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date: 21 August 2018

Abstract and Keywords

Special populations offer unique opportunities and challenges for mathematical/statistical modeling of data. First, we discuss several ways of construing the notion of special populations, including the basis on which we argue that the general notion of special populations is a rather recent one. Then, we discuss four key methodological implications when considering special populations: (1) properly defining and accessing participants from the special population; (2) ensuring that the same dimensions are present across multiple populations; (3) assessing whether empirical implications of psychological theories hold across populations; and (4) exploiting unusual variation in special populations that may allow tests of unique hypotheses. Next, we provide examples that illustrate how to deal with each of the methodological issues. We close with a discussion of issues occasioned by our discussion of special populations, issues that represent topics for future developments.

Keywords: Special populations, group differences, factorial invariance, measurement invariance, structural invariance, individual differences

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