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How does a Nobel-prize-winning economist become a victim of bog-standard selection bias?

Someone who wishes to remain anonymous writes in with a story: Linking to a new paper by Jorge Luis García, James J. Heckman, and Anna L. Ziff, an economist Sue Dynarski makes this “joke” on facebook—or maybe it’s not a joke: How does one adjust standard errors to account for the fact that N of […]

Short course on Bayesian data analysis and Stan 23-25 Aug in NYC!

Jonah “ShinyStan” Gabry, Mike “Riemannian NUTS” Betancourt, and I will be giving a three-day short course next month in New York, following the model of our successful courses in 2015 and 2016. Before class everyone should install R, RStudio and RStan on their computers. (If you already have these, please update to the latest version […]

His concern is that the authors don’t control for the position of games within a season.

Chris Glynn wrote last year: I read your blog post about middle brow literature and PPNAS the other day. Today, a friend forwarded me this article in The Atlantic that (in my opinion) is another example of what you’ve recently been talking about. The research in question is focused on Major League Baseball and the […]

“The ‘Will & Grace’ Conjecture That Won’t Die” and other stories from the blogroll

From sociologist Jay Livingston: The “Will & Grace” Conjecture That Won’t Die From sociologist David Weakliem: Why does Trump try to implement the unpopular ideas he’s proposed, and not the popular ideas? History professor who wrote award-winning book about 1970-era crime, is misinformed about the history of 1970s-era crime “West Virginia, which was a lock […]

How to design future studies of systemic exercise intolerance disease (chronic fatigue syndrome)?

Someone named Ramsey writes on behalf of a self-managed support community of 100+ systemic exercise intolerance disease (SEID) patients. He read my recent article on the topic and had a question regarding the following excerpt: For conditions like S.E.I.D., then, the better approach may be to gather data from people suffering “in the wild,” combining […]

Should we continue not to trust the Turk? Another reminder of the importance of measurement

From 2013: Don’t trust the Turk From 2017 (link from Kevin Lewis), from Jesse Chandler and Gabriele Paolacci: The Internet has enabled recruitment of large samples with specific characteristics. However, when researchers rely on participant self-report to determine eligibility, data quality depends on participant honesty. Across four studies on Amazon Mechanical Turk, we show that […]

They want help designing a crowdsourcing data analysis project

Michael Feldman writes: My collaborators and myself are doing research where we try to understand the reasons for the variability in data analysis (“the garden of forking paths”). Our goal is to understand the reasons why scientists make different decisions regarding their analyses and in doing so reach different results. In a project called “Crowdsourcing […]

Graphs as comparisons: A case study

Above is a pair of graphs from a 2015 paper by Alison Gopnik, Thomas Griffiths, and Christopher Lucas. It takes up half a page in the journal, Current Directions in Psychological Science. I think we can do better. First, what’s wrong with the above graphs? We could start with the details: As a reader, I […]

Hey—here are some tools in R and Stan to designing more effective clinical trials! How cool is that?

In statistical work, design and data analysis are often considered separately. Sometimes we do all sorts of modeling and planning in the design stage, only to analyze data using simple comparisons. Other times, we design our studies casually, even thoughtlessly, and then try to salvage what we can using elaborate data analyses. It would be […]

What is “overfitting,” exactly?

This came from Bob Carpenter on the Stan mailing list: It’s not overfitting so much as model misspecification. I really like this line. If your model is correct, “overfitting” is impossible. In its usual form, “overfitting” comes from using too weak of a prior distribution. One might say that “weakness” of a prior distribution is […]

Slaying Song

I came across this article by Joseph Bernstein, “Why Is A Top Harvard Law Professor Sharing Anti-Trump Conspiracy Theories?”: On April 22, Tribe shared a story from a website called the Palmer Report — a site that has been criticized for spreading hyperbole and false claims — entitled “Report: Trump gave $10 million in Russian […]

Classical statisticians as Unitarians

[cat picture] Christian Robert, Judith Rousseau, and I wrote: Several of the examples in [the book under review] represent solutions to problems that seem to us to be artificial or conventional tasks with no clear analogy to applied work. “They are artificial and are expressed in terms of a survey of 100 individuals expressing support […]

3 things that will surprise you about model validation and calibration for state space models

Gurjinder Mohan writes: I was wondering if you had any advice specific to state space models when attempting model validation and calibration. I was planning on conducting a graphical posterior predictive check. I’d also recommend fake-data simulation. Beyond that, I’d need to know more about the example. I’m posting here because this seems like a […]

Daryl Bem and Arthur Conan Doyle

Daniel Engber wrote an excellent news article on the replication crisis, offering a historically-informed perspective similar to my take in last year’s post, “What has happened down here is the winds have changed.” The only thing I don’t like about Engber’s article is its title, “Daryl Bem Proved ESP Is Real. Which means science is […]

Clinical trials are broken. Here’s why.

Someone emailed me with some thoughts on systemic exertion intolerance disease, in particular, controversies regarding the Pace trial which evaluated psychological interventions for this condition or, should I say, set of conditions. I responded as follows: At one point I had the thought of doing a big investigative project on this, formally interviewing a bunch […]

Further criticism of social scientists and journalists jumping to conclusions based on mortality trends

[cat picture] So. We’ve been having some discussion regarding reports of the purported increase in mortality rates among middle-aged white people in America. The news media have mostly spun a simple narrative of struggling working-class whites, but there’s more to the story. Some people have pointed me to some contributions from various sources: In “The […]

You can read two versions of this review essay on systemic exertion intolerance disease (chronic fatigue syndrome)

Julie Rehmeyer wrote a book, “Through the Shadowlands: A Science Writer’s Odyssey into an Illness Science Doesn’t Understand,” and my review appeared in the online New Yorker, much shortened and edited, and given the title, “A memoir of chronic fatigue illustrates the failures of medical research.” My original was titled, “Systemic exertion intolerance disease: The […]

Why they aren’t behavioral economists: Three sociologists give their take on “mental accounting”

Nina Bandelj, Fred Wherry, and Viviana Zelizer write: Rather than retreat to disciplinary corners, let us begin by affirming our respect for the generative work undertaken across a variety of disciplines. We’re all talking money, so it is helpful to specify what’s similar and what’s different when we do. . . . In this post, […]

Sparse regression using the “ponyshoe” (regularized horseshoe) model, from Juho Piironen and Aki Vehtari

The article is called “Sparsity information and regularization in the horseshoe and other shrinkage priors,” and here’s the abstract: The horseshoe prior has proven to be a noteworthy alternative for sparse Bayesian estimation, but has previously suffered from two problems. First, there has been no systematic way of specifying a prior for the global shrinkage […]

Night Hawk

Sam Harper writes: Not sure whether you saw the NYT story a couple of days ago about the declining prospects for democracy in rich countries (based on a recently published paper by Roberto Foa (University of Melbourne) and Yascha Mounk (Harvard). This graph, showing differences in the fraction of individuals reporting that it is “essential” […]