Statistics for Psychology (3rd Edition)

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9780130358103: Statistics for Psychology (3rd Edition)

A book that focuses on the logic behind the concepts of statistics for psychology, using definitional formulas rather than emphasizing rote memorization. Clearly written, each procedure is conveyed both numerically and verbally, with many visual examples to illustrate the text. It takes the reader from basic procedures through analysis of variance (ANOVA), and not only teaches statistics, but also prepares the user to read and understand research articles as well. This book is an introduction to statistics for psychology, covering such topics as order in a group of numbers; mean, variance, standard deviation, and Z scores; correlation; prediction; the normal curve, probability, and population versus sample; hypothesis testing; the t test; analysis of variance; chi-square tests; the general linear model; and making sense of advanced statistical procedures in research articles. For statisticians, psychologists and those involved in psychological research in the behavioral and social sciences.

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From the Publisher:

Class-tested and developed over two decades, the material for this innovative text reflects recent changes in both research practice and in the teaching of statistics for psychology: 1) Statistics are done by computer, not by hand, so the text stresses deep understanding, not brief explanation followed by the usual plugging numbers into formulas. 2) The majority of psychology majors are human-and word-oriented, not math-oriented, so this text employs their way of learning--for example, requiring them to put what they learn into words lay persons can understand.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The heart of this book was written over a summer in a small apartment near the Place Saint Ferdinand, having been outlined in nearby cafés and on walks in the Bois de Boulogne. It is based on our 35 years of experience teaching, researching, and writing. We believe that the book we wrote is as different from the conventional lot of statistics texts as Paris is from Calcutta, yet still comfortable and stimulating to the long-suffering community of statistics instructors.

Our approach was developed over three decades of successful teaching—successful not only in the sense that students have consistently rated the course (a statistics course, remember) as a highlight of their major, but also in the sense that students come back to us later saying, "I was light-years ahead of my fellow graduate students because of your course," or "Even though I don't do research, your course has really helped me read the journals in my field."

The response to the first and second edition has been overwhelming. We have received hundreds of thank-you e-mails and letters from instructors (and from students themselves!) from all over the English-speaking world. Of course, we were also delighted by the enthusiastic review in Contemporary Psychology (Bourgeois, 1997).

In this third edition we have tried to maintain those things that have been especially appreciated, while reworking the book to take into account the feedback we have received, our own experiences, and advances and changes in the field. We have also added new pedagogical features to make the book even more accessible for students. However, before turning to the third edition, we want to reiterate what we said in the first edition about how this book from the beginning has been quite different from other statistics texts.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE STATISTICS TEXT GENRE

In the 1950s and 1960s statistics texts were dry, daunting, mathematical tomes that quickly left most students behind. In the 1970s, there was a revolution—in swept the intuitive approach, with much less emphasis on derivations, proofs, and mathematical foundations. The approach worked. Students became less afraid of statistics courses and found the material more accessible, even if not quite clear.

The intuitive trend continued in the 1980s, adding in the 1990s some nicely straightforward writing. A few texts have now also begun to encourage students to use the computer to do statistical analyses. However, discussions of intuitive understandings are becoming briefer and briefer. The standard is a cursory overview of the key idea and sometimes the associated definitional formula for each technique. Then come the procedures and examples for actually doing the computation, using another "computational" formula.

Even with all this streamlining, or perhaps because of it, at the end of the course most students cannot give a clear explanation of the logic behind the techniques they have learned. A few months later they can rarely carry out the procedures either. Most important, the three main purposes of the introductory statistics course ark, not accomplished: Students are not able to make sense of the results of psychology research articles, they are poorly prepared for further courses in statistics (where instructors must inevitably spend half the semester reteaching the introductory course), and the exposure to deep thinking that is supposed to justify the course's meeting general education requirements in the quantitative area has not occurred.

WHAT WE HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY

We continue to do what the best of the newer books are already doing well: emphasizing the intuitive, de-emphasizing the mathematical, and explaining everything in direct, simple language. But what we have done differs from these other books in 11 key respects.

