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J Appl Behav Anal. 1974 Winter;7(4):647-53.

Statistical inference for individual organism research: mixed blessing or curse?

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  • 1Western Michigan University.


Descriptive and inferential statistics are described as judgemental aids, stimuli to which the scientist can more easily react than to his raw experimental results. The increasing emphasis on the significance test as the main judgemental aid utilized in experimental psychology is credited with several harmful effects on experimental practice. The area known as "the experimental analysis of behavior" has so far escaped most of these harmful effects, but now we see an increased interest in the development of appropriate significance tests for individual organism research. This interest is based on the view that it is not possible to effect adequate levels of experimental control with much human applied research, and that in such cases a significance test would be quite valuable as a judgemental aid, both of which points are considered to be essentially incorrect, and if accepted, potentially harmful.

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