Why Are Statistics Useful In Psychology
04 September, 2018
Statistics usually draw the attention of those who start a psychology career. They believe that numbers are a thing of the past, but this worrying subject suddenly pops up. What do scientists use statistics for? Why are they useful for psychologists and people interested in psychology?
When studying psychology, well find classes such as: Fundamentals of Research, Data Analysis, Research Design, Psychometrics, etc. Theyre directly based on statistics. But these classes dont really motivate psychology students. Therefore, theyre not the most appreciated classes in the career.
In this article, well try to answer the questions that many students and curious people ask themselves when they come across those classes. To develop these answers, well talk about psychology as a science and the usefulness of statistics in psychology.
Demand Effects And Reactivity
When talking about experimenter bias, the worry is that the experimenters knowledge or desires for the experiment are communicated to the participants, and that these effect peoples behaviour Rosenthal . However, even if you manage to stop this from happening, its almost impossible to stop people from knowing that theyre part of a psychological study. And the mere fact of knowing that someone is watching/studying you can have a pretty big effect on behaviour. This is generally referred to as reactivity or demand effects. The basic idea is captured by the Hawthorne effect: people alter their performance because of the attention that the study focuses on them. The effect takes its name from a the Hawthorne Works factory outside of Chicago . A study done in the 1920s looking at the effects of lighting on worker productivity at the factory turned out to be an effect of the fact that the workers knew they were being studied, rather than the lighting.
To get a bit more specific about some of the ways in which the mere fact of being in a study can change how people behave, it helps to think like a social psychologist and look at some of the roles that people might adopt during an experiment, but might not adopt if the corresponding events were occurring in the real world:
What Is The Importance Of Statistics In Students
We all know that statistics refers to the presentation analysis, collection, and interpretation of data or massive information. Statistics is considered very important in education because it allows for collecting, analyzing, and interpreting the data. Moreover, it also allows drawing a general conclusion.
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Confounds Artifacts And Other Threats To Validity
If we look at the issue of validity in the most general fashion, the two biggest worries that we have are confounds and artifact. These two terms are defined in the following way:
Confound: A confound is an additional, often unmeasured variable that turns out to be related to both the predictors and the outcomes. The existence of confounds threatens the internal validity of the study because you cant tell whether the predictor causes the outcome, or if the confounding variable causes it, etc.
Artifact: A result is said to be artifactual if it only holds in the special situation that you happened to test in your study. The possibility that your result is an artifact describes a threat to your external validity, because it raises the possibility that you cant generalize your results to the actual population that you care about.
As a general rule confounds are a bigger concern for non-experimental studies, precisely because theyre not proper experiments: by definition, youre leaving lots of things uncontrolled, so theres a lot of scope for confounds working their way into your study. Experimental research tends to be much less vulnerable to confounds: the more control you have over what happens during the study, the more you can prevent confounds from appearing.
Okay. Theres a sense in which almost any threat to validity can be characterized as a confound or an artifact: theyre pretty vague concepts. So lets have a look at some of the most common examples
Collect And Analyze Data
When working in the psychology field, its very possible youll conduct research of your own. Having proficiency in math and statistics will help you better frame your studies, enhance data collection methods, and better analyze and interpret data. Without this knowledge, your research might unbeknownst to you contain flaws that make it less effective. You might also make other key errors like failing to gather the right type of data, improperly analyzing data, and misinterpreting findings. This, of course, can have a negative impact on both your patients and those of other psychologists who read your research.
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Confidence Intervals On The Es
Confidence intervals around the effect sizes offer improved accuracy of results because they disclose, in addition to the strength of the association between variables, their direction and the plausible range of an effect as well as the likelihood that the results are due to chance . The reason some authors suggest that research designs should be supported by such statistical tools as the effect size and confidence intervals is that the confidence interval is much more informative than the p value because it indicates the extent of uncertainty, in addition to providing the best point estimate of what we want to know . Moreover, the advantage of confidence intervals is that they facilitate data interpretation and easily detect trivial effects, allowing researchers to make decisions in a more clinically relevant fashion.
Figure 3. It is observed that although the effect size in the two studies is the same , statistical significance is achieved only in the sample of 100 because in the sample of 30, the CIs lower extreme covers r=0.
