Posts Tagged ‘ science ’

This election forecasting business

November 15, 2016
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This election forecasting business

If you live in the States, and particularly a blue state, in the last year or two, it has been drilled into your head that Hillary Clinton was the overwhelming favorite to win the Presidential election. On the day before the election, when all the major media outlets finalized their "election forecasting models," they unanimously pronounced Clinton the clear winner, with a probability of winning of 70% to 99%. One…

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Reader’s Guide to the Power Pose Controversy 3

November 2, 2016
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This is the third and final post about the controversy over statistical analysis used in peer-reviewed published scholarly research. Most of the new stuff are covered in post #2 (link). Today's post covers statistical issues related to sample size, which is nothing new, but it was mentioned in Amy Cuddy's response to her critics and thus I also discuss it here. In post #2 (link), I offer the following mental…

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The idol worship of objective data is damaging our discipline

October 28, 2016
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In class last week, I discussed this New York Times article with the students. One of the claims in the article is that the U.S. News ranking of colleges is under threat by newcomers whose rankings are more relevant because they more directly measure outcomes such as earnings of graduates. This specific claim in the article makes me head hurt: "If nothing else, earnings are objective and, as the database…

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Reader’s guide to the power pose controversy 2

October 21, 2016
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Yesterday, I started a series of posts covering the "power pose" research controversy. The plan is as follows: Key Idea 1: Peer Review, Manuscripts, Pop Science and TED Talks Key Idea 2: P < 0.05, P-hacking, Replication Studies, Pre-registration Key Idea 3: Negative Studies, and the File Drawer (Today) Key Idea 4: Degrees of Freedom, and the Garden of Forking Paths Key Idea 5: Sample Size Here is a quick…

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Reader’s guide to the power pose controversy 1

October 20, 2016
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I recently covered the power pose research controversy, ignited by an inflammatory letter by Susan Fiske (link). Dana Carney, one of the coauthors of the original power pose study, courageously came forward to disown the research, and explained the reasons why she no longer trusts the result. Here is her mea culpa. Her co-author, Amy Cuddy, then went to New York Magazine to publish her own corrective, claiming that the…

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The plural of anecdote is not …

October 12, 2016
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The plural of anecdote is not …

One of my favorite statistics-related wisecracks is: the plural of anecdote is not data. In today's world, the saying should really say: the plural of anecdote is not BIG DATA. In class this week, we discussed a recent Letter to the Editor of top journal, New England Journal of Medicine, featuring a short analysis of weight data coming from a digital scale that, you guessed it, makes users consent to…

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The plural of anecdote is not …

October 12, 2016
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The plural of anecdote is not …

One of my favorite statistics-related wisecracks is: the plural of anecdote is not data. In today's world, the saying should really say: the plural of anecdote is not BIG DATA. In class this week, we discussed a recent Letter to the Editor of top journal, New England Journal of Medicine, featuring a short analysis of weight data coming from a digital scale that, you guessed it, makes users consent to…

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Two quick hits: how bad data analysis harms our discourse

October 6, 2016
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I am traveling so have to make this brief. I will likely come back to these stories in the future to give a longer version of these comments. I want to react to two news items that came out in the past couple of days. First, Ben Stiller said that prostate cancer screening (the infamous PSA test) "saved his life". (link) So he is out there singing the praises of…

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If you are practicing your power pose, stop now

September 29, 2016
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Andrew and I warned you about "power poses" in Slate some time ago (link). Breaking news is that Dana Carney, a co-author of the paper that claimed the benefits of the power pose, has now confirmed that she no longer believes in the power pose. She is actively discouraging researchers from this "waste of time and resources." Here is her statement (PDF link), which is well worth reading in full.…

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Inside joke for data analysts (via Gelman)

September 28, 2016
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Inside joke for data analysts (via Gelman)

Andrew Gelman suggested this sign in a recent blog post: This is patterned after a similar sign that used to show up at auto mechanics: For those needing background, see this post.

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