In the history of psychology there have been three really major methodological developments. The first was to realize that psychology could be thought of as a science (as opposed to a philosophical endeavour) and to appreciate that the scientific method is relevant to the study of human behaviour. The second was to understand that mathematics could be used to describe human behaviour. In fact, the application of mathematics happened at about the same time as the introduction of the scientific method, as psychology sought to import the methods of physics. The third was the introduction of brain imaging technologies to understand how the brain implements the mind.
We are in the midst of two new revolutions in methodology. Wearable technologies and the Internet of Things provide us with ways of quantifying the environments in which individuals operate, while social network data for the first time allows us to record the relationships and interactions between group members in situ.
The Complex Human Data Hub aims to build a more comprehensive, ecologically valid and translationally relevant psychological science by:
- drawing big data from wearable sensors, the internet of things, ecological momentary assessment and online social networks
- building big models of psychological processes using advances in Bayesian techniques, machine learning and computational linguistics
- crossing different levels of analysis - from individuals to groups to populations.