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Quantitative Methods

Photograph of Anthony Bishara, Ph.D.

Dr. Anthony Bishara

I have two research foci: Cognitive Psychology and Quantitative Psychology.

My research in Cognitive Psychology involves studying memories of students through laboratory experiments. I am particularly interested in how multiple choice tests can help or hurt students’ memory retention. Answering this question can help teachers and professors design better tests that enhance the learning experience.  I am also interested in how researchers (scientists, professors in various fields) make decisions about graphs and statistics.

My research in Quantitative Psychology relies on computer programming and simulation. I am interested in how typical statistics are distorted by non-normal data (not shaped like a bell-curve), and how alternative statistics can prevent this distortion. This is important because most psychological data are non-normal.

Students working with me on memory projects gain experience with conducting memory tests on computers and with research ethics. Students working on statistical projects gain experience with computer programming, simulation, and data exploration.

Recent Publications:

Bishara, A.J., & Hittner, J.B. (2015). Reducing bias and error in the correlation coefficient due to nonnormality. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 75(5), 785-804.

Bishara, A.J., & Lanzo, L.A. (2015). All of the above: When multiple correct response options enhance the testing effect. Memory, 23(7), 1013-1028.

Photograph of James Hittner, Ph.D.

Dr. Jim Hittner

My three basic areas of research are personality-health psychology, substance use and HIV-risky sexual behavior, and statistical methodology. More specifically, I examine (a) how personality variables, such as anxiety and optimism, influence psychological well-being, (b) how alcohol use, drug use, and personality can heighten the probability of engaging in high-risk sexual behavior, and (c) how various statistical methods, such as the correlation coefficient or the pre- to post-intervention gain score, perform under different simulated conditions (e.g., different population distributions, sample sizes, etc.). My first area of research enhances our understanding of how personality affects psychological health, and my second area of research generates new knowledge concerning the predictors and correlates of risky sexual behavior. My third area of inquiry (statistical methodology) provides recommendations to researchers concerning the validity of various statistical techniques under a variety of different scenarios.

Students who work with me participate in all facets of the research project, ranging from library research, to data analysis and interpretation, to surveying and testing research participants, to manuscript preparation and writing.

Photograph of Stephen Short, Ph.D.

Dr. Stephen Short

Broadly speaking, my two areas of research include attitudes toward science and psychological statistics. I have examined individuals’ attitudes toward and knowledge of the theory of evolution by surveying both college students and the general public. Currently, I'm also interested in examining  acceptance and attitudes toward climate change. One goal of this research is to help find improvements for education that can increase acceptance of science. In my statistics research, I use computer simulations to develop and evaluate quantitative methods used in psychological scale development and model testing. Students working in my lab can gain personal experience conducting literature reviews, designing new studies, running experiments, collecting data, analyzing data, and presenting results at conferences.

For more information, check out my website: