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Joe Rodgers

Professor of Psychology and Human Development, Emeritus

Joseph Lee Rodgers earned his Ph.D. in Quantitative Psychology, with a minor in Biostatistics, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1981. He worked at the University of Oklahoma from 1981-2012, where he is George Lynn Cross Research Professor Emeritus. He joined the Quantitative Methods program at Vanderbilt in fall, 2012. He has held visiting research and teaching positions at Ohio State, University of Hawaii, UNC, Duke, University of Southern Denmark, and Penn. Dr. Rodgers has won both teaching and research awards, including the 1985 AMOCO OU Outstanding Teaching award, the 1997 OU Regents Outstanding Research award, and a Presidential Professorship at OU from 2000-2004. He has been president of four professional societies: the Society for the Study of Social Biology; Division 34 (Population and Environment) of the American Psychological Association; the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology; and Division 5 (Quantitative and Qualititative Methods) of the APA. He was the editor of Multivariate Behavioral Research from 2006 to 2011. 

His primary research focus involves building mathematical models of human behavior, with substantive interest in adolescent transition behaviors including smoking, drinking, delinquency, and sexual behavior.  He also has substantive interest in human reproduction and fertility. The modeling approaches he uses include behavior genetic models, epidemiological models, and nonlinear dynamic models. He is currently PI on a three-year NIH project to develop biometrical/behavior genetic linkages (i.e., kinship links) and models to support research using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth data.

Representative Publications

Rodgers, J. L. (2019). Degrees of Freedom at the start of the second 100 years:  A pedagogical treatise. Advances in Methods and Practices in the Psychological Sciences, 2, 396-405.

Rodgers, J. L., Garrison, S. M., O’Keefe, P., Bard, D. E., Hunter, M. D., Beasley, W. H., van den Oord, E. (2019). Responding to a 100-year-old challenge from Fisher:  A biometrical analysis of adult height in the NLSY data using only cousin pairs. Behavior Genetics, 49, 444-454.

Rodgers, J. L., Beasley, W. H., Bard, D. E., Meredith, K. M., Hunter, M. D., Johnson, A. B., Buster, M., Li, C., May, K. O., Garrison, S. M., Miller, W. B., van den Oord, E., Rowe, D. C. (2016).  The NLSY kinship links: Using the NLSY79 and NLSY-Children data to conduct genetically-informed and family-oriented research. Behavior Genetics, 46, 538-551.

Rodgers, J. L., Beasley, W., & Scheulke, M. (2014). Graphical data analysis on the circle:  Wrap-around time series plots for (interrupted) time series designs. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 49, 571-580.

Rodgers, J. L. (2014). Did the Flynn Effect cause Belmont and Marolla's birth order-IQ patterns? A reinterpretation at 40 years. Intelligence, 128-133.

Rodgers, J. L. (2010). The epistemology of mathematical and statistical modeling:  A quiet methodological revolution. American Psychologist, 65, 1-12.

Rodgers, J. L., Bard, D., Johnson, A., D’Onofrio, B., & Miller, W. B. (2008).  The cross-generational Mother-Daughter-Aunt-Niece design: Establishing validity of the MDAN design with NLSY fertility variables. Behavior Genetics, 38, 567-578.

Rodgers, J. L., St. John, C., & Coleman, R. (2005) Did fertility go up after the Oklahoma City bombing? An analysis of births in metropolitan counties in Oklahoma, 1990-1999. Demography, 42, 675-692.

Rodgers, J. L. & Doughty, D. (2001). Does having boys or girls run in the family? Chance, 14, 8-13.

Rodgers, J. L., Hughes, K., Kohler, H.-P., Christensen, K., Doughty, D., Rowe, D. C., & Miller, W. B. (2001). Genetic influence helps explain variation in human fertility outcomes: Evidence from recent behavioral and molecular genetic studies. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10, 184-188.

Rodgers, J. L., Cleveland, H. H., van den Oord, E., & Rowe, D. C. (2000). Resolving the debate over birth order, family size, and intelligence. American Psychologist, 55, 599-612.

Rodgers, J. L. (1999). The bootstrap, the jackknife, and the randomization test: A sampling taxonomy. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 34, 441-456.

Rodgers, J. L., Rowe, D. C., & Li, C. (1994). Beyond nature versus nurture:  DF analysis of nonshared influences on problem behaviors. Developmental Psychology, 30, 374-384.

Rodgers, J. L. & Rowe, D. C. (1993). Social contagion and adolescent sexual behavior:  A developmental EMOSA model. Psychological Review, 100, 479-510.

Rodgers, J. L. & Thompson, T. D. (1992). Seriation and multidimensional scaling: A data analysis approach to scaling asymmetric proximity matrices. Applied Psychological Measurement, 16, 10-117.

Rodgers, J. L. & Udry, J. R. (1988). The season-of-birth paradox. Social Biology, 35, 171-185.

Rodgers, J. L. & Nicewander, W. A. (1988). Thirteen ways to look at the correlation coefficient. The American Statistician, 42, 186-195.


Lois Autrey Betts Professor of Psychology and Human Development, Vanderbilt University, 2012

George Lynn Cross Research Professor Emeritus, University of Oklahoma, 2011

President, Division 5, American Psychological Association, 2016-17

President, Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology, 2004-5

President, Division 34, American Psychological Association, 1994-95

Fellow, AAAS, 2012