Peter  Molenaar 

photo of Peter Molenaar

Distinguished Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Contact Information

415 BBH Building
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park PA 16802

814-863-8373

(fax) 814-863-7963

pxm21@psu.edu

quantdev.ssri.psu.edu/

Research Interests

The general theme of my work concerns the application of mathematical theories to solve substantive psychological issues. Some specific elaborations of this theme are the following.

1. An important aim of Psychology is to describe, explain and guide processes occurring at the level of individual subjects. I have proven that the appropriate methodology required for realizing this aim has to be based on person-specific analyses of intra-individual variation, i.e., time series analysis. The new person-specific methodology is being applied to a variety of psychological processes, including mother-child interaction, personality development, and cognitive aging. Additional applications to individual psycho-therapeutic processes and person-specific brain imaging are in preparation.

2. An important feature of person-specific methodology is the possibility to apply state-of-the-art engineering techniques, in particular computational control theory, in order to optimally guide learning and developmental processes as well as disease processes. Applications of control theory to patient-specific optimal treatment of diabetes type I and asthma patients are in progress.

3. Additional applications of mathematical theories to solve substantive psychological issues in my work include a) the use of artificial neural networks to investigate nonlinear epigenetic processes, b) innovative structural equation modeling techniques to analyze longitudinal data, and c) the use of nonlinear dynamical models of developmental stage transitions.

Education

Ph.D., 1981, Social Sciences, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands
M.A., 1976, Mathematical Psychology, cum laude, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands
M.A., 1976, Psychophysiology, cum laude, University of Utrecht , The Netherlands
B.A., 1972, Psychology, cum laude, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands
B.A., 1976, Philosophical Logic, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands

Professional Experience

1970-1976: Research Assistant, Department of Psychology, University of Utrecht

1976-1985: Assistant Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam

1985-1993: Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Amsterdam

1993-1996: Professor of Developmental Psychology, University of Amsterdam and The Pennsylvania State University

1996-1998: Professor of Developmental Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Head of Department of Cognitive Developmental Psychology

1999-2001: Professor of Mathematical and Developmental Psychology University of Amsterdam, Head of Methodology Department and Head of Department of Cognitive Developmental Psychology

2001- 2005: Professor of Psychological Methodology, Mathematical Psychology and Psychometrics, University of Amsterdam, Head Methodology Department

2005-Present: Professor of Human Development, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University

Selected Publications

Molenaar, P. C. M. (2003). State Space Techniques in Structural Equation Modeling: Transformation of latent variables in and out of latent variable models.State Space Techniques

Elavsky, E., Molenaar, P.C.M., Gold, C.H., Williams, N.I., & Aronson, K.R. (2012). Daily physical activity and menopausal hot flashes: Applying a novel within-person approach to demonstrate individual differences. Maturitas, 71, 287-293.

Gates, K.M., & Molenaar, P.C.M. (2012). Group search algorithm recovers effective connectivity maps for individuals in homogeneous and heterogeneous samples. NeuroImage, 63, 310-319.

Molenaar, P.C.M. & Lo, L. (2012). Dynamic factor analysis and control of developmental processes. In: B. Laursen, T.D. Little, & N.A. Card (Eds.), Handbook of developmental research methods. New York: Guilford Press, 333-349.

Molenaar, P.C.M., Smit, D.J.A., Boomsma, D.I., & Nesselroade, J.R. (2012). Estimation of subject-specific heritabilities from intra-individual variation: iFACE. Twin Research and Human Genetics, 15, 393-400.

Gates, K.M., Molenaar, P.C.M., Hillary, F.G., & Slobounov, S. (2011). Extended unified SEM approach for modeling event-related fMRI data. NeuroImage, 54, 1151-1158.

Molenaar, P.C.M., & Newell, K.M. (Eds.) (2010). Individual pathways of change: Statistical models for analyzing learning and development. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Gates, K.M., Molenaar, P.C.M., Hillary, F.G., Ram, N., & Rovine, M.J. (2010). Automatic search for fMRI connectivity mapping: An alternative to Granger causality testing using formal equivalences among SEM path modeling, VAR and unified SEM. NeuroImage, 50, 1118-1125.

Molenaar, P.C.M. (2010). Note on optimization of psychotherapeutic processes. Journal of Mathematical Psychology, 54, 208-213.

Molenaar, P.C.M., & Campbell, C.G. (2009). The new person-specific paradigm in psychology. Current Directions in Psychology, 18(2), 112-117.

Curriculum Vitae

.pdf icon Peter Molenaar vitae

Strategic Themes

  • Methodology