From NHST to the New Statistics — How do we get there?

APS just wrapped up.  Geoff and I were privileges to help host a symposium on making progress moving the field away from p values towards the New Statistics.  Our co-conspirators were fellow text-book author Susan Nolan, Psychological Science editor Stephen Lindsay, and stats teaching wizard Tamarah Smith.  We each offered our perspectives on some of the road-blocks to abandoning the safety blanket of the p value.  The session was lively, with great audience feedback and discussion.  I’ve posted here each speakers’ slides:

  • Introduction by Geoff Cumming — a quick recap of the long history of calling for the end of the p value, and encouragement to make this time the time we really make the change. Slides are here.
  • The Textbook Writers Perspective by Susan Nolan — Susan reviewed some of the inertia holding back substantive change in statistics textbooks (both in her excellent textbook and for others).  She also offered hopeful insight from the sea-change that has occurred in the teaching of projective texts in clinical psychology.   Slides are here.
  • The Instructors’ Perspective by Tamarah Smith and Bob Calin-Jageman.  Tamarah and I considered the surprising complexities of making changes in the undergraduate statistics curriculum.  We reviewed some promising software tools for making the change (JASP, Jamovi, and a new set of extensions for SPSS) and discussed some of the strategies we had found helpful in incorporating the New Statistics into the classroom.  Slides are here.
  • The Editor’s Perspective by Stephen Lindsay.  Stephen discussed some of the very substantive policy changes implemented at Psych Science beginning with prior editor Eric Eich.  These include an emphasis on effect sizes, requirements for sample-size justification, and badges for different open-science practices.  Although these stringent requirements reduced submissions somewhat, they are having a real impact, hopefully towards better replicability.  Slides are here.

Some useful resources and papers discussed during the symposium:

  • Getting Started in the New Statistics – An set of links, guides, and resources for teaching the New Statistics.  Hosted via the Open-Science Framework.  A crowd-sourced effort; request to be an editor to join in.
  • JASP – free, open-source alternative to SPSS.  Focuses on Bayesian statistics, but makes it pretty easy to use confidence intervals with most analyses and graphs.
  • JAMOVI – another free, open-source alternative to SPSS.  Also does pretty well with confidence intervals on some types of analyses.
  • ESPSS – a set of extensions to get SPSS to do New Statistics well. Still under development, but feel free to live on the bleeding edge.  Currently supports independent samples t-test, paired samples t-test, and correlations.
  • A fascinating paper Geoff contributed to examining the impact of the APS guidelines on different publication practices: (Giofrè, Cumming, Fresc, Boedker, & Tressoldi, 2017).  (full link below)
  • Stephen’s most recent editorial enjoining new standards for data sharing in Psychological Science (Lindsay, 2017) (BRAVO!) (full link below)
  • Stephen’s earlier editorial about replication and standards at Psychological Science (Lindsay, 2015).
  • The famous “Business not as usual” editorial from Eric Eich that got things moving in a great direction at Psychological Science (Eich, 2014). (full link below)
  • Susan Nolan’s excellent undergrad statistics textbook with Richard Heinzen:
  • The APA’s 2.0 revision of Undergraduate Learning Goals for Psychology majors, which describes goals related to statistical/scientific thinking for psychology majors:


Eich, E. (2014, January). Business Not as Usual. Psychological Science. SAGE Publications.
Giofrè, D., Cumming, G., Fresc, L., Boedker, I., & Tressoldi, P. (2017, April 17). The influence of journal submission guidelines on authors’ reporting of statistics and use of open research practices. (J. M. Wicherts, Ed.), PLOS ONE. Public Library of Science (PLoS).
Lindsay, D. S. (2015, December). Replication in Psychological Science. Psychological Science. SAGE Publications.
Lindsay, D. S. (2017, April 17). Sharing Data and Materials in Psychological Science. Psychological Science. SAGE Publications.

I'm a teacher, researcher, and gadfly of neuroscience. My research interests are in the neural basis of learning and memory, the history of neuroscience, computational neuroscience, bibliometrics, and the philosophy of science. I teach courses in neuroscience, statistics, research methods, learning and memory, and happiness. In my spare time I'm usually tinkering with computers, writing programs, or playing ice hockey.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *