What is a Sampling Distribution?

Stacy Shaw

Stacy Shaw

Stacy is a second-year graduate student in the developmental area with interests in mathematics and science learning, as well as creativity and divergent thinking. A former competitive public speaker and volunteer ambassador for the Chabot Space and Science Center, Stacy is also interested in scientific communication and open science. She received her bachelor’s degree from California State University, East Bay in human development, with minors in psychology and statistics.
Stacy Shaw

Latest posts by Stacy Shaw (see all)

The sampling distribution is one of the most important concepts in inferential statistics, and often times the most glossed over concept in elementary statistics for social science courses. This article will introduce the basic ideas of a sampling distribution of the sample mean, as well as a few common ways we use the sampling distribution in statistics. When we conduct a study in psychology, this almost always includes taking a sample and measuring some aspect…

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An Illustrative Guide to Statistical Power, Alpha, Beta, and Critical Values

Joey Ka-Yee Essoe

Ph.D. Student Researcher at Rissman Memory Lab, UCLA
Joey is a graduate student of Behavioural Neuroscience in UCLA, minors in Cognitive psychology and Quantitative Psychology. She is trained in simultaneously EEG/fMRI, behavioural experimentation utilising virtual reality (VR), including virtual world development and logistical interfaces between VR and statistical software. She is now expanding to fMRI compatible paradigms, fMRI MVPA analyses, and advanced statistical modelling.

She grew up in Hong Kong under English rule (please do pardon her spelling), then spent half her life living and loving San Francisco. Now in Los Angeles, she is a member of University Bible Church and the Rissman Memory Laboratory.

Joey served as Blog Master of Psychology in Action since January 2013, and has served as her President since 2014.

http://www.jessoe.com

From my interactions with undergraduate students, it seems that even though these definitions are easy to recite, they are difficult to be integrated into a comprehensive whole. I hope here to show how to conceptually integrate them into a cohesive picture. Everything begins with reality: the “Reality Continuum” I call this green line “Reality Continuum” (rather grand, no?) because you will take your ideas, and do a reality check against it via data analysis (within the traditional statistical framework–it is definitely NOT…

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Mediating and Moderating Variables Explained

Tawny Tsang

Tawny Tsang

Tawny is a doctoral student in Developmental Psychology at UCLA. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Music at UC Berkeley (Go Bears!). Her research interests include understanding visual social attention and its relation to social and cognitive development in typically developing infants and those at-risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Tawny Tsang

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What is the difference between a mediator and a moderator? One of my former academic advisors used to always say “be a walking laboratory”. I think it’s a very poetic way of describing a core feature of psychological research—to come up with theories or explanations for various phenomena we observe. Sometimes there isn’t a clear-cut relation between a dependent and independent variable. In those cases, a mediating variable or a moderating variable can provide a…

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What’s the Deal with Replication?

alyssa

Alyssa is a graduate student in Health Psychology, studying how positive psychosocial resources like religious practices and spirituality affect mental and physical health. She received her BA in biology and psychology from Luther College in Decorah, IA and her Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. She is happy to be in California with sunshine and good hiking, but sad to be far from Wisconsin Cheese and the Green Bay Packers.

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Wondering what the fun and fascinating stories were in the world of Psychology on Twitter this week? Let me tell you! The Psychology Twittersphere has been full of thoughts about a very important topic lately: Replication.

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The Significance of Impression Formation: Reinterpreting Early Social Psychology Findings Using Modern Stats

Brianna Goodale

Brianna Goodale

Doctoral Student at University of California, Los Angeles
Brianna is a third-year doctoral student at the University of California, Los Angeles and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow.She currently studies how group norms can exacerbate or ameliorate stereotype threat among women in science, technology, engineering and math.An avid outdoor enthusiast, her interest in stereotypes of women in fields dominated by men was spurred by her own experiences in math classes and mountaineering.When not designing studies or analyzing data, Bri enjoys strong lattes and bouldering on the beach.
Brianna Goodale

Solomon Asch may be best known in social psychology for his 1951 Conformity Studies in which he brought participants into a room with seven confederates—actors pretending to be other participants—and had them recount the length of a line.  Before demonstrating that normative pressure can lead people to lie, Asch was one of the foremost researchers on impression formation.  He was interested in how we judge others and their personality based off small bits of information. 

