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Oscar Gonzalez: On Learning Machine Learning

On February 14, 2020, Oscar Gonzalez, an Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will present “On Learning Machine Learning” as part of the Carolina Population Center’s 2019-2020 Interdisciplinary Research Seminar Series.

Dr. Gonzalez studies statistical mediation, machine learning/data mining, and psychometrics and how these statistical methods can help identify, evaluate, and measure mechanisms of behavior change in interventions or prevention programs.

Presentation abstract:

On Learning Machine Learning

A lot of research in the social sciences has focused on hypothesis-driven, explanatory approaches to data analysis. Machine learning could supplement a researcher’s analytic toolbox to explore patterns in datasets and study research hypothesis that focus on prediction. In this talk, I provide an overview of basic concepts of machine learning and misconceptions for its use in social science research. I also review different types of machine learning methodology and the role of machine learning in area of data science. Finally, I briefly discuss part of my research on the intersection between machine learning and psychometrics for short-form development and diagnostic assessment and discuss what each of these fields could learn from each other.

We record as many videos as possible. You can see previous events here.

Instructors: To arrange for class attendance, contact CPC ( by the Monday before the seminar.

The Carolina Population Center hosts a weekly Friday lecture on a topic that enhances our understanding of population-related changes. The 2019-2020 Interdisciplinary Research Seminars will feature talks related to aging trajectories, health behavior, the Zika virus, and the beverage tax – among other topics.

All seminars are held from 12:00 – 1:00 pm in Carolina Square Room 2002 at 123 W. Franklin St. unless otherwise indicated.

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