Much ado about p. What does a p-value mean when testing hypotheses with aggregated cross-cultural data in the field of evolution and human behavior?

Pollet, Thomas (2013) Much ado about p. What does a p-value mean when testing hypotheses with aggregated cross-cultural data in the field of evolution and human behavior? Frontiers in Psychology, 4. p. 734. ISSN 1664-1078

[img]
Preview
Text
fpsyg-04-00734.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (550kB) | Preview
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00734

Abstract

Several recent papers in the field of Evolution and Human Behavior rely on aggregate data when testing their hypothesis on adaptations in humans. This is perhaps most notably the case for studies on pathogen stress, (e.g., DeBruine et al., 2010; Thornhill and Fincher, 2011; Fincher and Thornhill, 2012). These studies predominantly rely on cross-cultural correlations and present p-values in support of their hypotheses. In this opinion article, I demonstrate why p-values can be questionable in this context. I do not wish to single out a particular research area, as the misinterpretation of p in this context seems relatively widespread. But for the purpose of this opinion article I will largely draw on examples from work relating to pathogen stress, as this research area most prominently appears to rely on aggregated cross-cultural data. I also want to stress that this is not a general critique of p-value usage or frequentist statistics (e.g., Johnson, 1999; Anderson et al., 2000; Goodman, 2008; Ziliak and McCloskey, 2008; Wetzels et al., 2011), but rather a critique on the reliance on p-values when using macrolevel data in cases where the sample closely matches the entire range of possible observations. This opinion article is also not a critique of reliance on macrolevel data per se, or of a research programme in particular, but focuses on one particular aspect: statistical inference from macrolevel data when a sample closely matches the entire population.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: pathogen stress, cross-cultural correlation, inferential statistics, p-value, cross-cultural research
Subjects: C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2017 13:40
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2017 10:21
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/31989

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics


Policies: NRL Policies | NRL University Deposit Policy | NRL Deposit Licence