1. The definitional formulas are brought to center stage because they provide a concise symbolic summary of the logic of each particular procedure. All our explanations, examples, practice problems, and test bank items are based on these definitional formulas. (The amount of data to be processed in practice problems and test bank items are reduced appropriately to keep computations manageable.)

Why this approach? To date, statistics texts have failed to adjust to technological reality. What is important is not that the students learn to calculate a t test with a large data set—computers can do that for them. What is important is that students work problems in a way that they remain constantly aware of the underlying logic of what they are doing. Consider the population variance—the average of the squared deviations from the mean. This concept is directly displayed in the definitional formula (once the student is used to the symbols): Variance = Σ(IM)2/N. Repeatedly working problems using this formula engrains the meaning in the student's mind. In contrast, the usual computational version of this formula only obscures this meaning: Variance = ΣX2 – (ΣX)2/N/N. Repeatedly working problems using this formula does nothing but teach the student the difference between ΣX2 and (ΣX)2!

Teaching the old computational formulas today is an anachronism. Researchers do their statistics on computers now. At the same time, the use of statistical software makes the understanding of the basic principles, as they are symbolically expressed in the definitional formulas, more important than ever. Students still need to work lots of problems by hand to learn the material. But they need to work them using the definitional formulas that reinforce the concepts, not using the computational formulas that obscure them. Those formulas once made some sense as timesavers for researchers who had to work with large data sets by hand, but they were always poor teaching tools. (Because some instructors may feel naked without them, we still provide the computational formulas, usually in a brief footnote, at the point in the chapter where they would traditionally have been introduced.)

2. Each procedure is taught both verbally and numerically—and usually visually as well. In fact, when we introduce every formula, it has attached to it a concise statement of the formula in words. Typically, each example lays out the procedures in worked-out formulas, in words (often with a list of steps), and illustrated with an easy-to-grasp figure. Practice problems and test bank items, in turn, require the student to calculate results, write a short explanation in layperson's language of what they have done, and make a sketch (for example of the distributions involved in a t test). The chapter material completely prepares the student for these kinds of practice problems and test questions.

It is our repeated experience that these different ways of expressing an idea are crucial for permanently establishing a concept in a student's mind. Many psychology students are more at ease with words than with numbers. In fact, some have a positive fear of all mathematics. Writing the formula in words and providing the lay-language explanation gives them an opportunity to do what they do best.

3. A main goal of any introductory statistics course in psychology is to prepare students to read research articles. The way a procedure such as a t test or an analysis of variance is described in a research article is often quite different from what the student expects from the standard textbook discussions. Therefore, as this book teaches a statistical method, it also gives examples of how that method is reported in the journals (excerpts from current articles). And we don't just leave it there. The practice problems and test bank items also include excerpts from articles for the student to explain.

4. The book is unusually up to date. For some reason, most introductory statistics textbooks read as if they were written in the 1950s. The basics are still the basics, but statisticians and researchers think far more subtly about those basics now. Today, the basics are undergirded by a new appreciation of effect size, power, the accumulation of results through meta-analysis, the critical role of models, the underlying unity of difference and association statistics, the growing prominence of regression and associated methods, and a whole host of new orientations arising from the central role of the computer. We are much engaged in the latest developments in statistical theory and application, and this book reflects that engagement. For example, we devote an entire early chapter to effect size and power and then return to these topics as we teach each technique.

5. We capitalize on the students' motivations. We do this in two ways. First, our examples emphasize topics or populations that students seem to find most interesting. The very first example is from a real study in which 151 students in their first week of an introductory statistics class rate how much stress they feel they are under. Other examples emphasize clinical, organizational, social, and educational psychology while being sure to include sufficient interesting examples from cognitive, developmental, behavioral and cognitive neuroscience, and other areas to inspire students with the value of those specialties. (Also, our examples continually emphasize the usefulness of statistical methods and ideas as tools in the research process, never allowing students to feel that what they are learning is theory for the sake of theory.)

Second, we have worked to make the book extremely straightforward and systematic in its explanation of basic concepts so that students can have frequent "aha" experiences. Such experiences bolster self-confidence and motivate further learning. It is quite inspiring to us to see even fairly modest students glow from ha...

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