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Call for papers: "Behavioral Personality Science in the Age of Big Data"

Call for papers

Hi there! The European Journal of Personality (EJP) has issued another call for papers for a special issue by the European Journal of Personality (EJP) on behavioral personality science in the age of big data. 

Read all about it below!

European Journal of Personality Special Issue 2020

Behavioral Personality Science in the Age of Big Data

Call for Special Issue Paper Proposals

Scope and Topics
Over more than 10 years ago, Baumeister, Vohs, and Funder asked: Whatever happened to actual behavior in psychology? Shortly after, Furr published a target article in EJP on personality psychology as a truly behavioral science and delineated the (low) prevalence, meaning, importance, and measurement of behavioral assessment. Today, a decade later, it is time to take stock: Have we, as personality psychologists, moved towards using more behavioral assessment and understanding what people are actually doing in their personal, social, and occupational lives?

From the available literature, it would seem that we still only rarely use actual behavior as a data source. However, rapid technological advancements, the digitization of daily life, the ubiquity of data-gathering tools (e.g., smartphones), and the advent of “Big Data” approaches to psychological science promise more and perhaps even better behavioral assessment than was possible decades ago (Mahmoodi et al., 2017). For example, what people speak (e.g., EAR assessments of audio snippets), write (e.g., on online social networks such as Twitter and Facebook), or do (e.g., captured in geospatial movements via GPS, app usage on the smartphone and internet, or in pictures of activities posted on Instagram) in their daily lives yields intensive and massive amounts of data that need to be mined and modeled appropriately.

The current Special Issue is dedicated to exploring a behavioral science of personality in the age of Big Data: How is Big Data behavioral, which behaviors are captured, how can it be used, and how does it inform personality psychology? What are Big Data approaches typically missing out and how can they be reconciled and integrated with more “classical” (e.g., laboratory) approaches to the direct assessment of behavior?

Types of Papers

The Special Issue seeks to compile papers that showcase behavioral approaches to personality and relate to the broader questions of the Special Issue (► Questions). Following general types of contributions are possible (and each contribution may fall into more than one category):

1.     Conceptual/theoretical (e.g., meta-scientific explorations, frameworks, theories, models, ideas, and hypotheses)

2.     Methodological (e.g., discussion and contrasting of different designs, reflections on current practices)

3.     Statistical (e.g., development of new data-analytical techniques, tutorial of existing techniques)

4.     Empirical papers (e.g., original one- or multi-study, meta-analysis)


The articles published in this Special Issue may address a host of questions. These questions could be situated at a “meta-level” (e.g., how behavioral assessment can or should work with Big Data approaches) and/or at the concrete level of substantive content (e.g., studies concerned with circumscribed sets of behaviors or phenomena). Some contributions may center around one of these levels, whereas others may seek to integrate them (e.g., demonstrating strengths and limitations of Big Data approaches within a content-wise topic).

At the more abstract meta-level, potential topics include (but are not limited to):

●      In what ways can personality psychology be considered a “behavioral science”? Should it be one? How could it be one?

●      How many studies in personality psychology make use of behavioral data?

●      Which strands of personality-psychological research and topics would benefit from (more) behavioral data, and which would not?

●      Which trade-offs can occur when studying actual behavior (e.g., statistical power, domain specificity, abstraction level, etc.)?

●      To what extent do self-reported behaviors in experience sampling methodology reflect actually enacted behaviors? 

●      To what extent do different behavioral data sources (e.g., self-reported behaviors, other-reported behaviors, behavioral observation by trained coders, actually measured behaviors) converge?

●      How can technological innovations be harnessed for a behavioral personality science? Which hurdles need to be overcome (e.g., real-time assessment, data storage, costs, etc.)?

●      How are people's actual behaviors (best) captured with cutting-edge technology and methodological innovations (e.g., linguistic analyses of online social network data, audio analysis of EAR data, geospatial data from mobile sensing, multi-burst designs, "Big Data", etc.)?

●      Which kinds of behaviors can be captured in “Big Data” approaches? How are these behaviors relevant to understand personality? What behavioral aspects are typically missed out and how can they be integrated? 

●      How must Big Data be used, analyzed, and interpreted to derive meaningful insights into personality? What are strengths, potentials, caveats, and weaknesses of Big Data approaches?

●      Which methodologies could lead to more and better behavioral assessment in personality psychology?

●      What are conceptual, methodological, and/or statistical best practices in behavioral assessments of personality states and traits?

●      How can we avoid “blind” behaviorism?

●      Which ethical and legal issues and barriers need to be accounted for and solved in behavioral assessment and “Big Data” approaches (e.g., privacy, storage of data, etc.)?

At the more concrete content level, potential topics focusing on circumscribed constructs (e.g., broad or narrow traits, abilities, skills, aptitudes, needs, motives, goals, values, virtues, attitudes, orientations, etc.), could include (but are not limited to):

●      How is Construct X expressed in actual behavior within daily life and the laboratory?

●      How can behaviors of Construct X be captured with different methods? What are commonalities and differences among the measurement approaches?

●      Which consequences does actual behavior of Construct X have in people’s personal, social, and occupational lives?

●      How does actual behavior of Construct X stabilize, fluctuate, or change across short-, middle-, and long-term time frames? Why do we observe stability or change?

●      How can Big Data approaches be used, or integrated with other measurement approaches, to capture actual behaviors of Construct X? Why should we use a Big Data approach in the first place? What are strengths and drawbacks?

Benefits for Authors

►    Pre-review and constructive feedback based on proposals

►    Fast and professional review process of full submissions

►    Increased visibility due to publication in a special issue packed with high-quality papers

►    Publication in one of the most prestigious journals of the field (IF: 3.494)

►    Wide dissemination and media outreach activities across relevant fields


Contributions to the Special Issue will be considered based on proposals sent to the Special Issue Guest Editor. All proposals will be internally reviewed, and full articles may be invited for those proposals that fit well with the Special Issue theme and can make a strong impact in the field. The invitation of a full article may be conditional upon considering feedback from the editorial team. Full articles should be prepared according to EJP’s author guidelines and transparency and open science standards (for more information, click here). After an initial editorial screening, they will then undergo a regular review process.

Please send the following information no later than November 25, 2018 in one PDF file to the

 Guest Editor John Rauthmann at

 1. List of authors, affiliations, and email addresses (though this list may change later)

max. 1 page

2. Description of the type of article (e.g., conceptual/theoretical, methodological, statistical, empirical)

max. 1 page

3. Outline/Summary of the content and relevance of the planned contribution (empirical contributions: indicate whether the research is thought to be exploratory or confirmatory and provide a clear description of the methodology including information on sampling, procedures, measures, and open science practices)

max. 2 pages


►  Deadline for the submission of proposals: November 25, 2018

►  Feedback on proposals and invitation for full articles: December 9, 2018

►  Submission deadline for invited full articles: May 12, 2019

►  Review and revision processes: May - December 2019

►  Final decisions on all papers: January 2020

►  Publication of Special Issue: March/April 2020




A conversation with Manon van Scheppingen

Call for papers: "New approaches towards conceptualizing and assessing personality"