ONLINE per ZOOM zur angegebenen Veranstaltungszeit
What most of us have learned about the operationalization of psychological functioning including developmental processes is that X (antecedent) has an effect on Y (outcome), whereby the person characteristic X may interact with the context variable C (moderation). In addition, X may influence Y indirectly via M (mediation). This is often called a process if longitudinal data are used, and even sometimes on the basis of a cross-sectional survey. At a closer look, these data arrangements are simply linear covariations of arbitrary snapshots of actors acting in highly individual movies at completely different stages of their productions taken at a discrete time determined pragmatically by the researcher. We implicitly assume linearity (the more, the more; the less, the less), homogeneity (every actor functions alike), and stationarity (the stage of the individual movie does not matter, the expected effect is timeless). These assumptions may match the functioning of combustion engines: you turn the key, machine ignites, no matter which brand, which driver, which mileage (if you are lucky). Living systems, e.g., human beings, are more complex. We adapt, we learn, literally as we speak, interact and synchronize with others, go through time on a day-to-day level, thereby forming our good and bad habits, in short our personalities which, in turn, affect how we interact with our environment (circular causation). And this we do in a highly individual fashion. Such processes are at stake from a dynamic systems perspective. They are not covered by snapshot of Y is predicted by snapshot of X. This seminar will introduce basic concepts of dynamic systems theory (DST), will offer some empirical applications, and discuss alternative research strategies to get to a closer match between our core subject, i.e., human psychological functioning and statistical models applied to it.
Learning goal: A sharpened awareness of the match vs. mismatch between human development and methods for its study.
Witherington, D. C. (2007). The dynamic systems approach as metatheory for developmental psychology. Human Development, 50, 127-153.