Kathleen Gates, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Assessing individual differences in non-traditional data structures

Invited Speaker

Time series data bring new opportunities – and problems – for psychological researchers. Examples of this data are plentiful and include: self-assessments obtained multiple times a day for numerous days; psychophysiological measures (e.g., functional MRI); and passive data continually captured from devices. Ideally, researchers can use this data to investigate underlying processes of interest in a way that previously was unattainable. New questions can be asked, and new types of information learned.

In reality researchers face numerous challenges that can diminish the full potential of this data. At its most fundamental, it can be difficult to formulate research questions. Often little prior work has been done that can inform hypotheses on dynamic processes of interest. For this reason, many methods used on these data have a data-driven component. The question then becomes, which method to use? Even if one does have hypotheses, translating them into quantifiable and testable research questions can be daunting given that the available methods and measurement approaches may be unknown. The present talk provides an overview of the types of questions that are currently being answered with this data and examples of a few state-of-the-art methods.


Kathleen Gates

Katie Gates’s overarching aim is the development of quantitative methods that quantify individuals’ dynamic processes across time. Arriving at personalized dynamic models often requires the use and adaptation of exploratory methods such as unsupervised classification, feature selection, and model-building. Much of her work involves psychophysiological, ecological momentary assessments, and human brain data. She’s an assistant professor in the Thurstone Psychometric Lab at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) where she guides the ongoing maintenance and development of the algorithm GIMME (http://gimme.web.unc.edu/) as well as other free software. Her lab’s primary funding source is the National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. For more information see http://gateslab.web.unc.edu/

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