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Stat Methods Med Res. 2008 Jun;17(3):265-77. Epub 2007 Oct 9.

Sympathetic bias.

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Center for Public Choice, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA,


We wish to deal with investigator bias in a statistical context. We sketch how a textbook solution to the problem of "outliers" which avoids one sort of investigator bias, creates the temptation for another sort. We write down a model of the approbation seeking statistician who is tempted by sympathy for client to violate the disciplinary standards. We give a simple account of one context in which we might expect investigator bias to flourish. Finally, we offer tentative suggestions to deal with the problem of investigator bias which follow from our account. As we have given a very sparse and stylized account of investigator bias, we ask what might be done to overcome this limitation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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