By Morris J.S.

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Extra info for A Bayesian analysis of colonic crypt structure and coordinated response to carcinogen exposure incor

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One obvious reason for this state of affair is that both psychology and social sciences by their nature are very complex compared to most natural sciences. A unit in psychology, most often a human being, can certainly often, at least from a certain point of view, be characterized by some state concept, either momentarily or more permanently. However, such a state is very frequently much more complex than what can be determined by some scalar or multivariate parameter, which standard statistical theory requires.

From the original experiment one can only make such predictions under the simplified assumption that the division of opinion will be constant during this period. The complementary comments may serve to modify this simple assumption, or to design a new poll, where comments of this kind are requested in a systematic way. In the next example, there may be a similar problem. The example is first of all given here, however, to illustrate a very common setting for a standard statistical experiment, namely that of an independent, identically distributed series of observations, and the question of when these assumptions can be transferred to another setting.

5 Contexts for Experiments Any experiment is done in a context, that is, for some given experimental units, any preparation done on these units, any assumptions explicitly made on the units and on the statistical model, preferably verified before the experiment or justified by external arguments, and finally any environment chosen for the whole experiment. The results found in earlier experiments may also contribute to the context. A part of the context may even be the routine built up by the experimentalists, or their prejudices towards the expected result.

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