The retraction paradox: Once you retract, you implicitly have to defend all the many things you haven’t yet retracted

Mark Palko points to this news article by Beth Skwarecki on Goop, “the Gwyneth Paltrow pseudoscience empire.” Here’s Skwarecki: When Goop publishes something weird or, worse, harmful, I often find myself wondering what are they thinking? Recently, on Jimmy Kimmel, Gwyneth laughed at some of the newsletter’s weirder recommendations and said “I don’t know what the fuck we talk about.” . . . I [Skwarecki] . . . end up speaking with editorial director Nandita Khanna. “You publish a lot of things that are outside of the mainstream. What are your criteria for determining that something is safe and ethical to recommend?” Khanna starts by pointing out that they include a disclaimer at the bottom of health articles. This is true. It reads: The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the…
Original Post: The retraction paradox: Once you retract, you implicitly have to defend all the many things you haven’t yet retracted

Alzheimer’s Mouse research on the Orient Express

Paul Alper sends along an article from Joy Victory at Health News Review, shooting down a bunch of newspaper headlines (“Extra virgin olive oil staves off Alzheimer’s, preserves memory, new study shows” from USA Today, the only marginally better “Can extra-virgin olive oil preserve memory and prevent Alzheimer’s?” from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the better but still misleading “Temple finds olive oil is good for the brain — in mice” from the Philadelphia Inquirer) which were based on a university’s misleading press release. That’s a story we’ve heard before. The clickbait also made its way into traditionally respected outlets Newsweek and Voice of America. And NPR, kinda. Here’s Joy Victory: It’s pretty great clickbait—a common, devastating disease cured by something many of us already have in our pantries! . . . To deconstruct how this went off the rails, let’s…
Original Post: Alzheimer’s Mouse research on the Orient Express

Nudge nudge, say no more

Nudge nudge, say no more Posted by Andrew on 8 January 2018, 9:17 am Alan Finlayson puts it well when he writes of “the tiresome business of informing and persuading people replaced by psychological techniques designed to ‘nudge’ us in the right direction.” I think that’s about right. Nudging makes sense as part of a package that already includes information and persuasion. For example, tell us that smoking causes cancer, persuade us to reduce or quit, then also provide nudges that make smoking more difficult and make non-smoking more comfortable. But to try to nudge people without informing and persuading them, that seems like a mistake.
Original Post: Nudge nudge, say no more

“Handling Multiplicity in Neuroimaging through Bayesian Lenses with Hierarchical Modeling”

Donald Williams points us to this new paper by Gang Chen, Yaqiong Xiao, Paul Taylor, Tracy Riggins, Fengji Geng, Elizabeth Redcay, and Robert Cox: In neuroimaging, the multiplicity issue may sneak into data analysis through several channels . . . One widely recognized aspect of multiplicity, multiple testing, occurs when the investigator fits a separate model for each voxel in the brain. However, multiplicity also occurs when the investigator conducts multiple comparisons within a model, tests two tails of a t-test separately when prior information is unavailable about the directionality, and branches in the analytic pipelines. . . . More fundamentally, the adoption of dichotomous decisions through sharp thresholding under NHST may not be appropriate when the null hypothesis itself is not pragmatically relevant because the effect of interest takes a continuum instead of discrete values and is not expected…
Original Post: “Handling Multiplicity in Neuroimaging through Bayesian Lenses with Hierarchical Modeling”

The failure of null hypothesis significance testing when studying incremental changes, and what to do about it

A few months ago I wrote a post, “Cage match: Null-hypothesis-significance-testing meets incrementalism. Nobody comes out alive.” I soon after turned it into an article, published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, with the title given above and the following abstract: A standard mode of inference in social and behavioral science is to establish stylized facts using statistical significance in quantitative studies. However, in a world in which measure- ments are noisy and effects are small, this will not work: selection on statistical significance leads to effect sizes which are overestimated and often in the wrong direction. After a brief discussion of two examples, one in economics and one in social psychology, we consider the procedural solution of open post-publication review, the design solution of devoting more effort to accurate measurements and within-person comparisons, and the statistical analysis solution of…
Original Post: The failure of null hypothesis significance testing when studying incremental changes, and what to do about it

It’s . . . spam-tastic!

