Visualizing Psychological Networks: A Tutorial in R

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  1. Patrick Mair

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Description: Networks have emerged as a popular method for studying mental disorders. Psychopathology networks consist of aspects (e.g., symptoms) of mental disorders (nodes) and the connections between those aspects (edges). Unfortunately, the visual presentation of networks can occasionally be misleading. For instance, researchers may be tempted to conclude that nodes that appear close together are highly related, and that nodes that are far apart are less related. Yet this is not always the case. In networks plotted with force-directed algorithms, the most popular approach, the spatial arrangement of nodes is not easily interpretable. However, other plotting approaches can render node positioning interpretable. We provide a brief tutorial on several methods including multidimensional scaling, principal components plotting, and eigenmodel networks. We compare the strengths and weaknesses of each method, noting how to properly interpret each type of plotting approach. Keywords: network analysis, network psychometrics, psychopathology, multidimensional scaling, graph theory

License: CC0 1.0 Universal

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The published version of this manuscript is available (open access) at https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01742/full

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