Daan de Jong

Social and Behavioral Sciences
Methodology and Statistics
Utrecht University


The OPTIMAL Project

Recent technological developments have made the collection of intensive longitudinal data more feasible and less costly. This kind of data allow researchers to study psychological processes as they unfold over time within an individual and has received increasing attention over the past years (Hamaker & Wichers, 2017). Although a lot of models describing dynamic processes are well-established in fields like physics, biology and econometrics, their psychological applications are not necessarily straightforward. For example, on which time scales do psychological constructs vary, how can we measure them in an intensive yet non-intrusive way, what models are best suited to study various kinds of psychological processes? Many methodological issues in this context are not yet resolved.

It is important that psychological researchers make informed choices about the methods they use in the new research paradigm of intensive longitudinal process research. When information about methods is lacking, research may yield invalid results and erroneous conclusions. In a new research paradigm, common practices and norms will arise quickly, informed or not, so there is a small window of opportunity to investigate what the best practices are and have an impact in this new field.

I will write a PhD thesis under the supervision of Ellen Hamaker, within her ERC project “Coming-of-Age process research: Connecting Theory with Measurement and Modeling (OPTIMAL)”. The project aims to develop an overarching methodological framework that allow researchers to connect psychological theories about processes, intensive longitudinal measurements and statistical models that describe dynamic processes. Six researchers are involved in the project: the principal investigator, one post-doc and four PhD-students. Our approach is to focus on the pairwise connections between theory, measurement and modeling.

Prof. Dr. E. L. Hamaker
Dr. O. Ryan
Dr. N.K. Schuurman

01.09.2021 –