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Archive of posts filed under the Miscellaneous Statistics category.

Using black-box machine learning predictions as inputs to a Bayesian analysis

Following up on this discussion [Designing an animal-like brain: black-box “deep learning algorithms” to solve problems, with an (approximately) Bayesian “consciousness” or “executive functioning organ” that attempts to make sense of all these inferences], Mike Betancourt writes: I’m not sure AI (or machine learning) + Bayesian wrapper would address the points raised in the paper. […]

Type M errors in the wild—really the wild!

Jeremy Fox points me to this article, “Underappreciated problems of low replication in ecological field studies,” by Nathan Lemoine, Ava Hoffman, Andrew Felton, Lauren Baur, Francis Chaves, Jesse Gray, Qiang Yu, and Melinda Smith, who write: The cost and difficulty of manipulative field studies makes low statistical power a pervasive issue throughout most ecological subdisciplines. […]

Type M errors studied in the wild

Brendan Nyhan points to this article, “Very large treatment effects in randomised trials as an empirical marker to indicate whether subsequent trials are necessary: meta-epidemiological assessment,” by Myura Nagendran, Tiago Pereira, Grace Kiew, Douglas Altman, Mahiben Maruthappu, John Ioannidis, and Peter McCulloch. From the abstract: Objective To examine whether a very large effect (VLE; defined […]

It seemed to me that most destruction was being done by those who could not choose between the two

Amateurs, dilettantes, hacks, cowboys, clones — Nick Cave [Note from Dan 11Sept: I wanted to leave some clear air after the StanCon reminder, so I scheduled this post for tomorrow. Which means you get two posts (one from me, one from Andrew) on this in two days. That’s probably more than the gay face study deserves.] […]

God, goons, and gays: 3 quick takes

Next open blog spots are in April but all these are topical so I thought I’d throw them down right now for ya. 1. Alex Durante writes: I noticed that this study on how Trump supporters respond to racial cues is getting some media play, notably over at Vox. I was wondering if you have […]

Gigo update (“electoral integrity project”)

Someone sent me this note: I read your takedown of the EIP on Slate and then your original blog post and the P. Norris response. I wanted to offer a couple of points. First, as you can see below, I was asked to be one of the ‘experts.’ I declined. I think we all can […]

What to make of reported statistical analysis summaries: Hear no distinction, see no ensembles, speak of no non-random error.

Recently there has been a lot of fuss about the inappropriate interpretations and uses of p-values, significance tests, Bayes factors, confidence intervals, credible intervals and almost anything anyone has ever thought of. That is to desperately discern what to make of reported statistical analysis summaries of individual studies –  largely on their own. Including a credible […]

Don’t always give ’em what they want: Practicing scientists want certainty, but I don’t want to offer it to them!

Stephen Senn writes: What the practicing scientist wants to know is what is a good test in practice. I agree with Stephen Senn on most things—even where it seems we disagree, I think we agree on the fundamentals—but in this case I think you have to be careful about giving the practicing scientist what he […]

Two papers and one presentation by Ron Kennett related to workflow

Ron Kennett sent along these two papers: Statistics: A Life Cycle View Aspects of statistical consulting not taught by academia Also this presentation. They’re somewhat relevant to our current project on statistical workflow, so I’m posting them here for convenience. P.S. I used to think it was a good idea to teach statistical consulting, and […]

Publish your raw data and your speculations, then let other people do the analysis: track and field edition

There seems to be an expectation in science that the people who gather a dataset should also be the ones who analyze it. But often that doesn’t make sense: what it takes to gather relevant data has little to do with what it takes to perform a reasonable analysis. Indeed, the imperatives of analysis can […]

Irish immigrants in the Civil War

I was cc-ed on a series of emails on a topic I know nothing about, maybe because I’m on the political science faculty here, I don’t know. Anyway, there was some statistical content here so I thought I’d share with you. The email is from James McManus: Analysis of the Civil War Immigrant problem McPherson’s […]

It is somewhat paradoxical that good stories tend to be anomalous, given that when it comes to statistical data, we generally want what is typical, not what is surprising. Our resolution of this paradox is . . .

From a blog comment a few years ago regarding an article by Robert Kosara: As Thomas and I discuss in our paper [When Do Stories Work? Evidence and Illustration in the Social Sciences], it is somewhat paradoxical that good stories tend to be anomalous, given that when it comes to statistical data, we generally want […]

The Pandora Principle in statistics — and its malign converse, the ostrich

The Pandora Principle is that once you’ve considered a possible interaction or bias or confounder, you can’t un-think it. The malign converse is when people realize this and then design their studies to avoid putting themselves in a position where they have to consider some potentially important factor. For example, suppose you’re considering some policy […]

I don’t like discrete models (hot hand in baseball edition)

Bill Jefferys points us to this article, “Baseball’s ‘Hot Hand’ Is Real,” in which Rob Arthur and Greg Matthews analyze a year of pitch-by-pitch data from Major League Baseball. There are some good things in their analysis, and I think a lot can be learned from these data using what Arthur and Matthews did, so […]

The Supreme Court can’t do statistics. And, what’s worse, they don’t know what they don’t know.

Kevin Lewis points us to this article by Ryan Enos, Anthony Fowler, and Christopher Havasy, who write: This article examines the negative effect fallacy, a flawed statistical argument first utilized by the Warren Court in Elkins v. United States. The Court argued that empirical evidence could not determine whether the exclusionary rule prevents future illegal […]

What readings should be included in a seminar on the philosophy of statistics, the replication crisis, causation, etc.?

André Ariew writes: I’m a philosopher of science at the University of Missouri. I’m interested in leading a seminar on a variety of current topics with philosophical value, including problems with significance tests, the replication crisis, causation, correlation, randomized trials, etc. I’m hoping that you can point me in a good direction for accessible readings […]

A stunned Dyson

Terry Martin writes: I ran into this quote and thought you might enjoy it. It’s from p. 273 of Segre’s new biography of Fermi, The Pope of Physics: When Dyson met with him in 1953, Fermi welcomed him politely, but he quickly put aside the graphs he was being shown indicating agreement between theory and […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]