Nicholas Heck, Ph.D.
(414) 288-3509

More information

Dr. Magnus grew up in a small town in southeastern Massachusetts. She completed her undergraduate degree at Mount Holyoke College in western Massachusetts, where she become interested in the intersection of psychology, statistics, and quantitative research methodology. She went on to earn her PhD in Quantitative Psychology with a minor in Biostatistics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, specializing in psychometrics, item response theory, and the assessment of health outcomes. In addition to conducting her own methodological work, Dr. Magnus enjoys collaborating with behavioral and health scientists who use tests and questionnaires as part of their research. She is also enthusiastic about instilling an appreciation of statistics in her students, and she encourages anyone interested in learning more about quantitative psychology to e-mail her.

Dr. Magnus encourages anyone with a strong statistical background who is interested in the Clinical Psychology PhD program to contact her. She is particularly eager to work with graduate students who have an interest in psychometrics and the analysis of questionnaire data.


2016    Ph.D. in Quantitative Psychology, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

2013    M.A. in Quantitative Psychology, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

2009    B.A. in Psychology, Mount Holyoke College

Teaching Interests

At the undergraduate level, Dr. Magnus teaches Psychological Measurements & Statistics. At the graduate level, Dr. Magnus teaches Advanced Statistics & Design I & II. In future semesters, she plans to teach courses in Psychological Testing and Latent Variable Modeling.

Research Interests

Dr. Magnus’ research concentrates on the development of statistical methods for the analysis of item response data from tests, surveys, and questionnaires. Such data commonly arise from psychological and educational testing and measurement, as well as the assessment of health outcomes. As part of this research, she also investigates ways in which biostatistical methodology can be used in the adaptation of measurement models to behavioral and health outcomes research. Dr. Magnus’ secondary research interests are centered on the evaluation and use of tests and questionnaires in practice, mainly through collaborative work across psychology, public health, and medicine.

Selected Publications

Magnus, B. E. & Willoughby, M. T., Blair, C. B., & Kuhn, L. J. (in press). Integrating item accuracy and reaction time to improve the measurement of inhibitory control abilities in early childhood.Assessment.

Magnus, B. E.,& Thissen, D. (in press). Item response modeling of multivariate count data with zero-inflation, maximum inflation, and heaping. Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics.

Willoughby, M. T., Magnus, B. E., Vernon-Feagans, L., Blair, C. B., & The Family Life Project Investigators (in press). Developmental delays in executive function from 3-5 years of age predict kindergarten academic readiness. Journal of Learning Disabilities.

Liu, Y., Magnus, B. E., Quinn, H., & Thissen, D. (in press) Multidimensional item response theory. In T. Booth & D. Hughes (Eds.), The Wiley-Blackwell handbook of psychometric testing. Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Magnus, B. E., Liu, Y., He, J., Quinn, H., Thissen, D., Gross, H. E., DeWalt, D. A., & Reeve, B. B. (2016). Mode effects between computer self-administration and telephone interviewer-administration of the PROMIS pediatric measures, self and proxy report. Quality of Life Research, 25(7), 1655-1665. doi: 10.1007/s11136-015-1221-2

Liu, Y., Magnus, B. E., Thissen, D. (2016). Modeling and testing differential item functioning in unidimensional binary item response models with a single continuous covariate: A functional data analysis approach. Psychometrika, 81(2), 371-398. doi: 10.1007/s11336-015-9473-x

Gilkey, M. B., Magnus, B. E., Reiter, P. L., McRee, A. L., Dempsey, A. F., & Brewer, N. T. (2014). The Vaccintation Confidence Scale: A brief measure of parents’ vaccination beliefs. Vaccine, 32(47), 6259-6265. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.09.007.

Varni, J.,W., Magnus, B. E., Stucky, B.D., Liu, Y., Quinn, H., Thissen, D., Gross, H.E., Huang, I., & DeWalt, D.A. (2014). Psychometric properties of the PROMIS pediatric scales: Precision, stability, and comparison of different scoring and administration options. Quality of Life Research, 23(4), 1233-1243. doi: 10.1007/s11136-013-0544-0.



Contact the Psychology Department

If you have questions about clinical services, please call the Center for Psychological Services at (414) 288-3487.

Location: Cramer Hall, 317
Milwaukee, WI 53233

Phone: (414) 288-7218
Fax: (414) 288-5333
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