We’ll celebrate Christmas today with a scam that almost fooled me. OK, not quite: I was about two steps from getting caught. Here’s the email: Dear Dr. Gelman, I hope you do not mind me emailing you directly, I thought it would be the easiest way to make first contact. If you have time for a short discussion I was hoping to speak with you about your studies and our interest to feature your work in a special STEM issue of our publication, Scientia. I will run you through this in more detail when we talk. But to give you a very quick insight into Scientia and the style in which we publish, I have attached a few example articles from research groups we have recently worked with. I have attached these as HTML files to reduce the file size,…
Original Post: It’s . . . spam-tastic!

Walk a Crooked MiIe

An academic researcher writes: I was wondering if you might have any insight or thoughts about a problem that has really been bothering me. I have taken a winding way through academia, and I am seriously considering a career shift that would allow me to do work that more directly translates to societal good and more readily incorporates quantitative as well as qualitative methodologies. Statistics have long been my “intellectual first language”—I believe passionately in the possibilities they open, and I’d love to find a place (ideally outside of the university) where I could think more about how they allow us to find beauty in uncertainty. The problem is that, as you know, many sectors seem to apply quantitative methods of convenience rather than choosing analytical frames that are appropriate to the questions at hand. Even when I was in…
Original Post: Walk a Crooked MiIe

Yes, Virginia, it can be rational to vote!

Yes, Virginia, it can be rational to vote! Posted by Andrew on 19 December 2017, 5:48 pm Carl Shulman correctly thought I’d be interested in this news item, “A single vote leads to a rare tie for control of the Virginia legislature”: A Republican seat flipped Democratic in a wild recount Tuesday – with the Democrat winning by a single vote – creating a rare 50-50 tie between the parties in the House of Delegates and refashioning the political landscape in Richmond. Democrat Shelly Simonds emerged from the recount as the apparent winner in the 94th District of the House of Delegates, seizing the seat from Republican incumbent David Yancey. . . . The final tally: 11,608 for Simonds to 11,607 for Yancey. As Edlin, Kaplan, and I wrote, it can be rational to vote, as long as you’re doing so…
Original Post: Yes, Virginia, it can be rational to vote!

We need to stop sacrificing women on the altar of deeply mediocre men (ISBA edition)

(This is not Andrew. I would ask you not to speculate in the comments who S is, this is not a great venue for that.) Kristian Lum just published an essay about her experiences being sexually assaulted at statistics conferences.  You should read the whole thing because it’s important, but there’s a sample paragraph. I debated saying something about him at the time, but who would have cared? It was a story passed down among female graduate students in my circles that when one woman graduate student was groped at a party by a professor and reported it to a senior female professor, she was told that if she wanted to stay in the field, she’d just have to get used to it. On many occasions, I have been smacked on the butt at conferences. No one ever seemed to…
Original Post: We need to stop sacrificing women on the altar of deeply mediocre men (ISBA edition)

Always crashing in the same car

“Hey, remember me?  I’ve been busy working like crazy” – Fever Ray I’m at the Banff International Research Station (BIRS) for the week, which is basically a Canadian version of Disneyland where during coffee breaks a Canadian woman with a rake politely walks around telling elk to “shoo”. The topic of this week’s workshop isn’t elk-shooing, but (more interestingly) spatial statistics.  But the final talk of the workshop spurred some non-spatial thoughts. Lance Waller was tasked with drawing together the various threads from the last few days, but he actually did something better. He spent his 45 minutes talking about the structures and workflows that make up applied spatial statistics. Watch the talk. It’s interesting. Rage of Travers The one thing in the talk that I strongly disagreed with in Lance’s talk was the way he talked about priors in Bayesian…
Original Post: Always crashing in the same car