Applied Statistics

Archives for March, 2010

Our story begins with this article by Sanjay Kaul and George Diamond: The randomized controlled clinical trial is the gold standard scientific method for the evaluation of diagnostic and treatment interventions. Such trials are cited frequently as the authoritative foundation for evidence-based management policies. Nevertheless, they have a number of limitations that challenge the interpretation…

Deep in a long discussion, Phil writes, in evident frustration: I don’t like argument by innuendo. Say what you mean; how hard is it, for cryin’ out loud? Actually, it is hard! I’ve spent years trying to write directly, and I’ve often noticed that others have difficulty doing so. I always tell students to simply…

Hey, statistics is easy!

Kent Holsinger sends along this statistics discussion from a climate scientist. I don’t really feel like going into the details on this one, except to note that this appears to be a discussion between two physicists about statistics. The blog in question appears to be pretty influential, with about 70 comments on most of its…

I came across this news article by Sharon Begley: Mind Reading Is Now Possible: A computer can tell with 78 percent accuracy when someone is thinking about a hammer and not pliers. The article came out in 2008. I’m just wondering what’s been happening since in this area.

Felix Salmon gives the story. I haven’t read the research articles, but it’s an interesting story. As Salmon frames the book, it’s Freakonomics-the-book vs. Freakonomics-style empirical analysis. P.S. I’m assuming that both numbers above have been rounded to the nearest billion.

A whole new kind of z-statistic

Jeremy Miles pointed me to this article by Leonhard Held with what might seem like an appealing brew of classical, Bayesian, and graphical statistics: P values are the most commonly used tool to measure evidence against a hypothesis. Several attempts have been made to transform P values to minimum Bayes factors and minimum posterior probabilities…

Sanjay Srivastava writes: Below are the names of some psychological disorders. For each one, choose one of the following: A. This is under formal consideration to be included as a new disorder in the DSM-5. B. Somebody out there has suggested that this should be a disorder, but it is not part of the current…

Graph of the week

Brendan Nyhan links to this hilariously bad graph from the Wall Street Journal: It’s cute how they scale the black line to go right between the red and blue lines, huh? I’m not quite sure how $7.25 can be 39% of something, while $5.15 is 10%, but I’m sure there’s a perfectly good explanation .…

Brendan Nyhan passes along an article by Don Green, Shang Ha, and John Bullock, entitled “Enough Already about ‘Black Box’ Experiments: Studying Mediation Is More Difficult than Most Scholars Suppose,” which begins: The question of how causal effects are transmitted is fascinating and inevitably arises whenever experiments are presented. Social scientists cannot be faulted for…