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Psych, Volume 2, Issue 4 (December 2020) – 9 articles

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Open AccessArticle
Automated Test Assembly for Large-Scale Standardized Assessments: Practical Issues and Possible Solutions
Psych 2020, 2(4), 315-337; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych2040024 - 25 Nov 2020
Viewed by 203
Abstract
In testing situations, automated test assembly (ATA) is used to assemble single or multiple test forms that share the same psychometric characteristics, given a set of specific constraints, by means of specific solvers. However, in complex situations, which are typical of large-scale assessments, [...] Read more.
In testing situations, automated test assembly (ATA) is used to assemble single or multiple test forms that share the same psychometric characteristics, given a set of specific constraints, by means of specific solvers. However, in complex situations, which are typical of large-scale assessments, ATA models may be infeasible due to the large number of decision variables and constraints involved in the problem. The purpose of this paper is to formalize a standard procedure and two different strategies—namely, additive and subtractive—for overcoming practical ATA concerns with large-scale assessments and to show their effectiveness in two case studies. The MAXIMIN and MINIMAX ATA methods are used to assemble multiple test forms based on item response theory models for binary data. The main results show that the additive strategy is able to identify the specific constraints that make the model infeasible, while the subtractive strategy is a faster but less accurate process, which may not always be optimal. Overall, the procedures are able to produce parallel test forms with similar measurement precision and contents, and they minimize the number of items shared among the test forms. Further research could be done to investigate the properties of the proposed approaches under more complex testing conditions, such as multi-stage testing, and to blend the proposed approaches in order to obtain the solution that satisfies the largest set of constraints. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Learning from Psychometric Data)
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Open AccessArticle
Measurement of Inter-Individual Variability in Assessing the Quality of Life in Respondents with Celiac Disease
Psych 2020, 2(4), 296-314; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych2040023 - 23 Nov 2020
Viewed by 275
Abstract
Quality of life of Celiac Disease (CD) patients is affected by constraints in their physical, social and emotional behaviour. Our objective is to assess differences in two relevant dimensions of the Celiac Quality of Life (CQoL) scale, Limitations due to the disease and [...] Read more.
Quality of life of Celiac Disease (CD) patients is affected by constraints in their physical, social and emotional behaviour. Our objective is to assess differences in two relevant dimensions of the Celiac Quality of Life (CQoL) scale, Limitations due to the disease and Dysphoria (i.e., feelings of depression and discomfort), in relation to the perceived social support and some individual and disease-related characteristics. The paper exploits suitable unidimensional Item Response Theory (IRT) models to individually analyse the two mentioned dimensions of the CQoL and Multidimensional Latent Class IRT models for ordinal polytomous items in order to detect sub-populations of CD patients that are homogenous with respect to the perceived CQoL. The latter methods allow to address patients with similar characteristics to the same treatment, performing at the same time a more tailored overture to health promotion programmes. The analysis extracts the relevant patterns and relations among CD patients, disentangling respondents receiving CD diagnosis in adolescence or adult age rather than in childhood (the first perceive high levels of Limitations and Dysphoria), patients with high perceived social support, a factor influencing in a positive way motivation to engage in management of CD-related distress and psychological well-being, and participants who are married or cohabiting. The latter report higher latent trait levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Learning from Psychometric Data)
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Open AccessBrief Report
Effects of Orientation and Appearance of a Synchronously Moving Object on Hand Movements
Psych 2020, 2(4), 287-295; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych2040022 - 23 Nov 2020
Viewed by 257
Abstract
Various devices have been developed to enable humans to control remote objects using active hand movements. However, it is still unclear how the visual characteristics of a synchronously moving object influences hand movements. This study investigates the effects of visual appearance and orientation [...] Read more.
