William Revelle

Education

Employment

Northwestern University

  • Chairman, Department of Psychology 1987 - 1993, 1998-2001
  • Professor of Psychology 1984 - present
  • Associate Professor of Psychology 1979 -1984
  • Assistant Professor of Psychology 1973 - 1979

University of Michigan

  • Teaching Assistant, 1972-1973
  • Research Assistant, 1968-1970
United States Peace Corps Volunteer Sarawak, Malaysia September 1965-December 1967

Research

The study of personality is the last refuge of the generalist in psychology. As such, my interests in personality theory include the biological basis of personality and motivation, psychometric theory, the structure of daily mood and models of attention and memory.

Recent work in the Personality, Motivation, and Cognition Laboratory has focused on the interactive effects of personality (e.g., impulsivity, trait anxiety) and situational determinants of motivation (e.g., time-of-day, caffeine, films, monetary incentives, exercise) as they combine to influence motivational states (energetic and tense arousal), and how these motivational states in turn affect cognitive processes (sustained attention, working-memory capacity, long-term memory) to determine cognitive performance. The long term goal is to develop a better understanding of how individual differences interact with situational moderators to affect efficient information processing.

Additional work in personality theory has focused on the personality characteristics associated with differential sensitivities to cues for reward and punishment. Current work is being done on the personality and situational determinants of affective state and dimensional analyses of affect.

Another continuing project is refining Synthetic Aperture Personality Assessment (SAPA) methodology. SAPA takes advantage of the web to administer small subsets of personality and ability items to different participants responding over the web. By appropriate design considerations, it is possible to synthetically combine these small subsets into very large correlation matrices suitable for psychometric analysis. This is an ongoing project that has collected data from somewhat more than 260,000 participants on more than 1,200 different items. Examples of this work include an analysis of the structure of trust as well as the relationship between personality and cognition.

I am also working on the Personality Project , an attempt to bring information about current personality theory and research to the readers of the World Wide Web. Suggestions for additions to this project are very welcome. It is always out of date, but I try to maintain it when sporadically.

For the past twelve years I have been using the statistical analysis package, R, a powerful descriptive and analytical tool. As have many others faced with the problem of learning R, I have developed a number of short (and not so short) tutorials to help others. A shorter form of this tutorial is devoted to basic statistical procedures for doing personality research. In addition, I have given a number of short courses on the use of R in psychology in general and in personality in particular. I have converted many of my older programs into R and continue on developing new techniques. This is described in two vignettes (an introduction and an overview for the psych package as well as the users guide to the psych package. Earlier programs now completely rewritten in R include ICLUST and VSS (Very Simple Structure). Newer functions include estimating omega, general exploratory factor analysis and many convenient functions for working with personality (particularly Synthetic Aperture Personality Assessment- SAPA) data. The most recent development version of my psych package may be downloaded from the depository at the personality-project (http://personality-project.org/r/src>, or the general CRAN repository at cran.R-project.org.

Recent Publications

(See also Google Scholar's organization of my research.)

Go here for a more complete list of publications in html or for a pdf of my vita or see Northwestern Scholars or Google Scholar's organization of my research.

Recent and current grant support

  • (PI) Revelle, W. The International Cognitive Ability Resource. NSF SMA- 1419324. 4/1/14-3/31/16.
  • (Sponsor) PI: Wilt, Joshua: National Research Service Award for predoctoral training. 1 F31 MH093041-01 (1/01/11-6/30/12)
  • Co-I (Michael Wolf, PI): LITCOG II: Health Literacy and Cognitive Func- tion among Older Adults. NIH/NIA 2 R01 AG30611-04 (2007-2016)

