Seminar to explore Bayesian statistics in the social sciences

On April 4, the Institute for CyberScience (ICS) will present a seminar on the potential of Bayesian statistical methods for understanding social science data. The speaker, Zita Oravecz, is a professor of human development and family studies at Penn State and an ICS co-hire. The talk is from 1:30 to 3 p.m. in 233A HUB-Robeson Center on the University Park campus.

Oravecz’s talk, “Understanding big social science data with Bayesian process models,” will examine how Bayesian statistics can be usefully applied to problems in the social sciences.

Recent technological advances have expanded social scientists' ability to perform time- and data-intensive studies of human behavior. Interpreting this data with confidence to generate knowledge, however, can be challenging.

Bayesian statistics—an approach to statistics concerned with the probability of some outcome given prior information—can help social scientists gain valuable insights from data. For instance, Oravecz applies Bayesian methods to predict individuals’ emotional and cognitive states in real time based on physiological data, among other information.

Oravecz will discuss the applications of Bayesian methods, using examples from cognitive and affective sciences.

Please RSVP by April 2. The event includes Oravecz’s talk, a question-and-answer period, and time to socialize. Refreshments will be served.

The event will be live-streamed via Zoom at

This talk is the last of ICS’s CyberScience Seminar series of events in spring 2018. These free, public events explore applications of computational research that transform science and society. ICS will resume offering CyberScience Seminars in fall 2018.

The Institute for CyberScience is one of the five interdisciplinary research institutes under the Office of the Vice President for Research, and is dedicated to supporting cyber-enabled research across the disciplines. ICS builds an active community of researchers using computational methods in a wide range of fields through co-hiring of tenure-track faculty, providing seed funding for ambitious computational research projects, and offering access to high-performance computing resources through its Advanced CyberInfrastructure. With the support of ICS, Penn State researchers harness the power of big data, big simulation, and big computing to solve the world’s problems. For more information, visit or email

Last Updated March 16, 2018