Category: Decision Theory

What can be learned from this study?

James Coyne writes: A recent article co-authored by a leading mindfulness researcher claims to address the problems that plague meditation research, namely, underpowered studies; lack of or meaningful control groups; and an exclusive reliance on subjective self-report measures, rather than measures of the biological substrate that could establish possible mechanisms. The article claims adequate sample […]

Here are some examples of real-world statistical analyses that don’t use p-values and significance testing.

Joe Nadeau writes: I’ve followed the issues about p-values, signif. testing et al. both on blogs and in the literature. I appreciate the points raised, and the pointers to alternative approaches. All very interesting, provocative. My question is whether you and your colleagues can point to real world examples of these alternative approaches. It’s somewhat […]

Conditional probability and police shootings

A political scientist writes: You might have already seen this, but in case not: PNAS published a paper [Officer characteristics and racial disparities in fatal officer-involved shootings, by David Johnson, Trevor Tress, Nicole Burkel, Carley Taylor, and Joseph Cesario] recently finding no evidence of racial bias in police shootings: Jonathan Mummolo and Dean Knox noted […]

You are invited to join Replication Markets

Anna Dreber writes: Replication Markets (RM) invites you to help us predict outcomes of 3,000 social and behavioral science experiments over the next year. We actively seek scholars with different voices and perspectives to create a wise and diverse crowd, and hope you will join us. We invite you – your students, and any other […]

Pre-results review: Some results

Aleks Bogdanoski writes: I’m writing from the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS) at UC Berkeley with news about pre-results review, a novel form of peer review where journals review (and accept) research papers based on their methods and theory — before any results are known. Pre-results review is motivated by growing […]

On deck through the end of 2019

Here’s what’s scheduled for the next six months: This is a great example for a statistics class, or a class on survey sampling, or a political science class How to read (in quantitative social science). And by implication, how to write. Causal inference with time-varying exposures Reproducibility problems in the natural sciences If you want […]

It’s a lot of pressure to write a book!

Regression and Other Stories is almost done, and I was spending a couple hours going through it starting from page 1, cleaning up imprecise phrasings and confusing points. . . . One thing that’s hard about writing a book is that there are so many places you can go wrong. A 500-page book contains something […]

How much is your vote worth?

Tyler Cowen writes: If it were legal, and you tried to sell your vote and your vote alone, you might not get much more than 0.3 cents. It depends where you live. If you’re not voting in any close elections, then the value of your vote is indeed close to zero. For example, I am […]

Tony nominations mean nothing

Someone writes: I searched up *Tony nominations mean nothing* and I found nothing. So I had to write this. There are currently 41 theaters that the Tony awards accept when nominating their choices. If we are being as generous as possible, we could say that every one of those theaters will be hosting a performance […]

Still at work on the piranha theorems

We’re still at work on the piranha theorems. But, in the meantime, I happened to show somebody this: There can be some large and predictable effects on behavior, but not a lot, because, if there were, then these different effects would interfere with each other, and as a result it would be hard to see […]

Let’s publish everything.

The other day someone pointed me to this article by James Kaufman and Vlad Glǎveanu in a psychology journal which begins: How does the current replication crisis, along with other recent psychological trends, affect scientific creativity? To answer this question, we consider current debates regarding replication through the lenses of creativity research and theory. Both […]

Name this fallacy!

It’s the fallacy of thinking that, just cos you’re good at something, that everyone should be good at it, and if they’re not, they’re just being stubborn and doing it badly on purpose. I thought about this when reading this line from Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker: [Henry Louis] Gates is one of the […]


So. I noticed my rear brake wasn’t really doing anything. If I squeezed really hard, I could slow down, but not enough to stop going down a steep hill. No big deal—it’s the front brake that really matters, right?—but just for safety’s sake I went to the bike store one day and they replaced the […]

“Boosting intelligence analysts’ judgment accuracy: What works, what fails?”

Kevin Lewis points us to this research article by David Mandel, Christopher Karvetski, and Mandeep Dhami, which begins: A routine part of intelligence analysis is judging the probability of alternative hypotheses given available evidence. Intelligence organizations advise analysts to use intelligence-tradecraft methods such as Analysis of Competing Hypotheses (ACH) to improve judgment, but such methods […]

Why “statistical significance” doesn’t work: An example.

Reading some of the back-and-forth in this thread, it struck me that some of the discussion was about data, some was about models, some was about underlying reality, but none of the discussion was driven by statements that this or that pattern in data was “statistically significant.” Here’s the problem with “statistical significance” as I […]