Time-Structured and Net Intraindividual Variability: Tools for Examining the Development of Dynamic Characteristics and Processes

Nilam Ram, Denis Gerstorf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

234 Scopus citations

Abstract

The study of intraindividual variability is the study of fluctuations, oscillations, adaptations, and "noise" in behavioral outcomes that manifest on microtime scales. This article provides a descriptive frame for the combined study of intraindividual variability and aging/development. At the conceptual level, we show that the study of intraindividual variability provides access to dynamic characteristics-construct-level descriptions of individuals' capacities for change (e.g., lability)-and to dynamic processes-the systematic changes that individuals exhibit in response to endogenous and exogenous influences (e.g., regulation). At the methodological level, we review how quantifications of net intraindividual variability and models of time-structured intraindividual variability are used to measure and describe dynamic characteristics and processes. At the research design level, we point to the benefits of measurement-burst study designs, wherein data are obtained across multiple time scales, for the study of development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)778-791
Number of pages14
JournalPsychology and aging
Volume24
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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