Scientists rise up against statistical significance

When was the last time you heard a seminar speaker claim there was ‘no difference’ between two groups because the difference was ‘statistically non-significant’?

If your experience matches ours, there’s a good chance that this happened at the last talk you attended. We hope that at least someone in the audience was perplexed if, as frequently happens, a plot or table showed that there actually was a difference.

How do statistics so often lead scientists to deny differences that those not educated in statistics can plainly see? For several generations, researchers have been warned that a statistically non-significant result does not ‘prove’ the null hypothesis (the hypothesis that there is no difference between groups or no effect of a treatment on some measured outcome)1. Nor do statistically significant results ‘prove’ some other hypothesis. Such misconceptions have famously warped the literature with overstated claims and, less famously, led to claims of conflicts between studies where none exists.

Source Details

Website

nature

Duration

10 min

Get Abakcus straight to your inbox

Recommend this Article

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp

Similar Articles

Math of the Penguins

Animals have evolved to protect against the cold in myriad ways. Whales insulate with blubber. Bison congregate near geothermal springs. Black bears shelter in caves. And emperor penguins, facing Antarctica’s…