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1) expose developing and established researchers in cognitive aging to modern psychometric techniques
2) expose experts in psychometric theory and methods to the practical and theoretical concerns of cognitive aging research
3) encourage collaborative research and production of manuscripts based on the interactions of researchers, psychometricians, and statisticians during these conferences.
Conference participants have diverse backgrounds in terms of level of training, experience, areas of expertise, gender and ethnicity. Each conference is organized around an existing dataset from studies that have been highly influential in cognitive aging research. Each meeting includes didactic training on advanced psychometric and statistical methods relevant to these studies, and a major part of the program is devoted to data analyses that address specific scientific hypotheses relevant to the parent studies. Workgroups continue to interact after the conference to follow these analyses to completion of scientific manuscripts.
Didactic training addresses basics of item response theory, latent variable modeling, longitudinal data analysis, and other data analytic methods relevant to the studies and data sets being used. More in depth mentored experience in using these methods is provided during the workgroups. Diversity in substantive and methodological expertise of participants is emphasized so that the conference promotes learning for all participants and establishes an informal network to enhance research on cognitive changes associated with aging.