Department of Psychology
Department of Psychology

Dr. Andrew Gelman, "Do Statistical Methods Have An Expiration Date?”

Fri, October 6, 2017 | SEA 4.244

2:00 PM

 

Andrew Gelman, PhD
Professor, Department of Statistics and Department of Political Science
Director, Applied Statistics Center
Columbia University

 

"Do Statistical Methods Have An Expiration Date?”

 

October 6, 2pm, SEA 4.244 (Auditorium)

 

Abstract: There is a statistical crisis in science, particularly in psychology where many celebrated findings have failed to replicate, and where careful analysis has revealed that many celebrated research projects were dead on arrival in the sense of never having sufficiently accurate data to answer the questions they were attempting to resolve.  The statistical methods which revolutionized science in the 1930s-1950s no longer seem to work in the 21st century. How can this be?

It turns out that when effects are small and highly variable, the classical approach of black-box inference from randomized experiments or observational studies no longer works as advertised. We discuss the conceptual barriers that have allowed researchers to avoid confronting these issues, which arise not just in psychology but also in policy research, public health, and other fields.

To do better, we recommend three steps: (a) designing studies based on a perspective of realism rather than gambling or hope, (b) higher quality data collection, and (c) data analysis that combines multiple sources of information.

Some material in the talk appears in his recent papers, "The failure of null hypothesis significance testing when studying incremental changes, and what to do about it" and "Some natural solutions to the p-value communication problem--and why they won’t work." 

 

Sponsored by: Department of Psychology Clinical Area

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