What is statistical power? An illustration using simulated data

In Germany we have the following saying: Everything has already been said – but not yet by everyone. For what it's worth, in what follows I take my own turn and try to explain the concept of statistical power using simple words, simulations of data, and some gifs.

Note that this post is written primarily for students in order to provide some guidelines for empirical theses or reports. I provide the R-code necessary for the analyses, and you can also download everything from my github.

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A list of publicly available open datasets

Photo with sign "open"
Photo by Artem Bali from Pexels

It is becoming increasingly clear that we as researchers need to analyze large-scale, publicly available open datasets. The replication crisis in psychology vividly illustrated that most studies are strongly underpowered and that results are not replicable (e.g., Munafo et al., 2017). Besides, and maybe less well-known, small samples also increase the probability of finding extreme results, which leads to a literature full of effect sizes that are artificially inflated (e.g., Button et al., 2013).

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How many hours do you need to spend on Facebook to reduce your happiness?

4 women standing and looking at smartphone

I’ve recently written a thread on Twitter that, at least by my standards, got pretty viral. In the thread I discuss the topic of effect sizes. Specifically, I look at how many hours you need to spend on Facebook so that it actually affects your well-being. Some people said they’d like to cite it, which is why I’m now also posting it here.

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Since the advent of smartphones, have we become more or less happy?

people sitting on bench, one is using a smartphone

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the effects of smartphones on mental health. For example, one was able to read the following:

Rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011. It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones.
Jean Twenge

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Was ist die Psychologie der Privatheit?

Vor ein paar Wochen habe ich mich bei der Körber-Stiftung für den diesjährigen Studienpreis beworben. Leider wurde die Arbeit nicht ausgezeichnet — was sich bei insgesamt 430 Einreichung aber auch durchaus verkraften lässt. Ein schönes Nebenprodukt des Bewerbungsprozesses ist dabei allerdings, dass ich nun eine recht ausführliche Zusammenfassung meiner Dissertation vorliegen habe. Für alle Interessierten: Im Folgenden mein Bewerbungstext ungekürzt und in Originalfassung. Continue reading →

4chan and the murder in Herne

Some weeks ago, in the German town Herne, a young person committed a horrible crime by killing an innocent child—out of pure lust and without any apparent wrongdoing on the part of the child it seemed. It became known that the young person was an active member of 4chan, a website that, next to several other threads, includes one in which atrocious and deviant acts are being openly celebrated by the community. In that thread, pictures of the murder were posted shortly after the killing. Continue reading →