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Cruder than Gigerenzer describes

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Title_Discussion_Topic Cruder than Gigerenzer describes
Name_Topic_Initiator Peter Bacchetti
Online_Journal_Club_Meeting Meeting 3
Description - Problem to be explored I don’t think the id wants probabilities; it wants Yes or No. In the actual practice that I see day to day, the fallacy is not confusing P(D|H) with P(H|D), but rather interpreting P>0.05 as proving the null hypothesis and P<0.05 as disproving the null hypothesis and indicating that the observed effect is real (and accurate). This interpretation is so convenient and desirable that it is very hard to resist, even for statisticians who are well aware of how wrong it is. This may reflect a strong preference that people have, sometimes called dichotomania, for Yes/No rather than continuous or probabilistic thinking.

I would argue that the roots of this problem lie squarely in the Neyman-Pearson “hypothesis testing” framework. Gigerenzer and Fisher (the later version) got it right that automatic decision making is not the usual goal in scientific research. We publish results to convey information and, sometimes but not always, to try to convince others of a decision that we believe is warranted by the evidence. Simply making an automatic decision does not require publication, and it is no accident that the standard examples are from industrial quality control rather than science.

Estimates, confidence intervals, and actual P-values are often reported, but they rarely figure into the interpretation of a study’s results as they should; interpretation instead usually focuses just on whether or not P<alpha (almost always, 0.05).
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Topic revision: r2 - 02 Dec 2013 - 11:41:23 - MaryBanach

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