Advanced Psychometrics Methods in Cognitive Aging Research
June 9-June 14, 2014

Measurement, Methods and Mechanisms in Randomized Controlled Trials: The ACTIVE Study

Conference Schedule now posted

Travel Arrangements

Please make you own travel arrangements to and from Seattle. Contact Amanda Simmons if you have questions.

Costs and Reimbursement - 2014

Our NIA conference grant enables us to reimburse many conference participants for expenses related to the meeting. We indicated in the invitation letter sent out to each prospective participant what we will be able to reimburse. Information about costs and our policy for reimbursement is available in Reimbursement.

Meal expenses. Because of NIH policies about paying for food from grants, it will be necessary that all US participants who will eating at the Friday Harbor Lab Dining Hall pay for these costs upfront. You will be reimbursed for this expense after the meeting if we indicated in the invitation letter that we will cover this expense. Please let Amanda know if you don't plan to eat at the Friday Harbor Dining Hall. Otherwise, we will invoice you for meals before the meeting. We ask you to bring a personal check for $148 ($37 per day Tuesday-Friday) to give to Amanda at registration. No credit cards please. This does not apply to participants coming from outside the US; we will use non-NIH funds to pay this expense. If you would like to go out to dinner in Friday Harbor on your own one night or more, you are free to do so, but please let Amanda know in advance so that she can let the dining hall manager know. Our reimbursement from the grant covers about $16 per dinner and the rest will be up to you.

Lodging expenses and conference fees will be paid directly from the grant if we notified you that we will cover these expenses. You will not have to pay for these at registration. These expenses will be included in the pre-conference invoice for those paying their own expenses. Please bring a check for the invoiced amount to registration.

Our 2014 policy on reimbursement for airfare in described in Reimbursement.

Amanda will provide you at registration with forms and procedures for reimbursement. It may take several weeks after the meeting for reimbursement to be processed and sent out.

Please refer to Reimbursement and FAQ's - Conference Logistics in the sidebar for general policy on costs and reimbursement.

Applications have been reviewed, and notifications were sent out on March 17, 2014. If you applied and have not heard from us please email Dan Mungas (

2014 Conference Overview

The 11th annual conference on the application of modern psychometric methods to measurement issues in cognitive aging research will be held June 9-June 14, 2014 at the University of Washington's Friday Harbor Laboratories in the San Juan Islands, WA.

The Advanced Psychometric Methods Workshop at Friday Harbor Laboratories is an NIH/NIA-funded conference that provides didactic and applied research experiences (work groups) that support the development of expertise to advance science in the area of cognitive aging.

This spring (June 9-14, 2014), the workshop will explore measurement, methods, mechanisms, and other critical inference issues for intervention studies using data from the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) cognitive intervention study (1998-2010). Workgroups will address how modern data analysis methods can lead to improved power, precision, and reduction of bias in the evaluation of clinical trials.

Participation in the FHL Advanced Psychometric Methods Workshop is by invitation and by competitive application. Space limits the number of participants. Participants are encouraged from all levels (graduate students, post-docs, junior faculty, mid and senior faculty). Expertise in psychometrics, statistics, or other quantitative sciences is not a prerequisite, but a commitment to cognitive aging research is.

Conference Description

The 2014 meeting will be chaired by Richard Jones and Alden Gross, and several investigators from the ACTIVE study will be present to represent the study and participate in workgroups. The focus of this meeting will be on improving measurement and reducing bias in outcome measures for intervention studies to ultimately improve ability to develop interventions to maintain cognitive health.

Data will come from the ACTIVE (Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly, 1998-2010) study. ACTIVE is the largest randomized controlled trial of a behavioral cognitive improvement intervention among older adults. Approximately 2,800 persons were randomly assigned to one of four arms, three active treatments and one no-contact control. The cohort was followed at 12 weeks and 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10 years after baseline, randomization and treatment. Results from the 10 follow-up were recently published and showed evidence of maintenance of treatment effects over this extended period of follow-up. Workgroups at this meeting will analyze public use data archived at NACDA/ICPSR.

As in the previous conferences, the workshop will be organized around workgroups that will perform analyses related to scientific manuscripts. Our goal will be to substantially complete analyses during the week and then organize the workgroups for further interactions to complete the manuscripts. Workgroups and plans for data analysis will be further developed as the meeting approaches. We welcome ideas from applicants about scientific and analytic goals for workgroups for this meeting.

This conference is supported by a conference grant from the National Institute on Aging (R13 AG030995) that began in 2008 and extends through 2017. We will be able to provide full support for travel, lodging, meals and conference fees for many attendees. We may be able to consider additional attendees who will need to provide their own funding. Anticipated costs for professionals (including lodging, meals, conference and facility fees) are about $700, and for undergraduate and graduate students are about $500. These cost estimates do not include the expense of travel to and from Seattle.

Friday Harbor Laboratories

The Friday Harbor Laboratories are located on San Juan Island, part of an archipelago that lies between the mainland and Vancouver Island. The 484-acre tract of land on which the Laboratories are situated, and the marine waters of the region in general, are biological preserves. We will stay in the dorm rooms (or in hotels in town) and eat in the rustic dining hall at the harbor shore. Extra-curricular activities on the island include walks/runs on the trails that weave through the forests on the island, whale watching, kayaking, and beach combing. The Friday Harbor facilities are spartan; lodging is in simple dormitory rooms with shared bathroom facilities, and while the food is excellent, dining is cafeteria style. This is not a resort, but the setting is beautiful and very conducive to informal and productive interaction. The town of Friday Harbor may be reached by scheduled air service from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, scheduled seaplane service from downtown Seattle, and by Washington State Ferries from Anacortes, about 70 miles north of Seattle. We will provide transportation from the Seattle airport to Friday Harbor via vans and ferries for conference participants.

Psychometric Workshop Program Committee

Paul K Crane MD, MPH, University of Washington
Laura Gibbons PhD, University of Washington
M. Maria Glymour, SD, University of California, San Francisco
Alden Gross, PhD, Johns Hopkins University
Richard N. Jones ScD, Brown University
Jennifer Manly PhD, Columbia University
Dan Mungas PhD, University of California, Davis


If you have questions, please contact Amanda Simmons (, Dan Mungas ( or Richard Jones ( Amanda can be reached by cell phone during the week of the conference at (916)606-6720.

Mission Statement

The overall mission of the “Advanced Psychometric Methods for Cognitive Aging Research” conference series is to promote the use of state of the art psychometric and related data analytic methods in cognitive aging research. Specific objectives are:

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 will have diverse backgrounds in terms of level of training, experience, areas of expertise, gender and ethnicity. Each conference will be organized around an existing dataset from studies that have been highly influential in cognitive aging research. Each meeting will include didactic training on advanced psychometric and statistical methods relevant to these studies, and a major part of the program will be devoted to data analyses that address specific scientific hypotheses relevant to the parent studies. Workgroups will continue to interact after the conference to follow these analyses to completion of scientific manuscripts.

Didactic training will address basics of item response theory, latent variable modeling, and other data analytic methods relevant to the studies and data sets being used. More in depth mentored experience in using these methods will be provided during the workgroups. Diversity in substantive and methodological expertise of participants will be emphasized so that the conference promotes learning for all participants and establishes an informal network to enhance research on cognitive changes associated with aging.