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Mar 14

It is difficult to get a man to intuit p-values when his h-index depends upon his not intuiting them

More cleverness from John Holbo at Crooked Timber, especially the title.  There’s a lot to like in this piece and a few things that could be quibbled with.  Probably unsurprisingly, I’m not fond of the accusation that psychologists in general are ‘omnicausal’ as in we are all too vulnerable to crazy ideas about causal structure of the world.  But I’m not even familiar with the examples given (mainly quotes from statistical social science skeptic Andrew Gelman) and I suppose there may be enough ‘wacky’ claims out there to be off-putting.

The whole point of science is to uncover hidden causes that help us understand the world around us.  In psychology the thing we are trying to understand is us, which is peculiarly difficult given that we are us.  Implicit in all of this is the importance of how implicit much of our cognitive processing is. The so-called “replicability crisis” mostly just tells us that science is hard (I think) and we should always rely on volumes of research and not any once study at p<.05 or any other statistical criterion.

 

Colliding with Mystery – or – It is difficult to get a man to intuit p-values when his h-index depends upon his not intuiting them

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