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Avoiding model selection in Bayesian social research

One of my favorites, from 1995. Don Rubin and I argue with Adrian Raftery. Here’s how we begin: Raftery’s paper addresses two important problems in the statistical analysis of social science data: (1) choosing an appropriate model when so much data are available that standard P-values reject all parsimonious models; and (2) making estimates and […]


A journalist sent me a bunch of questions regarding problems with polls. Here was my reply: In answer to your question, no, the polls in Brexit did not fail. They were pretty good. See here and here. The polls also successfully estimated Donald Trump’s success in the Republican primary election. I think that poll responses […]

We have a ways to go in communicating the replication crisis

I happened to come across this old post today with this amazing, amazing quote from a Harvard University public relations writer: The replication rate in psychology is quite high—indeed, it is statistically indistinguishable from 100%. This came up in the context of a paper by Daniel Gilbert et al. defending the reputation of social psychology, […]

The Psychological Science stereotype paradox

Lee Jussim, Jarret Crawford, and Rachel Rubinstein just published a paper in Psychological Science that begins, Are stereotypes accurate or inaccurate? We summarize evidence that stereotype accuracy is one of the largest and most replicable findings in social psychology. We address controversies in this literature, including the long-standing and continuing but unjustified emphasis on stereotype […]

Advice on setting up audio for your podcast

Jennifer and I were getting ready to do our podcast, and in preparation we got some advice from Enrico Bertini and the Data Stories team: 1) Multitracking. The best way is to multitrack and have each person record locally (note: this is easier if you are in different rooms/locations). Multitracking gives you a lot of […]

Should Jonah Lehrer be a junior Gladwell? Does he have any other options?

Remember Jonah Lehrer—that science writer from a few years back whose reputation was tarnished after some plagiarism and fabrication scandals? He’s been blogging—on science! And he’s on to some of the usual suspects: Ellen Langer’s mindfulness (see here for the skeptical take) and—hey—“an important new paper [by] Kyla Haimovitz and Carol Dweck” (see here for […]

Some people are so easy to contact and some people aren’t.

I was reading Cowboys Full, James McManus’s entertaining history of poker (but way too much on the so-called World Series of Poker), and I skimmed the index to look up some of my favorite poker writers. Frank Wallace and David Spanier were both there but only got brief mentions in the text, I was disappointed […]

Opportunity for publishing preregistered analyses of the 2016 American National Election Study

Brendan Nyhan writes: Have you heard about the Election Research Preacceptance Competition that Skip Lupia and I are organizing to promote preaccepted articles? Details here: A number of top journals have agreed to consider preaccepted articles that include data from the ANES. Authors who publish qualifying entries can win a $2,000 prize. We’re eager […]

“Marginally Significant Effects as Evidence for Hypotheses: Changing Attitudes Over Four Decades”

Kevin Lewis sends along this article by Laura Pritschet, Derek Powell, and Zachary Horne, who write: Some effects are statistically significant. Other effects do not reach the threshold of statistical significance and are sometimes described as “marginally significant” or as “approaching significance.” Although the concept of marginal significance is widely deployed in academic psychology, there […]

Is it fair to use Bayesian reasoning to convict someone of a crime?

Ethan Bolker sends along this news article from the Boston Globe: If it doesn’t acquit, it must fit Judges and juries are only human, and as such, their brains tend to see patterns, even if the evidence isn’t all there. In a new study, researchers first presented people with pieces of evidence (a confession, an […]

Applying the “If there’s no report you can read, there’s no study” principle in real time

So, I was on the website of the New York Times and came across this story by Donna de la Cruz: Opioids May Interfere With Parenting Instincts, Study Finds . . . Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania scanned the brains of 47 men and women before and after […]

Stan case studies!

In the spirit of reproducible research, we (that is, Bob*) set up this beautiful page of Stan case studies. Check it out. * Bob here. Michael set the site up, I set this page up, and lots of people have contributed case studies and we’re always looking for more to publish.

Transparency, replications, and publication

Bob Reed responded to my recent Retraction Watch article (where I argued that corrections and retractions are not a feasible solution to the problem of flawed science, because there are so many fatally flawed papers out there and retraction or correction is such a long, drawn-out process) with a post on openness, data transparency, and […]

Mister P can solve problems with survey weighting

It’s tough being a blogger who’s expected to respond immediately to topics in his area of expertise. For example, here’s Scott “fraac” Adams posting on 8 Oct 2016, post titled “Why Does This Happen on My Vacation? (The Trump Tapes).” After some careful reflection, Adams wrote, “My prediction of a 98% chance of Trump winning […]

Should you abandon that low-salt diet? (uh oh, it’s the Lancet!)

Russ Lyons sends along this news article by Ian Johnston, who writes: The prestigious medical journal The Lancet has been attacked for publishing an academic paper that claimed eating too little salt could increase the chance of dying from a heart attack or stroke. Johnston summarizes the study: Researchers from the Population Health Research Institute […]

Gray graphs look pretty

Swupnil made this graph for a research meeting we had today: It looks so cool. I think it’s the gray colors. So here’s my advice to you: If you want to make your graphs look cool, use lots of gray.

My online talk this Friday noon for the Political Methods Colloquium: The Statistical Crisis in Science

Justin Esarey writes: This Friday, October 14th at noon Eastern time, the International Methods Colloquium will inaugurate its Fall 2016 series of talks with a presentation by Andrew Gelman of Columbia University. Professor Gelman’s presentation is titled “The Statistical Crisis in Science.” The presentation will draw on these two papers: “Beyond Power Calculations: Assessing Type […]

No, I don’t think the Super Bowl is lowering birth weights

In a news article entitled, “Inequality might start before we’re even born,” Carolyn Johnson reports: Another study, forthcoming in the Journal of Human Resources, analyzed birth outcomes in counties where the home team goes to the Super Bowl. . . . The researchers found that women in their first trimester whose home team played in […]


Paul Alper writes: Heimlich who is 96, was in the news lately, saving a woman, 87 years old, using the technique he invented. So, off to Wikipedia: Henry Judah Heimlich (born February 3, 1920) is an American thoracic surgeon widely credited as the inventor of the Heimlich maneuver, a technique of abdominal … where I […]

Note to journalists: If there’s no report you can read, there’s no study

Blogger Echidne caught a study by the British organization Demos which was reported in Newsweek as “Half of Misogyny on Twitter Comes From Women.” But, as Echidne points out, there’s no study to report: I [Echidne] then e-mailed Demos to ask for the url of the study. The rapid response I received (thanks, Demos!) told […]