Comment| Volume 23, ISSUE 1, P79-85, January 01, 1988

Download started.


Why you should avoid statistics

  • Robert C Bolles
    Address reprint requests to Dr.R.C. Bolles, Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195.
    Department of Psychology, University of Washington. Seattle, WA 98195. USA
    Search for articles by this author
      This paper is only available as a PDF. To read, Please Download here.


      In the scientific community, one encounters methodologists to whom the ritual of experimentation is all-important and whose thoughts are totally channelled into the routine of statistics. Though that approach is legitimate, and indeed almost the norm, there is the danger that if you ritualize statistics, you may find some of the doors of science closed to you. Accordingly, one should avoid statistics whenever possible, abolish superfluous rituals and routines, and get on with the business of science.
      To illustrate what is meant by getting on with science, a few guidelines and examples may be helpful. You will see in every case that statistics can and should be avoided, and the guidelines will show how it can be done.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Biological Psychiatry
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Bolles RC
        The effect of altering the middle of the list during serial learning.
        Am J Psychol. 1959; 72: 577
        • Bolles RC
        A psychophysical study of hunger in the rat.
        J Comp Physiol Psychol. 1962; 63: 387
        • Bolles RC
        The difference between statistical hypothesis and scientific hypotheses.
        Psychol Rep. 1962; 11: 639
        • Bolles RC
        The readiness to eat and drink.
        J Comp Physiol Psychol. 1962; 55: 230
        • Bolles RC
        • Bailey DE
        Importance of object recognition in size and constancy.
        J Exp Psychol. 1956; 51: 222
        • Bolles RC
        • Petrinovich L
        A technique for obtaining rapid drive discrimination in the rat.
        J Comp Physiol Psychol. 1954; 47: 378
        • Brunswik E
        Distal focussing of perception: Size constancy in a representative sample of situations.
        Psychol Monogr. 1944; 56
        • Petrinovich L
        • Bolles RC
        Delayed alternation: Evidence for symbolic processes in the rat.
        J Comp Physiol Psychol. 1956; 49: 363
        • Siegel PS
        • Siegel HS
        The effect of emotionality on the water intake of the rat.
        J Comp Physiol Psychol. 1949; 42: 12