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Jon's Dynamical Systems Lab


Our research integrates systems concepts with quantitative innovations (statistical and methodological). Systems theory is essentially the study of change or how multiple components interact to form behavior that cannot be seen in its parts, but can be studied through its patterns in time. Systems theory is inherently interdisciplinary, sharing a language with mathematics, biology, physics, chemistry and more. Thus it has its own jargon. Additionally, many of the advanced approaches that fit a systems logic are designed in fields where a widget can be studied hundreds of thousands of times. Though we sometimes collect data in this manner, it is definitely not the norm for psychology. So we are actively exploring new directions that are both systems approaches and functional within psychological confines.

Current Projects

  • Topological Psychology. There have been tremendous advances in statistics relating to temporal effects in the realm of time series analyses, multilevel modeling, and structural equation modeling. These advances are generating results that few know how to interpret. Our lab is working on how we can utilize topology - the math behind maps - as a way to understand these complex results. We have a paper that will hopefully come out in Psych Methods designed to teach the basic links between math and topology and then explore how mapping our theories can be a useful technique for theory generation, much like the scatterplot or the path diagram. In other words, we are trying to use topology as an a priori tool. In our lab, we are also exploring how advanced methods can also be used as an exploratory tool for topology. So far, this has led to a number of exciting findings.
  • Soft Assembly Regulation. I believe a flexible system for understanding regulation is key. We are currently investigating how fractals, dimensionality, and lacunarity may all be informative as to when a person is successfully goal seeking vs. unsuccessful goal seeking
  • Coordination. I have long been fascinated with how multiple outcomes move together through time. We are exploring new methods specifically designed to fully capture coordination. These new approaches we are able to generate easy to interpret results from extremely complex models involving the coordination of many variables.
  • NASA. We are working with NASA to build a simulation on modeling cost overruns. This dance into dealing with budgets and schedules is a foray into putting our money where our mouth is - can we apply what we know?
Last Updated: 4/11/19