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Python for the Social Sciences: Toolkit Essentials

Danny Lumian

Graduate Research Assistant at University of California, Los Angeles

Latest posts by Danny Lumian (see all)

  Why Py? Why should psychologists, or social scientists more generally, care about programming? The fact is anyone who uses softwares for data analysis relies on programming and many wonderful tools exist to give researchers improved control over their data for more efficient workflow. Although learning programming may seem an insurmountable task, with the right tools a few simple lines of code can accomplish wonderful things. I hope this blog will present, in a very…

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Odds Are: On the difference between odds, probability, and risk ratio.

Joey Ka-Yee Essoe

Ph.D. Student Researcher at Rissman Memory Lab, UCLA
Joey is a graduate student of Behavioural Neuroscience in UCLA, minors in Cognitive psychology and Quantitative Psychology. She is trained in simultaneously EEG/fMRI, behavioural experimentation utilising virtual reality (VR), including virtual world development and logistical interfaces between VR and statistical software. She is now expanding to fMRI compatible paradigms, fMRI MVPA analyses, and advanced statistical modelling.

She grew up in Hong Kong under English rule (please do pardon her spelling), then spent half her life living and loving San Francisco. Now in Los Angeles, she is a member of University Bible Church and the Rissman Memory Laboratory.

Joey served as Blog Master of Psychology in Action since January 2013, and has served as her President since 2014.

http://www.jessoe.com

Odds, Probability, Chance, Risks: Interchangeable? Not so much. What does it mean to say “smokers are X times more likely to get lung cancer than non-smokers?” What about when the weather channel says, “there is a 10% chance of rain?” The odds of 1 to 10 of winning? These words are often used in casual conversations as somewhat interchangeable, and can be rather confusing. I remember being very excited to learn about them for the first…

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Interview Tips for Students Applying to PhD Programs in Psychology

Timothy Williamson

Timothy Williamson

Timothy is a PhD student in Clinical Health Psychology, studying how psychosocial factors help and hinder adjustment to chronic medical stressors. He received his BA in psychology from Pitzer College and his Master of Public Health degree from Claremont Graduate University. In his spare time, Timothy can be found hiking the canyons of Malibu and baking delicious treats for his classmates.
Timothy Williamson

Preparing for interviews for a PhD program in psychology can be very stressful as well as very exciting. This is likely the first time that you will be interacting face to face with multiple professors and graduate students from the program you are applying for, and it is important to make a good impression. It can be difficult to find the ideal balance between self-praise and humility; you want to sell yourself as a dedicated…

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How will Big Data shape psychology research?

Alexandra

Alexandra

Alexandra is interested in understanding how the mind effects the body. Her research primarily focuses on how psychological processes like stress influence the immune system in cancer patients and survivors. She started blogging for Psychology in Action because she is passionate about communicating exciting research to those outside of academia. Alexandra received her Ph.D. in Health Psychology from UCLA in 2014. She loves everything outdoors and reading novels.
Alexandra

I’m sure all of you have heard of the Big Data movement going on right now. From the Harvard Business Review to David Brooks in the NY Times, everyone seems to be talking about the power of big data to provide “insights” into the inner workings of the world. Of course as a scientist, recognizing the power of data is not news to me. But I was interested in an article in the Psychological Science Observer that talks about how…

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What not to do in science

Alexandra

Alexandra

Alexandra is interested in understanding how the mind effects the body. Her research primarily focuses on how psychological processes like stress influence the immune system in cancer patients and survivors. She started blogging for Psychology in Action because she is passionate about communicating exciting research to those outside of academia. Alexandra received her Ph.D. in Health Psychology from UCLA in 2014. She loves everything outdoors and reading novels.
Alexandra

A short and funny article published in Perspectives on Psychological Science by Neuroskeptic highlight the mistakes to most avoid and be aware of when doing research. Important knowledge for undergrads and newer researchers, and a good reminder for seasoned ones!

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Biased results — field of psych takes the heat

Alexandra

Alexandra

Alexandra is interested in understanding how the mind effects the body. Her research primarily focuses on how psychological processes like stress influence the immune system in cancer patients and survivors. She started blogging for Psychology in Action because she is passionate about communicating exciting research to those outside of academia. Alexandra received her Ph.D. in Health Psychology from UCLA in 2014. She loves everything outdoors and reading novels.
Alexandra

The pressure to publish positive findings (instead of null results) is present across scientific discipline, but several researchers have argued that the field of Psychology is the most biased offender.  An article posted last week in Nature.com discussed these biases – and presents two potential solutions one of which was suggested by UCLA researcher Dr. Matt Lieberman.  Click here to read the full article and suggested solutions.

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Revisit: fMRI and the “lit up” brain

Natalie

I study human memory using various fMRI methods.

