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Early Summer Advanced Training Institutes Are Popular - More To Come

The first three of the five Advanced Training Institutes taking place this summer are now complete.

By Nicolle Singer

The first three of the five Advanced Training Institutes taking place this summer are now complete! Seventy six psychologists and advanced graduate students took part in these exciting training institutes sponsored by the APA Science Directorate. Participants arrived for their week of intense study ready to hit the ground running. Before each course began, they received a list of recommended readings and a short biography of each participant. After traveling far and wide, participants settled into the APA-reserved hotels the day before the start of each course on Monday morning.

The first two events of the summer took place in early June. The University of Virginia was once again the site of the popular ATI on “Structural Equation Modeling in Longitudinal Research” (June 9-13). All participants were currently using SEM in their research or had firm plans to begin using these methods, so interest was intense and questions flowed freely. The workshop included classroom lectures, demonstrations, and lab time with instructors ready to answer individual questions. Dr. Jack McArdle began the seminar by providing an in-depth overview of the principles and practice of SEM, before he and the other instructors moved on to increasingly advanced topics. Participants were encouraged to bring along their own data and research problems to the ATI, and have reported that the hands-on nature of this program was very beneficial. Psychologists must often rely upon written text in order to learn new statistical methods, but having instructors ready to help greatly expedites the learning process.

The second ATI of the summer on “Non-Linear Methods for Psychological Science” (June 9-13) was also well-received. The University of Cincinnati hosted this ATI, which provided a thorough introduction to a variety of non-linear and dynamical methods. Such methods are becoming increasingly prominent within psychology and related disciplines. Specific topics included time series analysis, recurrence quantification analysis, fractal analysis, and dispersion analysis. In addition to lectures and discussion, there was ample hands-on computer time in which participants practiced using the software that was distributed at the program. During one lab session each participant generated their own reaction time data, which was then analyzed for nonlinear structure later in the week.

A new ATI was held on June 23-27 on “Research Methods with Diverse Racial & Ethnic Groups.” Michigan State University’s Center for Multicultural Psychology Research hosted this exciting program, which drew an eager group of researchers interested in learning the best ways to conduct sensitive and appropriate research with diverse populations. The nine expert instructors were able to discuss the specifics of their areas of expertise during lectures as well as formal and informal discussion sessions. Dr. Fred Leong began the week by discussing methods for investigating treatment outcomes in diverse populations. Sessions followed during the week on topics such as quantitative and qualitative methods, the why’s and why-not’s of web-based data collection, measurement equivalence and invariance across diverse groups, and methods for work in areas ranging from genomics to HIV prevention.

The Science Directorate looks forward to building upon the success of these early programs with the final two ATIs that it will sponsor in 2008: “Geographic Information Systems for Behavioral Research” (University of California, Santa Barbara, July 16-18) and “Using Large- Scale Databases: NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development” (University of North Carolina, August 4-8).

To learn about the other ATIs planned for this summer, visit the APA's ATI website, or contact us by e-mail. The line-up of ATIs for each summer is announced in December of the preceding winter, so be sure to check back at the website and stay tuned to PSA for announcements!