I just got back from St. Louis, where I attended the biennial conference of the Association for Research in Personality for the first time. What a great conference! I highly recommend this conference for any graduate student interested in the study of personality. Here’s what some of the most prominent personality researchers had to say*:
Rich Lucas (Michigan State): Sample sizes in the Journal of Research in Personality (JRP) have increased since 2010, with a particularly large jump in 2014. Fortunately, this increase does not appear to coincide with less rigorous methods or less diverse samples. JRP welcomes submissions of replications and even has a special issue of replications coming up, in addition to a special issue on intraindividual personality change (YES!).
Simine Vazire (U.C. Davis): Data cleaning involves a lot of seemingly minute decisions (e.g., drop this item, control for that variable), but they can result in over-fitting analyses to data. Some strategies for avoiding this: decide analyses pre-study, pre-register these analyses to keep yourself accountable for deviations from this plan, have one co-author ‘play dumb’ to ensure the steps taken in analyses make sense, differentiate openly between exploratory and confirmatory research, and follow through and do both (i.e., don’t leave it to others to confirm your exploratory finding). Also, forget JRP, publish in SPPS.
David Condon (Northwestern): His talk focused on how junior researchers should approach the topic of reproducibility. Mostly, it’s an important topic that we all need to be mindful of as we conduct research. In the name of transparency, the slides from his talk are on his website.
Daniel Mroczek (Northwestern): One way to increase accountability, as well as confidence in our findings, is to conduct coordinated data analysis. That is, conduct the exact same analyses across several data sets (collected independently) to assess the robustness of a finding.
Sanjay Srivastava (University of Oregon): Employment status relates to personality changes. For example, attaining employment relates to increases in conscientiousness.
David Funder (U.C. Riverside): The situation plays an important role in behavior. There are remarkable similarities in what types of situations are experienced at 7pm by people across 20 countries.
John Rauthmann (HU Berlin; 2014 Tanaka Dissertation Award winner): DIAMONDS is a taxonomy of the psychologically important aspects of a situation. The eight dimensions are: Duty, Intellect, Adversity, Mating, pOsitivity, Negativity, Deception, and Sociality. This taxonomy provides a framework for future research regarding the role of the situation in everyday life. (On a personal note, I am very excited about this and plan to implement it in my next projects.)
Ivana Anusic (Michigan State; 2013 Tanaka Dissertation Award winner): Among immigrants to Germany, there is a positive association between life satisfaction and cultural identity (i.e., one’s affiliation with the host culture); this relationship is largely explained by stable traits which contribute to both.
Nick Turiano (West Virginia University; 2012 Tanaka Dissertation Award winner): High neuroticism and low conscientiousness are associated with negative health outcomes, but there does not appear to be an interaction between these traits, at least not in predicting the use of drugs, alcohol, or nicotine. Overall, conscientiousness plays a protective role in health outcomes.
…and many, many more.
*My memory and notes are fallible. Let me know if anything I’ve reported is incorrect and I will gladly update it.