Archive of entries posted in the year 2016

## Transformative treatments

Kieran Healy and Laurie Paul wrote a new article, “Transformative Treatments,” (see also here) which reminds me a bit of my article with Guido, “Why ask why? Forward causal inference and reverse causal questions.” Healy and Paul’s article begins: Contemporary social-scientific research seeks to identify specific causal mechanisms for outcomes of theoretical interest. Experiments that […]

## “Kevin Lewis and Paul Alper send me so much material, I think they need their own blogs.”

In my previous post, I wrote: Kevin Lewis and Paul Alper send me so much material, I think they need their own blogs. It turns out that Lewis does have his own blog. His latest entry contains a bunch of links, starting with this one: Populism and the Return of the “Paranoid Style”: Some Evidence […]

## Two unrelated topics in one post: (1) Teaching useful algebra classes, and (2) doing more careful psychological measurements

Kevin Lewis and Paul Alper send me so much material, I think they need their own blogs. In the meantime, I keep posting the stuff they send me, as part of my desperate effort to empty my inbox. 1. From Lewis: “Should Students Assessed as Needing Remedial Mathematics Take College-Level Quantitative Courses Instead? A Randomized […]

## “The Pitfall of Experimenting on the Web: How Unattended Selective Attrition Leads to Surprising (Yet False) Research Conclusions”

Kevin Lewis points us to this paper by Haotian Zhou and Ayelet Fishbach, which begins: The authors find that experimental studies using online samples (e.g., MTurk) often violate the assumption of random assignment, because participant attrition—quitting a study before completing it and getting paid—is not only prevalent, but also varies systemically across experimental conditions. Using […]

## “I thought it would be most unfortunate if a lab . . . wasted time and effort trying to replicate our results.”

[cat picture] Mark Palko points us to this news article by George Dvorsky: A Harvard research team led by biologist Douglas Melton has retracted a promising research paper following multiple failed attempts to reproduce the original findings. . . . In June 2016, the authors published an article in the open access journal PLOS One […]

## Sorry, but no, you can’t learn causality by looking at the third moment of regression residuals

Under the subject line “Legit?”, Kevin Lewis pointed me to this press release, “New statistical approach will help researchers better determine cause-effect.” I responded, “No link to any of the research papers, so cannot evaluate.” In writing this post I thought I’d go further. The press release mentions 6 published articles so I googled the […]

## Ethics and statistics

For a few years now, I’ve been writing a column in Chance. Below are the articles so far. This is by no means an exhaustive list of my writings on ethics and statistics but at least I thought it could help to collect these columns in one place. Ethics and statistics: Open data and open […]

## Objects of the class “George Orwell”

image George Orwell is an exemplar in so many ways: a famed truth-teller who made things up, a left-winger who mocked left-wingers, an author of a much-misunderstood novel (see “Objects of the class ‘Sherlock Holmes,’”) probably a few dozen more. But here I’m talking about Orwell’s name being used as an adjective. More specifically, “Orwellian” […]

## Emails I never bothered to answer

So, this came in the email one day: Dear Professor Gelman, I would like to shortly introduce myself: I am editor in the ** Department at the publishing house ** (based in ** and **). As you may know, ** has taken over all journals of ** Press. We are currently restructuring some of the […]

## Christmas special: Survey research, network sampling, and Charles Dickens’ coincidences

image It’s Christmas so what better time to write about Charles Dickens . . . Here’s the story: In traditional survey research we have been spoiled. If you work with atomistic data structures, a small sample looks like a little bit of the population. But a small sample of a network doesn’t look like the […]

## How to include formulas (LaTeX) and code blocks in WordPress posts and replies

It’s possible to include LaTeX formulas like . I entered it as $latex \int e^x \, \mathrm{d}x$. You can also generate code blocks like this for (n in 1:N) y[n] ~ normal(0, 1); The way to format them is to use <pre> to open the code block and </pre> to close it. You can create […]

## p=.03, it’s gotta be true!

Howie Lempel writes: Showing a white person a photo of Obama w/ artificially dark skin instead of artificially lightened skin before asking whether they support the Tea Party raises their probability of saying “yes” from 12% to 22%. 255 person Amazon Turk and Craigs List sample, p=.03. Nothing too unusual about this one. But it’s […]

## Sethi on Schelling

Interesting appreciation from an economist.

## “Dirty Money: The Role of Moral History in Economic Judgments”

[cat picture] Recently in the sister blog . . . Arber Tasimi and his coauthor write: Although traditional economic models posit that money is fungible, psychological research abounds with examples that deviate from this assumption. Across eight experiments, we provide evidence that people construe physical currency as carrying traces of its moral history. In Experiments […]

## You Won’t BELIEVE How Trump Broke Up This Celebrity Couple!

[cat picture] A few months ago I asked if it was splitsville for tech zillionaire Peter Thiel and chess champion Garry Kasparov, after seeing this quote from Kasparov in April: Trump sells the myth of American success instead of the real thing. . . . It’s tempting to rally behind him-but we should resist. Because […]

## This is not news.

image Anne Pier Salverda writes: I’m not sure if you’re keeping track of published failures to replicate the power posing effect, but this article came out earlier this month: “Embodied power, testosterone, and overconfidence as a causal pathway to risk-taking.” From the abstract: We were unable to replicate the findings of the original study and […]

## Michael found the bug in Stan’s new sampler

Gotcha! Michael found the bug! That was a lot of effort, during which time he produced ten pages of dense LaTeX to help Daniel and me understand the algorithm enough to help debug (we’re trying to write a bunch of these algorithmic details up for a more general audience, so stay tuned). So what was […]

## You’ll have to figure this one out for yourselves.

So. The other day this following email comes in, subject line “Grabbing headlines using poor statistical methods,” from Clifford Anderson-Bergman:

## Stan 2.10 through Stan 2.13 produce biased samples

[Update: bug found! See the follow-up post, Michael found the bug in Stan’s new sampler] [Update: rolled in info from comments.] After all of our nagging of people to use samplers that produce unbiased samples, we are mortified to have to announce that Stan versions 2.10 through 2.13 produce biased samples. The issue Thanks to […]

## Steve Fienberg

I did not know Steve Fienberg well, but I met him several times and encountered his work on various occasions, which makes sense considering his research area was statistical modeling as applied to social science. Fienberg’s most influential work must have been his books on the analysis of categorical data, work that was ahead of […]

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