Psychology Colloquium: Dr. Jennifer Tackett, Northwestern University

Dr. Jennifer Tackett, Northwestern University

Title: Who knows what about a kid? Adventures in measuring child personality.

Abstract: Measuring personality in children is challenging, with self-report questionnaire data either impossible to collect or psychometrically problematic. Consequently, multi-informant, multi-method data is the norm, but this raises questions around how to combine the various sources of information. In this talk, I review a line of research from our lab that has examined the types of information gathered from various informants, particularly mothers and fathers, and various sources, particularly “thin slice” video data of the children themselves rated by unacquainted observers. I present some of our experiences with integrating these data and examining their predictive associations with various behavioral outcomes.

Throughout the talk, I will also contextualize this research program in the broader conversation around replicability in psychological science. In particular, I highlight this as a type of research that does not readily conform to many current recommendations and practices in the replication “movement”. I also discuss other work in our lab criticizing current definitions of “replication”, an overemphasis of the null hypothesis significance testing paradigm amongst replication advocates, and provide concrete examples that move research programs such as this toward open science goals of transparency and replication.

Jennifer Tackett. Photo: University of Houston

Dr. Jennifer L. Tackett is a Professor and Director of Clinical Psychology at Northwestern University. Her research focuses on understanding externalizing psychopathology in childhood and adolescence, including physical and relational aggression, delinquency, personality disorder, and addiction. She is an associate editor at the Journal of Personality and Perspectives in Psychological Science, and a former associate editor at the Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, the Journal of Personality Disorders, and the Journal of Research in Personality.


Annually the Department of Psychology hosts a Colloquia Series throughout the academic year.