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Philippe Rast


  • Ph.D., Psychology, University of Zurich, 2008
  • M.A., Psychology, University of Bern, 2004
  • B.S., Psychology, University of Bern, 2001


Philippe Rast is working on the development and application of statistical models for estimating the way that developmental change occurs and how individuals differ in this change. His research lies at the intersection of advanced quantitative methodology, psychometrics, and the empirical study of lifespan development and aging. He is on the editorial board of The Journal of Gerontopsychology and Geriatric Psychiatry and he is a member of several professional organizations including the American Statistical Association (ASA), the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Gerontological Society of America (GSA). For the 2016 American Psychological Association conference, he was co-chair for the Division 5 “Evaluation, Measurement and Statistics” program.

Research Focus

Philippe Rast works in the development, evaluation, and application of quantitative methods, mainly longitudinal models for examining change over time and how individuals differ in this change. He integrates methods for simultaneously examining intra-individual variability (change at the individual level) and inter-individual differences in such changes while relating such examination to cognitive processes.

Philippe Rast’s research also includes the development of longitudinal study designs. Here, his focus is on the identification of optimal features such as number of measurement occasions, time interval between occasions, or sample size to maximize statistical power (ability to detect desired effects) and quality of parameter estimation. Professor Rast applies and evaluates this methodology in the area of cognitive development, particularly in adult populations, where he examines how cognitive aging is related to health, affect, and well-being.

Philippe Rast's research interests are in individual differences in learning and cognitive development; improvement of prediction of cognitive decline using individual differences in learning functions; and the investigation of potential for improving, maintaining, and preventing decline of functioning across the adult lifespan. He has made contributions to the analysis and design of longitudinal studies, with particular emphasis on methods to disentangle within- and between-person change and variation in longitudinal designs.

Selected Publications

  • Rast, P., Kennedy, K.M., Rodrigue, K.M., Robinson, P.R.A.W., Gross, A.L., McLaren, D.G., Grabowski, T., Schaie, K.W., & Willis, S.L. (in press). APOEε4 genotype and hypertension modify 8-year cortical thinning: Five occasion evidence from the Seattle Longitudinal Study. Cerebral Cortex.
  • Rast, P., & Hofer, S. M. (2015). The association between short-term intraindividual variability and long-term developmental change. In M. Diehl, K. Hooker, & M. J. Sliwinski (Eds.) Intraindividual Variability Across the Life Span: A Comprehensive Perspective (pp. 280–292). Routledge, Taylor & Francis
  • Rast, P., & Hofer, S. M. (2014). Longitudinal design considerations to optimize power to detect variances and covariances among rates of change: Simulation results based on actual longitudinal studies. Psychological Methods, 19, 133–154.
  • Rast, P., Rush, J., Piccinin, A., & Hofer, S. M. (2014). The identification of regions of significance in the effect of multimorbidity on depressive symptoms using longitudinal data: An application of the Johnson-Neyman technique. Gerontology, 60, 274–281.
  • Rast, P., Hofer, S. M., & Sparks, C. (2012). Modeling individual differences in within-person variation of negative and positive affect in a mixed effects location scale model using BUGS/JAGS. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 47, 177–200.
  • Rast, P. (2011). Verbal knowledge, working memory, and processing speed as predictors of verbal learning in older adults. Developmental Psychology, 47, 1490–1498.


Philippe Rast teaches in the area of longitudinal methodology in developmental research. In the winter semester he teaches “Regression Methods


Currently the PI of an NIH/NIA R01 grant on “Multi-Study Replication of the Predictive Value of Intra-Individual Variability on Long-Term Changes in Cognition, Health and Affect.” Project duration: 2016-19.

Fellowship for Advanced Researchers from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) to pursue a project at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, 2010

Winner of the Vontobel-Award for Aging research. University of Zurich, Switzerland, 2009