38117: The decline effect and the scientific method : The New Yorker - m.newyorker.com

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The most likely explanation for the decline is an obvious one: regression to the mean. As the experiment is repeated, that is, an early statistical fluke gets cancelled out. The extrasensory powers of Schooler?s subjects didn?t decline?they were simply an illusion that vanished over time. And yet Schooler has noticed that many of the data sets that end up declining seem statistically solid?that is, they contain enough data that any regression to the mean shouldn?t be dramatic. ?These are the results that pass all the tests,? he says. ?The odds of them being random are typically quite remote, like one in a million. This means that the decline effect should almost never happen. But it happens all the time! Hell, it?s happened to me multiple times.? And this is why Schooler believes that the decline effect deserves more attention: its ubiquity seems to violate the laws of statistics.

The decline effect and the scientific method : The New Yorker by m.newyorker.com
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