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Developmental psychologists should care about measurement precision

Lindsay, Shane; Mather, Emily



In a wide ranging article in this journal, Byers-Heinlein et al. (2022) make a persuasive case for paying close attention to reliability in developmental research. They focus on measurement reliability, which indexes how well individuals can be ranked across repeated measurements. We highlight the importance of measurement precision as a complement to understanding measurement reliability. We describe how this more absolute type of reliability can be quantified by the within-participant standard deviation across trials, also known as the standard error of measurement (SEM). We outline how reporting and understanding measurement precision can play a key role in achieving the ‘six solutions’ for improving reliability in developmental research offered by Byers-Heinlein et al.


Lindsay, S., & Mather, E. (in press). Developmental psychologists should care about measurement precision. Infant and Child Development, Article e2321.

Journal Article Type Commentary
Acceptance Date Apr 14, 2022
Online Publication Date May 9, 2022
Deposit Date Jun 13, 2022
Publicly Available Date May 10, 2023
Journal Infant and Child Development
Print ISSN 1522-7227
Electronic ISSN 1522-7219
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Article Number e2321
Keywords Infancy; Measurement; Psychometrics; Reliability
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