Statistical significance, ESP and the law: what's all that about?

Statistical significance testing is one of the commonest formal ways of handling some kinds of uncertainty, but arguably it's one of the most misunderstood. We've posted a new article about statistical significance, in the context of some very controversial psychological experiments about extra-sensory perception (ESP).


Risk has been studied from a variety of perspectives, which can most easily be categorised as the psychological approaches to risk and the social scientific approaches to risk [link - to come]. Both traditions are concerned with finding out more about how people percieve and understand risk, and how they react towards it, though they differ in their interpretations of what risk actually is, and in their ideas of what if anything should be done about their insights to risk.

The psychology of risk

Psychology of Risk and the “public perception of risk” research

“A statement such as 'the annual risk from living near a nuclear power plant is equivalent to the risk of riding an extra 3 miles in an automobile' fails to consider how these two technologies differ on the many qualities that people believe to be important. As a result, such statements are likely to produce anger rather than enlightenment and they are not likely to be convincing in the face of criticism” (Slovic, p.271 Slovic2000)

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