Capturing Context-Related Change in Emotional Dynamics via Fixed Moderated Time Series Analysis
Much of recent affect research relies on intensive longitudinal studies to assess daily emotional experiences. The resulting data are analyzed with dynamic models to capture regulatory processes involved in emotional functioning. Daily contexts, however, are commonly ignored. This may not only result in biased parameter estimates and wrong conclusions, but also ignores the opportunity to investigate contextual effects on emotional dynamics. With fixed moderated time series analysis, we present an approach that resolves this problem by estimating context-dependent change in dynamic parameters in single-subject time series models. The approach examines parameter changes of known shape and thus addresses the problem of observed intra-individual heterogeneity (e.g., changes in emotional dynamics due to observed changes in daily stress). In comparison to existing approaches to unobserved heterogeneity, model estimation is facilitated and different forms of change can readily be accommodated. We demonstrate the approach's viability given relatively short time series by means of a simulation study. In addition, we present an empirical application, targeting the joint dynamics of affect and stress and how these co-vary with daily events. We discuss potentials and limitations of the approach and close with an outlook on the broader implications for understanding emotional adaption and development.