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LATENT VARIABLE ANALYSIS (LAVA) LAB

Virtually all measurements in psychology and the social sciences are affected by effects of persons, situations, methods or observers, and random measurement error. Statistical models with latent variables allow separating various systematic and unsystematic sources of individual differences in psychological measurements and thus help investigators learn more about these effects and 
obtain less biased results in empirical studies. In my lab, we develop, evaluate, and apply latent variable models for a variety of purposes, including models for measuring variability and change over time and models for analyzing multimethod/multirater data.

A particularly important question in research on latent variable methodology concerns the actual meaning of latent variables. What are these variables and how do we interpret them correctly? In my lab, we follow Rolf Steyer's approach of defining latent variables "constructively", based on the well-defined concepts of classical psychometric measurement theory and latent state-trait theory. This ensures that all latent variables have an unambiguous meaning and interpretation.

Substantive research interests pursued in my lab concern individual differences in spatial abilities and how they can be explained.


 

Christian GeiserChristian Geiser

Biographical Sketch

I studied psychology in Magdeburg (Germany), Geneva (Switzerland), and Berlin (Germany).  I obtained my PhD in psychology from Free University Berlin in 2008.  Before coming to Utah State University, I was an Assistant Professor in Arizona State University's Quantitative Psychology PhD program.

Research Interests

My research interests are in quantitative psychology and particularly in latent variable models and psychological measurement.  My main areas of expertise are in multitrait-multimethod modeling, longitudinal data analysis and latent state-trait analysis.

I also do research on individual differences in spatial abilities.  My thinking about latent variable methodology and the utility of latent variables in psychological research is heavily influenced by Rolf Steyer's and Michael Eid's framework of defining latent variables.  According to this approach, latent variables are not simply "out there", but have to be "constructed" by the investigator.  That is, latent variables should be explicitly and clearly defined based on concepts that are themselves well defined in psychometric theory, such as true score variables.  For example, how are "method factors" or "growth factors" in complex structural equation models defined and how should we interpret them?  In my lab, we emphasize the need for models in which laent variables are constructively defined, making the resulting statistical models more useful for testing theories in psychology

Teaching

I teach the following courses at USU: Psy 7070, "Advanced Measurement Theories and Practice", Psy 6600, "Research Design and AnalysisI", Psy 5330/6330, "Tests and Measurement", Psy 7810, "Multivariate Statistics II: Latent Variable Modeling."

 

Fred HintzFred Hintz

Biographical Sketch

I am originally from Upstate New York, and in 2013, graduated from Allegheny College in Meadville, PA with a B.S. in psychology. I began my doctoral studies at Utah State University in 2015. I’m pursuing a PhD in Experimental and Applied Psychological Science concentrating in Quantitative Psychology.

 

Research Interests

 My methodological interests are in test and measurement theory, longitudinal designs, and survey designs. More specifically, how can we use latent-variable measurement models that are widely applicable for researchers, but also account for all the variables that researchers might be interested in? My substantive interests are broad, but I have done research in meditation and mindfulness, and am currently interested in personality, specifically in modeling person by situation interactions. That is, how can we measure the interactions between levels of personality traits and situational or environmental variables? 

 

Kaylee LitsonKaylee Litson

Biographical Sketch

I was born and raised in southwestern Utah.  Recently, I graduated from Dixie State University with my B.S. in psychology.  Having a passion for research and learning, I decided to continue my education and will be entering USU's PhD program to pursue a degree in Experimental and Applied Psychology with an emphasis in Methodology.

Research Interests

My primary interest is in quantitative psychology, specifically in latent state-trait and multitrait-multimethod modeling.  In addition, I am interested in learning how to define latent variables within the context of psychometric theory.  My second research interest is in emotion regulation and impulse control, namely finding and testing ways to help individuals (specifically adolescents and young adults) appropriately control their impulses in high emotional situations.