Interpreting a Non-Significant Outcome

Interpreting a Non-Significant Outcome
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  • 0:02 Statistical Analysis
  • 2:12 Non-Significance
  • 3:31 Interpretation
  • 5:30 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

Research can take a lot of time for the person conducting it. So what happens when the statistics show that the results are not significant? In this lesson, we'll look at what a non-significant outcome means and what it doesn't mean.

Statistical Analysis

Sophie is a psychologist who believes that people like other people who mirror their body language. In other words, she believes that if you are leaning to your right, you'll be more likely to have a positive impression of someone who is leaning to their left when they talk to you.

To test her theory, Sophie has subjects talk to a confederate, or a researcher pretending to be a subject in a study. In the experimental condition, the confederate mirrors the body language of the actual subject as they have a conversation about something mundane, like the weather. In the control condition, the confederate just stands still and doesn't mirror the body language of the subject.

Afterward, Sophie gives the subjects a survey and asks them to rate, from 1 to 5, how much they liked the person they talked with. A 5 means that they thought that person was awesome, and a 1 means that they didn't like the confederate at all. If Sophie is right, the people in the experimental condition, where the confederate mirrored the subject, will like the confederate more than the people in the control condition, where the confederate didn't mirror their body language.

When Sophie averages the scores out, she finds that the people in the experimental condition rated their confederates as a 4.3, while people in the control condition rated their confederates as a 3.6. That sure sounds like Sophie is right, but is her result because of the experiment, or is it due to chance?

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