Thinking and Reasoning 16 (1):26-44 (2010)

Marta Suarez
Rutgers University, New Brunswick
When using sample data to decide whether two populations differ, laypeople attend to the difference between group means, but largely overlook within-group variability (Obrecht, Chapman, & Gelman, 2007). We show, first, that laypeople know about and use story-implied variability when making pairwise comparisons. Then we demonstrate that participants' sensitivity to variance in a dataset is boosted when presented in a context that implies consistent variance information. Statistical data were couched in stories about electrical conductivity measurements obtained from element samples (low-variability category) or body weight measurements from samples of peoples (high-variability category). We manipulated, between participants, whether the data variance matched or mismatched the story-implied variability. Participants who received data in a matching context showed high sensitivity to variance, while those in the mismatching condition did not. Laypeople use statistical data to make reasonable inferences when those data are provided in a context that makes sense
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2010
DOI 10.1080/13546780903416775
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 50,391
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
94 ( #97,064 of 2,326,149 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #284,939 of 2,326,149 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes