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How typical is a “median person”?

Last week, references to a “median person” showed up enough times in my life to spur me to write this post.  I think the use of an “average person” is still more popular, but this “median person” seems to be gaining popularity too.  Regardless, as attached to a person, the concept is essentially the same – it’s an appealing way to take a collection of averages (or medians) calculated for each of many measured characteristics and conceptually construct a new individual, as least hypothetically. The question that doesn’t get asked enough — Who, if anyone, does an individual constructed in this way actually “look” like?  

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How typical is a “median person”?
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Can ‘regression to the mean’ explain the ‘Dunning-Kruger effect’?

The title of this post is the question behind a news article, “The Dunning-Kruger Effect is Probably Not Real,” by Jonathan Jarry, sent to me by Herman Carstens.  Jarry’s article is interesting, but I don’t like its title because I don’t like the framing of this sort of effect as “real” or “not real.”  I think that all these sorts of effects are real, but they vary:  sometimes the effects are large, sometimes they’re small, sometimes they’re positive and sometimes negative.  So the real question is not, “Are these effects real?”, but “What’s really going on?”

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Can ‘regression to the mean’ explain the ‘Dunning-Kruger effect’?
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There’s no evidence that …

More exposure means more opportunities to mutate. More selection pressure means more variants. This is certainly true for COVID-19 and it might also be true for political rhetoric. The many additional news conferences, press briefings and talk radio slots brought on by the pandemic are perfect conditions for breeding new sound bites and rhetorical tricks. Angry journalists and members of the public provide the selection pressure, weeding out the phrases that fall flat.

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There’s no evidence that …
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The Way of the Statistician and the Way of the Physicist

The rules of evidence as presented in statistics textbooks are not the same as the informal criteria that statisticians and practitioners use in deciding what methods to use.  What are the similarities and differences between statistical thinking and the modeling done in the physical sciences?

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The Way of the Statistician and the Way of the Physicist
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People are not plants … and a little meditation

On this Groundhog Day, I should be focused on how many weeks are left in winter.  Instead, I still find myself in that period of reflection spurred on by the arbitrary change of number associated with our calendar.  As for many, 2020 was marked by much change in my life. I attribute much of the positive to attempts to build various mindfulness practices into my life.  As a statistician, I often find myself in a tension between caring and not caring about results of research on such practices.  Why the tension?

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People are not plants … and a little meditation
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Would you take that vaccine?

While most state leaders worldwide are busy securing a supply of COVID-19 vaccines, almost half of the Filipinos are reluctant to get vaccinated according to Pulse Asia Survey conducted from November 23 to December 2, 2020. This is a bit higher than the September 2020 report from Social Weather Stations survey showing only about 31% of Filipinos would refuse COVID-19 vaccines. 

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Would you take that vaccine?
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Statistician reacting to Statisticians (and others) reacting to the news: A meta-post with reading recommendations

Writers from both inside and outside statistics have taught me a great deal about thinking about data, data analysis, statistics, measurement AND about communicating statistics to the public. I have been inspired, and my thinking has been shaped by these contributions. I want to share some recommendations in this post.

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Statistician reacting to Statisticians (and others) reacting to the news: A meta-post with reading recommendations