The ABC in #BayesInPsych: Approximating likelihoods in simulation models

(This post was co-authored with Brandon Turner). Sharon Bertsch McGrayne’s 2012 book, The Theory That Would Not Die: How Bayes’ Rule Cracked the Enigma Code, Hunted Down Russian Submarines, and Emerged Triumphant from Two Centuries of Controversy, traces the difficulties that statisticians and empirical researchers alike have had in embracing Bayesian methods. Despite the obvious […]

Continue Reading

#BayesInPsych: Spiking a slab with sleepless pillow talk and prior inequalities

I recently finished reading Suzanne Buffam’s, A Pillow Book. This is a book of non-fiction poetry about thoughts and musings that may enter the mind as one drifts off to sleep, ranging from the historical consideration of pillows to comprehensive lists of sleeping aids. I’ve spent more than a few nights drifting off to sleep considering […]

Continue Reading

We often know more than we think: Using prior knowledge to avoid prior problems #BayesInPsych

One of the unique features of Bayesian statistical and computational modelling is the prior distribution. A prior distribution is both conceptually and formally necessary to do any sort of Bayesian modelling. If we are estimating the values of model parameters (e.g., regression coefficients), we do this by updating our prior beliefs about the parameter values […]

Continue Reading

The four horsemen of #BayesInPsych

I see four benefits to the use of Bayesian inference:  Inclusion of prior information.  Regularization.  Handling models with many parameters or latent variables.  Propagation of uncertainty. Another selling point is a purported logical coherence – but I don’t really buy that argument so I’ll forget that, just as I’ll also set aside philosophical objections against […]

Continue Reading

From classical to new to real: A brief history of #BayesInPsych

The #BayesInPsych Digital Event kicked off yesterday and as the leading Guest Editor of the special issue of Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, I take this opportunity to provide more context for this week’s posts. The simple act of deciding which among competing theories is most likely—or which is most supported by the data—is the most […]

Continue Reading

#BayesInPsych: Preventing miscarriages of justice and statistical inference

Your brilliant PhD student ran an experiment last week that investigated whether chanting the words “unicorns, Brexit, fairies” repeatedly every morning before dawn raises people’s estimates of the likelihood that they will win the next lottery in comparison to a control group that instead chants “reality, reality, reality”. The manipulation seems to have worked, as […]

Continue Reading

How the takete got its spikes: Why some words sound like what they are

Human beings have an incredible capability to communicate. Unlike other species, humans have evolved to use language to express our states, desires, observations, and, I guess, tweet about them. Language is a powerful system of communication because it allows the expression of counterfactuals: we can easily discuss the past and future; distant, unseen locations; complex […]

Continue Reading

Phineas Gage in a bottle: Alcohol decreases prefrontal activity

There are many ways to become famous. Phineas Gage, an American railway construction foreman in the mid-19th century, experienced one of the most improbable (and least recommended) paths to eternal fame. Few first-year psychology students around the world will have escaped the story of Phineas, and his mishap with an iron rod used to tamp […]

Continue Reading

When working memory works with ⺙x – 2 = ⻂: Effects of prior training on performance

“Working memory” is a broad term that describes what we do with information that is consciously accessible. For instance, when students take notes in class, they are hearing the lecturer’s sentences, placing them in the context of what they know about the topic, and synthesizing both to form the note they ultimately write on the […]

Continue Reading

Learning to classify better than a Student’s t-test: The joys of SVM

Is a picture necessarily worth a thousand words? Do bilinguals always find some grammatical features in their second language to be more difficult than native speakers of that language? Is the Stroop effect necessarily larger when the task is to name the color ink of a color word than when the task is to read […]

Continue Reading
1 2 3 34