Devotion by a Statistical Researcher about an Efficient Mystic [research study]

Statistics an be compiled about anything, independent of the question: is there any point in gathering statistics about this thing? The following study may be good fodder for teachers who wish to discuss that question with students: “The Temporal Making of a Great Literary Corpus by a XX-Century Mystic: Statistics of Daily Words and Writing […]

Advocating Adding Laterality to Chernoff Faces

Chernoff Faces, perhaps the most human way of presenting statistical data— the method was invented by Herman Chernoff, thus the name— gained extra expression in this later paper by Bernhard Flury and Hans Riedwyl: “Graphical Representation of Multivariate Data by Means of Asymmetrical Faces.” Bernhard Flury and Hans Riedwyl, Journal of the American Statistical Association, […]

Statistics – Missing data can sometimes be ignored, and sometimes not (study)

When statisticians are confronted with sets of data, they occasionally find there are data missing. This phenomenon has been given the name ‘Missingness’. Sometimes, a decision is taken that these missing data can be ignored, in which case they are classed as ‘Ignorable Missingness’. But on occasion, some missing data just can’t be ignored. In […]

Some Sampled Statisticians Are Not Always Good at Statistics

Even statistics researchers find that statistics can be— and sometimes are—tricky to use. A recent study by two mathematically-inclined marketing professors demonstrated that many statisticians get confused about (or ignore) some supposedly simple things: “Statistical Significance and the Dichotomization of Evidence,” Blakeley B. McShane [pictured here, pouring coffee] and David Gal, Journal of the American Statistical […]

Statistical Methods Using the Stick-on-the-Wall Spaghetti Rule

The belief that “statistics is like spaghetti” is a good starting point from which to savor this new study about statistics and spaghetti: “Exploration of Experimental Design and Statistical Methods Using the Stick-on-the-Wall Spaghetti Rule,” Simone Montangero, Francesca Vittone, Sally Olderbak, and Oliver Wilhelm, Teaching Statistics, epub 2018. The authors, at Universität Ulm, Germany, explain: […]

Can Consumers Recognize the Taste of their Favorite Beer? (podcast #99)

Do people delude themselves about prizing — or even recognizing — recognizing the taste of their favorite beer? A research study explores that very question, and we explore that study, in this week’s Improbable Research podcast. SUBSCRIBE on, iTunes, or Spotify to get a new episode every week, free. This week, Marc Abrahams discusses a published taste-this-beer, taste-that-beer study. Yale/MIT/Harvard biomedical researcher Chris Cotsapas lends his voice, and his scientific expertise, […]

Things to say, professionally, of small significance

The Still Not Significant blog lists lots of ways to mutter, in professional language, if your research findings are statistically marginal. Among them: What to do if your p-value is just over the arbitrary threshold for ‘significance’ of p=0.05? … The solution is to apply the time-honoured tactic of circumlocution to disguise the non-significant result as […]

“Thinginess fails”

Brian Hayes wrote, in American Scientist, in 2002, about Lewis Fry Richardson‘s book Statistics of Deadly Quarrels: An interesting lesson of Richardson’s exercise is just how difficult it can be to extract consistent and reliable quantitative information from the historical record. It seems easier to count inaccessible galaxies or invisible neutrinos than to count wars that […]