The dog that didn't bark...interpreting non-significance

D. Kornbrot, R.M. Msetfi

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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    Hypothesis testing is a crucial component of science. This leads to guidelines (often ignored) in most disciplines including psychology. Unfortunately, most focus on significant effects. Non-significant effects are sidelined, in spite of their importance to scientific progress. This study reports a survey of practicing scientists on how they would report and interpret explicit scenarios with non-significant effects. There was no consensus on interpretation in terms of predicting future results. Respondants agreed about how to report the significance of a hypothesis test. Most chose not to report any descriptive statistics, or the sample size, or anything about power, or sufficient information to enable replication. These results shed light on statistical thinking and so should enable more useable guidelines. For non-significant effects, the importance of a priori power is emphasised.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationFechner Day 2007, 23rd Annual Meeting of the International Society for Psychophysics
    PublisherInternational Society for Psychophysics
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


    • statistical inference
    • non-significant
    • guidelines
    • practitioner advice


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