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Archive of posts filed under the Zombies category.

Headline permutations

“Trump’s Base Nurses Anger Over Election” was the headline of a story in today’s newspaper. There was something “colorless green ideas” about this headline, which made me think, Lucky Jim-style, of some permutations: Nurses Anger Trump’s Base Over Election Election Base Angers Trump Over Nurses Election Over, Trumps Base Nurses Anger Election Over, Nurses Trump […]

Trash talkin’

Someone sent me an email: I thought you will get a kick out of these figures from a new paper [appearing in a top economics journal]. I replied: Wow—this is like a parody of econ. But, then again, econ is a parody of econ, isn’t it? [To clarify here, by “econ,” I don’t mean the […]

Oooh, I hate it when people call me “disingenuous”:

This has happened before. I hate it when someone describes me as “disingenuous,” which according to the dictionary, means “not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does.” I feel like responding, truly, that I was being candid and sincere! But of course once someone accuses you […]

Indeed, the standard way that statistical hypothesis testing is taught is a 2-way binary grid. Both these dichotomies are inappropriate.

I originally gave this post the title, “New England Journal of Medicine makes the classic error of labeling a non-significant difference as zero,” but was I was writing it I thought of a more general point. First I’ll give the story, then the general point. 1. Story Dale Lehman writes: Here are an article and […]

Wow, just wow. If you think Psychological Science as bad in the 2010-2015 era, you can’t imagine how bad it was back in 1999

Shane Frederick points us to this article from 1999, “Stereotype susceptibility: Identity salience and shifts in quantitative performance,” about which he writes: This is one of the worst papers ever published in Psych Science (which is a big claim, I recognize). It is old, but really worth a look if you have never read it. […]

Evidence-based medicine eats itself in real time

Robert Matthews writes:

Thoughts inspired by “the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife”

After reading the review of Ariel Sabar’s “Veritas: A Harvard Professor, a Con Man and the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,” I decided to follow Paul Alper’s advice and read the book, which was conveniently available at the local library. At first I thought the book would be boring, not because of the topic but because […]

Guttman points out another problem with null hypothesis significance testing: It falls apart when considering replications.

Michael Nelson writes: Re-reading a classic from Louis Guttman, What is not what in statistics, I saw his “Problem 2” with new eyes given the modern replication debate: Both estimation and the testing of hypotheses have usually been restricted as if to one-time experiments, both in theory and in practice. But the essence of science […]

When does a misunderstanding reach the point where it is recognized to be flat-out ridiculous?

James Lasdun reviews a book by Ariel Sabar telling the story of a conman who sold a fake Bible-related document to a Harvard professor, leading to academic publications and media publicity before the whole thing fell apart. The most amusing of many amusing bits: An Egyptologist at Brown University, Leo Depuydt, found a ‘colossal double […]

More institutional failure by universities that refuse to grapple with potential research misconduct by their faculty

Last year we discussed Why We Sleep, a book that contained misrepresented data. Why We Sleep was written by a professor at the University of California. Alexey Guzey discovered many many problems with the book, including a smoking-gun graph, and Yngve Hoiseth contacted the contacted the University of California to report Walker’s violation of their […]

Your tax dollars at work (junk social science edition)

A couple people pointed me to this article: With this sort of work, I always wonder whether people who do this sort of thing really believe what they’re doing, or if they’re purposely complexifying things, the way that in chess you might try to make the board position more complex if you’re down a couple […]

Lawrence H. Summers, meet Albert O. Hirschman

Zach Carter quotes former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers as saying “$2,000 checks would be a pretty serious mistake” because larger stimulus checks to Americans could risk overheating the economy. Carter replies, “he’s right about there being conceptually better uses for the money, but the idea that we risk ‘a temporary overheat’ of the economy […]

The hot hand and the nudgelords

John Williams points us to this post by Jason Collins. Collins criticizes embodied cognition and he’s not a member of the club, so I guess that makes him a methodological terrorist. But he also criticizes the nudgelords and is not a member of that club either, so I guess that makes him Stasi. Remember, Cass […]

Responding to Richard Morey on p-values and inference

Jonathan Falk points to this post by Richard Morey, who writes: I [Morey] am convinced that most experienced scientists and statisticians have internalized statistical insights that frequentist statistics attempts to formalize: how you can be fooled by randomness; how what we see can be the result of biasing mechanisms; the importance of understanding sampling distributions. […]

“The Multiverse of Methods: Extending the Multiverse Analysis to Address Data-Collection Decisions”

Jenna Harder writes: When analyzing data, researchers may have multiple reasonable options for the many decisions they must make about the data—for example, how to code a variable or which participants to exclude. Therefore, there exists a multiverse of possible data sets. A classic multiverse analysis involves performing a given analysis on every potential data […]

Call for a moratorium on the use of the term “prisoner’s dilemma”

Palko writes: I’m not sure what the best way to get the ball rolling here would be (perhaps a kickstarter?) but we need to have a strictly enforced rule that no journalist or pundit is allowed to mention the prisoner’s dilemma for the next five or ten years, however long it takes to learn to […]

“Analysis challenges slew of studies claiming ocean acidification alters fish behavior”

Lizzie Wolkovich writes: Here’s an interesting new paper in climate change ecology that states, “Using data simulations, we additionally show that the large effect sizes and small within-group variances that have been reported in several previous studies are highly improbable.” I [Lizzie] wish I were more surprised, but mostly I was impressed they did the […]

“Like a harbor clotted with sunken vessels”: update

A few years ago I reported on this story: In 2005, Michael Kosfeld, Markus Heinrichs, Paul Zak, Urs Fischbacher, and Ernst Fehr published a paper, “Oxytocin increases trust in humans.” According to Google, that paper has been cited 3389 times. In 2015, Gideon Nave, Colin Camerer, and Michael McCullough published a paper, “Does Oxytocin Increase […]

More on that credulity thing

I see five problems here that together form a feedback loop with bad consequences. Here are the problems: 1. Irrelevant or misunderstood statistical or econometric theory 2. Poorly-executed research 3. Other people in the field being loath to criticize, taking published or even preprinted claims as correct until proved otherwise 4. Journalists taking published or […]

PNAS is just another blog

The police department, is like a crew It does whatever they want to do In society you have illegal and legal We need both, to make things equal So legal is tobacco, illegal is speed Legal is aspirin, illegal is weed Crack is illegal, cause they cannot stop ya But cocaine is legal if it’s […]