When we have, for example, r= .30 in a population of 100 subjects and we wish to obtain the respective confidence interval of that correlation coefficient in a population, selecting a confidence level of 95% , the external limits of such a coefficient in the population are given as follows :
Lower limit r -1.96
Higher limit r+1.96
which results in the following:
Lower limit .30- 1.96/100-1)= .30-.19 = .ll Higher limit .30 +1.96 = .30 +. 19 = .49
Results For Scientific Reasoning Assessment
The main hypothesis behind this study was that subjects would rate the quality of the scientific reasoning in the article higher when it was accompanied by a brain image than when there was a bar graph or there was no illustration at all. If the ratings differed among conditions, then the illustrationswhich added nothing substantial that was not in the writinghad to be the cause.
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Enhance Your Critical Thinking Skills
Problem-solving is a huge part of working as a psychologist. Since no two patients are the same, you need the ability to think on your feet. You might not realize this, but a background in math and psychology can help improve your critical thinking skills. When youre reading psychology studies, you need to understand the process used by researchers to gauge the effects of any major findings. Knowledge of statistics isnt just about a series of mathematical formulas it parallels the underlying relationships between variables you find when examining human behavior.
Knowledge Of Statistics Is Important In Careers In Psychology
Knowledge of statistics is important in careers in psychology
For your Signature Assignment, you will create a PowerPoint presentation suitable to use for a lecture in an introductory statistics class. You should include the following in your presentation:
A description of why a knowledge of statistics is important in careers in psychology as well as in everyday life.
A description of the difference between descriptive and inferential statistics.
A description of the inferential tests discussed during this class. You should discuss the types of data that are appropriate for each test . You should create a specific research example that would yield data appropriate for each of the tests that you mention. You should describe each of the variables involved in your research question and how that variable will be measured.
A discussion of any ethical concerns that need to be considered for each of the research examples.
At least one graph demonstrating how the results of the statistical test should be presented.
Incorporate appropriate animations, transitions, and graphics as well as speaker notes for each slide. The speaker notes may be comprised of brief paragraphs or bulleted lists.
Support your presentation with at least three scholarly resources. In addition to these specified resources, other appropriate scholarly resources may be included.
Length: 12 15 slides
Notes Length: 150-200 words for each slide
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Lies Damned Lies And Statistics: Use Statistical Knowledge To Protect Yourself
Im sure youre familiar with the expression about damned lies and statistics, which was spread by Mark Twain among others. Is it true?
Unscrupulous analysts can use incorrect methodology to draw unwarranted conclusions. That long list of accidental pitfalls can quickly become a source of techniques to produce misleading analyses intentionally. But, how do you know? If youre not familiar with statistics, these manipulations can be hard to detect. Statistical knowledge is the solution to this problem. Use it to protect yourself from manipulation and to react to information intelligently.
Using statistics in a scientific study requires a lot of planning. To learn more about this process, read 5 Steps for Conducting Scientific Studies with Statistical Analyses.
The world today produces more data and more analyses designed to influence you than ever before. Are you ready for it?
If youre learning about statistics and like the approach I use in my blog, check out my Introduction to Statistics eBook!
Statistics In Business Statistics
Business is dependent on statistics. Almost every business uses business statistics to perform its day to day operations.
But here in this blog, we are talking about the importance of statistics.
The statistics are used for showing the numbers of small business owners.
Statistics are crucial for the business to make future decisions.
They collect the data and process their customers data with the help of statistics.
And then take the decision from that data to make changes in their strategies and policies.
Apart from that, the R & D department of any business relies on statistics.
They used the recent statistics to develop new products and services for business.
It helps them to make a decision about the latest product and services.
And the company can take the calculative risk on the launch of the product or services.
Besides, businesses also use it to calculate their profit, their employee salary, and so on.
COVID 19 Pandemic also increases the use of statistics in business.
Now the company is working to minimize its loss in this Pandemic duration.
Each large organization uses business statistics and utilizes various data analysis tools.
For instance, approximating the probability and seeing where sales can be headed in the future.
Several tools are used for business statistics, which are built on the basis of the mean, median, mode, bell curve, bar graphs, and basic probability.
Businesses can successfully rely on the things that are working and what is not.
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Better Understand Psychology Research
Keeping up with the latest psychology research will help you provide the best possible patient care. However, you wont be able to do this without a solid grasp on math and statistics. As you might already know, published research often contains tables, graphs, and statistical analyses that can be difficult for someone without this knowledge to interpret. If you dont understand these concepts, youll be at a disadvantage because you wont be able to fully grasp the research findings.
Why Do Counseling Majors Have To Take Statistics
Anyone getting a counseling degree is asked to take statistics because the field requires research to advance itself. Someone with a degree in the field may move on to psychology or another research field, and they will learn quickly that statistics are applied to their work every day. This article explains why the course must be taken by students in graduate programs, and it helps show where the students may use the information in the future.
