Big Data: Exploratory Data Mining in Behavioral Research

Arizona State University
Tempe, Ariz.
June 1-5, 2015

asu-psychology-buildingThis ATI provides an overview of recent methodological advances in exploratory data mining for the analysis of psychological and behavioral data. In contrast to traditional hypothesis-driven approaches to analysis, exploratory data mining enables investigators to assess the predictive value of all possible combinations of variables in a data set. Data mining has emerged in recent years as a major area of statistical research and practice and is increasingly employed by psychologists and other behavioral scientists.

Exploratory data mining techniques are particularly useful for the analysis of very large data sets, as can arise in clinical, survey, psychometric and genomic research. These techniques are often a natural follow-up to standard multivariate analyses in cases in which investigators have either: (1) obtained significant results and seek to know whether there are other important patterns in the data; (2) obtained no notable results and wonder whether there are any important patterns to be found; or (3) developed questions that are too general or imprecisely formulated to be addressed through hypothesis testing.

The five-day course will cover the conceptual bases and strategies of exploratory data mining, and will review leading current techniques and software, including those based on canonical regression models and on pattern searches with recursive partitioning (see a tentative course schedule). Participants should also bring their own laptop computer equipped with SPSS or SAS and with R (available for free online). The primary software for instruction will be SAS and R, although code will also be provided for SPSS and instructors will be familiar with that and other programs.

The course will be directed by John McArdle (University of Southern California). Other instructors are expected to include: Gilbert Ritschard (University of Geneva, Switzerland), George Marcoulides (University of California, Riverside) and Kevin Grimm (Arizona State University).

Enrollment is limited to 30 participants. Applications are invited from investigators at the faculty/professional, postdoctoral and advanced graduate student levels. The ATI is open to investigators from both within and outside of the United States.

See the APA Monitor article about this ATI.

How to Apply

Submit the online application form and upload your CV. If you have any questions about submitting the application or encounter any problems, please contact Nicolle Singer by email or by telephone at (202) 336-6000.


Applications are still being accepted for this APA Advanced Training Institute (ATI). Applications will continue to be accepted until seats are filled. Any applications received after seats have been filled will be placed on a waiting list. To read about opportunities such as the Advanced Training Institutes as soon as they are announced please subscribe to the Science Directorate e-newsletter.


Faculty: APA member — $750; Nonmember — $1,200
Postdoc/Graduate student: APA member — $375; Nonmember — $550

Discount opportunity: In order to make it feasible for people to attend both ATIs being held this year at Arizona State (Structural Equation Modeling and Exploratory Data Mining), which are taking place on consecutive weeks, those who are accepted for and attend both ATIs will receive a 20 percent discount on tuition.


Participants will receive a group discount on rooms at the Residence Inn Tempe Downtown/University, near the Arizona State University oampus.

Financial Assistance

The APA Science Directorate will be able to provide a limited amount of financial assistance to support travel and lodging of some ATI participants. If you wish to apply for financial assistance, please contact ATI for a copy of the ATI Financial Assistance Request Form and instructions. The completed form must be received by the APA Science Directorate by April 14, 2015. Financial assistance decisions are made independently from decisions about selection for the ATI, so it is appropriate to apply for financial assistance before hearing about selection for the ATI or after being placed on a waiting list. Preference will be given to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, but participants at other career levels will also be considered if sufficient funds are available. The amount of financial assistance that is provided will defray only a portion of overall travel and lodging costs. Applicants will be notified about financial assistance decisions prior to the ATI registration deadline.

Applicants are also encouraged to consult with their research mentors or department heads about the availability of institutional funds to support this advanced training opportunity.

Cancellation Policy

If you cancel up to 30 days prior to the start date, and we are able to fill your place, a full refund will be provided. If you cancel less than 30 days prior, and we are able to fill your place, we will give a refund of 75 percent. If you cancel at any time and we are unable to fill your place, then no refund can be provided.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call (202) 336-6000, or send an email to Advanced Training Institute.