Recent presentations

  • Revelle, W. (2017) Personality: an Open and shared science) Keynote presented to the Southwestern Psychology Association, San Antonio, Tx. April.
  • Revelle, W. and Condon, D. M. (2016b). Personality, ability and interests: Real world outcomes. In Part of symposium: Broadening the scope of personality research: the place of personality, ability and interests in determining real world outcomes., Timisoara, Romania. European Conference on Personality
  • Revelle, W. and Condon, D. M. (2016a). Embrace your missingness. Part of symposium: approaching complex research designs from the perspective of missing data., Chicago, Il. Association for Psychological Science
  • Revelle, W. (2016b). Personality at three levels of analysis . Buzios, Brazil. Keynote Address to the 2nd World Conference on Personality (April)
  • Revelle, W. (2016). Personality research: an open and shared science . talk given to the Harvard University Department of Psychology. (March)
  • Revelle, W. (2015d). Personality research: an open and shared science . Novi Sad, Serbia. Current Trends in Psychology Conference (October)
  • Revelle, W. and Condon, D. M. (2015a). Ability, temperament, and interests: their joint predictive power for job choice. Albuquerque, New Mexico. International Society for the Study of Intelligence (September)
  • Revelle, W. (2015, July) Synthetic Aperture Personality Assessment: An old technique applied with modern technology. (Presented as part of a symposium Studying Individual Differences Using the Web: A Report from the SAPA Project. Organized by William Revelle.) International Society for the Study of Individual Differences. London, Ontario.
  • Revelle, W. (2015, February). psych: a general purpose toolkit for personality and psychological research. (Part of a symposium on using R in personality research. Organized by Steven D. Short, Presented at the Society of Personality and Social Psychology Long Beach, California.
  • Condon, D. M. & Revelle, W. (2014, July). The many little items of "Big Five" measures: Hierarchy, complexity and predictive utility. Paper session at the 17th European Conference on Personality, Lausanne, Switzerland.
  • Condon, D. M. & Revelle, W. (2014, July). Cross-Domain Assessment of Individual Differences: The Unique Benefits of Public-Domain Measures. Symposia at the 17th European Conference on Personality, Lausanne, Switzerland.
  • Revelle, W. & Condon, D. M. (2014, July). Personality and ability: Assessing ability using the international cognitive ability resource (ICAR) Symposia at the 17th European Conference on Personality, Lausanne, Switzerland.
  • Elleman, L., Condon, D. M., French, J. A., & Revelle, W., (2014, February). Personality Change Beyond the Big Five: Personality Aspects, Vocational Interests and Cognitive Ability. Poster session presented at the 15th annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Austin, TX.
  • Revelle, W and Brown A. (2013) Standard errors for SAPA correlations. Presented at the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology, St. Petersburg, Florida. (October, 2013)
  • Revelle, W. (2013) Expanding Eysenck's toolbox: Beyond correlational and experimental research. The H.J. Eysenck Prize Lecture, International Society for the Study of Individual Differences, July, 2013, Barcelona, Spain
  • Revelle, W. and Condon, D. (2013) Personality at 3 levels of abstraction. Presented as part of a symposium: Toward Integrative theories of personality, International Society for the Study of Individual Differences, July 2013, Barcelona, Spain
  • Revelle, W. (2013) Traditional and modern psychometrics using R. Presented as part of a symposium: Using R in personality research. The First World Conference on Personality, March, 2013. Stellenbosch, S.A.
  • Khairul A. Mastor, Hasnan Kasan, Joshua Wilt, and William Revelle (2013) Using multilevel modelling to study affect changes during Ramadan fasting. Presented as part of a symposium: Using R in personality research. The First World Conference on Personality, March, 2013. Stellenbosch, S.A.
  • Revelle, W. (2013) An introduction to R in Personality Research. A short course presented at the First World Conference of Personality. March, 2013. Stellenbosch, S.A.
  • David M. Condon and William Revelle (2012) The International Cognitive Ability Resources: Development and initial validation of a public-domain measure. Presented at the 13 annual meeting of the International Society for Intelligence Research, San Antonio, Texas, December, 2012. (presented by DMC).
  • William Revelle and David Condon (2012) Multilevel analysis of personality: Personality of college majors. Presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology. October, Vancouver, B.C.
  • William Revelle and David Condon (2012) Personality structure beyond the Big 5: Expanding the boundaries of personality research. Invited talk presented at the European Association of Personality Psychology "Experts Meeting". September, 2012, Dubrovnik, Croatia.
  • William Revelle and Joshua Wilt (2012) On when a factor is a general factor. Invited talk presented at the European Association of Personality Psychology ``Experts Meeting''. September, 2012, Dubrovnik, Croatia.
  • William Revelle (2012) An introduction to R: A short course. Presented at the Association for Psychological Science annual meeting. Chicago. May, 2012.
