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Redefine or Justify? Comments on the Alpha debate

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Reference: Redefine or Justify? Comments on the Alpha debate.

Abstract:

Benjamin et al. (Nature Human Behaviour 2, 6-10, 2017) proposed improving the reproducibility of findings in psychological research by lowering the alpha level of our conventional null hypothesis significance tests from .05 to .005, because findings with p-values close to .05 represent insufficient empirical evidence. They argued that findings with a p-value between 0.005 and 0.05 should still be published, but not called Bsignificant^ anymore. This proposal was criticized and rejected in a response by Lakens et al. (Nature Human Behavior 2, 168-171, 2018), who argued that instead of lowering the traditional alpha threshold to .005, we should stop using the term Bstatistically significant,^ and require researchers to determine and justify their alpha levels before they collect data. In this contribution, I argue that the arguments presented by Lakens et al. against the proposal by Benjamin et al. are not convincing. Thus, given that it is highly unlikely that our field will abandon the NHST paradigm any time soon, lowering our alpha level to .005 is at this moment the best way to combat the replication crisis in psychology.

Acknowledgments:

The author wishes to thank Alexander Etz, Jason Noble, and Eric-Jan Wagenmakers for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper.

de Beer, C., Carragher, M., van Nispen, K., Hogrefe, K., De Ruiter, J. P., and Rose, M. L. (2017). How much information do people with aphasia convey via gesture? American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 26(2), 483-497.

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Reference: de Beer, C., Carragher, M., van Nispen, K., Hogrefe, K., De Ruiter, J. P., & Rose, M. L. (2017). How much information do people with aphasia convey via gesture? American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology26(2), 483-497.

Abstract:

Purpose: People with aphasia (PWA) face significant challenges in verbally expressing their communicative intentions. Different types of gestures are produced spontaneously by PWA, and a potentially compensatory function of these gestures has been discussed. The current study aimed to investigate how much information PWA communicate through 3 types of gesture and the communicative effectiveness of such gestures.

Method: Listeners without language impairment rated the information content of short video clips taken from PWA in conversation. Listeners were asked to rate communication within a speech-only condition and a gesture + speech condition.

Results: The results revealed that the participants’ interpretations of the communicative intentions expressed in the clips of PWA were significantly more accurate in the gesture + speech condition for all tested gesture types.

Conclusion: It was concluded that all 3 gesture types under investigation contributed to the expression of semantic meaning communicated by PWA. Gestures are an important communicative means for PWA and should be regarded as such by their interlocutors. Gestures have been shown to enhance listeners’ interpretation of PWA’s overall communication.

Acknowledgments:
Carola de Beer was funded by a short-term PhD scholarship of the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service). Katharina Hogrefe was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG GO 968/3-3). Karin van Nispen was funded by the Jo Kolk Study Fund. Further acknowledgments go to Dr. Kazuki Sekine and Dr. Annett Jorschick for supporting the statistical analysis, to Dr. Abby Foster and Dr. Lucy Knox for their support in the preparatory phase of the experiment, and to the lecturers of the School of Allied Health at La Trobe University who helped with participant recruitment.