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Importance And Scope Of Statistics:
The fact that in the modern world statistical methods are universally applicable. It is in itself enough to show how important the science of statistics is. As a matter of fact there are millions of people all over the world who have not heard a word about statistics and yet who make a profuse use of statistical methods in their day- to-day decisions. Statistical methods are common ways of thinking and hence are used by all types of persons.
Examples can be multiplied to show that human behaviour and statistical methods have much in common. In fact statistical methods are so closely connected with human actions and behaviour that practically all human activity can be explained by statistical methods. This shows how important and universal statistics is.
Let us now discuss briefly the importance of statistics in some different disciplines:
Statistics in Planning:
Statistics is indispensable in planningmay it be in business, economics or government level. The modern age is termed as the age of planning and almost all organisations in the government or business or management are resorting to planning for efficient working and for formulating policy decision.
To achieve this end, the statistical data relating to production, consumption, birth, death, investment, income are of paramount importance. Today efficient planning is a must for almost all countries, particularly the developing economies for their economic development.
Statistics in Mathematics:
Statistics in Trade:
Null Hypothesis Significance Testing
NHST comes from the effect size on the population, the size of the sample used and the alpha level or p value that is selected . Most psychology research is focused on rejecting the null hypothesis and obtaining a small p value instead of observing the relevance of the results that are obtained .
Among the limitations of NHST, we found its sensitivity to sample size, its inability to accept the null hypothesis, and its lack of capacity to determine the practical significance of the statistical results.
Kirk states that NHST only establishes the probability of obtaining a more or less extreme effect if the null hypothesis is true. It does not, however, communicate the magnitude of the effect or its practical significance, meaning whether the effect is found to be useful or important. As a result, inferential statistical testing has been criticized as expressed by Ivarsson, Andersen, Johnson, and Lindwall : p levels may have little, if anything, to do with real-world meaning and practical value . Some authors, such as Schmidt , even suggest that statistical contrast is unnecessary and recommend focusing only on ES estimation, and Cohen suggests that NHST has not only failed to support the advance of psychology as a science but also has seriously impeded it. .
Some authors summarize the difficulties of NHST as follows:
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Awesome Reasons Why Statistics Are Important
Why statistics are important in our life? Statistics are the sets of mathematical equations that we used to analyze the things. It keeps us informed about, what is happening in the world around us. Statistics are important because today we live in the information world and much of this informations are determined mathematically by Statistics Help. It means to be informed correct data and statics concepts are necessary. To be more specific about the importance of statics in our life, here are 10 amazing reasons that we have heard on several occasions.
1) Everybody watches weather forecasting. Have you ever think how do you get that information? There are some computers models build on statistical concepts. These computer models compare prior weather with the current weather and predict future weather.
2) Statistics mostly used by the researcher. They use their statistical skills to collect the relevant data. Otherwise, it results in a loss of money, time and data.
3) What do you understand by insurance? Everybody has some kind of insurance, whether it is medical, home or any other insurance. Based on an individual application some businesses use statistical models to calculate the risk of giving insurance.
4) In financial market also statistic plays a great role. Statistics are the key of how traders and businessmen invest and make money.
Getting Help With Statistics
Knowing why statistics are important might not help with that sense of dread you feel before stepping into your first stats course. But even if you don’t consider yourself “good at math,” you can still succeed in your stats classes. You might have to put in some extra effort, but help is available.
Start with your instructor. They might be able to recommend books, online tools, and on-campus resources. Many colleges and universities offer a math lab where students can go to receive extra help and tutoring with any type of math course, including statistics. Consider joining or forming a study group with classmates, too.
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Operationalization: Defining Your Measurement
All of the ideas discussed in the previous section all relate to the concept of operationalization. To be a bit more precise about the idea, operationalization is the process by which we take a meaningful but somewhat vague concept, and turn it into a precise measurement. The process of operationalization can involve several different things:
Operationalization is a tricky business, and theres no one, true way to do it. The way in which you choose to operationalize the informal concept of age or gender into a formal measurement depends on what you need to use the measurement for. Often youll find that the community of scientists who work in your area have some fairly well-established ideas for how to go about it. In other words, operationalization needs to be thought through on a case by case basis. Nevertheless, while there a lot of issues that are specific to each individual research project, there are some aspects to it that are pretty general.
Before moving on, I want to take a moment to clear up our terminology, and in the process introduce one more term. Here are four different things that are closely related to each other:
In practice, even scientists tend to blur the distinction between these things, but its very helpful to try to understand the differences.