A key ingredient of Two Minds Theory is the concept of measuring behaviors and their antecedents at the level of the intuitive system. This requires real-time evaluation of mental states as they actually happen in the context of everyday life. These data can be collected using sensors that objectively measure behaviors, using technology-delivered self-report surveys to capture people's perceptions in real time, or by examining biomarkers that serve as indicators of everyday states.
Daily Survey Measures
The spreadsheet below records our experiences using daily survey tools to tap intuitive-level processes. Although we acknowledge that any self-report measure is collected using language and therefore may tap the narrative system, our working hypothesis is that collecting self-report data in real time, in everyday contexts, and using immediate question wording (e.g., "how do you feel right now?") will produce results closer to the intuitive level of mental processing than to the narrative level. Some everyday experiences may provide a highly accurate prediction of behaviors that follow shortly afterwards, as in the case of craving predicting relapse for opioid use disorder.
Daily survey measures are part of a well established research strategy called ecological momentary assessment (EMA). For more on using these methods, we recommend M. R. Mehl & T. S. Conner (Eds.), 2013, Handbook of Research Methods for Studying Daily Life. New York: Guilford Press.
The measures below are a few suggested ways in which biomarkers might be used to assess biobehavioral processes that go on continuously at the intuitive level, outside of conscious awareness. The biobehavioral constructs theoretically linked to each marker are shown in italics.
- Inflammatory (mood, sleep) -- Serum interleukin 6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFa), C-reactive protein (hsCRP). Inflammation biomarkers correlate with pain, depressed mood, and disturbed sleep across multiple chronic diseases.
- Metabolic (energy) -- Plasma glucose, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), ambulatory glucose levels. Metabolic biomarkers correlate with energy and activity levels in healthy and chronically ill patients. Continuous glucose monitoring presents an opportunity to examine changes in willpower linked to glucose levels.
- Neuroendocrine (stress) -- Serum cortisol (multiple times per day), hair cortisol (average stress measure over the past month). Cortisol correlates with self-reported stress levels and objective measures of stressors in healthy and chronically ill patients.