Words from the President

Updated on 2015 November 4

Be Forward-looking

Kazuo Shigemasu

Having accepted the office of President of The Behaviormetric Society, I have come to understand the importance and serious responsibility of this post. I will dedicate myself to achieving the further development of this society, joining the capabilities and aspirations of its members.

According to the wishes of Professor Okada, our former President, who thought that it was time to review the history of this society and consider its future direction, the second Activating Committee was launched. Even though statistical approaches have been widely known to contribute to solving the variety of problems facing modern society, I still wonder whether our society is doing enough to fulfill the expectations of its members and the public. I believe that such an awareness led to forming the committee.

The Activating Committee reported the following three points as the basis for developing the society in the future.

  1. The development of the society as an organization: To make researchers understand that the society could be helpful and useful and therefore that participation in the society should provide resources for participants’ daily research, and thereby attract more members.

  2. The development of statistical theories and techniques reflecting behaviometrics: To deepen the theory of behavionetrics and to promote further development of effective techniques.

  3. Contribution to society: To develop behaviormetrics’ contributions to solving problems that confront modern society. In other words, to provide the information necessary for solving complex social problems from an expert perspective.

Now it is about time for the Behaviometirc Society to move these general suggestions into action.

The Behaviormetric Society is no longer so young, having had seven presidents before me : Professor Chikio Hayashi was the founding president, followed by Professors Tadashi Hidano, Haruo Yanai, Kinji Mizuno, Akiko Sugiyama, Hiroshi Akuto, and Akinori Okada. When the society started, multivariate analysis came under the spotlight and the society, as a stronghold for mathematical and practical research using factor analysis and quantification theory, attracted more members. However, now that factor analysis and related methods are included in statistical primers, it appears that the appeal of these methods as cutting-edge techniques has diminished. Multivariate analysis has developed in accordance with simple common sense: “For social problem solutions, more than one variable should be processed simultaneously so that more information can be made available.” In turn, if an enormous number of variables, not merely more than one, were available, then the approaches to process them simultaneously should be developed proportionately. So, it is no wonder that big data analysis has become very popular, and that large sample sizes are common in a period when statistical tests dominate. However, there seem to be many other approaches that deviate from conventional statistical approaches, including network models, machine learning, and Bayesian approaches, as well as big data analysis. The aforementioned techniques may already have become conventional to the degree that they are presented in statistical textbooks. If so, interdisciplinary, discipline-fusing societies such as ours should become more active in fields where newer approaches can be nurtured.

The Behaviormetric Society may be well-positioned to become a standard-bearer for such newer approaches. Behaviomrtrics is not an established area of specialization, but a space where researchers and practitioners from various fields gather. Our Behaviormetric Society will further grow as a group developing new statistical theories and techniques, learning together various methods and techniques which have been differently and specially developed in accordance with the needs of particular fields of application.

With the fervent hope that the Behaviormetric Society shall be always problem-solving and forward-thinking, I appreciate your help as I do whatever I can so that our society can be appreciated by the wider community.