[EvoPsycLab] summary of previous EvoPsych meeting and future plans

Lisa Diamond lisa.diamond at psych.utah.edu
Fri Jun 7 08:20:07 MDT 2019

Hey everyone!  As discussed, here is my summary of our meeting on Tuesday and plans going forward.  Just to remind folks, our next meeting will be July 11th at 1pm on campus, and we also have a meeting on July 30th at 4pm at Bruce's.  We also wanted to plan an additional meeting in the next few weeks to work on the Add Health paper testing predictions of life history theory: For those of you interested in being involved in that paper, please email me back with days that you are NOT available (a lot of us have travel coming up) and I will come up with some possibilities.

We talked about the best way to structure future meetings, and there seemed to be consensus that we should alternate (sometimes even within individual meetings) between discussion of specific projects/papers (like the Add Health paper) and some deeper conceptual discussions that could potentially provide the foundation for future group projects.  Toward this end, one of the themes that came up repeatedly was the complexity of measuring evolutionarily-relevant constructs (such as early adversity, environmental conditions, internal health status, developmental timing, fast/slow life history, etc).  Measurement has always been a sticky wicket in this area, given that these constructs encompass many different things at once - biological factors, behavioral factors, cognitive processes, etc.  In much previous work, sub-optimal measures continue to be used simply because they have been used over and over in the past.  But this doesn't necessarily move the field forward, as we discussed.  So we discussed the idea of doing a deep dive into a specific set of topics/questions with an eye to discussing new/improved strategies for measurement (different biological indices, different behavioral indicators, different cognitive/neurobio measures, ecological momentary assessment, etc) that might allow for more rigorous testing of evolutionarily-relevant hypotheses.  Ideally, different members of the group could take charge of leading the discussion on different topics, and the result of these discussions could end up being a conceptual paper co-authored by all of us.  Not only would such a paper make a good contribution to the literature, but it could also provide a sort of "roadmap" for future research projects for our group.

So the first step toward this goal is for us to decide which topics we want to do this "deep dive" for our next two meetings.  Toward this end, folks should email me with suggestions, particularly for topics that you would be interested to lead discussion on (and assign relevant readings).  For example, we could have a meeting devoted to measuring fast/slow life history strategy, or measuring internal cues of health status (along the lines of what Bruce discussed at the meeting prior to our last one).

There was also some interested in statistical workshops: I contacted John Kirchner, who regularly taught a multilevel modeling class.  He's retiring, but the plan is for a summer workshop on this topic to be taught next summer by Monika Lohani or Seung-Hee (Claire) Son.  In the meantime, Pascal Deboek is teaching a summer workshop on modeling correlated change in multilevel modeling (i.e., cases where you have two members of a family, or two related biological processes, and in which you have intensive repeated measurements (like daily diaries).  That sounds really cool-I am going to enroll in it to sharpen up my skills in those areas.  It is a one-week class from June 24-28, 9-5pm.   I'll paste info at the bottom of this email.

OKAY so here's our action plan:

1)      For those of you interested in the Add Health Paper, email me with days over the next month that you CAN'T meet and I'll come up with some meeting possibilities

2)      Email me with ideas for topics/questions that you would be interested in leading discussion on at one of our upcoming meetings

And at the end of the summer, we can revisit this plan and see how things are going and make any necessary tweaks.

And here's that stat info:

Level, Change, and Acceleration: Modeling Correlated Change with Longitudinal Data and Intensive Repeated Observations, June 24 - 28
Pascal Deboeck
Salt Lake City, UT

An ever-increasing number of models are available for the modeling of repeated observations on the same individuals, families, and groups. While theories often express ideas about correlated changes between constructs, matching theories about growth and change to statistical models can be challenging. This workshop will introduce derivatives -- level, change, and acceleration. This framework will provide a basis for articulating theories of change, as well as a framework for understanding a wide variety of change models. A variety of foundational models for longitudinal data will be discussed using this framework. These more common models will then be used to build models for intensive repeated measures designs (e.g., diary data, ecological momentary assessments). This course will provide a conceptual understanding of topics using lecture, reference code through demonstrations, and hands-on practice with sample data.
The course will cover:

  *   Software and Conceptual Foundations
  *   Longitudinal/Panel Data
  *   Intensive Repeated Measures

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