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In human development research, big data could mean better results

Associate Professor of Psychology Rick Gilmore recently spoke to Penn State News regarding the Databrary collaboration, which aims to assist human development researchers in harnessing the power of big data.

"Many people, when they think about big data, think about astronomy, or physics, or biology and cancer research, but, in fact, there are big data approaches to studying human development," said Rick Gilmore, associate professor of psychology. "It's exciting that we now have the opportunity to learn how people emerge through the developmental process by taking empirical work from large numbers of investigators and aggregating that data."

In a review of big data in human development, Gilmore said that in addition to learning more about human development, such collaborations could also make wearable data-collection and personalized medicine more powerful and useful.

"Behavioral science proposes really hard problems," said Gilmore. "There are a lot of health conditions that have small subtle effects that if we had access to larger data sets, we could better understand and treat those conditions, leading eventually to personalized treatments."

The full story can be viewed at Penn State News.

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