The p-value ritual

The p-value and its implicit symbolism

The Aristotelian conditional syllogistic logic behind the Fisherian p-value is widely misunderstood which leads to fallacious logical inferences. The p-value resembles a Kantian paralogism, i.e., it appears objective and logically valid even though it is not. The p-value is an irrational social ritual (cf. Gigerenzer, 2004). Social conformity, obedience to authority, groupthink, and other aspects of Social Identity Theory (SIT) play an important role in this context.

Given the well-documented paralogisms associated with classical Fisherian null hypothesis significance testing (cf. Cohen, 1994) I advocate alternative inferential research methods. For the statistical analyses of the experimental data I collected during my PhD I utilised Bayesian bootstrapping, Bayes Factor analysis, and Bayesian parameter estimation via Markov chain Monte Carlo simulations (in addition to classical NHST).

“Few researchers are aware that their own heroes rejected what they practice routinely. Awareness of the origins of the ritual and of its rejection could cause a virulent cognitive dissonance, in addition to dissonance with editors, reviewers, and dear colleagues. Suppression of conflicts and contradicting information is in the very nature of this social ritual.”
(Gerd Gigerenzer, 2004, p. 592; Director Emeritus of the Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, inter alia)

Statistical Research Methods workshop at the University of Plymouth in 2014:
The pitfalls of hypothesis testing

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cff-version: 1.0.3
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date-released: 2012-07-16

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* Base CSS for pdf2htmlEX
* Copyright 2012,2013 Lu Wang
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