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Archive of posts filed under the Sociology category.

“The Billy Beane of murder”?

John Hall points to this news article in Businessweek by by Robert Kolker, “Serial Killers Should Fear This Algorithm,” and writes: I couldn’t help but think that you should get some grad students working on the data set mentioned in the article below. Meanwhile this story got picked up by the New Yorker, although without […]

Stranger than fiction

Someone pointed me to a long discussion, which he preferred not to share publicly, of his perspective on a scientific controversy in his field of research. He characterized a particular claim as “impossible to be true, i.e., false, and therefore, by definition, fiction.” But my impression of a lot of research misconduct is that the […]

We need to stop sacrificing women on the altar of deeply mediocre men (ISBA edition)

(This is not Andrew. I would ask you not to speculate in the comments who S is, this is not a great venue for that.) Kristian Lum just published an essay about her experiences being sexually assaulted at statistics conferences.  You should read the whole thing because it’s important, but there’s a sample paragraph. I […]

Two steps forward, one step back

Alex Gamma writes in with what he describes as “an amusing little story” from two years ago: When Deaton & Case published their study, and after your re-analysis had uncovered the missing age-correction, I’ve pointed out this issue to several news blogs that reported on the study, but were not aware of the problem (only […]

A reporter sent me a Jama paper and asked me what I thought . . .

My reply: Thanks for sending. I can’t be sure about everything they’re doing but the paper looks reasonable to me. I expect there are various ways that the analysis could be improved, but on a quick look I don’t see anything obviously wrong with it, and the authors seem to know what they are doing. […]

Offline

I’m getting my computer repaired and so will be offline for a few days, won’t be reading or sending email or reading blog comments. The blog will auto-post, though, one per day, with already-scheduled material: “How to Assess Internet Cures Without Falling for Dangerous Pseudoscience” Ed Jaynes outta control! A reporter sent me a Jama […]

Loss of confidence

This fascinating post by David Weakliem documents declining confidence in political institutions: and the news media: and some other institutions: As Weakliem writes: So far, confidence in everything has declined. You could offer specific explanations for each one, but the fact that it’s so widespread suggests that the declines reflect a general mood of dissatisfaction. […]

“There was this prevalent, incestuous, backslapping research culture. The idea that their work should be criticized at all was anathema to them. Let alone that some punk should do it.”

[image of a cat reading a comic book] How did the outsiders upend social psychology? CATRON: We used basic reporting techniques. We’d call up somebody and ask them about thus-and-so, and they’d mention so-and-so, so we’d call so-and-so, and ask about thus-and-so. I’d say, “OK, you’re saying this but the first guy said this other […]

Trouble Ahead

Here’s the abstract: Guo, Li, Wang, Cai and Duncan (2015) recently claimed to have provided evidence for a general theory of gene-environment interaction. The theory holds that those who are labelled as having high or low genetic propensity to alcoholuse will be unresponsive to environmental factors that predict binge-drinking among those of moderate propensity. They […]

“Five ways to fix statistics”

Nature magazine just published a short feature on statistics and the replication crisis, featuring the following five op-ed-sized bits: Jeff Leek: Adjust for human cognition Blake McShane, Andrew Gelman, David Gal, Christian Robert, and Jennifer Tackett: Abandon statistical significance David Colquhoun: State false-positive risk, too Michele Nuijten: Share analysis plans and results Steven Goodman: Change […]

Teeth are the only bones that show

“I lived in the country where the dead wood aches, in a house made of stone and a thousand mistakes” – The Drones Sometimes it’s cold and grey and Canadian outside and the procrastination hits hard. Sometimes, in those dark moments, one is tempted to fire up the social media and see what’s happening in […]

We start by talking reproducible research, then we drift to a discussion of voter turnout

Emil Kirkegaard writes: Regarding data sharing, you recently commented that “In future perhaps journals will require all data to be posted as a condition of publication and then this sort of thing won’t happen anymore.” We went a step further. We require public data sharing at submission. This means that from the moment one submits, […]

A pivotal episode in the unfolding of the replication crisis

Axel Cleeremans writes: I appreciated your piece titled “What has happened down here is the winds have changed”. Your mini-history of what happened was truly enlightening — but you didn’t explicitly mention our failure to replicate Bargh’s slow walking effect. This was absolutely instrumental in triggering the replication crisis. As you know, the article was […]

Spatial models for demographic trends?

Jon Minton writes: You may be interested in a commentary piece I wrote early this year, which was published recently in the International Journal of Epidemiology, where I discuss your work on identifying an aggregation bias in one of the key figures in Case & Deaton’s (in)famous 2015 paper on rising morbidity and mortality in […]

Fitting multilevel models when predictors and group effects correlate

Ryan Bain writes: I came across your ‘Fitting Multilevel Models When Predictors and Group Effects Correlate‘ paper that you co-authored with Dr. Bafumi and read it with great interest. I am a current postgraduate student at the University of Glasgow writing a dissertation examining explanations of Euroscepticism at the individual and country level since the […]

What should this student do? His bosses want him to p-hack and they don’t even know it!

Someone writes: I’m currently a PhD student in the social sciences department of a university. I recently got involved with a group of professors working on a project which involved some costly data-collection. None of them have any real statistical prowess, so they came to me to perform their analyses, which I was happy to […]

“A mixed economy is not an economic abomination or even a regrettably unavoidable political necessity but a natural absorbing state,” and other notes on “Whither Science?” by Danko Antolovic

So. I got this email one day, promoting a book that came with the following blurb: Whither Science?, by Danko Antolovic, is a series of essays that explore some of the questions facing modern science. A short read at only 41 pages, Whither Science? looks into the fundamental questions about the purposes, practices and future […]

Planet of the hominids? We wanna see this exposition.

It would be interesting if someone were to make an exhibit for a museum showing the timeline of humans and hominids, and under that showing children’s toys and literature, showing how these guys were represented in popular media. It probably already exists, right? P.S. I feel kinda bad that this bumped Dan’s more important, statistically-related […]

The Night Riders

Retraction Watch linked to this paper, “Publication bias and the canonization of false facts,” by Silas Nissen, Tali Magidson, Kevin Gross, and Carl Bergstrom, and which is in the Physics and Society section of Arxiv which is kind of odd since it has nothing whatsoever to do with physics. Nissen et al. write: In the […]

Post-publication review succeeds again! (Two-lines edition.)

A couple months ago, Uri Simonsohn posted online a suggested statistical method for detecting nonmonotonicity in data. He called it: “Two-lines: The First Valid Test of U-Shaped Relationships.” With a title like that, I guess you’re asking for it. And, indeed, awhile later I received an email from Yair Heller identifying some problems with Uri’s […]