Category: Statistics

What does it mean to talk about a “1 in 600 year drought”?

Patrick Atwater writes: Curious to your thoughts on a bit of a statistical and philosophical quandary. We often make statements like this drought was a 1 in 400 year event but what do we really mean when we say that? In California for example there was an oft repeated line that the recent historic drought was […]

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Debate about genetics and school performance

Jag Bhalla points us to this article, “Differences in exam performance between pupils attending selective and non-selective schools mirror the genetic differences between them,” by Emily Smith-Woolley, Jean-Baptiste Pingault, Saskia Selzam, Kaili Rimfeld, Eva Krapohl, Sophie von Stumm, Kathryn Asbury, Philip Dale, Toby Young, Rebecca Allen, Yulia Kovas, and Robert Plomin, along with this response […]

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Can we do better than using averaged measurements?

Angus Reynolds writes: Recently a PhD student at my University came to me for some feedback on a paper he is writing about the state of research methods in the Fear Extinction field. Basically you give someone an electric shock repeatedly while they stare at neutral stimuli and then you see what happens when you […]

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The Axios Turing test and the heat death of the journalistic universe

I was wasting some time on the internet and came across some Palko bait from the website Axios: “Elon Musk says Boring Company’s first tunnel to open in December,” with an awesome quote from this linked post: Tesla CEO Elon Musk has unveiled a video of his Boring Company’s underground tunnel that will soon offer […]

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A small amendment to Nuzzo’s tips for communicating p-values

I’ve been asked if I agree with Regina Nuzzo’s recent note on p-values [i]. I don’t want to be nit-picky, but one very small addition to Nuzzo’s helpful tips for communicating statistical significance can make it a great deal more helpful. Here’s my friendly amendment. She writes: Basics to remember What’s most important to keep […]

A study fails to replicate, but it continues to get referenced as if it had no problems. Communication channels are blocked.

In 2005, Michael Kosfeld, Markus Heinrichs, Paul Zak, Urs Fischbacher, and Ernst Fehr published a paper, “Oxytocin increases trust in humans.” According to Google, that paper has been cited 3389 times. In 2015, Gideon Nave, Colin Camerer, and Michael McCullough published a paper, “Does Oxytocin Increase Trust in Humans? A Critical Review of Research,” where […]

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M4 Forecasting Conference

Following the highly successful M4 Forecasting Competition, there will be a conference held on 10-11 December at Tribeca Rooftop, New York, to discuss the results. The conference will elaborate on the findings of the M4 Competition, with prominent spea…

What to think about this new study which says that you should limit your alcohol to 5 drinks a week?

Someone who wishes to remain anonymous points us to a recent article in the Lancet, “Risk thresholds for alcohol consumption: combined analysis of individual-participant data for 599 912 current drinkers in 83 prospective studies,” by Angela Wood et al., that’s received a lot of press coverage; for example: Terrifying New Study Breaks Down Exactly How Drinking […]

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“The dwarf galaxy NGC1052-DF2”

Paul Pudaite points to this post by Stacy McGaugh entitled, “The dwarf galaxy NGC1052-DF2.” Pudaite writes that it’s an interesting comment on consequences of excluding one outlier. I can’t really follow what’s going on here but I thought I’d share it for the benefit of all the astronomers out there. P.S. Apparently it is common […]

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severe testing or severe sabotage? Christian Roberts and the book slasher.

severe testing or severe sabotage? [not a book review]   I came across this anomaly on Christian Roberts’s blog.  Last week, I received this new book of Deborah Mayo, which I was looking forward reading and annotating!, but thrice alas, the book had been sabotaged: except for the preface and acknowledgements, the entire book is printed upside down [a […]

Multilevel models with group-level predictors

Kari Lock Morgan writes: I’m writing now though with a multilevel modeling question that has been nagging me for quite some time now. In your book with Jennifer Hill, you include a group-level predictor (for example, 12.15 on page 266), but then end up fitting this as an individual-level predictor with lmer. How can this […]

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He’s a history teacher and he has a statistics question

Someone named Ian writes: I am a History teacher who has become interested in statistics! The main reason for this is that I’m reading research papers about teaching practices to find out what actually “works.” I’ve taught myself the basics of null hypothesis significance testing, though I confess I am no expert (Maths was never […]

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An actual quote from a paper published in a medical journal: “The data, analytic methods, and study materials will not be made available to other researchers for purposes of reproducing the results or replicating the procedure.”

Someone writes: So the NYT yesterday has a story about this study I am directed to it and am immediately concerned about all the things that make this study somewhat dubious. Forking paths in the definition of the independent variable, sample selection in who wore the accelerometers, ignorance of the undoubtedly huge importance of interactions […]

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Young Investigator Special Competition for Time-Sharing Experiment for the Social Sciences

Sociologists Jamie Druckman and Jeremy Freese write: Time-Sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences is Having A Special Competition for Young Investigators Time-sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences (TESS) is an NSF-funded initiative. Investigators propose survey experiments to be fielded using a nationally representative Internet platform via NORC’s AmeriSpeak Panel (see http:/tessexperiments.org for more information). While […]

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