Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Author's Response
Chow: Statistical significance

The null-hypothesis significance-test procedure is still warranted

Siu L. Chow a1
a1 Department of Psychology, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada S4S 0A2 chowsl/


Entertaining diverse assumptions about empirical research, commentators give a wide range of verdicts on the NHSTP defence in Statistical significance. The null-hypothesis significance-test procedure (NHSTP) is defended in a framework in which deductive and inductive rules are deployed in theory corroboration in the spirit of Popper's Conjectures and refutations (1968b). The defensible hypothetico-deductive structure of the framework is used to make explicit the distinctions between (1) substantive and statistical hypotheses, (2) statistical alternative and conceptual alternative hypotheses, and (3) making statistical decisions and drawing theoretical conclusions. These distinctions make it easier to show that (1) H0 can be true, (2) the effect size is irrelevant to theory corroboration, and (3) “strong” hypotheses make no difference to NHSTP. Reservations about statistical power, meta-analysis, and the Bayesian approach are still warranted.