Summary of my academic 2019

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One of the problems I’ve been facing in academia is that I don’t take pause and celebrate when things go well — after a published paper, I usually just move on too quickly. Rotate, travel, run to the next project. This is my main motivation for keeping this “summary of my academic year” blog series going, to pause and take stock and be proud of the things that went well last year.

1. Teaching

My department allowed me to postpone a lot of my teaching to 2020, because I really wanted to put in my ERC Starting Grant. For this reason, I only taught 3 courses this year (instead of 5), and supervised 8 Bachelor and 15 master students. It was a great experience, and Michael Aristodemou won the best thesis award in Psychology for his work on different theoretical and structural models of psychopathology. I won the best teacher award of our department, which means a ton to me. The prize came with 500€, which I donated to Leiden based organizations that support refugee and LGTBQI+ students. The best teacher award of the faculty went to Claire Vergerio — congratulations Claire!

2. Talks

8 talks in total — you can find all slides here. In 2020, I will try to audio-record my talks so it will be easier for folks to catch up if they’d like to. Looking forward to trying out something new. If you want to check out one or two talks, I’d recommend 1) depression as a problematic phenotype in London (video of the slides + audio online) and 2) theory and measurement crises in clinical psychology in Aarhus (youtube video online).

  1. Chair “Using network models to explore differential relations between depression symptoms and various biomarkers”; talk “Studying relations between individual depression symptoms and inflammatory markers”; ABCT, Atlanta, USA.
  2. “Network theory and dynamical systems models in psychopathology research”. Invited talk at Ludwig-Maximilian-University, Munich, Germany.
  3. “Depression symptomics: Studying individual depression symptoms and their dynamic relations in network models”. Invited talk at McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
  4. “Benefits and drawbacks of latent variable models”. Invited talk at the Max-Planck-Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany.
  5. Chair of the symposium “Recent advances in the use of modeling to explain and predict psychological phenomena from nomothetic & idiographic perspectives”. Association for Psychological Science, Washington DC, USA.
  6. “Depression is a problematic phenotype”. Invited talk, Biomarkers And Genomics Theme, NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre, King’s College London.
  7. “Introduction to network theory and network models”. Invited talk at MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge University.
  8. “Theory and measurement crises as obstacles to replicability in Clinical Psychology“. Invited talk in the workshop Open Science and Reproducibility, Aarhus University.

3. Workshops

4 workshops and 1 hackathon in total — you can find all materials (data, syntax, slides, videos, etc.) here.

  1. “Avoiding questionable measurement practices”. 3-hour workshop together with Jessica Flake, SIPS, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
  2. “Improving Psychological Science by Formalizing Psychological Theories: The Value of Computational Modeling”. 3-hour workshop together with Donald Robinaugh, SIPS 2019, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
  3. “Network analysis workshop”. 2-day workshop together with Julian Burger, Flanders Training Network for Methodology and Statistics summer school Ghent, Belgium.
  4. “Network analysis workshop in between subjects data”. 3-day workshop, Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University.
  5. We also organized a hackathon at APS, entitled Best Research Practices Made Easy, and wrote up a piece in the APS observer on it (Hacking APS). Doesn’t really fit anywhere else so I’ll add it here.

Regarding the APS hackathon, I led a group on reviewing from an open science perspective, and here are some initial results.

Here a team photo of the gang!

All workshops were fun, but the most overwhelming experience was the workshop Don and I taught on formalizing theories at SIPS: absolutely full house for what we thought would likely be too abstract or mathematical. So glad we were wrong.

By the way, here is our paper that Don and I used to showcase the benefits of formal modeling: a formalized theory of panic disorder. We will give a similar workshop at APS 2020.

Oh, and below my favourite tweet of the year: Jessica and I preparing for our SIPS workshop! We updated our Measurement Schmeasurement preprint in November 2019, you can find the current version on the OSF.

