Institute for Advanced Study (IAS)

IAS fellow Sacha Epskamp wins dissertation prize

14 February 2018

IAS research fellow Sacha Epskamp has won the Psychometric Society Dissertation Prize for his thesis ‘Network Psychometrics’. Epskamp: "Receiving this prize is a great honour for me".

The Psychometric Society Dissertation Prize is handed out once per year to one PhD candidate. On the annual International Meeting of the Psychometric Society in New York this year, Sacha Epskamp is invited to give a presentation on his dissertation in front of approximately 500 participants.

Summary of Epskamp’s dissertation

In recent years, research on dynamical systems in psychology has emerged, which is analogous to other fields such as biology and physics. One popular and promising line of research involves the modeling of psychological systems as causal systems or networks of cellular automat. The general hypothesis is that noticeable macroscopic behavior—the co-occurrence of aspects of psychology such as cognitive abilities, psychopathological symptoms, or behavior—is not due to the influence of unobserved common causes, such as general intelligence, psychopathological disorders, or personality traits, but rather to emergent behavior in a network of interacting psychological, sociological, biological, and other components. This dissertation concerns the estimation of such psychological networks from datasets. While this line of research originated from a dynamical systems perspective, the developed methods have shown strong utility as exploratory data analysis tools, highlighting unique variance between variables rather than shared variance across variables (e.g., latent variable modeling). In addition, this dissertation shows that network modeling and latent variable modeling are closely related and can complement one-another. The methods are thus widely applicable in diverse fields of psychological research.

Read Sacha Epskamp’s dissertation here.

Published by  UvA Institute for Advanced Study