We imagine the family dinner table when Robert was growing up to be a smorgasbord of discussion. With both parents being psychologists, and his late father Dr Ed Diener – American psychologist, professor, and author – leaving behind a true legacy of richness and rigour in the positive psychology space.
When asked how he would like to see practitioners and researchers get involved in the future of Positive Psychology, Robert referenced his father’s approach to research. Robert noted that practitioners share something in common with researchers, and that is an emphasis on questions rather than answers.
“You take the published research, and you allow that to inform your questions rather than just informing your answers.”
He mentioned his 2021 article written with Todd Kashdan; ‘Three lessons from Ed Diener’ where his father’s pioneering work on wellbeing is reflected on with focus on three central lessons. Lesson One: An emphasis on descriptive science; Lesson Two: Scientific Rigour and Lesson Three: Great Research Questions. His contributions were summarised as a template for how to do great work that improves our understanding of humanity, has real-world relevance, and stands the test of time.
“He asked big questions because he wanted to be descriptive rather than prescriptive. That is a subtle but important distinction in science.”
It seems devotion to high-quality research and asking challenging questions runs in the family. We really enjoyed an insight into how Robert spends his time. We found his enthusiasm for paradigm-shifting questions infectious and thank him for sharing. You can learn more about Dr Robert Biswas-Diener via his website.
Beyond the sneak peek we have summarised here, our extended conversation touched on how you show up as a coach, co-creation of happiness, academic diversity, culture and wellbeing, methodology in neuroscience, and more! If you would like to watch the full interview head to learnwithsue.com.au.