges, Julian Thayer and others, he was compelled to learn more. Eventually, collecting and analyzing physiological data became part of Dr. Kirby’s research on compassion. He’s quick to say he couldn’t have gotten where he is on his own.

For others wanting to do something similar, he highly recommends connecting and collaborating with others who are already in the space. Being able to work alongside someone else and to be shown the ropes – preferably in person – makes for a smoother integration and a much quicker learning curve.

Jeff Kim shares details regarding equipment and software they use, some of his findings, and best practice recommendations.

In this episode, you’ll learn…

  • About the influences on Dr. Kirby’s interests and developments
  • How Dr. Kirby gained access to needed equipment
  • About the equipment and software they use
  • Why there is no substitute for meeting with other researchers in person
  • About the most challenging parts of incorporating physiological data in research

Tips from the episode

On how to integrate physiological measurements in your work…

  • Partner with others who are already in the space and who (hopefully) have the means to collect, analyze, and interpret data
  • Attend workshops
  • Meet, learn from, and collaborate with others in the space

On staying abreast of the latest research in the space…

  • Twitter has become Dr. Kirby’s “academic library”
  • Follow those who study areas you’re interested in but don’t know much about
  • Watch academic talks on YouTube and take notes

Links from the episode:

Dr. James Kirby’s profile at the University of Queensland

Stephen Porges’ work on polyvagal theory

Paul Gilbert – compassion-focused therapy

Professor Julian Thayer and the vagus nerve

Center for Compassion and Altruism Research

Dr. James Doty and Dr. Emma SeppalaHandbook of Compassion Science

Dr. Stacey Parker

June Gruber

Tor Wager

Research Matters Podcast is hosted by Jason Luoma, who can be found on Twitter @jasonluoma or Facebook at: facebook.com/jasonluomaphd. You download the podcast through iTunesStitcher, or Spotify. Reach out with suggestions, questions, or comments to [email protected]

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    Todd Kashdan, on going against the grain, idea capture, and autonomy

    1:04:57

    Todd Kashdan, PhD, is a professor of psychology at George Mason University, where he’s senior scientist at the Center for the Advancement of Wellbeing. He’s been a leading researcher in  positive psychology from when that area first started to blow up, but often plays the role of someone who challenges established wisdom in that area of research. When looking for the right job, Dr. Kashdan sought the one that would give him the most autonomy in his work. He’s delighted that at George Mason he’s been able to follow his interests. As he gleefully states, he “gets paid to read books, write articles, and study whatever he wants,” which includes but is not limited to gratitude, positive emotions, spirituality, purpose, curiosity, creativity, resilience, and anxiety – just to name a few. Dr. Kashdan doesn’t shy away from controversial, and that’s, at least partly, by design. His mantra is, whatever is the zeitgeist of the moment – be it mindfulness, positivity, etc. – there must be a psychological benefit to the opposite. That’s why you’ll frequently hear him arguing for the very opposite of whatever is the popular message of the day.   In today’s episode, Dr. Kashdan and I dive deep into his controversial side. He shares the story of the impromptu speech for which he was “banished” as a speaker from a well-known positive psychology organization. He shares lessons he’s learned on softening his approach and explains why he’s not about to give up on speaking out. He also shares his card-based method for capturing and organizing his thoughts, ideas, and insights. If you want to read some more about the ways he’s organizes his work and his productivity tools, this blog post goes into a lot more details: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/curious/201701/essential-set-tools-productivity-work In this episode, you’ll learn… Why Dr. Kashdan chose a position at George Mason Why Dr. Kashdan often takes an opposing position from whatever is most popular How reading a Charles Spielberger chapter on curiosity in grad school inspired Dr. Kashdan’s life work How Dr. Kashdan captures and organizes his thoughts and ideas for his work Why Dr. Kashdan seeks no more than an 80% approval rating from audiences About Dr. Kashdan’s morning and evening routines Tips from the episode On choosing a job… Look for who will give you the most autonomy to study whatever you want. Don’t follow the trends or the money. Follow what is interesting. On stealing like an artist… Tinker with the ideas and theories others are developing Create a template or framework based on the work of others you admire On organizing and processing your work… Use index cards and keep a separate container for each book or project with a section for each topic. Have index cards in all the places where you read, think, and work. Jot down ideas as you think of them. Most ideas have to be thrown out. Kill your darlings, a la Stephen King. Remember that you don’t have the processing capacity to hold everything in your head. On dealing with controversy Be willing to be the counterpoint…and also be willing to have your mind changed. If you have the right temperament, it’s important to stand up to bullies in the field. Try to separate the person from their work. Try to bring people’s defenses down so you can have an open, civil, interactive conversation. Give context to the situation. Links from the episode Dr. Kashdan’s blog, Curious, where he blogs regularly The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera Curiosity and Exploratory Behavior by Charles Spielberger Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon Getting Things Done by David Allen Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant Robert Green’s 48 Laws of Power The Exceptional Presenter: A Proven Formula to Open Up and Own the Room by Timothy Koegel Research Matters Podcast is hosted by Jason Luoma, who can be found on Twitter @jasonluoma or Facebook at: facebook.com/jasonluomaphd. You download the podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify. 
  • Research Matters Podcast podcast

    Ken Weingardt, on personal mission statements and tech startups in the mental health space

    1:08:00

    How many people do you know who have a personal mission statement…and have it memorized…and actually live by it? Well, now you know of one more. Dr. Ken Weingardt’s personal mission statement is to “use technology to improve access to behavioral health services.” An addictionologist by training, Dr. Weingardt held various positions in academia and research -- from faculty appointments at major medical schools to leadership positions of federally funded organizations -- before deciding the grant-writing/publishing treadmill was not for him. He was burnt out. He also felt like the rewards were too small, the personal price was too great, and the impact he was having was too small to continue on that path. Surely, he thought, he could have a bigger impact elsewhere without having to sacrifice a meaningful work-life balance He instead turned to tech startups in the mental health space. He previously worked at Pear Therapeutics, which provides “prescription digital therapeutics for the treatment of serious disease.” Dr. Weingardt then went to a young startup, Emilio Health (he was employee number 6), as Vice President of the Clinical Department. Emilio Health seeks to develop technology-enabled behavior health clinics for children to facilitate care coordination between counselors, parents, children, and educators. My conversation with Dr. Weingardt is full of straight talk about personal values, work-life balance, making tough life decisions, inspiring books, and authority structures in academia versus in industry. Research Matters Podcast is hosted by Jason Luoma, who can be found on Twitter @jasonluoma or Facebook at: facebook.com/jasonluomaphd. You download the podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify. 

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