Statistical models and strong inference in social judgment research

John Ruscio, Elizabethtown College


In debating whether an asymmetry in traditional null hypothesis significance testing (NHST) biases empirical results against human rationality, the limited role that NHST can play in scientific reasoning has been overlooked. Platt's (1964) framework of "strong inference" illustrates the proper use of NHST and the interpretation of its results, chiefly the ruling out of one potential alternative explanation for observed data (usually chance-level differences or associations). Especially in light of this limited role that NHST can play, it is critical to use an appropriate statistical model. The inconclusiveness that can result from using an incorrect model is discussed in the context of social projection.