A United Discipline: Bayesian Hierarchical Modeling of Individual Differences in Cognitive Tasks
In his presidential address from 1957, Lee Cronbach distinguished between the correlational and the experimental traditions of psychological science. This distinction highlights why we as psychologists sometimes talk past each other, why there are separate research communities that target similar phenomena but never interact, and why psychology does not rely on one but two separate methodological toolboxes. Cronbach's presidential address is also a plea for uniting the discipline of psychology. In my talk, I will discuss some of the (methodological) gaps that remain in the effort for a united discipline. I will draw on the example of cognitive tasks that are developed in the experimental tradition but are used to understand individual differences. One of the potential paths for a united methodology is hierarchical modeling. This approach can be used to disentangle sample noise from true individual variability in repeated measures designs common for cognitive tasks. Finally, I will present results that highlight both the promises and pitfalls of a united discipline.