4. Papers and preprints

16 papers: 1 first author, 2 last author, and 13 collaborative papers. With a 60% teaching position after 4 years of a postdoc the entailed 0% teaching, I finally understand why others thought 5 first author papers per year was a lot …

  1. Fried et al. (2019). Using network analysis to examine links between individual depressive symptoms, inflammatory markers, and covariates. Psychological Medicine. PDF, SM.
  2. McWilliams & Fried (2019). Reconceptualizing adult attachment relationships: A network perspective. Personal Relationships. PDF, SM.
  3. Adolf & Fried (2019). Ergodicity is sufficient but not necessary for group-to-individual generalizability. PNAS. PDF.
  4. De Ron, Fried, & Epskamp (2019). Psychological networks in clinical populations: investigating the consequences of Berkson’s bias. Psychological Medicine. PDF.
  5. Jongeneel et al. (2019). A time-series network approach to auditory verbal hallucinations: Examining dynamic interactions using experience sampling methodology. Schizophrenia Research. PDF.
  6. Waszczuk et al. (2019). Redefining phenotypes to advance psychiatric genetics: Implications from hierarchical taxonomy of psychopathology. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. PDF.
  7. Sin-Ying, Fried, & Eaton (2019). The association of life stress with substance use symptoms: A network analysis and replication. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. PDF.
  8. Conway et al. (2019). A Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology Can Transform Mental Health Research. Perspectives on Psychological Science. PDF.
  9. Greene et al. (2019). Are Fit Indices Used to Test Psychopathology Structure Biased? A Simulation Study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. PDF.
  10. Fritz et al. (2019). Unravelling the Complex Nature of Resilience Factors and their Changes between Early and Later Adolescence. BMC Medicine. PDF.
  11. Greene et al. (2019). Dynamic Network Analysis of Negative Emotions and DSM‐5 Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Clusters During Conflict. Journal of Traumatic Stress. PDF.
  12. De Beurs et al. (2019). Exploring the psychology of suicidal ideation: A theory driven network analysis. Behaviour Research and Therapy. PDF.
  13. Heino et al. (2019). Visualisation and network analysis of physical activity and its determinants: Demonstrating opportunities in analysing baseline associations in the let’s move it trial. Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine . PDF.
  14. Hartung et al. (2019). Frequency and network analysis of depressive symptoms in patients with cancer compared to the general population. Journal of Affective Disorders. PDF.
  15. De Haan et al. (2019). Dysfunctional posttraumatic cognitions, posttraumatic stress, and depression in children and adolescents exposed to trauma: A network analysis. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
  16. Faelens et al. (2019). Negative influences of Facebook use through the lens of network analysis. Computers in Human Behavior. PDF.

Regarding preprints, the most important ones are these 2. You can find all others on my OSF page.

  1. Flake & Fried (2019). Measurement Schmeasurement: Questionable Measurement Practices and How to Avoid Them. Under revision at Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science. PDF.
  2. Robinaugh et al. (2019). Advancing the Network Theory of Mental Disorders: A Computational Model of Panic Disorder. Submitted to Psychological Review. PDF.

Overview visualization of my papers in the last years:

5. Blogs

Quite a bit of blogging on Eiko-Fried.com and Psych-Networks.com. I am planning to transition psych-networks to a community platform in 2020, with an editorial team instead of just me doing this. Overall, 12 blogs on my personal blog — 7 blogs with psychology updates, and these 5:

  1. APA chief publishing officer: ignore paper removal request
  2. Workshops online: formalizing theories, network models, and questionable measurement practices
  3. The replication crisis hits psychiatry: No candidate genes for depression
  4. First preregistered network replication study with power analysis & open data
  5. The Myth of the Miracle Cure: Is Ketamine an Efficacious Antidepressant?

