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Bayesian Statistics for Experimental Scientists

A General Introduction Using Distribution-Free Methods

Richard A. Chechile


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An introduction to the Bayesian approach to statistical inference that demonstrates its superiority to orthodox frequentist statistical analysis.

This book offers an introduction to the Bayesian approach to statistical inference, with a focus on nonparametric and distribution-free methods. It covers not only well-developed methods for doing Bayesian statistics but also novel tools that enable Bayesian statistical analyses for cases that previously did not have a full Bayesian solution. The book's premise is that there are fundamental problems with orthodox frequentist statistical analyses that distort the scientific process. Side-by-side comparisons of Bayesian and frequentist methods illustrate the mismatch between the needs of experimental scientists in making inferences from data and the properties of the standard tools of classical statistics.

The book first covers elementary probability theory, the binomial model, the multinomial model, and methods for comparing different experimental conditions or groups. It then turns its focus to distribution-free statistics that are based on having ranked data, examining data from experimental studies and rank-based correlative methods. Each chapter includes exercises that help readers achieve a more complete understanding of the material.

The book devotes considerable attention not only to the linkage of statistics to practices in experimental science but also to the theoretical foundations of statistics. Frequentist statistical practices often violate their own theoretical premises. The beauty of Bayesian statistics, readers will learn, is that it is an internally coherent system of scientific inference that can be proved from probability theory.

The MIT Press, 9780262044585, 512pp.

Publication Date: September 8, 2020

About the Author

Richard A. Chechile is Professor of Psychology and Cognitive and Brain Scientist at Tufts University. He is the author of Analyzing Memory: The Formation, Retention, and Measurement of Memory (MIT Press).