"I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it the right way, did not become still more complicated."
(Paul Anderson, New Scientist, 25 Sept 1969)

Who are we?

PsychStats is an informal and multidisciplinary group of psychology researchers (broadly interpreted) who are interested in statistics. Areas of research represented include education, emotion, intelligence, linguistics, personality, reasoning. Members have experience with a range of methods requiring overlapping knowledge (e.g., ANOVA, multiple regression, multilevel/mixed effects modelling, factor analysis, structural equation modelling), using a range of different software packages (e.g., SPSS, R, MPlus, SAS, Mx).



  • have discussions drawing on research from the applied statistics literature;
  • help each other to learn statistical methods and use them appropriately; and
  • merrily ignore discipline boundaries.

Mailing List

We have a mailing list on which we discuss our troubles; this is also how the PsychStatsBanter gatherings (see below) self-organise and are advertised. If you would like to be added to the list, please mail Andy Fugard (a.fugard AT

Helpful resources

The local R user's code wiki
our CiteULike group.

PsychStatsBanter Gatherings

We meet on an occasional basis, usually in S38, Psychology, 7 George Square, with meetings lasting around an hour. Each meeting is focussed on issues in statistics that people find particularly troubling, socially and morally. To get an idea, check out past and future meetings below...

Schedule for 2008

Mon 23nd June
To be announced

John Raven will come to chat with us about Progressing a Paradigm Shift in Psychometrics.

See this psychwiki entry for general background. See also the Eye on Society website.

Mon 2nd June
To be announced

A discussion of Friedman, N. P., Miyake, A., Young, S. E., DeFries, J. C., Corley, R. P. & Hewitt, J. K. (2008) Individual Differences in Executive Functions Are Almost Entirely Genetic in Origin. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 137, 201-225. (Email Andy for a copy if you can't find it.)

Thurs 24th April

Anne will chat with us about SEM.

"I will provide a brief overview of SEM and describe some of my attempts to model the relationship between emotion and alerting (a type of attention) using AMOS. Issues relating to model specification, model identification, model fit and comparison will also be discussed. It is hoped that the overview and examples will be used a basis for discussion.

"All welcome - the brief overview might be of use to SEM newbies; additionally, it would be great if more experienced SEM-ers could come along to offer advice and clarification on murky issues!"

19th March

Ended up being a discussion of "multiplicative" effects vs. interactions (see Blanton and Jaccard, 2006)

Thurs 6th March
The Pub

Discussion of Borsboom, D., Mellenbergh, G.J., & Van Heerden (2004) [The concept of validity. Psychological Review, 111, 1061-1071]

Previous banter sessions in 2007

Thurs 6th Dec

PCA, EFA, and CFA. Reading: Mick Power's paper on CFA. Contact Anne or Andy if you haven't yet received a copy.

Tues 20th Nov
S32 (if numbers aren't too big!)

A general discussion about Structural Equation Models.

Weds 19th Sept

Mike Allerhand will talk about likelihood: what it is, how to estimate maximum likelihood, using it for parameter estimation, and likelihood ratios for testing.

Weds 22nd August

We'll discuss model selection, e.g. AIC, BIC, likelihood ratio tests, stepwise methods, controversy, etc.

Weds 8th August

Frances Wilson has kindly volunteered to talk through the fun she has been having with eyetracking data and mixed effects models (using lme4 and the languageR package).

The structure of eyetracking data nicely highlights the deep angst faced by folk all over psychology so we're bound to acquire Deep Insight as a result of the struggle.

It'll help if you've read Baayen, Davidson and Bates (submitted).

Weds 18 July

Discussion of Gelman (2007) [Letter to the editors regarding some papers of Dr. Satoshi Kanazawa. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 245(3), 597-599] and the papers by Kanazawa it cites.

This covers lots of ground: interpreting logistic regression models, problems with multiple comparisons, properties of predictors to look out for in multiple regression.

Fri 22 June

Discussing Alex Weiss's and Alison Lenton's papers

Wed 6 June
Alex Weiss's office (B18)

Whiteboard huddle:
What exactly are mixed effects models?

A list of things that trouble people...

... and which we may discuss soon! Email Andy (a.fugard AT if you have more.

  • More on mixed effects models... e.g. reporting models, analogues of Tukey's HSD, etc
  • Simplifying terms in models, e.g. by merging levels
  • Assumptions made when using covariates to "control" for something
  • Signal detection theory
  • Relationship between SEM, e.g. using them for latent growth models, and multilevel models
  • Loglinear models and other models for categorical data
  • Survival Analysis