I wrote a post a few months ago about some common misconceptions about functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and one of my main points was that the term  ‘lights up”, which is often used when describing the areas of the brain that respond to a task, is misleading. Here is what I said on the subject: First, fMRI does not detect electrical changes in the brain, as ‘lights up’ would imply.  Neurons in the brain communicate…

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Quick Tips for Becoming Poll-Literate

Jeffrey K. Bye

Jeffrey K. Bye

Ph.D. Candidate at Reasoning Lab, UCLA
Jeff is a sixth-year Ph.D. Candidate at UCLA Psychology majoring in Computational Cognition in the Cognitive Area. He received his B.A. in Cognitive Science from Pomona College, with a subconcentration in Computer Science and minor in Philosophy. At UCLA, he works with Dr. Patricia Cheng in the Reasoning Lab. His primary research focus is to use both experimental and computational techniques to study causal inference, reasoning, and math education. He hopes to apply his findings to designing new teaching methods and games for math and other conceptual subjects.He has written for Psychology in Action since January 2011, served as President of Psychology in Action from 2012-2014, and now sits on the Advisory Board.
Jeffrey K. Bye

If you’re a political junkie like me, or just a casual election-follower, you’ve probably read a few polls that made your jaw drop.  Here are some things a skeptical poll consumer should look for before letting their jaw fully drop.   Selection Bias One of the first questions you should ask yourself when you read a poll is “What kinds of people did they ask?”  What we want in a poll is to get an…

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“…the difference between significant and not significant is not itself necessarily significant.”

The quote above comes from a perspective published in Nature Neuroscience this past summer by Nieuwenhuis and colleagues. They detail a surprisingly common mistake in the statistical analyses carried out by some studies published in prominent journals. It might be easier to first illustrate the mistake with an example. Let’s say I give a control group and a treatment group a task. To measure performance, I record how quickly each subject completes it. The control…

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I WANT MY FAME TV: VALUES ON TV FOR CHILDREN 1967-2007

Yalda T. Uhls

Yalda T. Uhls

Yalda T. Uhls, a former President of Psychology in Action, received her PhD in developmental psychology from UCLA. Today, she works as a senior researcher at the Children’s Digital Media Center@LA, UCLA campus, as well as the Regional Director of Common Sense Media, a national non-profit that focuses on helping children, families and educators navigate the digital world. Yalda’s research focuses on how older and newer media impacts the social behavior of preadolescents.In addition to her peer-reviewed published research, Yalda writes on her own blog (ParentingInTheDigitalAge.com), as well as on the Huff Post. Awards include UCLA’s Psychology in Action Award, for excellence in communicating psychological research to audiences beyond academia, as well as honorable mention for the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Student Research Fellowship.Prior to her academic career, Yalda spent over fifteen years as an entertainment executive and producer. Notable positions include Senior VP at MGM as well as consultant to Google, Santa Monica.Yalda has two amazing children, and was able to apply what she learned in developmental psychology to parenting (the ultimate project based learning!).
Psychology in Action allows Yalda to combine her two passions, science and storytelling, and to communicate incredible psychological research to people who want to learn a little bit more about human behavior but don't have the time or the statistical training to read a journal article.
Yalda T. Uhls

It’s an age-old refrain — adults claim that kids today are completely different from when they were growing up, usually for the worse. And that claim often extends to the TV shows that kids are exposed to – more sex, less depth, endless shows about celebrities and reality TV show stars. But hasn’t Hollywood always glamorized being rich and famous? The pursuit of fame is embedded in the fabric of our society, in America –…

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How not to conduct research: Online ethics edition

Lauren S.

Lauren Sherman is a doctoral candidate in developmental psychology at UCLA and a researcher at the Children’s Digital Media Center@LA and the Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center.She originally hails from Philadelphia and received her B.A. in Psychology and Music from Vassar College.Lauren studies the ways that children, teens, and emerging adults interact with digital technology and social media and the ways that these interactions influence development.She also studies functional brain development during adolescence, particularly as it relates to social development.When she is not studying the ways your children text, chat, blog, and youtube (or doing it herself!), she likes to read fiction and sing opera.

Note: Everything in the following article and the provided links (at least at the time of posting) is work-safe, though some links may contain explicit language.  However,  please exercise caution in clicking other links found on the web pages referenced here! A quick Google search for recent Boston University grads Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam reveals buzz about their book, “A Billion Wicked Thoughts,” out today.  Ogas and Gaddam analyzed traffic to erotic web sites…

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