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Dr D. Borsboom (born in 1973) has been named professor of the Principles of Psychology and Psychometrics at the University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences.

Prof Denny Borsboom, professor Basics of Psychology and Psychometrics

Denny Borsboom researches problems of measurement in psychology. A key question in his research is how theoretical constructs in psychology (such as intelligence, depression or extroversion) relate to observable behaviour or functions thereof (IQ scores, diagnoses or answers to a questionnaire, for instance). Not only does his research involve studying the substantive psychological theory associated with the question, but it also delves into the statistical and epistemological background. Can psychological traits actually be measured? How do psychological measurement methods relate to those of the natural sciences? In what epistemological tradition should modern measurement procedures be placed?

While such questions touch on the principles of psychology itself, they furthermore form a central theme in psychometrics – the branch of science dealing with statistical measurement models for the analysis of psychological data. This means that Borsboom’s research lies on the interface between psychology and psychometrics. He looks at how statistical models can be aligned as closely as possible with substantive theory. This occasionally spurs the construction of new statistical models, or to developing new substantive theory. In addition to publishing articles in journals of methodology, Borsboom develops new psychological theory which often features in specialist publications. This is quite unique in the psychometric tradition, and enables him to build bridges between the various disciplines.

Borsboom has worked as a senior university lecturer in the UvA’s Psychology Department since 2008. He earned a doctorate with distinction in 2003 and subsequently embarked on his career as a university lecturer. He received an Erskine fellowship from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand in 2004. Borsboom has received various research grants, including a Veni and Vidi grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). He regularly publishes articles in scientific journals, such as Psychological Review and Behavioral and Brain Sciences. His book entitled Measuring the mind: Conceptual issues in contemporary psychometrics was published by Cambridge University Press in 2005. His second book entitled Frontiers of test validity theory: Measurement, causation, and meaning is due to be published by Routledge in 2013. Borsboom is a member of several editorial committees, including Frontiers of Quantitative Psychology, Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice and the European Journal of Personality