B.S. in Physics and Mathematics, Marshall University, 1999-2004
M.S. in Physics, B.S. in Psychology, The University of Kentucky, 2004-2007, 2009-2011
Ph.D. Student in Personality/Health Psychology Northwestern University, 2011-present
As a personality psychologist with an extensive background in physics, I have long been interested in what might be termed psychological Grand Unified Theories (GUTs). To that end, my research focuses on psychometrics and computational models of personality, with special emphasis on individual differences in traits and affective experience. Most recently, I have designed and am validating a simulation that blends elements of Jeffrey Gray’s Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory and Revelle and Condon’s Cues-Tendencies-Actions model.
Psychometrics and Scale Development
My interest in building integrative models (i.e. GUTs) of personality has guided my choice of research collaborators. During my undergraduate career, I worked with Thomas Widiger to develop a self-report measure of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder based on the Five-Factor Model of personality traits. Later, I chose William Revelle as my PhD adviser not only because of his extensive experience in quantitative and computational approaches to personality, but also because he has long been a champion of the idea that personality is the "last refuge of the generalist in psychology." During my first year at Northwestern, I used data collected on Dr. Revelle's SAPA Project website to investigate the relationships between personality traits, intelligence, and response styles on various tests of cognitive ability.
Psychometrics and Computational Modeling
Integrating disparate lines of research both within personality psychology (e.g. traits, abilities, interests) and between personality psychology and other subdisciplines (e.g. social, cognitive, clinical) requires rigorous attention to psychometric data. My statistical computational modeling research with William Revelle uses simulated SAPA data (which are Massively Missing Completely at Random) in order to pit various analytic techniques against each other; our results indicate that SAPA's simple available-case correlations are superior to those obtained using full-information maximum likelihood estimation.
Computational Modeling, Affect, and Personality
There's strong evidence to suggest that personality influences individuals' risk for unfavourable life outcomes like disease and incarceration; however, in order to better intervene in such problems, psychologists must understand personality traits more precisely. Because computational modeling has such great potential to lend much-needed precision to the study of personality, I have developed a program in R, "CTA-RST," that simulates behavior and emotion in accordance with the predictions of Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory. I am currently validating CTA-RST by using it to model archival data.
Selected publications and presentations
- Brown, A. (in preparation). The Dynamics of Affect: Simulating Individual Differences in Emotional Experience. In A. Pickering & A. Brown (Chairs), Computational approaches to personality research. Symposium to be conducted at the meeting of the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences, Warsaw, Poland (July 2017).
- Revelle, W., Condon, D. M., Wilt, J., French, J. A., Brown, A., & Elleman, L. (2017). Web- and phone-based data collection using planned missing designs. In N. G. Fielding, R. M. Lee, & G. Blank (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of online research methods, 2nd edition (pp. 578-595). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.
- Brown, A. (2015, July). Standard errors of SAPA correlations: A Monte Carlo analysis. In W. Revelle (Chair), Studying individual differences using the web: A report from the SAPA Project. Symposium conducted at the meeting of the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences, London, Ontario.
- Brown, A., Condon, D., & Revelle, W. What Do We Know When We Know an IQ Score? Ability-by-Personality Interactions Predict Intelligence Test Performance and Item Response Styles. Poster session presented at: ARP 2013. 3rd Biennial Conference of the Association for Research in Personality; 2013 Jun 20-22; Charlotte, NC.
- Condon, D. M., Brown-Riddell, A., & Revelle, W. (2012). Scale issues in causality. European Journal of Personality, 26, 391-413.
- Wilt, J., Condon, D. M., Brown-Riddell, A., & Revelle, W. (2012). Fundamental questions in personality. European Journal of Personality, 26, 629-631.
- Samuel, D. B., Riddell, A. D. B., Lynam, D. R., Miller, J. D., & Widiger, T. A. (2012). A Five-Factor measure of obsessive-compulsive personality traits. Journal of Personality Assessment. DOI:10.1080/00223891.2012.677885