Psych-Networks had 6 posts, including 3 guest blogs:

  1. R tutorial: clique percolation to detect communities in networks
  2. How to study early-warning signals for clinical change” by Merlijn Olthof
  3. Experience sampling software ‘mobileQ’: new, free, open source” by Peter Kuppens
  4. Idiography: Where have we come from, where should we go to?” by Marilyn Piccirillo
  5. ICPS 2019: Collection of presentations related to dynamical systems
  6. Network models of factor scores: mixing apples with oranges

6. Other Krams

I was promoted after a year at Leiden University (from junior to senior assistant professor). As you all know, the Netherlands, and Leiden in particular, are pretty ugly places, and it’s a tough lot to carry.

Lancet Psychiatry published an incredibly kind profile about me and my work, and MARE published a (Dutch) piece about my approach to understanding depression by modeling symptoms (google translate works well).

I got to participate in scientific events in Munich, Berlin, London, Cambridge, Aarhus, DC, Atlanta, and Montreal. Traveling is still my favourite thing to do, bar none.

I was invited by WELLCOME to discuss with a larger number of experts on how to move funding for mental health forward into the next decade — which resulted in this document. We were at the Warren House, which is possibly the most beautiful place in the UK:

Most importantly, I had the huge privilege to visit the lab of Kenneth Kendler for 3 months this summer, as a visiting scholar at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University. Many of you will know what massive influence Ken has had on the way I see the world, I think he’s one of the most thoughtful scholars. Turns out Richmond is pretty warm and humid in the summer … luckily Ken lend me his spare racing bike, so it was just about 12 minutes to campus!

The Dean of our faculty asked me to run an open science task force which would advise the board on how to move the University forward for the years to come. We put together a really strong working group, and all our final recommendations were formulated from perspective of shared values rather than specific rules or best practices. I think this is a sound way to move this process forward.

Finally, we — a large Dutch consortium — received the prestigious Gravitation grant, ~25 million funding over 10 years. We’re currently developing a website where you can learn more about the project and follow us. Overall, it’s a transdiagnostic project to test the network theory of mental illness, and you can find some information in the tweets following the tweet below, e.g. an interview with the PI Anita Jansen:

And here a photo from the weekend where we prepared for the interview in the final round!

7. Failures 2019

I had planned to get much more writing done than I did, and submitted 1 instead of 2 grants. I said yes to too many collaborations although I had promised myself to cut down a lot. I didn’t plan through my days properly, at least not on all days, which led to inefficient working on 10 different things in a few hours. I ended up having student meetings all over the week instead of one or two focused supervision days. Scatterbrain!!

So let’s do these things better in 2020 :).

8. Twitter

Inspired by Veronika Cheplygin, some random tweets I remember fondly:


Overall, I found more time in 2019 than 2018 for my hobbies and friends, and hope to continue this trend in 2020.

2 thoughts on “Summary of my academic 2019

  1. Alex

    Thank you for your amazing blog! Discovered it just recently – a treasure for me, young practitioner! In the comment section to the post about replication crisis in psychiatry you stated that emphasis on trauma as a primary source of depression may be oversimplification. Could you please suggest anything to read on that topic, about critical view on trauma? Cause large amount of literature suggest that both childhood trauma and recent traumatic events seem to have influence on depression. But apparently it is very hard to prove causal connection. Thank you very much!

    Reply
    1. Eiko Post author

      Hi Alex, from a draft for a paper I am currently writing:

      “There are obvious common causes for psychopathology, such as traumatic events that trigger a subset of PTSD symptoms, and severe life events that often precede depressive episodes. […] Adverse life events and stressors occur commonly before depression onset, and likely act as common causes [66]. We know that traumatic events often lead to the development of at least a subset of PTSD symptoms, where the trauma acts as a common cause. These facts imply common causes that act as vulnerability for the onset of symptoms.”

      So I do believe that chronic stress and adverse life events are among the strongest predictors of depression. There is some evidence that up to 80% of all first time episodes of MDD are preceded by life events, if I recall the literature correctly. I don’t recall the comment you refer to, but maybe the point was simply that there are still many episodes that cannot be explained by a life event, and that depression is more complicated than “everybody with trauma gets depression, and everybody with depression has experienced trauma”.

      Reply

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