Nonlinear Methods for Psychological and Social Sciences



This workshop provides the theoretical background, as well as hands-on training in R, for some of the most popular and broadly-applicable nonlinear analyses methods for the application in psychology and the social sciences. Specifically, we will focus on the following methods: Recurrence Quantification Analyses (RQA), Fractal Analysis (FA), and Convergent Cross-Mapping (CCM).

RQA has a broad applicability, allowing the analysis of quantitative and qualitative changes in time-series and sequences, the analysis of coupling properties between two or more systems, as well as the analysis of multidimensional time-series. FA allows to analyze fractal scaling relations and long-memory properties of time-series. CCM is a method to analyze the strength and direction of influence among two time-series allowing the construction of a causal network between a set of variables.

In the psychological and social sciences, these methods are helpful to investigate systems with nonlinear time evolution since they do not make strong assumptions about the data, and allow to capture complex temporal patterns. They have been particularly useful for the analysis of time-series data from naturalistic settings and semi-experimental studies, investigations of response times, as well as the analysis of joint-action data in order to quantify group-dynamics such as synchrony and coupling between individuals, as well as leader-follower relationships.

Participants are invited to present a research project or research idea in which nonlinear methods were or could be applied during the poster presentation. Instructions will be sent out at the time of registration.

Moreover, participants are welcome to bring their own data, which they can analyze and discuss together with the instructors at the end of the workshop.

NOTE: The workshop will be held in person at the University of Lüneburg, a virtual participation is not intended. In our experience, participants profit from the direct, mutual exchange with one another, as well as with the instructors.


No previous knowledge of the methods discussed in the workshop is required. However, basic knowledge of R is necessary, i.e., setting working directories, loading and installing packages, loading and saving data, executing lines of code, and performing basic operations in the command line. If you are not familiar with R, we recommend working through a tutorial beforehand (e.g., here ).

Participants need to bring their own laptop having installed a current version of R and RStudio in order to follow along during the hands-on sessions.


Sebastian Wallot

Since 2020, Sebastian is professor for research methods and evaluation at the Institute of Psychology at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Germany. He did his PhD in experimental psychology at the University of Cincinnati, USA, and worked afterwards as postdoctoral researcher at the Interacting Minds Centre at the Aarhus University, Denmark, and at the Department of Language and Literature at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt/M., Germany. His research focuses on reading, i.e., on the relation between reading process characteristics and comprehension, joint action, and the development of and application of nonlinear time-series analyses.

Dan Mønster

Originally trained as a physicist, Dan now directs the Cognition and Behavior Lab at Aarhus University, Denmark. There he is associate professor at the Department of Economics and Business Economics where he teaches mathematics, and is part of the Interacting Minds Centre. His research focuses on interpersonal dynamics in group cooperation, using both linear and nonlinear methods to analyze behavioral and physiological data from controlled experiments. Dan has contributed to algorithms for nonlinear analysis and R packages.

Giuseppe Leonardi

During his doctorate in experimental psychology, which he completed in Trieste, Italy, Giuseppe studied applications of Dynamical Systems Theory in psychology and spent two years at the Center for Complex Systems at the Florida Atlantic University, USA. He specializes in dynamical analyses of naturalistic human interactions, with a focus on Recurrence Quantification Analysis. He is now dean of psychology studies at the University of Economics and Human Sciences in Warsaw, Poland.

Ralf Cox

Ralf is currently associate professor at the Developmental Psychology group in the Department of Psychology at the University of Groningen, Netherlands. He received his PhD in social sciences at the Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands, in 2007. His research addresses the coordinative basis of behavior, cognition and their development. This entails a micro-genetic and complex dynamical systems approach to intra- and interpersonal coordination, as well as the advancement of nonlinear time-series techniques to study this. He has published on motor performance, planning, language development, dyslexia, mother-child, client-therapist and peer interaction, and gesture-speech attunement.

Monika Tschense

During her studies in linguistics, Monika focused on (neuro-) cognition of language and speech-language pathology. Since November 2018, she is a PhD candidate in psychology at the Max-Planck-Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt/M., Germany, and the Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Germany. Together with Sebastian Wallot, Monika investigates to what extent nonlinear measures are suitable for predicting text comprehension during natural reading based on time-series of eye movements, reading times, and electrophysiological correlates.

Alon Tomashin

Alon is studying the neurophysiological mechanisms of group interactions in the Social Neuroscience Lab at Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel, advised by Ilanit Gordon. Aiming to predict relationship quality from autonomic nervous system activity, he utilizes Multi-dimensional Recurrence Quantification Analysis (MdRQA) to evaluate physiological synchrony within a group. As a visiting researcher in Lüneburg, Alon currently investigates ways to expand RQA in order to capture additional aspects of social coordination.


Monday, July 25th
8.30-  9.00h  On-Site Registration
  9.00-  9.30h  Welcome!
  9.30-10.30h  Introduction: Why Nonlinear Methods?
11.00-12.30h  Recurrence Quantification Analysis I
12.30-13.30h  Lunch Break
13.30-15.00h  Recurrence Quantification Analysis II
15.30-17.00h  Cross-Recurrence Quantification Analysis I
          19.00h   Social Gathering: Minigolf & Pizza

Tuesday, July 26th
 9.00-10.30h  Cross-Recurrence Quantification Analysis II
11.00-12.30h  Cross-Recurrence Quantification Analysis II
12.30-13.30h  Lunch Break
13.30-15.00h  Multidimensional Recurrence Quantification Analysis
15.30-17.00h  Sample Parameter Estimation for Recurrence-Based Analyses

Wednesday, July 27th
  9.00-10.30h  Fractal Analysis I
11.00-12.30h  Fractal Analysis II
12.30-13.30h  Lunch Break
13.30-15.00h  Fractal Analysis III
15.30-17.00h  Invited Talks: Ben Scott, Lisa Handke, Lisette de Jonge-Hoekstra & Alon Tomashin

Thursday, July 28th
  9.00-10.30h  Convergent Cross Mapping I
11.00-12.30h  Convergent Cross Mapping II
12.30-13.30h  Lunch Break
13.30-15.00h  Convergent Cross Mapping III
15.30-17.00h  Poster Session

Friday, July 29th
  9.00-10.30h  Wrap-up / Q&A
11.00-12.30h  Analyze Your Own Data I
12.30-13.30h  Lunch Break
13.30-15.00h  Analyze Your Own Data II


Participation in the NLM 2022 is free of charge, but you have to cover costs for travel and accommodation yourself.

For a limited number of participants, we can assist with travel and accommodation costs (up to 200€). You have to indicate and explain your need for financial assistance in the application form.

The number of participants is limited to 25. If we receive more applications than there are slots, participants will be selected based on their motivational statements and CVs.

To apply for the workshop, please fill in the application form. You have to enter your personal information, answer a few questions about your expertise (meant only for the instructors to get a sense of the group), and upload or enter the following:

  • a short CV (2 pages, PDF format, max. 2 MB);
  • a motivational statement that briefly indicates why you want to participate, and how you intend to use nonlinear methods in your research (max. 1500 characters);
  • only if you are applying for financial support: a brief statement why you should be considered for funding (max. 1500 characters).

Registration is now closed.


Leuphana Universität Lüneburg
Universitätsalle 1
21335 Lüneburg, Germany

Building: Central Building

Room: C.40.146

Please check whether you will need a visa for Germany! Applying for and obtaining the visa is your own responsibility. If you need an invite to get a visa, please indicate so in the application form.