Empirical Bayes Derivative Estimates
A dynamic system is a set of interacting elements characterized by changes occurring over time. The estimation of derivatives is a mainstay for exploring dynamics of constructs, particularly when the dynamics are complicated or unknown. The presence of measurement error in many social science constructs frequently results in poor estimates of derivatives, as even modest proportions of measurement error can compound when estimating derivatives. Given the overlap in the specification of latent differential equation models and latent growth curve models, and the equivalence of latent growth curve models and mixed models under some conditions, derivatives could be estimated from estimates of random effects. This article proposes a new method for estimating derivatives based on calculating the Empirical Bayes estimates of derivatives from a mixed model. Two simulations compare four derivative estimation methods: Generalized Local Linear Approximation, Generalized Orthogonal Derivative Estimates, Functional Data Analysis, and the proposed Empirical Bayes Derivative Estimates. The simulations consider two data collection scenarios: short time series (≤10 observations) from many individuals or occasions, and long individual time series (25–500 observations). A substantive example visualizing the dynamics of intraindividual positive affect time series is also presented.