Various devices have been developed to enable humans to control remote objects using active hand movements. However, it is still unclear how the visual characteristics of a synchronously moving object influences hand movements. This study investigates the effects of visual appearance and orientation of a hand-controlled object on hand movements using a novel visuomotor task. The motion of a visual image on a monitor reflected the participants’ right hand movements in the forwards-backwards direction, but not in the lateral direction (i.e., the lateral position of the image was fixed). Participants performed continuous goal-directed back and forth movements of the visual image for one minute. The image’s appearance (hand and arrow) and orientation (forward (FW), leftward (LW), and rightward (RW)) were manipulated. Unconscious lateral deviations (i.e., drift movements) of the participant’s hand during the task were evaluated. Regardless of appearance, the leftward and rightward image induced leftward and rightward drift movements, compared to the forward image. However, the modulation sizes were similar using arrow images, but not using hand images. Specifically, anatomically plausible hand images elicited greater drift movements than anatomically implausible images. This suggests that both orientation and appearance of a hand-controlled object influences hand movements according to stimulus-response compatibility and body-representation changes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Subjective Happiness and Sleep in University Students with High Myopia
Psych 2020, 2(4), 279-286; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych2040021 - 18 Nov 2020
Viewed by 246
Abstract
Purpose: Recent investigations described a host of disadvantageous myopia comorbidities including decreased QOL, depression, and sleep problems. The present study evaluated mental status and habitual sleep in young subjects with myopia based on the reported association between myopic error and psychiatric profiles. Methods: [...] Read more.
Purpose: Recent investigations described a host of disadvantageous myopia comorbidities including decreased QOL, depression, and sleep problems. The present study evaluated mental status and habitual sleep in young subjects with myopia based on the reported association between myopic error and psychiatric profiles. Methods: This cross-sectional study surveyed 153 university students using a questionnaire containing the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Subjective Happiness Scale (SHS), short morningness/eveningness questionnaire, and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Results: Participants were classified as having high myopia (n = 44), mild myopia (n = 86), or no myopia (n = 23). The SHS and HADS scores in this cohort were significantly worse in the high myopia group than in the other two groups (p < 0.05, t-test). PSQI values were not significantly different among the three groups. Regression analysis correlated myopic error with poor SHS (p = 0.003), eveningness chronotype (p = 0.032), late wake-up time (p = 0.024), and late bedtime (p = 0.019). Conclusions: University students with myopia tended to be unhappy, have an eveningness chronotype, wake up late, and go to bed late compared to less myopic subjects. Optimal correction might, therefore, be beneficial to myopic students in addition to preventing progression to high myopia in early childhood to potentially avoid related negative effects on mental health and sleep habits in adolescence. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Regularized Estimation of the Four-Parameter Logistic Model
Psych 2020, 2(4), 269-278; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych2040020 - 16 Nov 2020
Viewed by 313
Abstract
The four-parameter logistic model is an Item Response Theory model for dichotomous items that limit the probability of giving a positive response to an item into a restricted range, so that even people at the extremes of a latent trait do not have [...] Read more.
The four-parameter logistic model is an Item Response Theory model for dichotomous items that limit the probability of giving a positive response to an item into a restricted range, so that even people at the extremes of a latent trait do not have a probability close to zero or one. Despite the literature acknowledging the usefulness of this model in certain contexts, the difficulty of estimating the item parameters has limited its use in practice. In this paper we propose a regularized estimation approach for the estimation of the item parameters based on the inclusion of a penalty term in the log-likelihood function. Simulation studies show the good performance of the proposal, which is further illustrated through an application to a real-data set. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Learning from Psychometric Data)
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Open AccessArticle
A Practical Cross-Sectional Framework to Contextual Reactivity in Personality: Response Times as Indicators of Reactivity to Contextual Cues
Psych 2020, 2(4), 253-268; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych2040019 - 13 Nov 2020
Viewed by 333
Abstract
Contextual reactivity refers to the degree in which personality states are affected by contextual cues. Research into contextual reactivity has mainly focused on repeated measurement designs. In this paper, we propose a cross-sectional approach to study contextual reactivity. We argue that contextual reactivity [...] Read more.