  • Revelle, W., & Condon, D. M., (2012, May). Ability or Temperament? A Psychometric Analysis of Emotional Intelligence: Is More Better? Symposium at the 24th annual convention of the Association for Psychological Sciences. Chicago, IL.
  • William Revelle and David Condon (2012) Temperament, ability, and interests predict important real world choices. Part of a Symposium: Motivation as a basic personality process. Organized by Luke Smillie and Joshua Wilt. Annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Motivation, Chicago, May, 2012.
  • William Revelle, Joshua Wilt and David Condon (2011) Telemetrics: Measuring personality at a distance. A symposium at the Biennial Meeting of the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences, London. July, 2011.
  • Revelle, W. (2011) .Individual differences beyond temperament: Expanding the boundaries of personality. Presented to the British Society for the Psychology of Individual Differences, July, 2011.
  • Revelle, W. (2011) R: A short Course (Presentations to the Association of Psychological Science, May, 2011 and to Association for Research in Personality, June, 2011. )
  • Revelle, W, and Wilt, J. (2010) A methodological critique of claims for a general factor of personality. Presented as part of a symposium: Mapping the Personalty Sphere, Niels Waller (organizer), European Conference on Personality, Brno, Czech Republic, July, 2010 (warning: pdf is 14 mb)
  • Revelle, W. and Wilt, J. (2009) Is there a general factor of personality? Probably not. Paper presented at the 49th annual meeting of the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology, Oregon, October, 2009. (4.3 mb pdf)
  • Revelle, W. (2007) I am an differential psychologist. Presidential address delivered to the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences, July, 2007. Giesen, Germany. (slides)
  • Revelle, W. (2006) Individual differences in Cognition: the Personality-Cognition link. Presented at a symposiom "Individual differences in cognition" A symposium organized by Blazej Szymura and Edward Necka Cracow, Poland, September 15-17, 2006
  • Revelle, W. (2006) The ABCDs of Personality and the Problem of Categorization. Part of a Symposium: Categorisation, Decision-Making and Personality (Luke Smillie & William Revelle, organizers) European Conference of Personality, Athens, 2006.
  • Revelle, W. (2006) Synthetic Aperture Personality Assessment. Invited paper at the Midwestern Psychological Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, May, 2006.
  • Revelle, W. (2005). R: statistics for all of us. Prepared for part of the symposium on Multivariate Statistical Methods in Individual Differences Research International Society for the Study of Individual Differences Biennial meeting, Adelaide, July , 2005
  • Revelle, W. (2003) Emotions are to Personality as Weather is to Climate: Analogical reasoning as a tool for scientific investigation. Paper presented at the ETS conference on Emotional Intelligence. November, 2003.
  • Revelle, W., Laun, G. (2004) Synthetic Aperture Personality Assessment. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology, October, 2004.
  • Revelle, W., Rafaeli, E, and Adler, J (2003) Personality within individuals: estimating individual differences in endogenous and exogenous affective responses: Measuring the dynamics of personality. Paper presented at the 2003 meeting of the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences, Graz, Austria. July, 2003.
  • Revelle, W & Rafaeli-Mor, E (2000) Within subject measures of affect and arousal: implications for the study of personality and cognition. Prepared as part of the symposium: Energetic Aspects of personality and cognition, E. Necka and G. Matthews, chairs. (Paper presented at the 10th Meeting of the European Association of Personality Psychology, Krakow, Poland, July, 2000.) (Abstract and pdf handout)
  • A more complete list and some abstracts of recent publications.

Personal and other interests

Although a long time resident of Evanston, I was raised in La Jolla where I tended to spend too much time on the beach or racing Flying Dutchmen. I now like to sail Lasers and Laser IIs on (and sometime in) Lake Michigan as well as kayak along the Lake Michigan shore. In 2001-2003 Eleanor and I finished a house on Lakeside Court to capture the feeling of water that we had associated with California and to demonstrate the possibilities of building an energy efficient house. I have been known to visit the occasional Ultimate Frisbee match when it is convenient.

I am the vice-chair of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists , an international organization with the mission to inform the public of existential threats to mankind, including nuclear weapons, climate change, and emerging diseases. I am interested in exploring the ways that the web can increase citizen participation by increasing public access to information using projects such as that of the League of Women Voters or the Federation of American Scientists, or the Borneo Project, which is affiliated with the Friends of Malaysia, an organization of Returned Peace Corp Volunteers. For a discussion of the way that the web can used for informing the public, see the Cyberstrategy[tm] discussion by John Pike, formerly of the FAS. Other examples of use of the web for encouraging active citizen involvement are also available. (Note that some of these are very ancient pages that are kept mainly to remind us all how far the web has progressed since 1995.)

Another use of the web is in linking distant relatives together through genealogical research.