Contextual reactivity refers to the degree in which personality states are affected by contextual cues. Research into contextual reactivity has mainly focused on repeated measurement designs. In this paper, we propose a cross-sectional approach to study contextual reactivity. We argue that contextual reactivity can be operationalized as different response processes which are characterized by different mean response times and different measurement properties. We propose a within-person mixture modeling approach that adopts this idea and which enables studying contextual reactivity in cross-sectional data. We applied the model to data from the Revised Temperament and Character Inventory. Results indicate that we can distinguish between two response specific latent states. We interpret these states as a high contextual reactive state and a low contextual reactive state. From the results it appears that the low contextual reactive state is generally associated with smaller response times and larger discrimination parameters, as compared to the high contextual reactivity state. The utility of this approach in personality research is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Modern Psychometric Techniques in Psychology)
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Open AccessArticle
Comparison of Recent Acceleration Techniques for the EM Algorithm in One- and Two-Parameter Logistic IRT Models
Psych 2020, 2(4), 209-252; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych2040018 - 10 Nov 2020
Viewed by 242
Abstract
The expectation–maximization (EM) algorithm is an important numerical method for maximum likelihood estimation in incomplete data problems. However, convergence of the EM algorithm can be slow, and for this reason, many EM acceleration techniques have been proposed. After a review of acceleration techniques [...] Read more.
The expectation–maximization (EM) algorithm is an important numerical method for maximum likelihood estimation in incomplete data problems. However, convergence of the EM algorithm can be slow, and for this reason, many EM acceleration techniques have been proposed. After a review of acceleration techniques in a unified notation with illustrations, three recently proposed EM acceleration techniques are compared in detail: quasi-Newton methods (QN), “squared” iterative methods (SQUAREM), and parabolic EM (PEM). These acceleration techniques are applied to marginal maximum likelihood estimation with the EM algorithm in one- and two-parameter logistic item response theory (IRT) models for binary data, and their performance is compared. QN and SQUAREM methods accelerate convergence of the EM algorithm for the two-parameter logistic model significantly in high-dimensional data problems. Compared to the standard EM, all three methods reduce the number of iterations, but increase the number of total marginal log-likelihood evaluations per iteration. Efficient approximations of the marginal log-likelihood are hence an important part of implementation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Conditional or Pseudo Exact Tests with an Application in the Context of Modeling Response Times
Psych 2020, 2(4), 198-208; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych2040017 - 30 Oct 2020
Viewed by 288
Abstract
This paper treats a so called pseudo exact or conditional approach of testing assumptions of a psychometric model known as the Rasch model. Draxler and Zessin derived the power function of such tests. They provide an alternative to asymptotic or large sample theory, [...] Read more.
This paper treats a so called pseudo exact or conditional approach of testing assumptions of a psychometric model known as the Rasch model. Draxler and Zessin derived the power function of such tests. They provide an alternative to asymptotic or large sample theory, i.e., chi square tests, since they are also valid in small sample scenarios. This paper suggests an extension and applies it in a research context of investigating the effects of response times. In particular, the interest lies in the examination of the influence of response times on the unidimensionality assumption of the model. A real data example is provided which illustrates its application, including a power analysis of the test, and points to possible drawbacks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Learning from Psychometric Data)
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Open AccessReview
Influence of Maternal Stress during Pregnancy on Child’s Neurodevelopment
Psych 2020, 2(4), 186-197; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych2040016 - 16 Oct 2020
Viewed by 515
Abstract
(1) Background: High stress levels during pregnancy can affect the organogenesis and the foetus’ central nervous system maturation. The objective of this study was to determine whether a relationship between maternal stress during pregnancy and alterations in child neurodevelopment exists; (2) Methods: A [...] Read more.
(1) Background: High stress levels during pregnancy can affect the organogenesis and the foetus’ central nervous system maturation. The objective of this study was to determine whether a relationship between maternal stress during pregnancy and alterations in child neurodevelopment exists; (2) Methods: A bibliographical review was carried out following PRISMA Methodology and using Scopus, Web of Science and Cinahl databases. The research questions were made using PEO methodology (Participants, Exposition, Outcomes). Moreover, article quality was measured using the Quality Assessment Tool for Observational Cohort and Cross-Sectional Studies; (3) Results: 22 articles that fit the inclusion criteria were selected. Different elements altered because of maternal stress during pregnancy could side with alterations in different areas of the neurodevelopment, such as cognitive development, motor development, behaviour, temperament, memory and learning abilities; (4) Conclusions: Although maternal stress can have an influence on children’s neurodevelopment, it is still unknown which are the specific elements related to this stress that can modify it negatively. Furthermore, future studies should evaluate whether a sex-specific association exists. Full article
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